Helping the Widowed, the Fatherless, the Broken, and the Hungry
This resource was written by Susan Peugh, Disaster Relief Director at the South Carolina Baptist Convention.
Have you ever noticed that scripture is full of disasters? Noah and the flood. Joseph and the famine in Egypt. Moses and the plagues. The Red Sea collapsing on the Egyptians. The Israelites at war with everyone.
Throughout the Old Testament we read of one disaster after another. But when we get to the book of Ruth, we often think of it primarily as a love story. But have you ever noticed that the story of Ruth is rooted in a disaster?
Ruth 1:1 starts by saying there was a famine in the land. Naomi and her family leave their home to move to the foreign country of Moab to find food so they
can survive. While in Moab, Naomi’s sons marry, but tragedy soon strikes as Naomi’s husband and two sons pass away. Naomi and her daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, are widows.
Naomi has a significant problem. She is a widow in a foreign country unable to care for her son’s wives. Naomi decides to return to her home, urging the younger women to go back to their father’s homes, but Ruth is unable to leave her mother-in-law.
The two widows return to Judah but quickly realize they need protection. Ruth finds her way to the grain fields of Naomi’s relative, Boaz. In Ruth 2:8-9, Boaz gives his word to Ruth that he will protect her. But Boaz doesn’t simply protect Ruth; he also provides for her and Naomi. He instructs his workers to allow Ruth to gather extra wheat.
Naomi, in her wisdom, directs Ruth to continue working in the fields belonging to Boaz. She also guides Ruth to lay at Boaz’s feet. Ruth’s obedience to follow Naomi’s instruction is an act of love. Her response is met with an act of integrity on Boaz’s part as he seeks to buy the land Naomi owns. Boaz acquires the land in chapter 4, becoming Naomi and Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer.
In the ultimate act of love, Boaz and Ruth marry and have a son, Obed. Through their son, King David is born and, eventually, the King of Kings, Jesus.
Why does this matter? Every day women like Naomi and Ruth struggle to find food to provide for their families. They need protection. They need provisions. Our service through Disaster Relief should not be limited to a natural disaster. We have the opportunity every day to help the widowed, the fatherless, the broken, and the hungry.
How will you use your DR training to help those like Naomi and Ruth who are living among you? You never know, someone you help may be the ancestor of a future king.
For more information about how to get involved with Disaster Relief and for upcoming training opportunities, visit https://www.scbaptist.org/disasterrelief.