Theological Questions from the Book of Ruth

Naomi went to Moab and there both her husband and her only two sons died (ch 1). In verses 13 and 20 she acknowledges that God has been a part of this: “the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me” (v. 20, NASB = NIV “the Almighty has made my life very bitter”).

Q- How did she know that God was involved here? I don’t attribute everything that happens to God’s action or will. Accidents can happen. People can go against God’s will by grieving God. And sometimes God just seems to have no preference. That being said, how did she know? Had she sinned (she didn’t say the Lord’s hand was against her daughters-in-law, but only against her, v. 13)? Did God tell her? Is it possible she was wrong (not that the Bible was wrong in reporting that she truly did think this, but that maybe the Bible correctly reports that she thought this even though it wasn’t a false thought)?

Of course I have much less difficulty accepting Naomi’s words when she says something positive about God’s action: “…the LORD who has not left you without a redeemer today” (4:14).

I guess the big question behind my question is, how much does God direct our lives?

I read that “the LORD enabled her [Ruth] to conceive” (4:13), and I wonder if this necessarily means that God is always involved in conception (or just in this instance). I mean, isn’t it just sometimes that we live in a fallen world and, hence, some women or men have fertility issues? Is God involved there too? Or, isn’t it sometimes just that a woman waits too long to have children (fertility rates start continuously dropping for women in their 20’s)? Is God involved if a woman can’t get pregnant in her 30’s?

Perhaps I have removed God too much from how I think about what happens in my life. It seems clear from these Scriptures that God was very involved in Naomi and Ruth’s lives. Doesn’t that mean he is very involved in my life (even apart from responding to my prayers)? At first sight, these Scriptures even make me think that God is involved in directing most everything in my life (they point in that direction, but don’t establish that conclusion). Of course, thinking further, they don’t have to be interpreted that way. Furthermore, there are other Scriptures that sometimes suggest otherwise.

What do you think?

If you enter an email address, it will not be published. Please keep your comments kind and relevant to the post.

Leave a Reply