It was expressly said by God, and yet here are two men, bereft of their father's guidance, doing something that was contrary to God; and it was not very long before they died, and so this is a very solemn story.
A wife loses her husband, two sons lose their father, and death and famine come in- a very bleak picture indeed, and it all can be traced to disobedience. I was listening to a dear brother ministering a few weeks ago, and he was telling us that a young sister came to him and she said, 'I want some help. I want to marry a young man, he is not a Christian, but I want to marry him'. God's word says expressly that you should not be united to someone who is unconverted, because that is an unequal yoke 2 Cor.
You are considering doing something that God expressly forbids. What do you want? Do you want God to change His mind? Do you want to pray to Him, until He says to you, 'It is all right for you to marry an unconverted person', when He says plainly in His word, 'If any Christian is to marry it is to be only in the Lord ''? Now that is plain enough. This is the very thing that these two sons did not do - they expressly acted in a way that was contrary to the will of God, and it brought sorrow. Now this is not the only way in which we can disobey, perhaps we tend to stress that a great deal.
I think it is very important that young people should know that if they are going to choose a partner, they make sure they choose a partner in the Lord. And in many other ways too we are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers who will drag us down in our Christian testimony. We might be very, very happy naturally, but we certainly will not grow spiritually.
The Story of the Book of Ruth | My Jewish Learning
But then again, we might be disobedient in a thousand ways in our lives, and if we are disobedient we will reap the consequences. Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah. Now Naomi made a decision.
She said, 'I am going back'. Now I think it is right to say that when we speak about the book of Ruth we mainly speak about the decision of Ruth, but you will find that this book has many decisions, three very bad ones, and three very good ones - the decision of Elimelech to leave the land of promise was certainly a wrong decision; the decision of his two sons to marry daughters of Moab were certainly bad decisions; and we will find that the near kinsman, when he refused to have the hand of Ruth the Moabitess in marriage, also made a wrong decision.
We will not spend any more time with wrong decisions, I think we all know something about them in our lives. Thank God for His mercy if He gives us restoring grace. But Naomi made a right decision, she says, 'I am going back to where I belong, I ought not to be here, since ever I came it has been sorrow and disappointment and death in my life; I am going back. I have heard that the Lord is blessing His people with bread.
We came down here into Moab to get something for ourselves, to gratify our own desires, and what a sorry mess it has put us into! I am going back because the Lord is providing for His people. Sometimes we make decisions which are contrary to the word of God and we are too proud to say that we have made a mistake, and it is a long, long time before we have retraced our steps. It is good when we know we have made a mistake to get down before the Lord and to acknowledge it, and to seek His grace and mercy that He might lead us back into the right path and follow that path in humility and obedience.
So Naomi said, 'I am going back'. The Lord grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept. And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people. And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; Would ye tarry for them till they were grown?
And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. Her two daughters-in-law said, 'We will go with you'. They went a certain distance, until Naomi told them to go back because there was no prospect with her, no, not naturally, she had nothing to offer to them. Well, Orpah was very courteous, she kissed her mother-in-law and she left her, and went back to her people and to her gods.
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It was obvious that the connection that Orpah had with these dear people from Israel had had no effect whatsoever on her, she had not benefited from the instruction that Naomi, I believe, gave to them - so she went back. Oh, it is a very sad thing when we see people going back to their gods, to their people, after making a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and going on for a short time because the company is encouraging, or because certain things are advantageous, and then a test comes, and they give up and they go back; what a sad thing it is to see.
I do trust before the Lord that if anyone here has failed in that way, oh, may the Lord help you to do that which is right before Him. Do not be too proud to come back, do not be too proud to follow the Lord with His people. Humble yourself under His hand and you will find a blessing; do not go away. I trust there is not one here this evening who has a desire in his or her heart to go away; the seeds of that, perhaps, working in their mind, 'What is the use of a Christian testimony, the opposition is too strong, I do not see much fruit in it, there is no pleasure in it, so I am going to give up.
Recently our hearts were saddened by a young lad who said this kind of thing, 'I do not get any pleasure in the meetings, I am not going to go any more.
Ruth: BIG Message in a SHORT Story
Our links are with our Lord Jesus Christ, and if they are not strong, if they are not real and vital, we will be like that young man, we will soon give up. But I would say, and I am sure there are many more who would say, that the happiest moments of my life have been spent in fellowship with the believers, the happiest moments that ever I have enjoyed; and I know that many more here would say the same, and we would encourage you if you do feel like giving up to keep hanging on.
There are difficulties, we are all conscious of them, but do not go back to the things that you refused perhaps a few years ago, do not let the enemy get the victory, rely upon Christ and His strength, and keep going on and you will find a blessing eventually. When she saw that she was steadfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.
So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi? And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.
I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me? So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest. Well now, Ruth comes to Naomi and says, 'I am not going back. Do not ask me to leave, because I am not going back to my people or to my gods.
Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried; the Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death part thee and me" Ruth , it was perfectly obvious to Naomi that she had no intentions of going back, so she stopped trying to persuade her. Here was a wonderful decision, and we will find that in the three good decisions that are made, one by Naomi, one by Ruth and one by Boaz, blessing follows each decision. All these decisions linked together end in blessing, and thank God we know where it ends.
We read a little later of the genealogy in the last chapter Ruth , but if we turn over to Matthew we find that the chain ends in Christ - what a wonderful thing! I am perfectly sure that neither Naomi, nor Ruth, nor Boaz were aware of what was happening that day, that they were linked in a chain that would stretch centuries beyond their time and end in the coming of 'great David's greater son' - what a blessing! Oh, what honour and privilege to be linked in a movement that finds it's centre in Christ. I believe there was a great attraction in Naomi for Ruth; I believe there was something in that dear woman that held her attention and her affections.
2. Keep Your Commitments
Elimelech, sad to say, had led his family astray, but after he died the responsibility of the family rested upon Naomi's shoulders. I believe that she taught her sons and her daughters-in-law the truth concerning the God of Israel. What a responsibility rests upon us, those of us who are older, I am not going to limit this simply to the household, but to every one of us who are a little older in the Christian faith.
I was reading of a dear man who was out in the country, and he was watching a flock of sheep, and there were lambs there, and he noticed that everywhere the ewes went the lambs followed. Some of the ewes went through holes in the hedge and the lambs followed, and the ewes went into a place of danger, and so the lambs went into a place of danger because they followed their mothers.