Summary: A Godly mother prepares her children for this life and the next.
A Mothers Legacy
Text: Ruth 1:1-18
1. Read Ruth 1:1-18
2. Illustration: When the will of Henry J. Heinz, wealthy distributor of the famous ’57 Varieties’ line, was read, it was found to contain the following confession: ’Looking forward to the time when my earthly career will end, I desire to set forth at the very beginning of this will, as the most important item in it, a confession of my faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I also desire to bear witness to the fact that throughout my life, in which there were unusual joys and sorrows, I have been wonderfully sustained by my faith in God through Jesus Christ. This legacy was left me by my consecrated mother, a woman of strong faith, and to it I attribute any success I have attained.’
3. What sort of legacy do you want to pass down to your children?
Proposition: A Godly mother prepares her children for this life and the next.
Transition: A Godly mother does this by teaching things to her children.
I. Strength (1-5)
A. Now It Came to Pass
1. The story of Ruth takes place sometime during the period of the rule of the judges. These were dark days for Israel, when "everyone did as he saw fit".
2. As the story begins, there is a famine in the land.
a. Famine can be caused by a drought, a natural catastrophe that occurred often in Palestine, where crops were dependent on the rainfall in its proper season. - Expositor’s Bible Commentary, The, Pradis CD-ROM
b. It can also be caused by the devistation of the land by an enemy.
c. It could also be caused by God’s judgement for sin.
d. Deut. 28:24 The LORD will change the rain of your land to powder and dust; from the heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed.
3. As a result, Elimelech, Naomi, and their two sons had to leave their land and go to the land of Moab.
a. Moab was the land east of the Dead Sea. It was one of the nations that oppressed Israel during the period of the judges (Judges 3:12ff), so there was hostility between the two nations.
b. Even if Israel had already defeated Moab, there still would have been tensions between them. —Life Application Bible Notes
4. While they were in Moab Elimelech dies and leaves Naomi a widow.
a. It is not known how long they had been in Moab before Elimelich died.
b. Despite the loss of her husband she still had her two sons who soon married Moabite women name Orpah and Ruth.
5. However, then her two sons die too.
a. For a woman to be "left without" (lit., "left from") her husband and "her … sons" was serious enough in her own community, but in another land she would be in desperate straits. - Expositor’s Bible Commentary, The, Pradis CD-ROM
b. She was a woman in a foreign, hostile country with only two daughters-in-law.
B. Difficulties in Life
1. Naomi it seems was dealt a cruel hand.
a. No country
b. No husband
c. No sons
2. Illustration: The worst thing about accidents in the kitchen is you usually have to eat them.
3. Difficulties are a fact of life; get used to them.
a. There will be accidents in the kitchen
b. There will be bills to pay
c. There will be bumps and bruises
d. There will be cloudy days
4. A Godly mother doesn’t teach her children that there won’t be difficulties in life, but she teaches them how to deal with them.
5. Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
6. Ps. 23:4-5 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Transition: A Godly mother teaches her children to trust in the Lord even when things are difficult.
II. Self-Sacrifice (6-13)
A. Go Return to Your Mothers House
1. There was almost nothing worse than being a widow in the ancient world.
a. Widows were taken advantage of or ignored. They were almost always poverty stricken.
b. God’s law, therefore, provided that the nearest relative of the dead husband should care for the widow; but Naomi had no relatives in Moab, and she did not know if any of her relatives were alive in Israel. —Life Application Bible Notes
2. Even in her desperate situation, Naomi had a selfless attitude. Although she had decided to return to Israel, she encouraged Ruth and Orpah to stay in Moab and start their lives over, even though this would mean hardship for her.