Summary: This is the 1st sermon in the series "God’s Gift Of..."
Family Worship November 22, 2009 Bel Aire Baptist Church
Series: God’s Gift Of… [#1]
So, I know that it is hard to believe for some; but Christmas is 1 month away and the stores are working overtime already. Some you have already began to Christmas shop, while some of you are almost done already. Personally, I don’t get that. I still have 22 days before Christmas Eve, so I’m in no hurry. I have already been asked what I would like for Christmas and I don’t really have an answer; but as I thought about some things I would like I did think about some of the gifts that God has given me through the years.
It is hard to see that God is working in our lives sometimes. In fact it seems sometimes as if God is not there at all. How could God allow bad things to happen to good people? How is it that evil people seem to prosper? The devil is a master at focusing us on the negative and causes us to even doubt that God cares; but I want to assure you that God provides and cares for us even when we don’t know it. See, often times God is growing us and teaching us through difficult circumstances. What difficult situation is God using in your life to grow you? Do you feel like God has abandoned you?
The book of Ruth takes place during the days of the judges. These were dark days for the Nation of Israel. Everyone did their own thing. Everyone decided what was right and what was wrong.
Because of this, we find a situation that was like a roller-coaster ride. The people would sin, God would punish them, the people would cry out for help, God would deliver them, and then it would start all over again. This is the time in which our story takes place.
Elimelech moved his family from Bethlehem to Moab because of a famine. While there, Elimelech died; but his family continued to stay in Moab. His two sons Mahlon and Chilion got married to women from Moab. After about 10 years the two sons died and only three women were left. These women now faced a serious problem. In this era of time, women without husbands, (especially young widows) did not have much hope. In those days, it was very important that women were married and had children. If they were widows or could not have children they were considered to be cursed by God. To make matters worse for Orpah and Ruth, tradition would have it that if your husband died you were to marry their nearest of kin. Usually the dead husband’s brother would take his brother’s wife to be his wife; but Naomi had no more sons.
At a time when it seemed that they were all cursed by God and He was no where around, each of these 3 women had to make a decision. There comes certain times in life when although we would like to procrastinate on making a decision, that we must make that decision now. Many times the results of our decisions follow us for the rest of our lives and we will find that the decisions made by these 3 women had huge affects upon their lives. Which 1 of these 3 decisions most often fits your life?
When you are faced with a decision, do you…
1. Give up?
On the surface, Naomi seems to be a very unselfish and caring person because she gave her daughter-in-laws a way out; or did she? One must read the entire chapter to see that Naomi was experiencing what we call in year 2009, clinical depression. The only reason she was going back to Bethlehem was because the famine that God had placed upon Bethlehem due to their disobedience had been lifted and there was now food available. Apparently, Naomi could have gone back to Bethlehem after her husband died, but she stayed with her sons and daughter-in-laws. She let them take care of her. I can just imagine that they had to often hear how unfair God had been to her for taking her husband. Now that her sons had died, she felt like there was not anyone, including God, who cared about her even a little. Her plan was to go back to Bethlehem alone and just finish her life out as quickly as possible. She had given up.
Although, I’m sure Naomi did love her daughter-in-laws; she was so focused on how sorry and terrible her life was that she didn’t even consider the fact that not only was she telling her daughter-in-laws to go back to their homes and maybe find a husband, but worse she was telling them to go back to their old gods and forsake Jehovah God. Instead of her leading her family to God she was telling them to give up on God and do something else.