Summary: 1st in a series.
Ruth-Coming Home to God
By Chad H. Ballard
Do you ever read romance novels? Not me. I hate that old mushy, gushy stuff.
I don’t even watch movies that are love story kind of stuff. I remember a several years ago there was a Clint Eastwood movie that came out called “The Bridges of Madison County”.
Now this was no “Dirty Harry”. Clint Eastwood played a landscape photographer who had come to take pictures of the old bridges in Madison County.
He met a woman, played by Merryl Streep, who was married and her husband had taken the kids to the livestock show at the State Fair. Some of you women wonder why men don’t do things like that more often, it’s because you like movies like this one.
See, while her husband was babysitting the kids, Merryl Streep and Clint Eastwood had an affair.
I HATED THIS MOVIE! All I could think about (while the women were going ga-ga about how romantic Eastwood was) was this woman’s poor old husband who was off trying to be a good dad to his kids. I was livid that people thought that lying, cheating, trashy affair was sweet.
Now I have to admit that Streep did decide to stay with her husband rather than to leave with Eastwood. She did eventually come back to doing the right thing.
This love story theme of doing the wrong thing before eventually getting it right sounds a lot like the story that we will be looking at today.
The Book of Ruth is God’s love story for us. It is a parallel to the love affair between Christ and His followers. But just like our own relationship with God before we accept Christ, the story gets off to a rather rocky start.
I. The RESULTS of Disobedience. Read vv. 1-2.
A. Now there is a lot that we can learn about the spiritual condition of this family in these 2 little verses.
1. First of all, this story occurs in the days when judges ruled in Israel. If you want to understand what kind of time this was, simply look back to the last verse of the book of Judges. It says, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
2. It was a time of lawlessness. People did what was right in their own eyes, without consideration of God’s commandments.
B. I want you to see something here. When we live without regard to what the Scripture teaches, eventually what is obviously contrary to God’s teachings starts to look okay to us.
1. Here’s an example. If you were to stop coming to church, you would probably feel guilty for a while because you know that the Bible teaches that we are to gather in God’s house to worship.
2. But your feeling of guilt will eventually subside and you get to the point that you don’t even realize that your missing something on Sunday. You can overcome your guilt.
3. But be careful, because when you spurn God’s law long enough, be it in church attendance or just in living according to the flesh or living rebelliously, God will send famine on the land.
4. Remember our text from last week. Deuteronomy 11:16-17 states: “beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods” (i.e. money, possessions, hobbies, fleshly lusts) “and worship them. Or the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and He will shut up the heavens so that there will be no rain and the ground will not yield its fruits; and you will perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you.”
5. And that’s exactly what He did here. Now the story would end here if the people of Israel would have repented and turned back to God. We see it over and over again in the Old Testament. The Jews would sin, resulting in God’s judgment. The Jews would cry out to God and He would send a deliverer. And after a time of peace the cycle would start over.
C. But when the famine struck, which was God’s judgment, Elimelech did just what most of us do when we are faced with God’s discipline…HE RAN FROM IT! And what was worse, he ran to Moab.
1. Why was it worse that he ran to Moab? Deuteronomy 23:3 says, “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the Lord; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the Lord forever…”
2. The Israelites were even forbidden to seek a treaty of friendship with these people.
3. Elimelech had just leaped from the frying pan into the fire. He had just fled from the discipline of God into the open arms of Satan! And look at what it got him!