Summary: Our life is governed by our decisions and each decision has consequences. Naomi, Orpah and Ruth each made decisions that had life-altering consequences. Each of their decisions have lessons for our own lives.
Series: Ruth (Sermon 3 in series)
June 30, 2013
TEXT: Please turn in your Bibles to Ruth 1.
Illus. – At seven o’clock on the morning of December 7, 1941 two US soldiers were on duty at a small radar station in the Pacific ocean. Suddenly, their radar screen filled up with hundreds of dots, until entirely filled. These soldiers quickly notified their young supervisor, a lieutenant. No other officer was around, it being a Sunday, so the lieutenant thought these must be planes from California, and without another thought, said these critical words: “Don’t worry about it.”
Twenty minutes later, at 7:50, the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor began. 353 Japanese airplanes swarmed over the harbor, and within a couple of hours, America lost 8 battleships, 6 major airfields, almost all its planes, and 2,400 men.
There would have been time to scramble the planes at Pearl Harbor, prepare the battleships, and shelter the men, but this lieutenant, in the most important moment of his career, made a very simple, seemingly insignificant decision that had momentous consequences.
Our study today speaks to us of the importance of decisions. Our life is shaped largely by the decisions we make. I am what I am—for both good and for bad—as a Christian, as a husband, as a father, as a worker, and as a person mostly because of past decisions I have made in my life.
Someone once said that “Decision determines destiny.” Another put it this way, “History is made whenever you make a decision.”
Every day you live, you literally make hundreds of decisions. Every day you are pressed for decisions, decision, decisions. And what you are today is the sum total of the decisions you have made in your lives.
Illus. – Listen to this story, based upon a San Francisco, California, newspaper article a few years ago:
Prominent members of San Francisco Society crowded Saints Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco for the wedding. At the stipulated moment in the ceremony, the dazzling bride was asked, “Do you take this man for your lawfully wedded husband?”
“I don’t know,” she murmured to the minister. “I just can’t make up my mind.” The minister waited a moment, and then announced to the audience, “The wedding is off.”
The reception was cancelled. Hundreds of dollars worth of food was given away. All because, in the moment of decision the bride could not make up her mind.
However, a week later the bride asked for the wedding to proceed. “I was just nervous,” she said. “My mind is made up now. I do take the groom as my husband.”
Well, I hope she made the right decision!
In our text we see three decisions made which influenced the lives of three women forever. These women—Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth—had all lost their husbands in Moab. They were all widows, food was scarce, and Naomi was living as a foreigner in Moab with no relations to help her. All three apparently had no means of supporting themselves and there’s no mention of any male relatives to protect or provide for them. They were facing some very distressing, precarious times.
Often some of the most momentous decisions in life are those we must make in the midst of trials and difficulties. We can run from our problems…or meet them straight on. Which we do is determined by our decisions.
Now, as these women faced these trying times in their lives, let’s see what kinds of decisions they made and see if we can draw some spiritual lessons from them:
I. NAOMI DECIDED TO COVER UP – Verses 6-15 – “Then she [i.e., Naomi] arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread. 7 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. 8 And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother's house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. 9 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. 10 And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people. 11 And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? 12 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; 13 Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me. 14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. 15 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.”