Summary: This message was used after an outstanding revival in our church. Much spiritual transformation had occurred and I used this message to encourage forward progress.
Ruth 1:14-18 KJV 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.  And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:  Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.  When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.
l. INTRODUCTION -- THE STORY OF RUTH
A. Elimelech and Naomi
-The story in Ruth is a tragedy and a triumph tied up in four short chapters. Ruth was from Moab and she was an intruder who had no business breaking into the greatest plan of history.
-In the days of the Judges, the Bible states that a famine came to the nation of Israel. Elimelech and his wife, Naomi, took their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion to the land of Moab in search of food.
-Historians indicate to us that this famine very well could been related to raiding by the Philistines and the Ammonites and not a factor of drought and heat. Just as soon as the crops begin to be ready for harvest and enemy would swoop in and steal the crop from Israel. All of their hard work in plowing, planting, cultivating, and irrigating would literally come to nothing because of the work of their enemies.
-Having established themselves there, they found the food they needed. They found the job security necessary to support them. In addition to this, both of the sons found wives among the daughters of Moab.
-From all appearances, Elimelech and Naomi begin to have some measure of success in their exodus from Israel. But after a decade, disaster would soon visit this family. First, Elimelech died, leaving Naomi as a widow in a strange country. Adding seeming insult to injury, Naomi then watched as both of her sons died in this strange nation.
-Amidst all of her pain and grief, Naomi began to turn her eyes, ears, and heart back toward her native land. She heard of the prosperity that was just beginning to present itself again in Bethlehem. She decided that it would benefit her to go back to her homeland and try to put what remained of her shattered life back together again.
B. Naomi Tries to Discourage Her Daughters-in-Law
-Her two daughters-in-law decided at this point that they would return again with her. On the trip back to Judah, Naomi began to attempt to dissuade and discourage Ruth and Orpah from going with her.
-When Naomi first began her discouraging remarks, neither daughter was willing to go back to Moab. But the Bible indicates to us that the more difficult that Naomi painted the picture that Orpah begin to relent on her commitment. But to Ruth, this only increased her desire and determination to carry on.
-That is the way it is with some people who walk into an Apostolic setting. You are going to gain some things but you are going to have to give up some things too! This doesn’t seem to discourage them at all. . . In fact, I have noted that there are some who respond to this call to commitment with fervor and desire and instead of it turning them back it simply stirs a deeper place in their heart for God.
C. Can You Ever Really Go Back To Moab?
-It was not long before Orpah turned back and went back to Moab.
-What does Moab hold for Orpah? In Ruth 1:15, one finds that she is returning back to her gods. Her gods of idolatry who will soon have a rule over her life once again. It is absolutely imperative that those who have experienced revival not return back to the “gods” that ruled, controlled, and dictated every move of your life. God has a greater plan for your life than going back to the dregs of what used to be.
-Moab is ultimately a land of wanderers. It is a common story in the Word of God and in human nature. There is a spiritual wandering from God, from His Word, and from His Spirit, from the Church and from the Sanctuary that provides safety. It is a wandering that is sad and fatal, because in the words of Naomi, she went full and returned back full of bitterness in spirit. That is what Moab held for Orpah.