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Summary: A sermon examining the joy that is experienced when returning to a right relationship with the Father.

IT'S GOOD TO BE BACK HOME AGAIN

Ruth 1:19-22

Often I will have a ministry related trip planned months in advance and I find myself eagerly anticipating the opportunity to get out of town for a while. Usually I am fine for about 3 days, and after that I begin to get a little homesick. On the final day of the trip I am typically up before the sun with my bags packed and the vehicle loaded. I get more and more excited the closer I get to home. I love it when I reach the state line and see that big green sign that says "Welcome To Sweet Home Alabama". The excitement builds as I pull into the driveway, park the car and unlock the door and walk in our home. The first thing I do once I arrive is to hug my wife and children. Then I go to my recliner, sit down, breathe a sigh of relief and say "boy, it sure is good to be back home again!"

It has been said that there is no place like home, and I would have to agree. The verses that we have read today chronicle a woman named Naomi's journey back home. During a famine in Bethlehem, her husband took his entire family to the land of Moab. For 10 long years Naomi dwelt in that wicked land, then after much tragedy and many hardships she returned to Bethlehem and began to rebuild her life. She was not the woman that she was when she left, but she would find that God had great plans for her future. Though she was back in Bethlehem, she was still in a desperate situation. She left wealthy and full but she has returned poor and hungry. The consequences of her sin were still very real. She had taken a great step in the right direction, and though she may not have realized it at the time, it was good for her to be back home in Bethlehem.

There are people under the sound of my voice who need to do what Naomi did, you need to take the proper steps to get back to the Lord. Like Naomi's husband Elimelech, you have made some foolish decisions. Life got rough and you took matters into your own hands instead of trusting in the Lord. Now you find yourself away from home and away from the Lord, and dealing with the consequences of your choices. I want to show you that you can return to God, in fact, it is His desire for your to return unto Him. As someone who has been away from God for a time and then returned, I can assure you that it is good to be back home again!

- I would like to walk with Naomi and Ruth from Moab to Bethlehem and preach on the thought "It's Good To Be Back Home Again".

These verses show us what we must do to get back home and they show us what we must do when we return. We must:

i. Return To The Lord

ii. Rest In The Lord

iii. Remain With The Lord

- It is my prayer that before we leave this place today that you can stand and testify that it is indeed good to be back home again! In order for you to get back home you must:

I. RETURN TO THE LORD v6-19

As a result of a famine in Bethlehem-Judah, Elimelech decided to move his family to Moab. In Moab this family was totally isolated from everything related to God. They walked away from the things of the Lord and began to dwell in the midst of wickedness and evil. They left the place of God, they left the people of God, and they left the presence of God.

Somewhere along the way you may have made a similar decision. For whatever reason you decided to take matters into your own hands. You thought that you knew better than God so you began to do what was right in your own eyes. You walked away from the things of the Lord and now you find yourself living in sin. You have left the place of God, you rarely (if ever) fellowship with the people of God and worst of all you have left the presence of God.

- If this describes you, I want you to know that you can return to the Lord. Notice:

A. THE OPPORTUNITY

Verses 6-18 tell us of Naomi's decision to return to Bethlehem. While she was in Moab she heard that God was blessing His people in Bethlehem. The famine had ended and the Lord was "giving them bread". Much like the prodigal son, Naomi came to herself and said "I think I will return to the Father". We may look at her story and ask 'why didn't she return much sooner than she did"? I can't say exactly why she waited, but I can tell you that sin will cause you to make some stupid choices.

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