Summary: This is a sermon that was delivered by Pastor Davis, as guest speaker for Homecoming Services at the Bethel #1 Missionary Baptist Church in Opelika, Alabama.
It’s Harvest Time
Text: Ruth 1:19-22
19 So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?
20 And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.
21 I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?
22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.
Subject: It’s Harvest Time
There are many people with many reasons and circumstances, that caused them to leave that place, that city, or that community that they’ve grown accustomed to calling home. Some leave home upon graduation from high school. And then they are off to college away from home; and in many instances, they never return back to the place that they will always consider home. Can I get a witness?
Some have ventured off because of their profession, their job and have committed themselves to their job and only drop by on special occasions to see what’s going on in this place called home.
Others have left home because of marriage. They found the right man or the right woman and they left all that they used to know as home to go out and establish a home of their own with their new spouse. They’ve left to build their family and create that special place that even their kids will one day call home.
There are still others who have left home because it was just time for them to go. They had been living in mama and daddy’s house all of their lives, and it took them getting into their 30’s and 40’s for them to realize that they needed to move on and start a home of their own. And as funny as that sounds, right here in Opelika, there are a whole lot of grown folk who have never left the nest. They will tell you in a minute that they don’t want a man. Or they don’t want a woman. They don’t want a family or a home, except the one that’s provided by their mama and their daddy. Am I right about it?
Finally, there are those who are just like the prodigal’s son. They left home in search of a good time, but when their good time ran out, they found their way back home; back to mama and daddy’s house. Back to where their high school sweet heart still lives. Back to where everybody still looks at them as a success, despite all of the failures they had to face while away from home.
Yes, my brothers and sisters, there are a lot of reasons that people have left home; and a lot of reasons that people have returned to their home. But in our text today we find the story of a woman named Naomi.
Naomi had a special reason for leaving home. The Bible tells us in the very first verse of the book of Ruth that in the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. It was because of this famine that had spread even to Bethlehem, which means “House of Bread,” that Naomi left home. The Bible tells us that Naomi left with her husband Elimelech, and their 2 sons, Mahlon and Chilion and they settled in the country of Moab. Most of us Bible readers remember Moab and the Moabites as being descendants of the incestuous relationship between Lot and his older daughter. Do I have any Bible readers in here this evening?
So everything at this juncture in Naomi’s life must have looked good to here. She had a wonderful husband who was willing to do anything, including leaving home, in order to ensure that his family’s needs were met. And my brothers and sisters, there are a whole lot of men who could learn a thing or two from Naomi’s husband. Because the Bible does not tell us that he deserted his family because times got a little hard. It doe’s not tell us that he left his family alone to fend for themselves because he was afraid to find a way for them to eat. It does not tell us that he picked up and moved, leaving his family behind, and the broken promise that he would come back for them.
But what MY bible says is that this man named Elimelech took his wife and his children with him to a place where they could avoid the famine that was spreading through Israel. Men, sometimes you’re just going to have to do what it takes to provide for your family. You’re going to have to make some sacrifices sometimes to ensure that your house is a home. But even if it takes leaving home, step out on faith, leaning and depending on Jesus, and make sure that when you start your new home, that your family is right there by your side. Have I got a witness?