Summary: Ruth was a surpising choice to be in the ancestry of Jesus. Yet, as we see her life unfold, we can see the development of her faith in the living God.
to be released he wondered if his family would reject him because of the scandal he¡¯d caused and the shame brought on the family. He wrote his parents saying that he would be coming back by bus but didn¡¯t want to embarrass them with his presence if they didn¡¯t want him back. He asked them to tie a yellow ribbon on the old oak tree at the beginning of their street if it was all right for him to return home. If there was no ribbon on the tree when the bus passed he wouldn¡¯t get off the bus.
He was in quite a state on the bus journey and as it got nearer his street he couldn¡¯t bear to look at the tree. He was so emotional that he asked the driver to look at for him. He needn¡¯t have worried. The tree was covered with yellow ribbons! The whole community joined his parents in welcoming him back.
There¡¯s a famous American song written about this story: ¡¯Tie a Yellow Ribbon Around the Old Oak Tree¡¯.
a. We do many things to find acceptance among people ¨C we may buckle to peer pressure
b. We may seek official stamps of approval ¨C Education ¨C degrees; military rank; certain professions;
c. Yet, God continually shows acceptance of us as we are; and gives his stamp of approval based on our faithfulness to him
2. Ruth is a surprising story of acceptance and approval by God
a. From an antagonistic nation ¨C Moab; incestuous relations of Lot and daughter; opposed Israel in their journey to Canaan (Balaam); cursed by God;
3 ¡°No Ammonite or Moabite shall enter the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation none belonging to them shall enter the assembly of the LORD for ever; 4 because they did not meet you with bread and with water on the way, when you came forth out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Be¡äor from Pethor of Mesopota¡ämia, to curse you. Deuteronomy 23.3
b. A proselyte to Judaism
c. Ancestor to David and Yeshua (Jesus) ¨C one of three women named
d. One of only two women with a Bible book named for them
3. Story of Ruth ¨C married into a Hebrew family who had come to Moab because of the famine; death of father-in-law and the two sons; goes back to Israel with mother-in-law, Naomi ¨C becomes part of the Hebrew people and a great example of faithfulness
I. Trying Times
A. Trials are Common to People
12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10.12-13
1. Even Yeshua (Jesus) 15 For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4.15
2. A Purpose ¨C James 1.2-3 (perseverance/faithfulness)
B. Trials are Central to the Story
1. Famine led the Hebrew family to Moab
2. Others who emigrated due to famine ¨C Abraham; Jacob
3. Fatalities lead back to Bethlehem
a. No men for protection, provision, or status
b. On their own
4. Temptation to blame God -- She said to them, ¡°Do not call me Naomi, call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. Ruth 1.20
JW McGarvey was a leader in the American Restoration Movement. He had an encounter with a woman whose son was killed in an accident. When he arrived at her house, she was understandably upset. She said to McGarvey, ¡°Where was God when my son was killed?¡± He replied, ¡°The same place he was when HIS Son died.¡±
II. Changing Times
The men of Charlie Company had been in the field for two weeks when the Sarge announced, "I’ve got good news and bad news. First the good news, Today we’re going to change our underwear." The troops started cheering at the news. "Now the bad news, Smith, you change with Jones. Andrews, you change with Murphy..."
Change is frightening to some. We get comfortable doing things a certain way and don’t like to do them differently. And some changes (as the story above illustrates) are completely undesirable. But some change is necessary if we are to grow.
Favor of God enters the scene
A. People God Favored
1. Mary ¨C Luke 1.30
2. Daniel ¨C prestigious position ¨C Daniel 2.48
3. Joseph in Slavery/Prison/Pharaoh¡¯s Court ¨C Genesis 39.3-4
4. Noah ¨C Genesis 6.8
5. God¡¯s people today ¨C Titus 2.11