Summary: You are on a journey with God. Where are you going? You are on a journey to the end of yourself. Can you hear that annoying child in the backseat saying, "Are we there yet?"
The Journey to the End of Yourself
Intro: A test is coming to you and me. All our religious talk is about to be examined. What we really believe God already knows. The problem is we don’t know it. Pressure, disappointments, trials will reveal to others and us what we really believe.
Your whole world can change in 24 hours. To us it seems unlike God to allow bad things happen to god people. Jesus said, “It rains on the just and the unjust.” Some people cave in under pressure while others shine. The difference is who or what you are trusting in and how you react to trouble. This text gives us insight in how we should react to life’s unexpected circumstances.
This story begins with famine and drought on God’s people. Read 1a. Famines are caused by drought. In this case we have a clue to what was really happening behind the scenes. Verse 1 the judges ruled the land. If you read book of Judges you know that it was a dark time in history. Judges 21:25 describes the theme of Judges as, “In those days there was no king and everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
Drought came because the people of God stopped looking to God and did what they thought was right according to their minds. Sound like today? As a result of this drought/famine this family, husband/wife and two sons moved from Bethlehem of Judah to another heathen country Moab. They live there for years and their sons marry Moabite women. The husband dies but life goes on for the survivor’s wife and sons. The sons marry Moabite women and suddenly both of the sons die. Read 3-5.
3 things that God providentially uses in our lives:
Death – which meant for these women the end of themselves. Agricultural world and women were looked down upon!
1. Stay or go back to their families. (Vs. 6- 8) Moab was a cursed place. Descendants from the incestuous relationship of Lot with his daughters. Moab was a son of Lot. (Gen. 19:37-38). Moab represents living in the past cursed life. The enemy wants you to live in Moab, remind you of the past sin. You must make a clean break with your own Moab.
- You will encounter obstacles whenever you decide to leave your old way of life and follow the Lord. Crossing the Jordan would not be easy. Takes faith and courage. Friends will try to get you to stay.
2. 2. Get remarried. (Vs. 9)
3. 3. Go back to their gods. (Vs. 14-16). Often used in weddings but to show loyalty of Ruth to Naomi.
Arrival in Bethlehem – read 19-22.
I. WE CAN FIND GOD’S PROVIDENCE BEHIND THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF LIFE.
Providence = pro – before or ahead, video = to see. God sees ahead and makes provision. Opposite of luck or chance.
-God providentially brought famine into the land, verse 1.
- God providentially allowed spouses to die.
- Naomi recognized the circumstances were from God’s hand. So did Job.
o We see the pain in suffering and is providentially
o Working behind the pain to fulfill His higher purposes.
A. We must be reminded of the personality of God.
o God is good all the time! “Oh yeah, then where is the goodness of God when a child/ or spouse dies? Where’s the goodness of God when you have to file bankruptcy?
o These are the kind of things that cause people to think God isn’t good. Or if there is a God, He does not care.
o The reason God’s character comes into question is because we have allowed circumstances to take the place of God in our lives. Circumstances are not in control of our lives, God is. Either circumstance is in control or God is!
B. We must be reminded of the perspective of God.
Behind this providence is the person of God. Because He is good He is using even the painful experiences of the moment for our good. Things may hurt, but God is using them for our ultimate good. We don’t see things the way God see them.
Ill. Only survivor of shipwreck on island. Cries out for God to help. Labors hard to build hut to protect him from elements. One day after returning from hunting for food the little hut in flames. The worst has happened. So discouraged he quits praying and wants to die. Next day ship rescues him. How did you know I was there on island? We saw your smoke signal.
-Our present difficulties may mean our future happiness. You don’t know how it will all turn out. Hope causes you to trust in the goodness of God behind the circumstances of life.