Summary: The clock is ticking! Limited time! Limited days! What would you do if you knew that your time was about to be up?Description: It is personal. Sometimes it is guarded and sometimes it is shared. Everyone has one. Real people have real stories! Are you telling yours?
We are moved by stories. Culture is shaped by stories. We tend to like stories that are filled with tragedy and triumph, failures and victories and plot lines that keep us guessing. At least until our story is filled with those things. Then we want to skip the tragedy, failure and we want the entire script so that there is no unknown! But it is the tragedy, failure and the unknown that make the story real. The Bible is full of real stories that effected real people. Today I want to remind you of one such account that had all the twists and turns that intrigue us.
The story covers the pages of an entire book. It is the book of Ruth in the Old Testament. Since it spans that much territory can I just give you the Cliff Note Version?
A famine hits Israel so a husband and a wife, by the name of Naomi - which means “pleasant”, and their two sons travel to a foreign country to find food and when they arrive the man dies. The sons marry women from the foreign land. After being married for 10 years both sons die. So now Naomi and her two daughter-in-laws are alone. Naomi decides to move home and instructs the daughter-in-laws to stay in their land. One stays but Ruth declares her loyalty and remains with Naomi even though Naomi tells her she has no sons for her to marry and she has no financial stability to offer.
So, let’s take a second and break down this real story. You have a family that encounters famine and financial disaster. They make major move to a foreign land. Conduct a funeral and mourn the loss of a father. Have 2 weddings. Disaster strikes and 2 more funerals. The family falls a part. A major move back. Financial ruin. How bad was it? Listen to Naomi’s words about her real story . . .
Text: Ruth 1:20-21 (NIV)
“Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”
“The Strong One ruined me.”
The story of Naomi’s life features all of the most stressful things anyone can face in life! Financial struggles, major moves, funerals, weddings, funerals, financial struggles, major moves! This is a real story. This is a familiar story, not because we know it from Scripture, but because we have lived it. So, you know the deck was stacked against this story ending up on high note. You know the emotions that had to be going through Naomi’s heart. We have come to the place that Naomi came to . . . We literally feel like God has ruined us! But here is where we need to pay close attention this familiar story!
Naomi shows us that when we are in pain we try to sever important relationships. She tries to convince her daughter-in-laws to stay behind and one stays. She is going to need Ruth and she tries to get rid of her.
You can’t face your real story alone!
Why is that some of us who are in pain make matters worse by cutting everyone off? (SLIDE 6) We keep sending away and avoiding those who are there to help our real story become a healthy story! The very one who could give you the gift of hope has been chased off so now you are not only aching you are alone! You are now not only injured your are isolated! Your story isn’t supposed to be lived alone!
So, Ruth stays with Naomi and they travel back to Israel and here is the key we miss. Ruth ends up in Naomi’s in-law’s (Boaz) field and over the course of the next few weeks Naomi gives her instructions on how to gather harvest from his field and how to harvest his heart. Naomi helps Ruth change her story. Finally, Boaz marries Ruth and they have a son by the name of Obed who would become the father of Jesse who was the father of David.
Did you just hear what I said? If Ruth had allowed Naomi to suffer alone, then there would be no David and if there is no David there is no . . . Your desire to be alone is the enemy’s attempt to destroy your destiny! When you dismiss folks you are dismissing destiny. When you hide you are literally putting your destiny at risk.
The famine you face is fatal only if you were alone. The disaster becomes deadly only if you are alone. The brokenness breaks you only if you are alone!