Summary: A message about how with God’s guidance we too can take a risk & go on an adventure
Message for Sunday March 11/01
Ruth, the woman who went on an adventure
My wife has told me that as a child or even as an adult she never dreamed that one day she would be living in the United States. Her family, her friends, her life was there in El Salvador. When I proposed to her in December of 1999 she knew that if she accepted, her life would be totally different. She knew that if we married; we one day would go to the U.S. that one day she would have to leave everything & everyone behind that she was familiar with and start a new life over again. She knew that if we married, she would start on a whole new adventure.
There is a lady mentioned in the Bible that was like my wife. She too made a commitment to someone. Because of this commitment, her life too was changed. And she ended up going on an adventure. This woman by the name of Ruth was from Moab. One day she met a foreigner from the land of Israel. They ended up getting married. Unfortunately, her husband ended up dying even before they could have children. Her mother in law, a woman by the name of Naomi decided to go back to her native land - to Bethlehem in Judah. Naomi urges Ruth & her other Moabite daughter in law Oprah to return to their families. Oprah chooses to return to her people & her gods. Many people are like Oprah. They prefer to stay with what is familiar. They have no heart for adventure. But Ruth was different. Let’s read what Ruth told Naomi in 1:16.
Ruth 1:16 But Ruth replied, "Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.
With these words, Ruth took a risk & made a commitment. Ruth believed that somehow, somewhere she could have a better life with Naomi than she could in her own country. Maybe Naomi always talked about her home town. How she missed her family & friends. How beautiful the land was. Naomi probably talked to her about Jehovah God too. Naomi may have shared with Ruth the history of Israel; how God called Moses to lead the people out of slavery into Egypt. She may have told her about how God knocked down the walls of Jericho. How God has been their constant supplier & friend. Ruth saw something different in her mother in law that she did not see even among her own family. Naomi cared for Ruth very much. Now Naomi was all alone. Her husband had died there in Moab. Her two sons also had died. She was all alone. And she was determined to return to Bethlehem. So Ruth made a commitment to her mother in law & they went back to Bethlehem together.
When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town welcomed them with open arms. They cried, “Naomi’s back!” Do you know what Naomi’s name means? In Hebrew it means, “Pleasant” Yes, Naomi was a pleasant person to know. Everybody loved her & her husband. But now she was telling everyone to call her Mara which means bitter. She says in verse 20, “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.” Yes, Naomi was glad to be back home but she felt alone & lost. When her husband lead them out of the promise land, they lost out on the blessings & protection of the Lord. The same happens to us when we walk away from God. We try to go our own way & we get lost. Remember the story of the prodigal son? He left his home to go on an adventure too. But he ended up losing everything to. It was only when he returned to his father’s arms that he was rewarded again. If you have walked away from God I urge to return home again. God is waiting for us with open arms. He is waiting to bless us again.
Naomi & Ruth returned to Bethlehem in time for the harvest. When Naomi’s family left to go to Moab they sold all that they had & moved. So when Naomi returned she was poor. She had no property. Ruth immediately went to work harvesting grain in a field. Back then the Jewish nation didn’t have government welfare. If a person wanted to eat they had to work. Leviticus 23:22 says "’When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.” This is what Ruth was doing. She was following along behind the other workers in a field picking up the grain that they had missed. I’ll bet Ruth did not think that her adventure would turn out like this - having to work for a living.