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Summary: Loyalty, Friendship, Love, Sacrifice

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Ruth 1:16-18 (p. 182) September 29, 2013

Introduction:

Loyalty is the characteristic of never giving up. Never quitting – no matter how bad things get. No matter how hard things are –

(Show Video of John and Ann Betar – 1:37)

80+ years together...good times, bad times, happy times, sad times...John says the secret is contentment...by the way, so did the Apostle Paul to the Philippians. “I’ve learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Phil.4:11)

Satan on the other hand is the god of discontentment...from the Garden of Eden to today he still whispers... “I know you can have all the other fruit, but the one you can’t have is more tastey.”

He just doesn’t show you the kicked out of the garden..death part...He doesn’t show you the kids screaming “Daddy don’t go part” or that...

The reason the grass is greener on the other side of the fence is because its growing over a septic tank!

80 plus years...Ann was 17...John was 21 and through it all neither would quit on the other...

They made that vow of “for better or for worse Nov 25, 1932. It was just a vow then, but after 80+ years it’s the truth.

Ruth’s story in the Bible is a wedding story...a true love story...but it’s Ruth’s loyalty that puts her ALL IN.

In the midst of “a for worse time,” a time of death, grief, anxiety, fear and lonliness she chooses to be loyal...she chose to be totally committed.

[I love the story about the farmer who loved and cared for his animals. Farmer Brown was so good to them that one of the hens said “We should do something nice for him...The pig said, “I know, but what? The chicken said, How ‘bout a bacon and egg breakfast...And the pig said, “for you that’s a donation...for me that total commitment!]

Ruth choose total commitment...you cannot have a real love story without loyalty...Because REAL LOVE STAYS when everyone else leaves.

Ruth’s story begins with despair, but ends with heartwarming joy.

[When Benjamin Franklin was the Ambassador to France he would occasionally attend “THE INFIDEL’S CLUB,” a society that spent much of its time searching for and reading literary “masterpieces.” On one occasion Franklin read the book of Ruth to the club, but changed the names so it wouldn’t be recognized as a book in the Bible. When he finished the listeners unanimously praised it as one of the most beautiful short stories ever written and they demanded Franklin tell them where he had run across such

a remarkable work of art. He loved telling them it was from the Bible.]

But this love story from God’s Word is better than any Harliquien Romance novel. Rom. 15:4 says “Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance and encouragement of scripture we might have hope...

This story of endurance and encouragement begins with Naomi and her family, living in Moab...Elimilech, Naomi’s husband had brought his family here because of a famine...Naomi & Elimilech have 2 sons who marry Moab women...one names Orpah...the other...Ruth. And then Elimilech dies...and then her 2 sons die. Within 10 years she faced poverty, the death of her husband, and then the death of her children. She has no one in this foreign land...She is grief stricken, broken hearted... She hears that things are better at home so she heads there...

At first both Daughter in laws try to go with her, but in her brokenness she says,

“Go back to your fathers, find other men to marry. I’m too old to start again.”

Naomi sums up her feelings in verse 13 of Chapter 1 “It is more better for me than you because the Lord’s hand has turned against me.”

Have you ever felt like that? I don’t have anything, I’m alone, I’ve lost my husband, my sons have been buried. I’m too old to start again and no one’s left to help me.

But God’s hand hasn’t left Naomi. He will deal with this tragedy with love, grace and hope...and that makes all the difference.

I. HEARTACHES AREN’T MEANT TO BE HANDLED ALONE.

It’s hard for us to even imagine Naomi’s circumstance. A widow alone in a foreign land grieving the death of not only her husband, but her sons...No family, no friends, surrounded by people who don’t worship her God. She would have no one to protect her, no one to provide for her. Ruth and Orpah were also widows...but they were young...Could start again...could go home. Naomi was homeless.

Ruth 1:5 sums it up “Naomi was left without her 2 sons and husband.”

The heartache of being left without creates a huge hole...without a mate...without a child...without a parent...without a job.

[I’ve been left without..and I’ve been with folks who are left without...and the hole that’s created seems huge...This last year a friend of mine named Jeff Noah in Hazard, KY lost his wife Karin to cancer...They have 4 children, she was 43...Jeff is like me...he cannot hide his emotions or pain...And his facebook post during the grief process tore my heart the shreds...”I believe...I love God...but my heart is broken beyond repair...my grief is unbearable...I cannot breathe.”

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