Summary: Ruth 1 describes three decisions made which influenced the lives of three women forever, illustrating the importance of the decisions we make in our lives. Naomi decided to cover up, Orpah decided to give up...but Ruth decided to step up.

Sermon 2: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Series: Ruth

Chuck Sligh

June 9, 2019

NOTE: A PowerPoint presentation is available for this sermon by request at Please mention the title of the sermon and the Bible text to help me find the sermon in my archives.

TEXT: Please turn in your Bibles to Ruth 1.


Illus. – On December 7, 1941, a lieutenant made a decision that had huge consequences. At seven o’clock on the morning of two US soldiers were on duty at a small radar station in the Pacific Ocean. Suddenly, their radar screen filled up with hundreds of dots, until entirely filled. These soldiers quickly notified their young supervisor, a lieutenant.

No other officer was around, it being a Sunday, so the lieutenant thought these must be planes from California, and without another thought, said these critical words: “Don’t worry about it.” Twenty minutes later, at 7:50, the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor began. 353 Japanese airplanes swarmed over the harbor, and within a couple of hours, America lost 8 battleships, 6 major airfields, almost all its planes and 2,403 men.

There would have been time to scramble the planes at Pearl Harbor, prepare the battleships and shelter the men, but this lieutenant, in the most important moment of his career, made a very seemingly trivial decision that had momentous consequences.

Illus. – In 1941, Bedford, Virginia, a community of fewer than 4,000 people, was home to a National Guard unit, Company A of the 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division. That unit was called into federal service when the U.S. entered World War II. 37 men from Bedford made a fateful decision: They decided to serve their country and join the fight, later becoming known as “The Bedford Boys.”

Company A was in the first wave of the D-Day invasion at 6:30 a.m. on June 5, 1944.

19 of the Bedford Boys were killed on the beaches of Normandy that day, and three others died before the war was over, a total of 22 out of the 37 who enlisted.

Those 35 men made a decision; they did not shirk their duty; they proudly fought in the greatest amphibious invasion in world history; they died for our freedoms. And Bedford, Virginia mourns these brave men even today.

Our study today speaks to us of the importance of decisions. Our life is shaped largely by the decisions we make. I am what I am— both for good and for bad—as a Christian, as a husband, as a father, as a worker, and as a human, largely because of past decisions I have made in my life.

Someone once said that “Decision determines destiny.” Another put it this way, “History is made whenever you make a decision.”

Every day you are pressed for decisions, decision, decisions, but there are some that have earth-shattering—even eternal—consequences. In our text we see three decisions made which influenced the lives of three women forever. These women—Naomi, Orpah and Ruth—had all lost their husbands in Moab. They were all widows; food was scarce; and Naomi was living as a foreigner in Moab with no relatives to help her. All three apparently had no means of supporting themselves and there’s no mention of any male relatives to protect or provide for them—a death sentence in 1200-1020 BC when Ruth is thought to have taken place. Indeed, they were facing some very difficult times.

Often, the most crucial decisions in life are those we must make in the midst of trials and difficulties. We can run from our problems…or meet them straight on. Which we do is determined by our decisions.

Now, as these women faced these trying times, let’s examine the decisions they made:


“Then she [i.e., Naomi] arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab…that the LORD had visited his people by giving them bread. 7 So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah. 8 And Naomi said unto her two daughters-in-law, ‘Go, return each to you to your mother’s house. May the LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead, and with me. 9 May the LORD grant that you may find rest, each of you, in the house of her husband.’ Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voices, and wept. 10 And they said to her, ‘No, we will return with you to your people.’ 11 And Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters: why will you go with me? Are there still…sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? 12 Turn back, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say, I have hope, even if I should have a husband also tonight, and should also bear sons; 13 Would you wait until they were grown? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters; for it grieves me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD has gone out against me.’ 14 And they lifted up their voices, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law; but Ruth clung to her. 15 And she said, ‘Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people, and to her gods: return…after your sister-in-law.’”

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