Summary: A sermon examining the decision to return to the Lord.
SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?
Each day we are faced with a myriad of choices. Each of those choices bring unavoidable consequences. Adrian Rogers often used the phrase "it is decision that determines destiny". Simply stated, the path that you choose will determine where you end up. Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 7:13. There He said "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
Each person here will make a choice today. Some may choose to turn to the Lord, some may choose to return to the Lord, some may choose to draw closer to the Lord, and unfortunately some may choose to reject the Lord. Either way, the choice you make will determine the consequences you will face.
Before this service is over God may draw you to Him. For the believer, the Holy Spirit may convict you of your current situation and He may draw you to return to Him. For the unbeliever, the Holy Spirit may invite you to turn to receive salvation and to be born again. You may find yourself asking the question "should I stay or should I go?" That is a question that two of the three main characters in our selected text had to ask themselves.
The first 5 verses of Ruth chapter 1 introduce us to a man named Elimelech, his wife Naomi and his sons Mahlon & Chilion. Due to a famine in the land they left Bethlehem-Judah for the pagan land of Moab. After arriving there Elimelech died, Mahlon & Chilion marred pagan women from Moab and in time, Elimilech's sons died and Naomi was left with her daughters-in-law Orpah and Ruth.
These three widows were alone and suffering in Moab. Ruth and Orpah were natives of Moab, but Naomi was a native of Judah. Naomi knew the Lord and had no business living in a pagan land. In Psalms 108:9 God described Moab as His "washpot". The idea here is that Moab was like a pot that was used to wash feet in. God saw Moab as a filthy place!
As we arrive in verse 6, Naomi has made the decision to leave Moab and to return to her homeland. v6a Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab. for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread.
For 10 long years Naomi had been in Moab enduring the hardships and the consequences of her husband's choice to leave Judah. I would imagine that there were many days when Naomi wished that she had never left their homeland. With her husband and sons dead, there was nothing left for her in Moab, so Naomi began the journey home.
She approached Ruth and Orpah and informed them of her decision. v8 And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother's house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. 9 The LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.
At this point Naomi's daughter's in Law had a decision to make. They could remain in Moab or they could go to Bethlehem-Judah with their mother in law. They had to choose whether to remain in a land of sin, or to begin a journey that would lead to God's blessings.
You be faced with that very same choice before we leave this place. You can stay where you are and deal with the consequences of being away from God or you can turn to Him and experience the great blessings that are available to those who walk close beside Him.
I would like to walk through this portion of scripture and preach a message entitled "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?"
Verse 9 tells us that when Naomi informed Orpah and Ruth that she was leaving they both "lifted up their voice and wept". This was a tough decision and in the beginning both of them proclaimed that they would follow their mother in law. v10 And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people. Naomi told these ladies that there was no reason for them to go with her. She said "return to your parents’ homes, for I am too old to marry again. And even if it were possible, and I were to get married tonight and bear sons, then what? Would you wait for them to grow up and refuse to marry someone else? Of course not"