Summary: Ruth's decisive embrace of Naomi and her God and her people is a perfect illustration of the Christian's decision to follow Christ. He receives five wonderful new things.
The Blessings of the Christian Life
July 7, 2013
TEXT: Please turn in your Bibles to Ruth 1.
Illus. – I read this week about a pastor who met his wife in El Salvador. He had never considered what that would have meant for his wife. She told him 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 he proposed to her in December of 1999 she knew that if she accepted, her life would be totally different. She knew that if they married, they would one day go to the U.S.; she would have to leave everything and everyone behind that she was familiar with; and she would start a new life all over again, one that would be different and sometimes strange. She knew that if we married, she would start on a whole new adventure.
That was what Ruth, the Moabite woman, faced in our story. She too made a commitment to someone, and because of this commitment, her life too was changed, and she ended up going on an adventure.
It all began when one day she met a foreigner from the land of Israel and they ended up getting married. Unfortunately for her, her husband died before they had any children. Her mother in law, Naomi, decided to go back to her native land—to Bethlehem in Judah. Naomi urges Ruth and her other Moabite daughter-in-law Orpah to stay in Moab with their families. Orpah chooses to return to her people and her gods.
But Ruth was different. Let’s read what Ruth told Naomi in Ruth 1:16-17 – “And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: 17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.”
Ruth speaks to us of many important truths, but none is more evident in our passage than her loyalty and her decisive commitment. Her decision is a beautiful picture to us of the kind of decisiveness and commitment we should have in our faith in Jesus Christ and our Christian walk.
Illus. – Once there was a hen and a pig who became very good friends. One day as they strolled about the barnyard lot, the hen suggested that since they had never eaten breakfast together, they should do so the very next morning.
“Great idea,” replied the pig. “What will we eat?”
Thinking on it a minute, the hen said, “If each of us contributes something to the meal it will be more meaningful to each of us.”
“Fine,” said the pig, “and what do you suggest?”
Again, the hen stood as if in deep thought for a while and then said, “I have an idea, let’s have ham and eggs. I’ll provide the eggs and you the ham.”
“Hold on,” said the pig, “What you offer to contribute is the fruit of your labor, but what you’re asking of me requires TOTAL COMMITMENT!”
That’s what the Lord wants from us—total commitment. That’s what Ruth’s decision required to leave everything she had ever known to go and live in Bethlehem-judah with Naomi.
Brethren, living the Christian life involves great commitment and sacrifice. Oh, but it also involves great REWARD. In this passage are represented five “new things” that a Christian receives when he or she accepts Christ as Savior.
Let’s look at them:
I. FIRST, RUTH RECEIVED A NEW PATH FOR HER FEET – Ruth 1:16 – “…for whither thou goest, I will go;…”
When a person decides to follow Jesus, he or she trades lifestyles. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
God does not want His children to live the same way as they did before they knew Christ! Like Ruth, we enter a NEW PATH.
• We don’t follow the WORLD—we follow Jesus.
• We don’t follow other PEOPLE—we follow Jesus.
• We don’t follow A MEANINGLESS PHILOSOPHY—we follow Jesus.
Note the following verses in Proverbs:
• Proverbs 1:15 – “My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:”
• Proverbs 4:14 – “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.”
• Proverbs 4:18 – “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”