Summary: Naomi had trodden a path away from the House of Bread. Now she had to make a decision - stick to the path best knwon, or find the ancient path back to her destiny
Spiritual Pathways Part 2
The Path of the Ancients
· Last week we looked at the fact that there is an ancient road, the road of God that leads to a good place, and that all of us are on a road of sorts.
· We also then looked at the need to set up spiritual landmarks that are signposts of what God has done, and a reminder of how we got to that place in Christ – and we said that it was the pain of the event that nailed down the memory – and sacrifice is always accompanied by pain, but that an altar without a sacrifice is just a monument.
· As we sacrifice, put ourselves and our judgments and agendas onto the altar, so the pain of the sacrifice brings a release of something new in Christ – no pain, no gain.
· Today I want to look at another aspect of this concept and see how the path travelled by those who have gone before can teach us about the path we are on.
Ruth 1: 1-7
· My focus here is on Naomi, a woman who lived in Bethlehem (means House of Bread), which was in Judah (which means praise).
· The house of bread in the place of praise should be enough for us, but when we suddenly realise sometimes that the pathway we are on does not lead us only through gardens, but also through dry desert patches, we are sometimes tempted to seek a different path
· The path of Bethlehem and Judah was the ancient pathway of God that started with Leah and ended with Jesus, as both these places were linked to the birth of Jesus, the Lion of Judah, but the truth is that even the greatest of promises can become dulled when hard times come, and the most steadfast of travellers down the ancient paths can be swayed.
· Don’t leave the ancient paths just because they go through barren places – you will stay in the barren place – ancient paths lead through all types of seasons, but they do end in a harvest.
· Naomi went to Moab when times got tough – Moab was the son of Lot’s daughter’s incestuous relations with Lot.
· You see, when we leave the ancient paths we leave the source of sustenance – the ancient paths lead through green pastures and beside still waters, through shadow valleys, but past tables laden with good things in the presence of your enemies.
· When we leave that path we start feeding off ourselves, becoming spiritually incestuous and self-damaging
· The ancient paths were still leading to the harvest, but Naomi had left the ancient path and needed to find it again.
· Naomi suffers the loss of her husband and sons – her attachments to Moab died, and suddenly she was free again to seek the paths of the ancients.
· What attachments have you got in your life that are not only dragging you away from the paths of God, but are also keeping you from looking for them again?
· As soon as Naomi’s attachments are dealt with – and sometimes things have to die in order for us to advance – she starts to make progress and her heart is turned to the ancient path
· Naomi knew where to go – why?
· She had it landmarked in her heart – she knew the way back to where she had strayed from to an incestuous place
· She knew the way back, she knew where the blessing was, she knew what the cost would be, but something stirred in her spirit and she set off to regain her life.
· She left Moab – what place do you need to leave? What place are you at now? Do you need to leave it – where are you at spiritually? You won’t arrive at anything new if you do not first depart from the old.
Ruth 1: 11-14
· There will be goodbyes on the ancient paths, especially the pathways of returning.
· Not everyone is going to see what you have seen, not everyone will share your desire to seek out the paths of God, especially if you have once left them.
· The path you are on is just a path, but whether it is a good or bad path is determined by the direction it takes.
· The definition of the path is determined by its relationship to the cross – is it taking you there or leading you away?
· This path for Naomi became a good path when she turned and faced Bethlehem and moved towards it – it became the pathway of God with Bethlehem before her and Moab behind her.