Summary: A journey from hopelessness to hopefulness.

The Second Journey

(Ruth 1:1-22)


“George went on a vacation to the Middle East with most of his family, including his mother-in-law.

“During their vacation, and while they were visiting Jerusalem, George’s mother-in-law died.

“With the death certificate in hand, George went to the American Consulate Office to make arrangements to send the body back to the States for proper burial.

“The Consul, after hearing of the death of the mother-in-law, told George, ‘My friend, the sending of a body back to the States for burial is very, very expensive. It could cost as much as $5,000 dollars.’ The Consul continued, ‘In most of these cases, the person responsible for the remains normally decides to bury the body here. This would only cost $150 dollars.’

“George thinks for some time, and answers the Consul, ‘I don’t care how much it will cost to send the body back. That’s what I want to do.’

The Consul, after hearing this says, ‘You must have loved your mother-in-law very much, considering the difference in price between $5,000 and $150 dollars.’

“‘No, it’s not that,’ says George. ‘You see, I know of a case many, many years ago of a person that was buried here in Jerusalem, and on the third day he was resurrected. Consequently, I do not want to take that chance!’” (

When someone says, “Let me tell you about my mother-in-law,” more often than not we expect to hear something negative. We expect to hear how difficult life is when they’re around, and how hard it is to get along with them. But this wasn’t the case for one specific person we’ll be talking about today…

There’s a book in the Old Testament that’s only four chapters long called Ruth. And in this book there begins a story of a mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship between a woman named Naomi and a woman named Ruth. Now, their story is a bit unusual. Not at all like the stereotypes of today. As we read we find that Ruth loved her mother-in-law, Naomi. And when we pick up there story, we find that they are on some sort of journey. We also find that they had come through a lot together, and that their responses to specific life situations were very much different. In a sense they had gone on a second journey together. It’s at this point we pick up their story today…

Ruth 1:1-22 (NLT)

In the days when the judges ruled in Israel, a man from Bethlehem in Judah left the country because of a severe famine. He took his wife and two sons and went to live in the country of Moab. [2] The man’s name was Elimelech, and his wife was Naomi. Their two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in the land of Judah. During their stay in Moab, [3] Elimelech died and Naomi was left with her two sons. [4] The two sons married Moabite women. One married a woman named Orpah, and the other a woman named Ruth. But about ten years later, [5] both Mahlon and Kilion died. This left Naomi alone, without her husband or sons.

[6] Then Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had blessed his people in Judah by giving them good crops again. So Naomi and her daughters-in-law got ready to leave Moab to return to her homeland. [7] With her two daughters-in-law she set out from the place where she had been living, and they took the road that would lead them back to Judah.

[8] But on the way, Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go back to your mothers’ homes instead of coming with me. And may the Lord reward you for your kindness to your husbands and to me. [9] May the Lord bless you with the security of another marriage." Then she kissed them good-bye, and they all broke down and wept.

[10] "No," they said. "We want to go with you to your people."

[11] But Naomi replied, "Why should you go on with me? Can I still give birth to other sons who could grow up to be your husbands? [12] No, my daughters, 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? [13] Would you wait for them to grow up and refuse to marry someone else? No, of course not, my daughters! Things are far more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord himself has caused me to suffer."

[14] And again they wept together, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye. But Ruth insisted on staying with Naomi. [15] "See," Naomi said to her, "your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. You should do the same."

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