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Summary: A sermon that lists 4 words; one from each of the 4 chapters that summarizes both the chapter and the secret of Ruth's greatness.

Title: The secret to Ruth's greatness


•By New Testament times, the book of Ruth was included on a scroll with four other books that were read publicly at the feasts of Israel.

•The book of Ruth was read at the Feast of Harvest (Pentecost) because much of the story is set in the harvest fields.

•The Book of Ruth is an inspiring love story which demonstrates God’s providential care.

I want to give you today 4 words that I believe summarizes the book of Ruth. I want to give you 1 word for each of the 4 chapters. I believe these 4 words - contain the secret to Ruth’s greatness. I also believe these 4 words are the secret to greatness in the Christian faith.

The first word- the word that I believe best summarizes Ruth chapter 1 and also the first word that describes every great Christian is the word - Resolve

In Ruth chapter 1 we see throughout the chapter the resolve of Ruth

In chapter 1 Ruth resolved to go back to Bethlehem with Naomi her mother-in-law

Resolve means “To determine to do something.”

Some might say that’s the same definition of -stubbornness

What’s the difference between resolve and stubbornness?

If you are determined to keep doing the right thing you have resolve

If you are determined to keep doing the wrong thing you have stubbornness

Application: You can’t go far with God without resolve!

You never really know how much resolve a person has… until…

someone tries to talk them out of whatever it is that they resolved to do.

Ruth had lots and lots of resolve

In Ruth chapter 1 Naomi tries to talk Ruth out of going back to Bethlehem with her

Application: Plenty of People will try and talk you and me out of moving forward with God

When that time comes and it will- we need plenty of what Ruth had: Resolve!

In Ruth chapter 1

Naomi tried to talk Ruth and her other daughter in law out of going back to Bethlehem with her - 3 times.

But all 3 times Ruth still resolved to go forward

After the second time her sister-in-law lost her resolve and went back home

It’s worth looking at what Naomi said to try and break the resolve of Ruth

Here is why

Because it’s the same story the enemy uses to try to break our resolve to move on with God.

First of all

Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law , “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.” (v10)

Interpretation: God will only bless you - if you return back home

If that was true then –

there really is no point in resolving to go forward is there?

But that’s how the enemy tries to break our resolve-

By telling us the blessings of God are for those who go back –not forward

Every time the children of Israel hit an obstacle in the desert-

Lets go back to Egypt!

It works!

Orpah went back but Ruth resolved to go forward

Application: The blessings of God are for those who move forward


Though none go with me still I will follow…

Why was Naomi so much against Ruth moving forward?

Why did she try 3 times to break Ruth’s resolve?

The answer – Her bitterness against God

“I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty….The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” (v21)

Bitterness is one of the greatest enemies of our Resolve

Bitterness will stop a person moving forward with God every time

Bitterness with use us to stop another person moving forward with God.

Bitterness tells us that God can’t be trusted

If you are not resolved to move forward check your heart for bitterness!

Maybe you feel God has let you down. Maybe you feel God’s people has let you down

Don’t let bitterness stop you moving forward with God.

But I feel God disappointed me. I feel God let me down

Spurgeon: When I cannot trace God’s hand I can always trust God’s heart.

Be a Ruth! She knew tragedy yet she still resolved to move forward with God.

Conclusion: Word #1 is Resolve

Like Ruth - Resolve to move forward with God!

Beware of the traps of betterment and bitterness

The second word is a word I believe summarizes Ruth Chapter 2

In the NiV study bible the chapter heading for Ruth chapter 2 is Ruth meets Boaz

Word #2 is Unite

In Ruth chapter 2 Ruth unites for the first time with Boaz

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