Summary: A sermon examining the severe consequeces of sinful choices in our lives. Not only the personal consequences but also the impact on our family and friends.
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THE SEVERE CONSEQUENCES OF SINFUL CHOICES
It is said that "decisions determine destiny". Your life tomorrow will be the direct result of the decisions you make today. It is estimated that we make approximately 35,000 decisions per day! There will be consequences for each of those decisions. These consequences may not be immediate but they are inevitable.
If you choose to spend more money than you take in, eventually you will go bankrupt. If you choose to lay out of work, eventually you will find yourself unemployed. If you choose to eat too much, you will gain weight. If you choose to neglect your spouse, it may cost you your marriage. In the spiritual realm choices have eternal consequences. When our choices are sinful... there will be severe consequences! Just ask Noah, David, Samson, Elijah, The Children of Israel, Simon Peter and many, many others!
The book of Ruth tells us about the choices and consequences in the actions of a man named Elimelech and the impact that those choices had on his family. There was a famine in the land and he chose to take matters into his own hands instead of trusting God. His decision brought about a downward spiral of events that impacted each member of his family. There are many great truths to be found in the Book of Ruth and in the first 5 verses we will see a great lesson concerning people who choose to walk away from God.
Elimelech's story illustrates the fact that "Sin will take you farther than you want to go, it will keep you longer than you want to stay and it will cost you far more than you want to pay". Let's walk through this portion of scripture and see "THE SEVERE CONSEQUENCES OF SINFUL CHOICES"
Sometimes people know what is right but they consciously choose to do what is wrong. This was true for Elimelech and unfortunately it is sometimes true in our lives as well. Let's take a moment and consider:
I. THE SINFUL CHOICES THAT PEOPLE MAKE v1-2
Why is it that people who belong to God make choices that are sinful? Unfortunately there are many answers to this question. Notice:
A. THE REASON FOR SINFUL CHOICES - v1 now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.
There was "a famine in the land." A famine is a shortage of food. Verse 1 says that these events took place during the time of the Judges. Judges 21:25 tells us that - In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
This speaks of a time of lawlessness, idolatry, false religion, theft, drunkenness, homosexuality, sexual perversion, violence, and national division . That sounds like a description of the very day and age in which we live! We live in a time when men and women “do what is right in their own eyes” . In man’s eyes …it is alright to live together without being married. In man’s eyes …it is ok to commit fornication and adultery. In man’s eyes …men can marry men and women can marry women. In man’s eyes … it is ok to get drunk and “have a good time”. In man’s eyes … it is ok to partake in illegal drugs. In man’s eyes …it is ok to kill unborn babies. Though many people think that it is perfectly fine to do these things, GOD SAYS THAT THEY ARE SIN and there are severe consequences for sinful choices.
Several times in the Bible, when God's people turned from Him, He would send a famine to their land as a means of discipline. Elimelech and his family were in the midst of one of those times of famine. As a result, Elimelech decided to take matters into his own hands. He chose to leave "Bethlehem-Judah" for the country of Moab. Bethlehem means “house of bread” and Judah means “praise.” 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 is saying that Moab is a filthy place!
Even though there was a famine in Bethlehem, Elimelech should have stayed. This was the place that God had designed for Elimelech and his family. If he had remained God would have taken care of them all. The Book of Ruth tells us about a close relative of Elimelech’s named Boaz. Boaz faced the same famine that Elimelech was facing and was sustained by the Lord. But trouble came and Elimelech left Bethlehem-Judah for Moab. Moab was located just across the Jordan River, east of the Promised Land. It was inhabited by people who worshiped pagan gods. The Moabites were the descendants of a man named Moab who was the son of an incestuous relationship between Lot and one of his daughters, Gen. 19:30-38.