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Summary: Part 1 of 4 of the series, Ruth: A Woman of Faith. uth "clung" to Naomi and refused to return to her "old life". This steadfastness to Naomi, Naomi’s people, and most importantly Naomi’s God serves as a challenge to Christians today. Are you experienci

THE VELCRO EFFECT

Ruth: A Story of God’s Faithfulness

Ruth Chapter 1

READ AT BEGINNING OF SERVICE:

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

INTRODUCTION

For the next few weeks I’d like to tell you the remarkable story of a woman named Ruth. Her story is recorded in the Bible between the books Judges and 1 Samuel. I encourage you at some point in the next few weeks to read this beautiful account in its entirety at one sitting. There are many lessons of eternal significance that can be learned from this woman and I would like to take a few Sunday’s to discover them with you.

There are several major themes found throughout the book of Ruth that challenge us to have greater faithfulness in our walk with the Lord and encourage us of God’s faithfulness to us. A few of the themes that we will discover as we look at this book are:Love

Character and Integrity

Prosperity and Blessing

Protection

Grace

Redemption

As these themes are discovered in the Book of Ruth we’ll learn how they can be present in our lives as we see God’s faithfulness, love and grace at work in Ruth’s life.

Today I’d like to begin with looking at Chapter 1 in the Book of Ruth… Read Ruth 1

PRAY

In this chapter there is illustrated very effectively something I like to term, "The Velcro Effect". I don’t think I have to describe Velcro to you folks as I believe all of us are familiar with what it is! But maybe not all of you are familiar with how it was invented.

In 1948, a Swiss mountaineer named George de Mestral was walking through the woods and was very frustrated by the burs that clung to his clothes. While picking them off, he realized that it may be possible to use this principle to make a fastener to compete with the zipper. (Taken from the Useless Information Site, "ZIPPERS & VELCRO")Velcro was inspired by the natural sticking properties of burrs. If you look at a velcro strip, you’ll notice that it has two parts to it: a strip that has a web of tiny hooks; and a strip that has a web of tiny interwoven hoops. These two strips are a match for each other and when you join them together the hooks "catch" the loops and they become meshed together in a very strong bond.

The Velcro Effect is a term that I believe describes the relationship between God’s Faithfulness to us and our need for Him. We can understand this concept better when we look at Ruth 1. Here we learn of God’s covenant faithfulness, which still operates today in the life of believers.

God’s faithfulness in the trying times of life.The backdrop to the book of Ruth is the times known as the Judges.

Ruth 1:1a (NIV)

1 In the days when the judges ruled,

The days of the "Judges" were far different than the days of conquest and occupation of the promised land under Joshua. He had led the nation of Israel in quick and sweeping victories against the foes of the land. The days of the judges are known as the "DARK AGES" in Hebrew history.

Two phrases characterize the days of the judges. The first "Did not drive out" (eg Judges 1:27) speaks of the Israelites incomplete conquest of the land. They pushed their foes back just far enough where they thought they would not be a threat any longer.

The second phrase is, "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes." (Judges 17:6). After Joshua’s death the people turned to do evil in the sight of the Lord and served the foreign gods of the land.

These Dark Ages were characterized by what has become known as the Sin Cycle.

Sin of Apostasy.

Judgement of Sin

Supplication to God for deliverance

Salvation through a judge.

This is the backdrop to the book or Ruth and the scenario in which we find it written. They were dark, dark days - but like today, God would prove His faithfulness in the trying times of life. These were days of terrible bitterness.

times of famine…1:1-5Ruth 1:1 (NIV)

1 In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab.

Israel was experiencing a famine of food, caused by faithlessness to the covenant relationship with God. In judgement of their sin God turned them over to their enemies, most likely the Midianites. These were probably the days just prior to God raising up the judge called Gideon to deliver the people of Israel.

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