Summary: Ruth went from weeping to whining (bitterness) to worshiping.
"Ruth, My Redeemer Lives" Part 3
In part 1 we talked about how God sometimes colors outside the lines and uses people and circumstances to get us to places we would not go to of our own volition. Whoever is willing to do this take one step forward, and everyone takes one step backwards. God gets his way, we wind up in Moab and God does something very wonderful there in the place He calls the pot for washing dirty feet. Ruth a gem of a woman is brought from the land of outcasts, into the very geneology of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In part 2 we talked about the Journey back home. How God will use a carrot and stick approach to get us back where we ought to be. Naoimi had severe hardship in the land of Moab, and then she heard how the Lord was blessing the children of Israel so with that one two punch she was led in the direction she needed to go in.
Illus: North and South winds blowing at the same time. The cold and the warm create a double incentive to move in the direction we ought.
Today we are going to talk about:
The road thru bitterness to blessing. Said another way
Weeping and Whining and finally Worshipping
Ru 1:19 ¶ So they both went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came about when they had come to Bethlehem, that all the city was stirred because of them, and the women said, "Is this Naomi?"
Ru 1:20 And she said to them, "Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.
Ru 1:21 "I went out full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has witnessed against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?"
Ru 1:22 So Naomi returned, and with her Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, who returned from the land of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.
Weeping always preceeds whining. Whining is the word I am using for bitterness. Behind every bitter person is a wound that has not been healed and has scarred over. The wounds that we weep over can become what the bible calls a root of bitterness.
The scientific community here in the West says there are 4 tastes: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. I think there is one more: nasty.
Naoimi drank long and deep from the bitter cup of weeping, and she became a bitter woman.
As I was thinking about how weeping leads, in some cases, to bitterness I thought of another woman in the bible: Hannah.
1Sa 1:1 ¶ Now there was a certain man from Ramathaim-zophim from the hill country of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.
1Sa 1:2 And he had two wives: the name of one was Hannah and the name of the other Peninnah; and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
1Sa 1:3 Now this man would go up from his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas were priests to the LORD there.
1Sa 1:4 And when the day came that Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and her daughters;
1Sa 1:5 but to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, but the LORD had closed her womb.
1Sa 1:6 Her rival, however, would provoke her bitterly to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb.
1Sa 1:7 And it happened year after year, as often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she would provoke her, so she wept and would not eat.
1Sa 1:8 Then Elkanah her husband said to her, "Hannah, why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heart sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?"
1Sa 1:9 ¶ Then Hannah rose after eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the temple of the LORD.
1Sa 1:10 And she, greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly.
Note verse 6: KJV to provoke her to fret, literally to try and get her to explode. She did it the right way; she exploded to God in prayer.
This is what I thought about when I was thinking about Hannah: church was one of the places that was both very difficult and very blessed for her. Church was a place of great joy for Peninah and at the same time a place of great sorrow for Hannah.