CROSSROADS OF CHOICE
At a time of famine, Elimelech (God is my King) took his wife Naomi and 2 sons Mahlon (sickly) and Chilion (wasting away) out of Bethlehem - Judah (house of bread-praise) to the country of Moab (descendants of Lot’s incest, (idolatrous people). Elimelech was a descendant of Joseph’s son Ephraim meaning “God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction” - Gen 41:52.
After 10 years they had suffered death, destruction, loss, sadness, loss of future. Only Naomi and 2 Moabite daughter-in-laws, Ruth and Orpah, were left.
1. What types of famine do we experience?
2. How do you respond during these times?
3. Why did God allow the children of Israel to go through the wilderness? Deut 8/2
4. Consider Isaac’s famine experience in Gen. 26:2, 7, 12, 18.
5. What promises can we stand on during difficult times? Ps. 33:19; Ps. 37:19; Jer. 17:5-8; 2 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 8:35,37.
6. Can you think of anyone who have left the church during a difficult time and is now living a worldly life-style?
v.6 - 15 CROSS ROADS
Naomi arose or was stirred again in her spirit, to return from the country of Moab. Someone had witnessed to her in Moab, sharing what the Lord was doing. Naomi didn’t belong with the Moabites and wanted to return to the land of Judah.
Her daughter-in-laws, Ruth and Orpah came part of the way with her, maybe into a church service. Three times they were given an opportunity to return. Naomi had nothing to offer them. It was what God offers that makes the difference. He gives us freedom and a free will, but offers us relationship Orpah and Ruth are at a cross-road.
v.15 - Orpah returns to her people and her gods. She was never heard of again and was not part of God’s destiny.
v.14 - Ruth clave unto Naomi, refused to let her go.
Ch2:12 - Ruth decided to trust the Lord God of Israel.
1. Some people today hear the gospel but return to “their people and their gods”. What would some of these gods be?
2. The gospel is good news. What “good news” could you share with the lost about what God has done for you? Rom.10:14.
3. What would hold you back from sharing in the market place what Jesus has done for you?
Fear of man? Gal.1:10.
Shame or embarrassment? Rom.1:16
4. Have you had any opportunities recently and what happened?
v.16 - 18 OUR COMMITMENT or COVENANT RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS
Ruth decided to let go her old life and to trust God. She didn’t want to leave but desired to follow.
· Where you go - I will go Following Christ means a life long commitment
· Where you live - I will live We live where he leads us to live.
· Your people shall be my people God’s people, His family are the church.
· Your God - my God She received Jesus Christ
· Where you die - I will die and be Your land (realm of spirit) is my resting place.
Ruth made a promise before God to go with him all the way.
v.18 Naomi saw her ‘steadfast mind’. The conviction had been put in her heart by the Holy Spirit, she didn’t need persuading.
A commitment like this is a spiritual, covenant relationship.
People today have difficulty making and sustaining commitments.
1. Do you struggle with any part of Ruth’s commitment?
2. What is involved in a covenant relationship?
3. How do we fully identify with Christ? Gal.2:20 Matt.16:24-25
4. Many situations in life require significant commitments of money, time, energy. What commitments can cause us to be drawn away or stumbled? Do you need to prioritise (make choices) to make sure your life goes to the right things?
1:19 - 2:2 UNEXPECTED BENEFITS
Grace : Ruth was a Moabite, i.e. outside the Jewish race, but is marked out as a woman of God. She was mentioned in the geneology of Jesus in Matthew 1 (as the great-grandmother of King David!)
Barley Harvest - Harvest time - associated with Feast of Passover (salvation).
2.1 Kinsman, mighty man of wealth - Jesus.
We don’t commit to a church, personality, doctrine, emphasis but to Jesus Christ and “in Him are found treasures of wisdom and knowledge” Col. 2:3. His Spirit dwells within us “Christ in us is the hope of glory” Col. 1:27. “We” carry precious seed and are called to bring forth Christ - Gal.4:19.
2.2 Ruth immediately wanted to go out into the field and glean.
Matt. 13:38 field = world. Glean = gather in those on the edge.
1. Share how the grace of God has operated in your life, comparing where you were at before you met Christ to where you are now.
2. Compare Ruth with Rahab also in the geneology of Christ. If Ruth was known for her commitment, what was Rahab known for? (hint = scarlet cord).
3. Study Ezekiel 18:24 - 26 and the uncertain state of backsliders.
Heb. 10:26 - 27.
Pray for backsliders - standing on the Scriptures:
Jer. 31:15 - 17; Is. 49:22 - 25; Is. 59:21; 2 Kings 19:30.