Friday, 12 July 2013

Heroes of the Bible - Ruth

My home church is doing a sermon series this summer on "Heroes of the Bible". Last Sunday we looked at Abraham - link to my blog post here>  Abraham Now this past Sunday we looked at Ruth as a hero of the Bible. Pastor Ben was our speaker and I thought he had a very good message and discussion about Ruth. 
I took notes as he spoke and so here is some of what he said:

When you plant a garden, you get what you plant. If you plant peas you will get peas. If you plant corn you will get corn and not lima beans. You get what you plant. This is also a Biblical concept that we see right through the Bible.
Galatians 6:7-8  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting

What you sow - you will reap - And what Ruth sows she ends up reaping. Ruth sowed kindness and that is what she ended up reaping.

Our text was Ruth 1 so please take the time to read it here below:
 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.
And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.
And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons.
And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years.
And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband.
Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.
Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.
And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother's house: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.
The Lord grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.
10 And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people.
11 And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?
12 Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons;
13 Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me.
14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.
15 And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.
16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.
18 When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.
19 So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?
20 And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.
21 I went out full and the Lord hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?
22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.

Widows were the most vulnerable people in that society. So Naomi and her two daughters-in-law found themselves in a desperate spot. ( All three of them were widows). They are in need of protection and provision. So Naomi wants to go back to Israel.

Ruth consistently does what is right with no regard for her own future. She wants to take care of the ageing Naomi. Naomi sees no hope for Ruth. Ruth ( as widow of Naomi's deceased son ) understands her responsibility to care for Naomi. That is how things worked in that culture. It was the adult children's duty to  provide for ageing parents - there were no retirement homes etc. So Ruth accepts the cultural responsibility to take care of Naomi.
Ruth is loyal - She demonstrates loyalty to Naomi. Ruth constantly chooses to do what is right.

Ruth goes to work in the fields. This is an extremely dangerous thing to do. She has no husband and no male protector. There were guys who would take advantage of her situation. She is a foreigner with no protector.

We see Ruth doing what is right, not worrying about the future. She is going to reap what she sows.

By Divine Providence she happens to end up working in the fields of Boaz. Boaz instructs his workers to leave extra grain for Ruth to pick up. He doesn't do this because she is pretty or trying to win her heart. Boaz shows kindness to Ruth because he has heard of her loyalty and kindness toward her mother-in-law Naomi. He has been told what she has done for Naomi - Boaz shows loyalty to Ruth because she has shown loyalty to Naomi.
We must remember that these circumstances began in tragedy - in the death of Naomi's husband and two sons Mahlon and Chilion. Tragedy and disasters strike because we live in a fallen and broken world.

The things we plant in our lives will grow and produce.

What are you sowing in your life? 
*honesty - develops character where you are trustworthy
*lies and gossip - no one will trust you

What are we hoping to reap and harvest in our lives?
* strong friendships, good family relationships, close walk with God
What are you planting in order to develop that?

This is not instant - a garden takes time to grow

We want something to grow - it takes faithfulness, steadfastness and perseverance.

If you plant bad things - it will take time to fix
*you may change but people will not instantly necessarily believe you have changed. People will watch and take a step back and wait to see if there is change.
But don't give up - show complete dedication!

Ruth kept on doing right, and did not worry about the future.
Keep working and planting!
We will reap what we sow!

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