A Hope For Every Family

Bible Book: Ruth  1 : 3-18
Subject: Family; Mother; Father; Faith; Witness; Ruth

Ruth 1:3-18

Last week we began a new sermon series entitled, “All In the Family,” which concerns the family of Elimelech. He was a man who knew God but believed he knew better than God concerning the circumstances of his family. I called his condition, “Backslidden,” for he wrongly believed that life in this world would be better for him by doing what he wanted to do rather than seeking God’s will. Just like the Prodigal Son in the New Testament parable told by Jesus, Elimelech left the place where God wanted him to be in order to travel to a place that would lead him into sin and despair. Unlike the Prodigal Son, Elimelech died in the trash can of life, never repenting but rather remaining in a backslidden state when He God in death.

I can’t say Elimelech worshipped false idols in Moab, or acted like someone from Moab, but he did eat their food and fellowshipped among them. The backsliding life will end in one of two ways: Repentance or Rigor mortis! Then you face God. If you die as a backslider, how will your family react as they are left to deal with the consequences of your decisions?

 Let’s look at the family of Elimelech and evaluate what happened to them after he died and how they reacted to the situation they they were left to face. What kind of hope did they have?

1. A Blemished Hope for The Sons

Often a thing that is blemished is totally ruined. Take something as simple as an apple. An apple that has a blemished, rotten place on it is usually just discarded. It’s entire purpose for existing is destroyed. That can happen to a life, when God is left out.

Look at the two sons of Elimelech and note teh blemished hope that were left to face.

  • Physically

The sons where living in the wrong place, outside the protective line God places around His children. They were thrown into the vortex of an exotic sinful world. Physically they were left in a corrupt location.

  • Emotionally

The sons had to witness and accept the wrong lifestyle which God never intended for them to experience. Burying their father in a pagan land had to be an emotionally heart wrenching episode in their lives. Watching their mother cope with his death without her godly friends to comfort her was simply another emotional rollercoaster for these sons. The sons were, no doubt, broken by this experience.

  • Spiritually

In life they had looked to their father for spiritual direction and no doubt had often said, “If it is good enough for dad, it is good enough for me! If dad can compromise on where we live, then we can compromise on what we do and who we want to live with!” In other words, they were following the exampe they witnessed. That can be said of their mother as well. She accepted the lifestyle, so they felt sure that it was okay for them as well. Little did they know the spiritual upheavel that would result from the decision made by their mother and father.

  • Domestically

The boys ended up marrying young women from Moab, thus they were unequally yoked. This came about because mom and dad had brought them to this place and had accepted the fact that life in Moab was appropriate. As we discover in our text today, they ended up dying at an early age

What a sad story for two young men for whom God no doubt had great plans. Listen, God has a will for your life and you will not find it living in a place where you’re not supposed to be, accepting things you are not supposed to accept and doing things you are not supposed to do as a believer.

But, let’s turn to the wife of Elimelech and consider her hope.

2. A Broken Hope For Naomi

Her husband and two sons buried in a foreign land where the people worshipped a god that required the people to sacrifice a young child in order to gain His blessings. What a tragedy, indeed! Naomi was truly heartbroken as she was forced to attend the funeral of her husband and then the funerals of her two adult sons. She even went so far as to say,, “The hand of the Lord has gone out against me!” (1:13)

When a Christian (a believer in the true God) faces trials and tribulations, what are they to do?

• Endure Them?

To endure your problems without God is to allow them to become your master, and you will have a tendency to become hard, bitter, and then broken. That is what began to happen in Naomi's life. To endure your problem is simply not God's will.

• Escape Them?

One may try to run away from their problems, but to do that is to  miss the purpose God has laid out for you. Alcohol, drugs, entertainment and other things are tried by people who seem overwhelmed by personal problems. Trying to escape your troubles only doubles them. You need to know that God can use the experiences of life, no matter how difficult, to grow a personality. Our faith can actually make as stronger as we learn to trust God during even the most difficult times.

• Embrace Them!

When we embrace our hardships and sorrows with faith, we can watch God work all things together for our good and His glory. (Romans 8:28)

But Naomi was still struggling, and as yet she had not learned to embrace her hardships. She heard that God was blessing the peoplel back in Bethlehem where she was from, but she wasn't there yet. She finally made a decision that she had to get back to God's place for her life - back to Bethlehem.

Even as she planned her journey back to God, her faith was weak. This caused her to give bad advice to her daughters-in-law. You see, they wanted to go with her to Bethlehem, but Naomi discouraged them from doing so. A broken hope will give you a bad attitude, and you will then share that with everyone around you.

Theologically Naomi had the wrong view of God and herself, for it was not God's hand that had gone out against her, but rather it was her hand that had gone out against God. She could have repented and returned to God at anytime along the path she and her husband were traveling. You and I have that privilege as well. It is important to make the right decisions before the cost of doing so becomes even higher.

3. A Back-Home Hope for the Daughter-in-law Orpah

At last Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem, and in so doing to return to God. Her daughters-in-law wanted to go with her, but Naomi discouraged them. Orpah was emotionally attached to her family in Moab and decided to turn back and not go to Bethlehem. What a sad decision, for she was just one step away from going to God. You can be at heaven's door, and lack the faith to go forward to Him.

Listen carefully, you can’t trust your emotions. We can't go totally by emotions because they are always changing! Emotions guide many in the wrong direction and cause them to make the wrong decisions. Orpah had an emotional attached to Moab and it kept her from faith in God and salvation in Bethlehem. Watch carefully what you love, for loving the wrong thing(s) can ruin you forever.

Orpah thought back home was better than going God’s way in life. How many people live in the past, instead of living in the present with hopes of a godly future? Do you? When Orpah got what she wanted, what did she get? We never read her name again. She is lost to history and almost certainly lost in eternity.

4. A Blessed Hope for Daughter-in-law Ruth

Ruth saw people of faith at their worst, in a place where they didn’t want to be caught dead, but she still saw a God at His best! A blessed hope will enable you to do three things…

• Walk by faith

Claiming the promises of God and obeying the Word of God, regardless of what you see, how you feel, or what you are experiencing at that present time leads to a blessed hope. It means committing yourself to the Lord and totally trusting Him to meet your needs. That is what Ruth did. She was going to God and with God, no matter what was in her way.

• Live by faith

Once you are moved by faith, your life will glorify God. Let me ask you a question: can your every action, conversation, text, and Facebook post get a “Like” or “Love” from God! That is what is most important in a life of faith. It leads us to glorify God and to give a witness to the world about His love. That is what Ruth did. By faith she followed the Lord, and her life leaves a witness of God’s goodness as long as this world lasts. You and I can do that as well.

Ruth went with Naomi to Bethlehem. She became a great person of faith. Her name is found in the lineage of Jesus in the New Testament. She was actually in the family line of our Lord. You see, when you trust God with your sorrows and hardships, He will bless your path. It doesn't matter where you started out, or what your sins may be, to turn to God is to turn to a Blessed Hope forever.

Actually, living by faith built character into the life of Ruth. When we live by faith our life builds Christian character into our lives and the lives of others.


Now, a final question for all of us:

What word of hope will you leave with for your family, and for that matter to the world? And, is there someone here today who knows its time to come to the Lord. Make the decsion Ruth made - over every obstacle - come to the Lord now. And, families, now is the time to recommit your lives to the One who hand has gone out for you and not against you. You see, it is a nail-scarred hand that Christ reaches out to you today.