Desperation in Facing their Funerals

Bible Book: Ruth  1 : 6-18
Subject: Death; Bereavement; Commitment
Series: Ruth - Flaming Hearts in Fields of Hope

Ruth 1:6-18 (KJV) 6 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. 7 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. 8 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. 9 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.


In this section we are going to see the repercussions of abandoning the good hand of God. The family has faced much greater problems than a mere famine, 3 funerals now behind them and the outlook may offer a ray of hope. The remaining women will make some critical decisions in this section of scriptures.

The Three Graves of Moab:

a. The graves were unexpected

b. The graves were unnecessary

c. The graves were unavoidable

The Three Girls of Moab:

a. Naomi & her evident faith

b. Ruth & her exciting fervor

c. Orpah & her eternal failure

The Three Groups of Moab:

a. The forgetful that ignorantly departed Bethlehem

b. The faithful that intimately desired Bethlehem

c. The faithless that indifferently denied Bethlehem

I - The Lifting of the Famine - Delightful News (6)

Naomi must have diligently kept up with the happenings back in the land of Bethlehem. It must have been bitter sweet news when she heard that the famine had lifted in the land of her heritage and her childhood. The newness of Moab had worn off many days ago; she was surrounded by death, despair and deep awareness of the sin of drifting from the will of God. The news that Naomi had just heard was good news - bad news, good in that the famine had lifted, bad because it was a bit late considering her loses in the land of Moab. A farmer went into his banker and announced that he had bad news and good news. “First, the bad news...” “Well,” said the farmer, “I can’t make my mortgage payments. And that crop loan I’ve taken out for the past 10 years—I can’t pay that off, either. Not only that, I won’t be able to pay you the couple of hundred thousand I still have outstanding on my tractors and other equipment. So I’m going to have to give up the farm and turn it all over to you for whatever you can salvage out of it.”

Silence prevailed for a minute and then the banker said, “What’s the good news?” “The good news is that I’m going to keep on banking with you,” said the farmer.

Good News had Inspired the Mind of Naomi

Good News had Inspired the Movement of Naomi

A) News of the Stopped Famine - God’s Goodness

It may have not taken but a moment for Naomi to think of how good God had been to her and her family. If we were to write down all of the goodness of God that he has extended our way, we could quiet possibly exhaust pen and paper. The famine may have taken its toll upon the little city of Bethlehem, but God sure was a good God when all is said and done.

B) News of the Supplied Food - God’s Giftedness

The good news was expressly that God had sent them bread back in the city of Bethlehem, the house of bread and praise. It is the good hand of God that daily supplies us with the means to live, his hand is sufficient.

1 - God’s Giftedness See’s our Needs

2 - God’s Giftedness Supplies or Needs

II - The Leaving of the Family - Dreamful News (7)

We find that Naomi is inspired to leave this God forsaken land and go back home to her people and the true land of worship. The news of the famine lifting must have been so delightful and dreamful for this woman of sorrows and suffering. I do not think that she lingered in her consideration of heading back home. It may have hurt her to leave the bodies of her loved ones in Moab, but Bethlehem was loudly calling for her to come back home.

A) Naomi’s Heart was in Bethlehem

The burning in her heart compelled her to rise up and head back home. If we compare the life of this prodigal family to that of the prodigal son we would see many resemblances that connect their actions and intentions:

Consider where they left - Fathers House

Consider where they landed - Foreign Country

Consider what they lost - Fortune/Funerals

Consider where the looked - Back to the Fathers house

Consider what they learned - Dangerous to leave

B) Naomi’s Home was in Bethlehem

The broken and bitter woman was ready to leave and get back to her former dwelling place. I wonder if Naomi contemplated that there is no place like home, home is where the heart is and that is where she intended to go. The movement in her feet may have seemed swifter and lighter as she eagerly prepared to head back to her homeland.

I was in church one day and one of my members stood up to share his testimony. The young man was raised in a Godly family that taught him about God, but in his teenage years he had walked away and lived a very wayward lifestyle. The young man eventually had gotten married and he and his wife were the parents of a vibrant baby boy. The family was trying to get their priorities in order by seeking God in their lives, but not in every area. The young dad and husband still had an alcohol problem and hid this from his family. On the way home he would go by the local convenient store and purchase some alcohol. In doing this he wanted to make sure his wife did not find out, so he chose to “take the long way home”!

I dare say that this little family that desired to run down to Moab for a brief period had full intentions to swiftly go back home. The family ended up taking the long way back home. The long way home is often the lonely way home.

III - The Lingering of the Faithless - Dreadful News (8 - 15)

In this section we see the reality of those that literally taste the salvation of God, but spit it out and walk away from their opportunity for salvation. I have witnessed these on several occasions over the past 30 years. I have observed many come down to the altar and make much ado, displaying many tears, but ultimately they never experienced true soul saving salvation. This is the danger of basing salvation upon feelings, because feelings can and will fool us and allow many to end up in hell eternally separated from God.

A) The Tearful Cry of Orpah - The Loudness of her Sorrows

Orpah is encouraged to go back home due to Naomi having no other children that could take the place of her deceased husband. In first looking we see Orpah weeping loudly and publicly expressing her desire to follow Naomi on her journey to Bethlehem. The truth of the matter is that ones sobs and shrieks inches them no closer to salvation, it takes much more than weeping and wailing.

The Shallowness of Orpah’s Tears

The Seriousness of Orpah’s Turn

B) The Tragic Course of Orpah - The Lostness of her Soul

Orpah had been with Naomi for many years now, but she could not take these next steps with Naomi. This girl had inquired of the ways and beliefs of the God of Israel, but in her heart she could not choose this direction. On two occasions it sates that she was weeping, and then as she turns to leave she reaches over and kisses her mother-in-law and walks off of the scene. I believe this was as close as she would ever get to finding God; it was literally the kiss that sealed her fate eternally.

We never know when that last opportunity will be afforded to choose our place in eternity, but it will come. It is a serious thing to walk away from the very salvation of a loving God.

Oprah Turned Away Tearfully & Emotionally

Orpah Turned Away Tragically & Eternally

The lips of Orpah looked towards Bethlehem, but the heart of Orpah longed for the pagan ways of Moab. It may have been that Naomi had escorted the girls to the border of Israel and Moab, and in doing so a decision had to be made.

IV - The Loving of the Faithful - Desireful News (15 - 18)

One of the girls has turned back and walked away from her opportunity for salvation, but not so with the other; she lovingly clings to Naomi. Ruth has had an inward stirring concerning the place that Naomi was heading towards.

A) The Stubborn Conclusion of Ruth

The beautiful little Moabitesh girl displays much grit and gratitude in clinging deliberately to Naomi. It is noticeable when we someone that refuses to walk away or refuses to take the easy road. Ruth has an inner nudge that prompts her towards the little town of Bethlehem; this was the town of her deceased husband. The conclusion in her heart was that she would whole heartedly abandon Moab for all that the God of Israel had to afford her; this would be done by faith.

1 - Refused to Turn Loose

The actual word clave means “to cleave, to adhere, as if with glue, or to be glued”. This allows us to see the sincerity of her refusal to turn back to the people and the gods of Moab. The word clave also has the meaning of cooking, as in mixing two ingredients together and they become inseparable or as one. It was with hands of faith that she latched onto her mother-in-law, a faith that was strong and sure. The former life that she had experienced in Moab was to be abandoned and her new life was bright and beckoning her for the journey.

2 - Refused to Turn Back

It is so sad to see those that turn back; it is utterly shameful and sinful. In the word of God we find many that turned back:

a. Lot’s wife turned back

b. Demas turned back

c. Multitudes turned back from following Jesus (John6: 68)

John 6:66-68 (KJV) 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

It sounds so honorable when Peter utters the noted words, “to whom shall we go”. It was not long down the path before Peter answered his very own question; they would go back to their fishing boats. Let us not deceive ourselves and lift ourselves up to high on the spiritual pedestal; one does not have to search very far to find a place to go.

Ruth refused to go back, and this was noble and noted throughout the ages of her bold faithfulness in clinging to Naomi.

The Deliberate Grasp of Ruth

The Designated Going of Ruth

The Destined God of Ruth

B) The Sincere Confession of Ruth

In this mighty passage we identify some of the tenderest words of love to ever be uttered. Ruth utters words that women would use in their wedding vow 1000’s of years later. The confession of this lovely lady for the pagan land of Moab is one to be considered until the Lord himself returns. If this was not love I dare say that love has abandoned us and we should shun any attempt at love. It was on this lonely dusty path that 3 women stood grief behind them, separation among them, and the unknown before them. In this environment Ruth chooses to speak loudly and lovingly to her mother-in-law. This speech was made from her heart and is still ringing true in the hearts of millions of people today.

1 - The Loyalty of this woman

Let us look at the sincere loyalty of this woman:

Intreat me not to leave you

Or to turn 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

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

I believe that this is one of the most beautiful speeches concerning love that has ever been uttered. It was uttered in a foreign land, by a foreign lady unto a woman that she loved and desired to stay with in spite of the previous death of their husbands. The lovely loyalty of Ruth can never be minimized; it was the noblest of any display of love that one can find.

2 - The Love of this woman

The awesome love of Ruth has been sung about, written about, thought about, but the best way to comprehend her love is to fall head over heels in love with Jesus. It would benefit all of us to reach for this unique love for our heavenly saviour.

The Steadfast & Loyal Love of Ruth

The Soothing & Liberating Love of Ruth

The Separating & Lasting Love of Ruth


I hope that this section has helped us in seeing how special and beautiful this Moabitesh girl was that chose to cling to Naomi.