A Faith That Won’t Quit – Lessons From the Book of Ruth

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Last week I mentioned there were some drastic changes in my life. These changes have allowed me to look at life from a completely different perspective, and have shown me that I really haven’t got a clue. Do you ever look back at your life and realize that you’re not really as clever as you thought?

A Faith That Won't Quit - Lessons From the Book of Ruth

This weeks circumstances remind me so much of Elimelech and his wife Naomi. I just love how God sometimes uses humor to teach us lessons that at other times we would miss.

Ruth chapter 1, opens up with a famine in the land of bread, and with a Jewish family fleeing to Moab. Moab was not exactly where a good Jew would take his family to. This was where the descendants of the incestuous relationship of Lot and his daughter dwelled. The Moabites were pagan worshipers, and were despised by the Israelites.

In verse 2 we learn that Elimelech and Naomi, had chosen to name their children Mahlon (sickly) and Chillion (wasting away). In Biblical times, names carried special meanings, which makes it difficult to understand why they had chosen these names for their boys. While in Moab, Naomi becomes a widow, and so do her daughters in law.

Have you been there?

Have you dwelled in the house of the Lord, tasted the food, drank from the well, but when things got a little tough; did you run?

I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t. When things are not going exactly as planned, we can look at the world, and see that the things we once despised are not really as bad as we once thought.

There was bread in Moab, so Elimelech packed up and left. The Bible doesn’t say exactly how long Elimelech lived in Moab before he died, but gives the impression that it wasn’t long.

It’s easy to look at verses 1 though 5 and say Elimelech and Naomi should have never left, they should have had patience, they should have had faith. But the truth is, that like Elimelech and Naomi, we’ve all tried to help God.

I’m a take things into your own hands type of girl.

The thing is, that when I try to help God, I find myself in a much worse situation. Like Elimelech, and Naomi.

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A Faith that Won’t Quit.

After the death of her son’s Naomi hears the Lord had visited His people, and decides to return to Bethlehem alone. The word of God is clear, yet Naomi urges both of her daughter’s in law to return to their homes, their people and their gods. As believers, regardless of our circumstance, we should NEVER urge someone to return to their sin.

Naomi was not willing to return to her homeland, with living proof of her disobedience to the Lord, for it was unlawful to marry outside of God’s chosen people. By returning alone her people wouldn’t know she had broken the law. Despite her insistence Ruth rejects her people and her gods, and returns with Naomi.

“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”
Ruth 1:16-17

I love the unconditional love and loyalty of Ruth in this statement.

However, what stands out the most is how the God of Naomi had influenced Ruth. Both women had lived in a land of pagan gods.

A land with no reverence, no prayers, no worship, to the God of Israel. The One true God. Yet, despite the pagan worship of the land, Ruth had gotten to know the LORD.

  Psalm 9:10

A few years ago, I had asked an older mentor for guidance and prayer regarding a friend. After weeks without progress this godly older woman grabbed me by the shoulders, shook me with all her strength, got in my face and screamed “you can’t be your friend’s Holy Spirit”.  She was right.

For weeks I had tried to plead with my friend, I invited her to church, offered to pray with her, and lead her in Bible study. Every time she turned me down I took the rejection so personally that it broke me. It took my mentor’s physical intervention for me to realize that this friend was not rejecting me, but was rejecting Christ.

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Again this was another occasion where I tried to help God. Do you realize how silly that sounds? All I had to do was to continue walking with God. Years later, she took notice, and asked to come to church.

St Francis of Assisi is credited with saying:

Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.

No Husband, No Fortune, No problem.

In his commentary, Wiersbe, points out that Ruth’s conversion is evidence of the sovereign grace of God, for the only way sinners can be saved, is by grace [1]. Ruth was determined to go and live with the people of God. She had walked away from her own family, and into a land where she was essentially destitute.

As a Moabite, Ruth had no claim in the kingdom, yet she had faith. As sinners, we have no claim in Christ, but faith in Him and His resurrection, make us His.

No husband, no fortune, no problem. Ruth’s faith, was on FIRE.

Verse 18 says that when Naomi saw her daughter in law was determined to come along, she said nothing more. Ruth’s faith might have been what carried Naomi back in to Bethlehem.

In verses 20 and 21, we can see that Naomi is not only deep in her disobedience; but is now bitter, and still unrepentant. Naomi still blamed God, for the consequences of her disobedience.

Is there any disobedience in your life, that is preventing God’s blessing to cover you? My prayer this week is that the Holy Spirit would show you and me if there is.

[1] Wiersbe, Warren W. “You Can’t Run Away.” Be Committed. Colorado Springs, CO: Victor, 2005. N. pag. Print.

How can I pray for you this week? Complete the form below, or e-mail me at prayer@themusingsofmum.com.

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