Be sold out to Jesus Christ!
Be committed to your Naomi like Ruth was.
Pastor Mukhuba gave us a detailed background of the story of Ruth and Naomi. This story which happened during the time that Chosen people of God were no longer following God wholeheartedly. This book of Ruth gives us a glimpse into the lives of a few people who loved God and serve as a bright shining light in the midst of the darkness of this period of history. It might seem like nobody around you is following God, but you can be sure that he is active, even if you don’t see it at first.
She continued to urge us to pay a closer attention to the character of Ruth, who was from Moab, yet she showed her love for Naomi and the God of Israel by remaining faithful to her mother-in-law after the death of her husband. Ruth vowed to stay with Naomi and worship God alone. To me as a Christian today, it’s a reminder to also commit to in our relationship with our Spiritual authority as Ruth was to Naomi.
Key Verse: Ruth 1:1-20 (AMP)
In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem of Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, his wife, and his two sons. From Ruth 1:1.This is a story of Ruth takes place toward the end of the period of the rule of the judges. These were dark days for Israel, when “all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes” (Judges 17:6; 21:25). But during those dark and evil times, there were still some who followed God. Naomi and Ruth are beautiful examples of loyalty, friendship, and commitment—to God and to each other.
2 The man’s name was Elimelech and his wife’s name was Naomi and his two sons were named Mahlon [invalid] and Chilion [pining]; they were Ephrathites from Bethlehem of Judah. They went to the country of Moab and continued there. Moab was the land east of the Dead Sea. It was one of the nations that oppressed Israel during the period of the Judges (Judges 3:132), so there was hostility between the two nations. The famine must have been quite severe in Israel for Elimelech to move his family there. They were called Ephrathites because Ephrath was an earlier name for Bethlehem. Even if Israel had already defeated Moab, there still would have been tensions between them.
3 But Elimelech, who Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 And they took wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They dwelt there about ten years; 5 And Mahlon and Chilion died also, both of them, so the woman was bereft of her two sons and her husband.
Verse 4Friendly relations with the Moabites were discouraged (Deut 23:3) but probably not forbidden, since the Moabites lived outside the Promised Land. Marrying a Canaanite (or someone from any of the nations who previously lived within the borders of the Promised Land) was against God’s law. Moabites were not allowed to worship at the Tabernacle because they had not let the Israelites pass through the Exodus from Egypt.
As God’s chosen nation, Israel should have set the standards of high moral living for the other nations, ironically it was Ruth, a Moabite, whom God used as an example of genuine spiritual character. This shows how bleak life had become in Israel during those days.
Naomi urges the Daughters in-law to return to their parents
6 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in Moab how the Lord had visited His people in giving them food.7 So she left the place where she was, her two daughters-in-law with her, and they started on the way back to Judah.8 But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me.
Even in her desperate situation, Naomi had a selfless attitude. Although she had decided to return to Israel, she encouraged Ruth and Orpah to stay in Moab and start their lives over, even though this would mean hardship for her. Like Naomi, we must consider the needs of others and not just our own. As Naomi discovered, when we act selflessly, others are encouraged to follow our example.
Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem
9 The Lord grant that you may find a home and rest, each in the house of her husband! Then she kissed them and they wept aloud. 10And they said to her, No, we will return with you to your people.11 But Naomi said, Turn back, my daughters, why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that may become your husbands? 12 Turn back, my daughters, go; for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband tonight and should bear sons,
13 Would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters; it is far more bitter for me than for you that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me.14 Then they wept aloud again; and Orpah [a]kissed her mother-in-law [good-bye], but Ruth clung to her.15 And Naomi said, See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.
Naomi had no other sons for Ruth or Orpah to marry, so she encouraged them to remain in their homeland and remarry. Orpah agreed, which was her right. But Ruth was willing to give up the possibility of security and children in order to care for Naomi.
Ruth vows to stay with Naomi until death separates them
16 And Ruth said, “urge me not to leave you or to turn back from following you; for where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. [b]Your people shall be my people and your God my God.17 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 me from you”.18 When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said no more.19 So they both went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred about them, and said, Is this Naomi?20 And she said to them, Call me not Naomi [pleasant]; call me Mara [bitter], for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.
Ruth was a Moabite, but that didn’t stop her from worshipping the true God, nor did it stop God from accepting her worship and blessing her greatly. The Jews were not the only people God loved. God chose Jews to be the people through whom the rest of the world would come to know him.
This was fulfilled when Jesus was born as a Jew. Through him, the entire world can come to know God. Acts 10:35 says that “in every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right.” God accepts all who worship him; he works through people regardless of their race, gender, or nationality. The book of Ruth is a perfect example of God’s impartiality. Although Ruth belonged to a race often despised by Israel, she was blessed because of her faithfulness. She became a great-mother of King David and a direct ancestor of Jesus. No one should feel disqualified to serve God because of race, gender, or nationality. And God can use every circumstance to build his Kingdom.
When we hear about these two women from Moab who after losing their husbands, they were encouraged by their mother-in law to go back to their families. But Ruth made a vow not to leave Naomi. Do you hear of such a commitment? In the House of God today, we need Children of God who will be like Ruth to their Naomi, in this case their Spiritual authority. God is also looking for such commitment to His Saints, who would profess such faith, to follow Him, and to have that kind of undying love.
Be in a Covenant with your God
As a Child of God, you should be resolved inside about what you want, that you want to be sold out to Jesus Christ. Have an unwavering commitment. When the enemy comes to your counter, he should find that you are “SOLD OUT TO JESUS CHRIST!” When you say that you are committed to the Word of God, be fully committed. In the world today, such commitment you don’t find it often. People like to cohabit for a while. People like to stay together without a legal commitment of marriage for a while, so that they can be free to move on. “No commitment, no marriage covenant!”
You are the Church of Christ, the Bride of Christ, be committed to Him. Don’t be like the people who are in the world. They are not genuine, they lack commitment. The devil likes people who lack commitment. People come to church for a little while they then backslide. When you have surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, be completely sold out to Him, don’t be double-minded. Do not mix the things of God with the things of the false prophets and the witchdoctor. God will not come to your scene when you have invited other guests. He is a Jealous God!
Let us be committed to the Kingdom of God.
Let us be like the first Christians. Let us look at the record from 4 Acts 2:42-47(AMP) 42 and they steadfastly persevered, devoting themselves constantly to the instruction and fellowship of the apostles, to the breaking of bread [including the Lord’s Supper] and prayers. 43 And a sense of awe (reverential fear) came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were performed through the apostles (the special messengers). 44 And all who believed (who adhered to and trusted in and relied on Jesus Christ) were united and [together] they had everything in common;
45 and they sold their possessions (both their landed property and their movable goods) and distributed the price among all, according as any had need. 46 And day after day they regularly assembled in the temple with united purpose, and in their homes they broke bread [including the Lord’s Supper].
These people shared what they had together. It is tempting—especially if we have material wealth—to cut ourselves off from one another, concerning ourselves with only our interests and enjoying only our own little piece of the world. But as part of God’s Spiritual family, it is our responsibility to help one another in every way possible. God’s family works best when its members work together.
They partook of their food with gladness and simplicity and generous hearts, 47 Constantly praising God and being in favor and goodwill with all the people; and the Lord kept adding [to their number] daily those who were being saved [from spiritual death]
A healthy Christian community attracts people to Christ. The Jerusalem church’s zeal for worship and brotherly love was contagious. A healthy, loving church will grow in numbers.
What are you doing to make your church the kind of place that will attract others to Christ?
If you want signs and miracles to reign in the Church of Christ, be committed like Ruth. Your commitment to the Lord will be reflected your commitment to the Servant of God who has been appointed by God to oversee your life. Today we have very few Ruth’s in the Church, but we have many Orpahs that are just moving up and down.
As a Child of God, we are urged to be like Ruth, because commitment is crucial in the House of God. We should not worship God only when it suits us, we should not fellowship when the weather is suitable.
May the Almighty God fill you with the Spirit of Ruth, the unwavering commitment!