When Choosing to Love Pays Off
Love means not retreating from what is difficult for the sake of a higher principle. God’s discipline in the life of his child isn't punitive, it's constructive. Following God's plan pays off in the long run. Rebellion exacts a payment. No matter what, choose to love.
RUTH 1:1-22 (NASB)
1 Now it came about in the days when the judges governed, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the land of Moab with his wife and his two sons. 2 The name of the man wasElimelech, and the name of his wife, Naomi; and the names of his two sons wereMahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem in Judah. Now they entered the land of Moab and remained there. 3 Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left with her two sons. 4 They took for themselves Moabite women as wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. And they lived there about ten years. 5 Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died, and the woman was bereft of her two children and her husband.
6 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the land of Moab, for she had heard in the land of Moab that the Lord had visited His people in giving them food. 7 So she departed from the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. 8 And 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. 9 May the Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.10 And they said to her, “No, but we will surely return with you to your people.”11 But Naomi said, “Return, my daughters. Why should you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? 12 Return, my daughters! Go, for I am too old to have a husband. If I said I have hope, if I should even have a husband tonight and also bear sons, 13 would you therefore wait until they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters; for it is harder for me than for you, for the hand of the Lord has gone forth against me.”
14 And they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
15 Then she said, “Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.17 Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.” 18 When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.
19 So they both went until they came to Bethlehem. And when they had come to Bethlehem, all the city was stirred because of them, and the women said, “Is this Naomi?” 20 She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went out full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has witnessed against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?”
22 So Naomi returned, and with her Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, who returned from the land of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.
1 CORINTHIANS 10:11a (NASB)
11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
1 CORINTHIANS 11:31 (NASB)
31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged.
PROVERBS 28:13 (NASB)
13 He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
1 JOHN 1:9 (NASB)
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
DEUTERONOMY 7:3-4 (NASB)
3 Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons.4 For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you.
JOHN 6:35 (NASB)
35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.
The book of Ruth consists of 3 choices, surrender, service and imitamacy. You cannot have true obedience without surrender.
1. Share what God is bringing to your attention, what area is He asking for new obedience or re-newed obedience in?
Try to give everyone in the group time to think about it, these questions are also designed that as we progress in the study of Ruth, we can go back and review.
Ruth didn’t just wait around Bethlehem and do nothing, she was quick to serve Naomi by doing a very menial task of gleaning the fields.
She humbled herself to do the dirty work, get in the dirt and glean.
2. Has or is God placing you in areas where you can glean? Or are you reluctant because you might get your hands dirty? Example: some say, I will give extra money to church so others can go on a mission trip, maybe God is nudging you to take the plunge. Maybe it could be street evangelism but you shy away because street people may need a shower.
The days are coming quickly to the return of our King, we must rescue those who are headed for destruction.
Lord, regardless of what goes on in my life, I believe you have the best plan for my life. Help me to stay focused on your truth, and not the reality that may surround me in this world. Help me to better understand the difference between reality and truth, that TRUTH may be my guide.
Then LISTEN for HIS response!
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