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Pursued By Grace - Sermon #2



Ruth 1:6-18

THREE WIDOWS IN A WASHPOT

Intro: The book of Ruth opens with a tragedy and ends with a victory. It is the story of how God took a Moabite girl by the name of Ruth, brought her out of death and darkness and made her part of the covenant people of Israel. It is the story of how this woman was transformed from a lost sinner to an ancestor of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the story of a sinner being pursued by grace.

This passage opens with three widows, Naomi and her two daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth. These three widows have just lost their husbands. Now, they are left destitute in the country of Moab with little or no hope for the future. Ruth and Orpah were natives of Moab, but Naomi was a native of Judah. She was a Jew and she knew the Lord. And she had no business being in the land of Moab, a place called "God's washpot.", Psa. 60:8. By the way, the term "washpot" is a term of utter contempt! By calling Moab this, God says they are lower than the lowest slave, but are like the pot the slaves use to wash the feet of superiors. Now, after the death of her husband, verses 6-7 tell us that she is determined to return to the place where the Lord was blessing His people.

The Bible presents three women for us in this passage. Three women who are in a terrible situation and are widows because they are paying the price for sin. All Naomi has to show for her time in Moab is three tombstones in a washpot called Moab. How they respond to their situation can teach us much about how we should react when we find ourselves away from the Lord and in trouble because of sin. Let's take the time this morning to observe these three women as we consider the thought Three Widows In A Washpot.

I. V. 8-13 ONE WIDOW IN THE PLACE OF DEFEAT

(Ill. Naomi is a picture of a child of God who has grown clod and backslidden on the Lord!)

A. V. 13b The Cause Of Her Defeat - Can be traced to verses 1-5. There is always a high price tag on sin! (Ill. Gal. 6:9; Pro. 13:15) No good will ever result from a child of God returning to the world!

B. V. 8-13a The Completeness Of Her Defeat - As you listen to Naomi's words, you can easily see that she is completely defeated and stripped of hope.

1. V. 8-9 No Hope For Today - She has nothing with which to take care of herself or her daughters-in-law. She has no income, no place to live. She has nothing left but the Lord. She doesn't realize it now, but He is always more than enough!

2. V. 11-13a No Hope For Tomorrow - Even her future is bleak. She has no husband, will have no more sons, she has nothing to look forward to in her life but grief and pain over the price being paid to sin! When she speaks of her future, she is speaking of the law of the Levirate marriage, Deut. 25:5. (Note: Naomi is more concerned with the material than she is with the spiritual. Sin always warps your system of priorities and your concepts of right and wrong, Isa. 5:20.)

C. V. v. 8-9, 15 The Consequences Of Her Defeat - Naomi actually encouraged Ruth and Orpah to return to their pagan gods and wicked lifestyles. She tells them that they will be better off in Moab. They might not be accepted in Israel. They will find husbands of "their own kind." She has lost all her ability to be a powerful witness for the glory of God. Naomi is proof of the truth that a sad and sin sick believer is a poor advertisement for the Gospel, Phil. 1:27; Matt. 5:13-16. (Note: No child of God should ever be guilty of hindering others from coming to Jesus Christ! We are to try to bring them in, not turn them away!)

II. V. 14-15 ONE WIDOW IN THE PLACE OF DEPARTURE

(Ill. Orpah is a picture of a lost person who looks into the things of God and turns back to a life of sin without believing or embracing them.)

A. She Returned To Her Relatives - Often family ties and affections are a hindrance to some people's receiving the Lord.

B. She Returned To Her Religion - Evidently, even after all she had heard and seen of the God of Israel, her gods were still the object of her love and devotion.

C. She Returned To Her Reality - Orpah would have never been happy in Israel. She was still tied completely to Moab in her heart! (Ill. The tragedy of a lost church member!)

(Note: Orpah is a picture of that person who is a "mere professor" of faith in the Lord. She walked away from the light and is never heard from again. Her eternal destiny is not hard to figure, Psa. 9:17. Friend, don't turn your back on Jesus, He is the only hope you have, John 14:6.)

III. V. 15-18 ONE WIDOW IN THE PLACE OF DECISION

(Ill. Ruth is a picture of that lost sinner who looks into the things of God and believes them by faith. She is a real possessor. She enters the family of God and makes a total commitment to follow the Lord forever!)

A. V. 16a Ruth Decides To Follow - Even though Naomi has nothing to offer her, come what may, Ruth decides that she will follow Naomi. Evidently, something (Someone) had worked in her heart! She is proof positive that God will speak to the hearts of sinners regardless of what His people do! (Note: Thank God for those who love Him even when He doesn't give them things!) (Note: How important was this decision? It determined that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem.)

What have you decided concerning Jesus?

B. V. 16b Ruth Decides By Faith - She adopts a new family and a new Lord by faith. She received a new life and a new Lord because she exercised faith! (Note: Everything changes at Calvary! 2 Cor. 5:17; Luke 4:18; Rom. 6:6 - In Jesus, we are new and free!)

C. V. 17 Ruth Decides Finally - She makes a total commitment that extends all the way to death. She devotes every second of every remaining day to walking with the Lord. For her, there would be no looking back! (Note: What's back there anyway? Death, Defeat, Darkness and doom!)(Note: Genuine Christianity is about a total commitment, Matt. 16:24; Luke 14:26-27, 33.) Is your all His? Are you all His?)

Conc: Which of these poor widows best represents the life you are living right now? Are you like Naomi, a person who knows the Lord but needs to return to the place of blessing? Could you be an Orpah, you have looked into the things of the Lord and have decided not to follow Him, but have chosen your life and your sin over the will of God? Or, would you be like Ruth, you have made your decision to follow the Lord, come what may, until He takes you home? Which of these women best represents the life you are living right now?

If you are saved and away from the Lord, I invite you to come home. If you are lost and are thinking about a life of faith, I invite you to receive Jesus today. If you are saved, secure and settled I invite you to come before Him to worship, praise and thank Him for grace.



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