Pursued By Grace - Sermon #2
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
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.