August 22, 2021 (8:15am) Ruth 1:1-5 Bad Move by Dr. Mark Hitchcock

August 22, 2021 (8:15am) Ruth 1:1-5 Bad Move by Dr. Mark Hitchcock

uh [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Music] is [Music] [Music] [Music] [Applause] all right good morning good to see everybody here this morning 8 15 gathered worship here at faith bible church welcome uh to uh to gathered worship i hope that uh if you’re a guest today we want you to know that uh you’re welcome here and and and we want you to stop by the welcome center out in the four-year drop by there get some more information about faith bible church there’ll be someone there to give you a gift to answer any questions that you might have i hope you grabbed a bulletin as you made your way in this 815 crowd you guys are still coming in you’re still waking up i think um so uh we’ll hope to remedy that here in just a moment but grab a bulletin on your way in if you didn’t get one in your way and get on your way out today one of the kind of the bigger announcements in your bulletin this morning you’ll notice that this wednesday night all of our programming kind of ramps up so awana student ministry uh core training orientation all taking place this wednesday night everything getting started getting going also out in the foyer this morning there is a table set up for faith works of the inner city annually they need tutors to run their tutoring program and so sally gohan is out in the in the four years she she’s there to answer any questions you might have about getting involved with faith works of the inner city that takes place on thursdays their tutoring program does uh in the late afternoon and it’s a blessing to be a part of and they need workers so make sure you stop by there the call to worship i want to direct your attention to a lyric that you’re going to be singing in the next song or in the first song that we sing this morning the lyric is familiar to you likely it’s pondering new what the almighty can do and you’re about to sing that and that’s a good exhortation pondering knew what the almighty can do you think about the condition of our world today or you think about maybe the condition of your marriage or another relationship you think about maybe what’s going on in the lives of your kids we all need to reset and and ponder anew what the almighty can do because his capacity his majesty his sovereignty is grander bigger more wonderful than anything we can conceive of so as you sing that today be mindful and prayerful of what god needs to do in our world in your heart in our church in your family so much of our fear is divorced from that kind of pondering that kind of thinking about the lord’s capacity and his goodness and his grace in our lives let’s pray together and we’ll begin worshiping this morning father thank you for uh this time together in this place today well lord i pray that as we put our worship before you that it would glorify you it’d be pleasing to you it would be done out of a sincere and submissive heart lord that as we sing these songs this morning that they would be more than routine lord they would be expressions of gratitude and and thanksgiving lord we love you we put this before you we ask for your grace in this place today in christ’s name amen would you stand and sing with us praise to the lord the almighty the king of creation oh my soul praise him for he is my health and salvation come on [Music] join me [Music] [Music] shelters [Music] [Music] [Applause] lord [Music] [Music] he can do [Music] wow [Music] [Music] glory lord [Music] the sun [Music] god oh [Music] praise to the lord [Music] is [Music] as we adore the lord together this morning and as we bring the fear and the anxiety that may be in our hearts to him listen to what isaiah 43 says to us but now thus sayeth the lord your creator o jacob and he who formed you o israel do not fear for i have redeemed you i have called you by name you are mine when you pass through the waters i will be with you and through the rivers they will not overflow you when you walk through the fire you will not be scorched nor will your flame burn you for i am the lord your god the holy one of israel [Music] and you unravel me with a melody you surround me with a song of deliverance [Music] from my enemies to all my fears are gone [Music] and i’m no longer [Music] i am a child of god and i’m no longer [Music] i am a child [Music] and from my mother’s you have chosen me [Music] your family your blood flows [Music] i am a child of god [Music] [Music] is [Music] i am [Music] is you rescued me [Music] [Music] i am a child of god and i’m no longer a slave to fear i am a child god [Music] i was a wretch i remember who i was i was lost [Music] the breach was far too wide but from the far side of the chasm you had me in your sight so you made a way across the great divide left behind heaven’s room to build it here inside [Music] freed my soul for the first time [Music] thank you jesus thank you [Music] me jesus the darkness [Music] you were buried for three days [Music] [Music] life has thank you jesus for the love [Music] jesus is [Music] oh [Music] there is nothing stronger through [Music] [Applause] thank you jesus [Music] thank you [Music] brought me from the darkness into glorious to his name [Music] glory to his name [Music] glory to you [Music] amen let’s pray together join your hearts with me oh father we come before you this morning we thank you for the blood of jesus christ the lamb of god who takes away the sin of the world and who takes away our sin when we look to him we thank you that you’ve called us out of darkness i’m into your marvelous light through our lord and savior jesus christ father we thank you for the opportunity we have here today to meet with you and gathered worship to sing praises to your name to share fellowship with one another to study the bible father as we look around our world today we pray for the tragedy that’s unfolding over in afghanistan father our hearts break for the people who are there they break for our own citizens who are trying to make their way back home father we just ask for your hand of protection to be upon all those who are trying to get out of the country that need to get out father we pray that for those who have to remain there that are trapped there in that darkness that the light of the gospel can come in and pierce that darkness and that you can use this father for good to bring many to yourself when they realize the hopelessness of of any other way of refuge father we look to you for the country of haiti today we pray for our brothers and sisters in christ there pray that they’ll shine in the darkness there and be used greatly by you father in this time father help us all to recognize how blessed we are to live in this country we thank you for the multiplied manifest blessings that you’ve given to us father help us not to waste them father now open our hearts and our minds as we open your inspired word this morning teach us father from your word and we ask these things in jesus name amen may be seated this is our second you all here with us we appreciate so much your presence here with us on this lord’s day if you’re visiting with us this morning we’re especially glad that you’ve chosen to come and be with us here at faith bible church this morning we’re continuing our study of the book of ruth that we began last week and if you weren’t here last week you might want to take time to watch last week’s message online when we introduced the book it might kind of help you get a little bit more background information kind of get your bearings i’m in this book a bit better but if you’ll take your bible and turn with me to ruth chapter one to ruth chapter one uh the story’s told of a new bank president who met with his older predecessor and he said i’d like to know what have been the keys to your success as bank president the older gentleman looked at him and he said young man i can sum it up in two words good decisions to that the young man responded well i thank you immensely for that advice sir but how does one come to know which are the good decisions and he said one word young man experience that’s all well and good said the younger man but how does one get experience two words said the old man bad decisions now that’s true isn’t i mean life is full of decisions and everything we do involves making a decision or a choice and our decisions all of us know this and we may not think about it often but our decisions shape our lives and with every decision we make we either become more or less we either get closer to god or we get farther away from god it’s been well said some of you may have heard this old saying before we make our choices in life and then our choices end up making us we make our choices in life but our choices end up making us now since that’s true we need to be very careful about the decisions we make especially in difficult circumstances or when there’s a crisis or when we’re under pressure because in those times we’re prone to make rash foolish hasty decisions and tragically those decisions can have long-term consequences in our lives and they can also affect those who are closest to us now the book of ruth opens up with a man who makes a costly decision a very costly decision for himself and his family and his name is elimelech and he and his family lived in bethlehem so i’ve titled this morning’s message bad move let me read ruth chapter 1 verses 1 to 5 for us to get these verses in our hearts and minds 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 and judah went to sojourn in the land of moab with his wife and his two sons and the name of the man was elimelech and the name of his wife naomi and the names of their two sons were maelon and kilian ephrathites of bethlehem and judah now they entered the land of moab and remained there then elimelech naomi’s husband died and she was left with her two sons and they took for themselves moabite women as wives and the name of one was orpah and the name of the other ruth and they lived there about 10 years then both maelon and killian also died and the woman was bereft of her two children and her husband may the lord write his eternal word on our hearts this morning i’ve got three simple points you can see in your outline this morning to unpack these verses i want to look at the circumstances the kind of the backdrop of what was happening in this time then the choice that was made by elimelech and then i want to look at the consequences of that and then at the end i want to just give a few uh thoughts of practical application for our lives ruth opens here by spotlighting the circumstances or we could call this the crisis the story of ruth is set in the days when the judges rule that’s how it begins we talked about this a bit last time but again i’ll just kind of review this the the days of the judges uh that was a dark dismal chapter in israel’s history as we’re doing this study of ruth right now i’m reading a chapter in judges every morning and it’s just confirming what we already know about the book of judges about what a dark and dismal chapter this was in israel’s history it’s a period of time that lasted about 300 years and it was a time of spiritual darkness it was a time of downward spiral for the nation in fact we pointed out last time the very last verse of judges says in those days there was no king in israel everyone did what was right in his own eyes now the book of judges contains a cyclical pattern it’s repeated seven times there’s seven cycles now i didn’t bring my uh pointer with me there you go thanks for bringing it out there for me um the book of judges have has seven cycle repeated seven times and you can see there that how this cycle kind of kind of goes there’s silence or we could call it rest or there’s a time of peace then there’s sin the people go and worship foreign gods then there’s a time of servitude god brings in some foreign oppressor that comes in to oppress the people of god and then there’s supplication or sorrow they turn to god and they turn to him because they’ve been invaded and impressed oppressed by this foreign enemy and then their salvation god raises up a local deliverer a judge or a chieftain if you want to use that word who would defeat the oppressors and restore peace and then it would happen all over again would be kind of like here we go again seven times in the book of judges you go through these cycles and it they get worse as you go along it’s kind of like it’s a downward path even among the judges really i’m in this book now we don’t know for sure when the events in ruth occurred during this 300 year period some people put it in in the time of gideon back in judges six and seven because there seems to have been some kind of food shortage during that time but there’s no way for us to know really for sure when it happened but whenever the story occurred in the day of judge and in the time of the judges it’s a very unlikely place to find such a story of hope as we have here in the book of ruth now verse 1 kind of further paints in the background when it says there was a famine in the land one one man i read this week translated this famine stalk the land and just kind of let your mind think about that of year after year after year of famine lack of food now the seriousness of this famine was due in large part to its duration the famine would drag on for an entire decade at least that long it may have lasted longer some thinks it may have been a 20-year famine that it took elimelech and his family a long time through this famine before they leave and then they’re in moab for 10 years but it’s against this kind of gloomy backdrop that the author here zeroes in on one family living in the small village of bethlehem five miles south of jerusalem now it mentions in verse two it calls them ephrathites ephrathites of bethlehem and judah ephrath is just an early name really for the city of bethlehem now i don’t want to go onto this in detail but this is something you can read on your own i think you’ll find fascinating if you’ll take time to do this the end of the book of judges you kind of you end with you end with the rule of samson in chapter 16 in judges and then in chapter 17 to 21 in judges you have five chapters that really just kind of end in a just a tragedy i mean just catastrophe for the nation of israel but there’s two stories that are told at the end of the book of judges what’s fascinating about those two stories is they both involve a man from bethlehem so you’ve got two stories terrible stories about men from bethlehem then you open the book of ruth and it’s about a family in bethlehem as well this is called often by scholars the bethlehem trilogy really when you come to the book of ruth it’s the first time that you have the city of bethlehem in scripture really presented i’m in a positive light so this bethlehem theme is central here and of course it’s central because the book of ruth tells the story of how bethlehem becomes the city of david which ultimately leads to it being the birthplace of the messiah so this is the set up for all of that really through the rest of scripture now the ultimate irony here is it’s a place called bethlehem and bethlehem means house of bread so there’s no bread in the house of bread the house of bread is a place of famine and lack of food now in verses one and two we’re introduced to the cast of characters there’s six human characters in this drama we get the the first four of them in verses one and two we have the husband elimelech his name means my god is king which that’s interesting because this whole book is going to lead to david being born who’s ultimately going to be the great king of israel now you have the wife who’s naomi her name means pleasant you have two sons now this is really interesting yet two sons their names are maelon and kilion now melon means sickly and kilian means terminally ill or finished you think who in the world would ever name their kids that in fact one man i read this week said their names were sickly and kaput i mean it’s uh you know just it’s over now we meet their wives later but people wonder about this some believe that this famine may have dragged on they’re in moab for 10 years but it may have started much earlier so they may have actually been born during this famine and so when they’re born the midwives that are there on the birthing stool as these sons are born they look at them and say maelon or sickly and then killian or finished or terminally ill now back in that day often midwives would just give some name to a child as they were born because of some characteristic and then they’d be given another name later so we don’t know if these are the names that were their names that were commonly used but the the author here of of ruth goes back and gives them these names in this context because it fits the purpose or the theme of this book but these certainly are strange names for these two young men but they they fit the purpose here of this book now that’s the first point here that i have this morning these are the circumstances now the circumstances here lead to the choice you could also call this the compromise so during this famine driven by economic desperation elimelech decides to pack his bags and move his family to the country of moab now this is actually a literal case of the grass is greener on the other side you’ve probably heard the old saying you know the grass is greener on the other side of the fence but it still has to be mowed but they’re going to go to moab to escape this famine now you say well why wasn’t there a famine in moab because i’m going to show some slides in a moment moab’s not very far from where bethlehem is well it could have been that god was disciplining israel because of their disobedience but it also could be that moab you’ll see in a moment is up on a high plateau and they would have gotten more rain maybe than they were getting in bethlehem now what do we know about moab we know the moabites were the descendants of lot through abraham’s nephew or abraham’s nephew and they were the descendants of lot abraham’s nephew through an incestuous relationship with his oldest daughter through lot and his oldest daughter came a child named moab the land of moab is situated on a high plateau east of the dead sea that’s where the the people of moab lived after they uh you know they’d fled from the city of sodom lot has this incestuous relationship gets drunk one night and has this incestuous relationship this child moab is born they live east of the dead sea now i’ve been to jordan three times had the privilege to go to the country of jordan the traditional side of ruth’s hometown is a place called mediba been there mount nebo where where moses looked over the promised land and where he’s where he was buried that’s also in the land of moab in fact i’ve got a few slides here just to show you if you go to the next one you can see where bethlehem is obviously near jerusalem they would have gone up and around the north end of the dead sea by jericho to get over to moab on the other side of the dead sea if you’ll go to this the next slide here’s just kind of a little bit more detailed math it’s about an 80 mile journey so um if you’re going south from oklahoma city it’s about edmond about when he would if you’re going uh east it’d be like from here to sapulpa but you can see they leave bethlehem go to jerusalem go up around jericho and then they come over down to this land of moab it’s on the east side there i’m of the dead sea and i haven’t want one more a couple more slides this is a beautiful picture those of you been to israel with us when you’re standing down near in getty or masada you look across the of the dead sea over to the east and you can see what’s called the hills of moabs you can see it’s a it’s a lot it’s a high plain there just to give you a little idea of the topography this next slide shows you this you leave bethlehem bethlehem and jerusalem are both around 2 600 feet above sea level when you leave there and go down to jericho you go down about 3 500 feet in 17 miles it’s the lowest place on earth the dead sea the dead sea is uh about 1 400 feet below sea level but where they would have gone they they go down from 2600 above sea level to 850 below sea level and then moab’s about 4 000 feet above sea levels this wasn’t you know just a nice walk uh you know on flat ground in oklahoma this is a very very hilly uh terrain they would they would have gone over now the national deity of the moabites was a god named kimashi and he was uh child sacrifices were offered to kimash as same as molac in fact many people believe that the kimash may have been kind of the same as the ammonite god molek i’ve got a picture here of that their god that’s uh of the the god kimash there’s not a lot of of these left you know not a lot of representations but kimash probably means destroyer um or subduer so he probably was a god of war because back then you were always at war and you wanted to have the god of war on your side then just one final slide i just thought you might find this interesting this is called the moabite stone this is from about 850 bc it’s written by a king named misha who’s a king in moab and he talks a lot about the god kimash who gave him victory but anyway i got to see that a couple years ago in the louvre in the museum there in paris and it was one of the highlights of the trip for me to see that moabite stone it’s one of the the most important relics really been found in in that area of the world now however you look at it though moab was no place for worshipers of yahweh this is the time of the judges if you go back and read earlier in judges the moabites had invaded israel and oppressed them for 18 years under the leadership of a man named eglon and yet elimelech moves his family to enemy territory i mean moab was one of israel’s most long-standing bitter enemies so elimelech’s desperation led him to make a terrible decision a bad move we know that elimelech only intended to stay there for a short period of time probably just to wait out the famine but he ended up settling there for a decade notice the progression notice in verse 1 it says they went to sojourn in the land of moab they just went to sojourn there for a short stay then verse 2 the end of it says they entered the land of moab and remained there and then you go on down to verse 4 they lived there about 10 years so they settled in this spiritual wasteland of moab it was a failure to trust god’s providence in the land that god had given them they were not to leave the promised land in fact the only times they left the promised land is when they were exiled by enemies i like what warren weirsby says he says when trouble comes you can escape it you can endure it or you can enlist it and what we see here is that elimelech doesn’t enlist this trouble to to strengthen him and to deepen his trust in god but he escapes it he didn’t face it he flees from it now what’s interesting is when you read this passage and commentators talk about this a lot the author of ruth doesn’t call out elimelech for this decision nothing negative is directly stated of god saying that what he did was wrong but it seems clear to me that the author expects us when we read this to recognize this was a bad move that this was sin let me just mention several factors that indicate this was a bad move first of all he ignored the example of abraham you see this phrase in verse 1 there was a famine in the land that’s only found two other times in the old testament one is in genesis 12 10 when there was a famine in the land and abraham went down to egypt and he goes down to egypt you remember his wife sarah he lies about her being his sister and she’s taken into the harem of pharaoh and he narrowly escapes so it’s a bad move for abraham and there was a famine to go down to egypt and elimelech should have known that story and known the disaster that came on abraham for disobeying god and in genesis 26 1 the other time it says there was a famine in the land isaac abraham’s son was tempted to go to egypt and god told him not to go so elimelech knew this story and should have heeded its warning and acted out of faith and not fear a second thing here is that elimelech should have recognized the source of this famine and repented i think this famine was more than just a natural occurrence back in deuteronomy chapter 28 famine was a divine discipline that god would bring on his people for persistent rebellion it was one of the covenant curses for disobedience and moab was not that far from bethlehem was not experiencing famine which could support the idea that this famine in bethlehem was disciplined moab was doing fine but bethlehem was under god’s discipline but the proper response then would have been to repent and call on the rest of the people to repent as well and turn to the lord not to flee and run away from it he should have turned to god and called his fellow israelites to repent as well to to have god relieve them of this famine daniel bloch one commentator puts it like this instead of calling on yahweh for mercy and repenting of the sins that plagued the nation during the dark days of the judges elimelech moved to moab so he doesn’t see this discipline from god and have the proper response of repentance here’s another thing that makes me believe this is wrong think about this the other bethlehemites who stayed to see out the famine fared much better than the limoulek and his family who left we’ll see that later in the book the people that stayed there fared much better than elimelech and his family leaving was a tragic mistake and fourthly i would just say this there’s no mention of prayer or seeking god about this decision they just decided on their own they leaned on their own understanding there was no trust in yahweh they’re just walking by side and not by faith there’s no evidence that elimelech sought god’s will about this so all i would say is this is an example of how not to make a decision it’s emotional it’s hasty it’s pragmatic there’s no seeking god or prayer there’s no repentance there’s a failure to learn from the example of others i’ll say this as a pastor i’ve been a pastor for many many years now and i’ve had a the sad opportunity to see people make very very bad decisions in their lives very costly choices you see people who make bad decisions because they’re just running from trouble they’re driven by circumstances they’re just seeking some kind of of momentary temporary relief and they make tragic tragic decisions that affect them and their family in in very very difficult ways and that leads us into our final point here this morning look after we make our choices in life what always follows is the consequences the consequences always follow or you could call this the calamity this bad decision had a devastating effect on elimelech’s family the price tag for his decision was enormous and seeking to avoid this suffering he added he actually ended up multiplying his family’s sorrow greatly here’s a statement i read years ago think about this you probably heard variations of this over the years but you’re free to make your choice but you’re not free to choose the consequences of your choice you ever heard that before you’re free to make your choice but you don’t get to choose the consequences of your choice in fact you could put it like this you don’t choose the consequences the consequences choose you we have this idea sometimes we can make our choices and we can also control the consequences of our choices we can’t do that we can make the choice but we can’t control the consequences of our choice there are several tragic consequences here of elimelech’s bad decision one is his sons marry pagan idol worshipers back in deuteronomy 7 there’s a prohibition against marrying pagans and while the moabites aren’t specifically mentioned there this would have certainly broken the spirit of that law also in deuteronomy 23 4-7 moabites were permanently excluded from the community of yahweh now obviously if they became proselytes like ruth did they could be welcomed in but moabites as moabites as worshipers of kimash could not be worshipped could not be allowed into god’s community so this had a terrible effect on his sons taking into this place where they meet these moabite women and marry these idol worshipers there and one thing that’s fascinating as you read this passage both sons were married 10 years and had no children now for one family to be married or one person to be married and not have children be one thing but both of them married for 10 years and no children is very unusual it’s a sign here that we’re to read in this text that there’s no blessing of god i’m upon them because of this it’s caused by this decision of their father a second tragic consequence of this is elimelech died elimelech died elimelech went to moab for a brief sojourn he just went there for a brief stay to kind of wait out the famine but moab got him it captured him and he ended up settling there and staying there for 10 years and it’s interesting as you read these five verses the only verb of which elimelech is the subject is the word it died it’s the only verb that he’s the subject of and elimelech died he led his family into sin and he would never ever come home again and naomi is left a lonely widow in a foreign country but she still has a lot of hope because she has two married sons and so they raise her expectation for descendants that her her family will continue on but then tragically her two sons die now while elimelech may have been older and died of natural causes the death of both sons maelon and kilian were clearly premature which again i think speaks of god’s discipline upon them for this decision and naomi loses everything in verse 5 the way this is stated here is is very powerful in the hebrew language it says in both meilon and kilian also died and the woman was bereft and literally you could translate that she was bereft of her two boys it’s not just her two children these are her two boys and her two boys have died and she’s left in a terrible situation one man john wilch says it like this to be deprived of both husbands and sons and to be too old to remarry was the worst possible situation for a woman in ancient society so you read this passage and naomi’s world completely fell apart in the brief span of five verses and she’s left destitute and despairing in fact you know the author just kind of piles up one disaster on top of another naomi lost everything her husband or two sons and notice in verse five she lost her name look at verse five then both maelon and killian died and the woman it doesn’t say naomi it says the woman was bereft of her two children and her husband she even lost her name really if you will in all of this she had empty hands an empty heart and an empty home look they had fled to moab to escape death but they met death just the same they exchanged one famine for three funerals and all that remained were three lonely widows and three jewish graves and a moabite graveyard david strain says this it looked like a shortcut but it was quite literally a dead end steven davey puts it like this when you leave the path of obedience you invite pain to become your traveling companion greener grass often leads to greater grief there’s an important lesson for us here think about this you might want to write this down this is a great thought famine in the will of god is better than feasting outside the will of god that’s true famine in the will of god is better than feasting outside the will of god elimelech and his family learned that very difficult lesson now let me give some application from this passage for our lives some things for you and for me to take with us this morning to apply to our lives here’s a very important lesson we learned in this passage our individual decisions have a huge impact on others our individual decisions have a huge impact on others our actions have consequences they always do and when we disobey god we put ourselves in jeopardy but it doesn’t end there we put other people in jeopardy as well especially those who are closest to us now on the other hand when we make good decisions when we make godly decisions those closest to us are blessed as well let me just say this this morning this is a word to all men out there all fathers as leaders in your family make sure that you seek god in your decisions seek god before you make decisions don’t make rash and hasty emotional decisions where you’re just seeking momentary relief you carry your family along with you your families along for the ride and the decisions that you and your wife make they’re all being taken with you john mcarthur made this statement years ago at a conference he was speaking at he said this there are some people in my life whom i refuse to disappoint there’s some people in my life i refuse to disappoint he was speaking about his wife and his children and about those who trained him for ministry and i’ll just ask you this question this morning who are the people in your life that you refuse to disappoint for me as i think about that two of the the people i refuse to disappoint are my aged parents the last thing i want to do is bring grief into their life because of bad decisions that i make in my life i i want to refuse to disappoint them certainly i want to refuse to to disappoint my my wife and my two sons and you know i think about this often as you think about your life and decisions you’re making the way you’re living and you look into the face of your your three grandchildren and you refuse to disappoint them in life you want to to make decisions that are godly that honor the lord because you refuse to disappoint them i think about my beloved professors at dallas seminary especially dr stanley tucson many of you know him he spoke here years ago he’s gone to be with the lord but i think about dr toussaint what he poured in my life and the encouragement he gave me through the years and i think about him and his ministry i refuse to disappoint him and what god did in his life through him in my life you and i need to resolve to consider the welfare of those who are close to us in life and their well-being in our decision-making it’s been said that you can’t drill a hole and you’re into the boat and think that it won’t seek the people in the boat with you you can’t drill a hole in the end of your boat and have this idea it’s not going to sink the people with me don’t take the people you love down with you and your bad decisions don’t sink your marriage don’t sink your family here’s a second lesson sin will always take you farther than you want to go it’ll always take you farther than you want to go you’ve all heard this old saying sin will take you further than you farther than you want to go it’ll keep you longer than you want to stay and it’ll cost you more than you want to pay someone put it like this there’s a high price to low living there’s the other old saying you’ll never find in sin what you go into sin defined i mean just ask elimelech those who make sinful choices rarely anticipate the far-reaching consequences because if they did they wouldn’t make the decision right in this case a short sojourn to moab becomes a 10-year stay there and moab got its hold on elimelech somehow and he died and his two sons died and his wife was left there a lonely widow without her sons now look you may be this morning on the verge of making some really bad decision you may be on the verge of doing something that’s going to have tragic consequences for yourself or for your family and look i understand your circumstances may be complicated i realize that i’ve been there everybody here’s been there at one time or another you may feel desperate you may feel like you have to just take the kind of quickest easiest way of escape but let me just say this this morning i urge you whatever or wherever your moab is don’t go there it will bring disaster in your life it’ll take you further than you want to go it’ll keep you longer than you want to stay it’ll cost you more than you want to pay and you can apply this this morning to your work to your marriage to your family to think about the decisions you’re making to seek god in those decisions to pray to ask him for his will to ask him for his guidance and his help and and his strength now by this time you’re probably ready for some good news right well here’s a third point of application for us i love this god can redeem your bad decisions god can redeem your bad decisions we need to balance this warning in the book of ruth against making bad decisions that with the encouragement that we find in the overall message of the book of ruth while ruth begins on a very sour note it ends on a joyous note of the birth of a baby the book ends with boaz and ruth and the bloodline of king david and ruth we’ll that we meet here in the passage as well one of the the daughters-in-law for naomi she ends up in the lineage of jesus i mean she ends up over in matthew chapter one in the line of the messiah so the book of ruth gives us hope that god can redeem the messes in our life god specializes in redeeming renegades and runaways i mean read the story of the prodigal son and right now some of you may be living in the brokenness of a bad decision and if that’s true of you this morning my heart goes out to you because i know it’s very very painful and again all of us have been there but i encourage you to own your bad decision and to admit it and to go to jesus for grace and forgiveness ask god in his grace and mercy to help you turn the page in your life look the consequences may not go away immediately but god in his grace can begin writing a new exciting chapter in your life that will glorify him god can swallow up the messes and the mistakes of our lives in the mystery of his providence as he works all things together for our good by his grace and mercy god can bring us and bring you to a better place in life if you’ll simply turn to him that’s all you have to do is turn to him he’ll take care of the rest there’s a story ann graham lotz tells from the scottish highlands her billy graham’s daughter and graham lotz she says this in one of her books a group of fishermen sat around a table in a small pub telling their fish stories as one of the men flung his arms to more vividly describe the fish that got away he accidentally hit the tray of drinks that the young barmaid was bringing to the table the tray and the drink sailed to the air crash landing against the newly whitewashed wall as the sound of smashed glass and splashing beer permeated the room the public came silent as all eyes turned to the ugly brown stain that was forming on the wall before anyone could recover from the startling interruption a guest who’d a guest who’d been sitting quietly by himself in the corner jumped up pulled a piece of charcoal from his pocket and began to quickly sketch around the ugly brown stain to the amazement of everyone present right before their eyes the stain was transformed into a magnificent stag with antlers outstretched racing across a highland meadow then the guest signed his impromptu work of art his name was sir edwin landsear great britain’s foremost wildlife artist i love that story because all of our lives at times are stained with sin and and the consequences of our bad decisions but if we’ll turn to the lord and admit what we’ve done and trust in him and turn to him he can come and he can make something beautiful out of the messes in our lives he can redeem them for his glory all we have to do is simply admit what we’ve done we go to him we turn to him and allow him to come and work and turn it for for our good and his glory well the final application i give this morning is very simple make sure that you make life’s most important decision and all the decisions that are out there to make in life there’s one decision that eclipses all others and that is the decision to trust jesus christ as your savior from sin to turn to jesus christ the one who died for you on the cross the one who rose again and then to make him the king of your life that is the best and the greatest decision that you can ever make you need to meet god as king and submit to your life to him and seek his glory above everything else in life allow his truth to come and to reign over you and have authority over your heart and your feelings to guide you and lead you and despair you from making costly decisions i’ve got a lot of commentaries on ruth that i’ve been reading but one of them uh this week i read this this thought stuck with me all week i want to read this to you as i close this morning it’s just a great capstone to what we’ve talked about here this morning it says before he left the promised land and went to a place like moab elimelech’s very name should have given him pause for his name literally means my god is king it appears however that god was no more king in elimelech’s heart than he was in the hearts of his fellow countrymen there was no king in elimelech’s life and therefore like so many others in the days when the judges ruled he chose to do what was best in his own eyes instead of following the path of repentance and faith trusting the lord to provide for his needs he moved to follow what seemed to be the best prospects of supporting his family humanly speaking he chose the road to moab which road will each of us choose very often in those defining moments in life where we get to direct our own course for the future the factors that weigh most heavily in our decisions are those that seem most likely to provide us with comfort and security we rarely think seriously about the impact our choices will have on our ability to raise a christian family in a world that’s often less than ideal like elimelech we act as the sovereign of our own lives making the choices that seem best in our eyes without reference to god and without serious thought about the long-term implications listen to this carefully right here this last sentence many bear the label christian yet their christianity has no real impact on life-defining decisions just as elimelech bore the name my god is king yet lived in a way that made it evident that god wasn’t his king at all his name means my god is king but he lived in a way that was evident god wasn’t his king at all we bear the name christian those who follow jesus christ do we bear that name well or is jesus not really lord of our life at all look you and i in this coming in these coming days this coming week and this month and the rest of this year and the the years that lie ahead of us in our lives you and i need to make jesus christ the lord of our life and submit to him as king you and i need to know that my god is king we need to live like it we need to live as jesus is the lord of our life and when we do that god can help us in our decisions to make decisions that are are beneficial to us and that bring glory to him decisions that will will benefit and bless our families and those who are in close contact with us in our lives that’s really the key to all of this early this morning is you and i need to have allow his authority to reign over our lives for him to be king so we can spare us from costly decisions i’m in our hearts and our lives let’s pray together father we come before you this morning we realize that our god is king and father we also realize that many many times we don’t live like that we’re like elimelech we don’t really live out the meaning of who we are as followers of jesus christ father i pray for myself and for all of us here that we’d submit ourselves to the authority of jesus christ in our lives that we’d make you the king and submit to your power and your authority over our lives that will seek your glory father above everything else father if there’s anyone here who’s never trusted christ for the first time may they do that now as they look to jesus and receive that gift of eternal life and forgiveness he offers we ask these things in jesus name amen amen well if you’ll stand with me for the benediction we’re dismissed with the lord’s blessing upon us thank you for being here with us this morning again especially if you’re visiting with us i thank you so much for your time with us if you go out these doors right here these two back doors on your right or ways down there’s a welcome center and there’s some folks that would love to greet you and give you some more information about our church i’ll be down front here after the service our elders who are present we’ll be down front as well we’d love the opportunity to meet you maybe pray with you if you have a burden or some need you’d like to share with us this morning or we’d love just to get acquainted as well if you’d like that let’s bow our heads for the benediction as we leave here uh with the lord’s blessing upon us father we come before you now we realize like elimelech that you’re our king father i pray that you will meet you this week as king will submit our lives to you shall send us forth father from this place now with your power and your grace upon us all god’s people said amen amen god bless you
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August 22, 2021 (8:15am) Ruth 1:1-5 Bad Move by Dr. Mark Hitchcock

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