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Ruth 1-2 - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
December 4, 2023 5:00 am

Ruth 1-2 - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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December 4, 2023 5:00 am

Pastor Skip examines the faithfulness of Ruth even in the face of uncertainty and peril.

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For wherever you go, I will go.

Wherever you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, your God, my God. One of the most beautiful, poetic sections in all of literature.

Rhetoricians and poets have a hard time coming up with something that comes close to being this beautiful. Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Pastor Skip continues his message from the Expound Series and examines the faithfulness of Ruth, even in the face of uncertainty and peril. But first, here's a resource that will deepen your love and understanding of God's Word. Over the years, Skip Heitzig has invited a number of notable speakers to come to Albuquerque. For an end-of-year resource, we want you to hear some of these amazing messages by speakers such as Tim LaHaye.

I travel all over the country and speak on prophecy conferences, and it's very seldom that you find churches that really recognize the importance of history written in advance only by God coming true so we can believe what we believe. Also a part of this pulpit package, the familiar voice of Pastor Chuck Smith. I'm overwhelmed when I see what God is doing here.

What a thrill to see the work of God being wrought here in Albuquerque. This package contains 10 full-length messages available on CD or as a download. We will send it to you as a thank you when you make an end-of-year donation of $100 or more to support this program. Request your pulpit package at connectwithskip.com or by calling 1-800-922-1888. This resource is available through the month of December, and this pulpit package includes a classic teaching by J. Vernon McGee. I count it a privilege to be here to talk to many young people and especially those that are interested in Bible study. This is sure a high pulpit made for a tall fellow. Request your pulpit package at connectwithskip.com or by calling 1-800-922-1888.

That is connectwithskip.com or call 1-800-922-1888. Great. Now we're going to turn to Ruth 1 as we join Skip for today's teaching. But you Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to me the one who will be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old from everlasting, prophecy of Jesus' birth. Bethlehem Ephrathah, that's the county seat, so to speak. Bethlehem was the city, so they were Ephrathites.

They were from that region originally of Bethlehem, Judah, and they went to the country of Moab and remained there. Now let's consider their names for just a moment. I find Bible names interesting, sometimes weird, sometimes goofy, sometimes unfortunate, but I find them interesting. People would name their children in those days based on, number one, their own personal conviction, their thoughts, their world views, their ideas of God, or with that, the conviction of the hope of what they wanted their child to become.

So either based on personal conviction or upon conditions going on around them at the time of birth. So if something happened when the baby was born, they might name that child that. So when Isaac and Rebekah got pregnant, finally Rebekah got pregnant, she was barren, she couldn't have children. He prayed and she became pregnant and she said, you know, sweetheart, this pregnancy is weird, it's hard, I'm having a tough time with it. And so they prayed about it, and the Lord told them, well, the reason she's having a tough time with it, there's two nations in her womb. In other words, she's going to have twins, and two people will be separated from her, the older will serve the younger.

So nine months go by, she has the live birth. The first one out of the womb, the first child out of the womb is all red and hairy. So they named the child Harry, because that was the circumstance of the birth.

That's what Esau means, Harry. So Harry is born first, they wipe Harry off, but as soon as Harry comes out of the womb, there's a hand of the second child reaching out, grabbing a hold of the leg of the heel, of Harry's heel. And as that child was coming out, they said, oh, look, he's grabbing the heel. So they called him heel catcher.

Jacob means heel catcher, one who trips his brother up or catches the heel. So these were the names that these kids had to grow up and live with. That's why I say, you know, it can be a blessing, it can also be a little wonky and weird to have that name. When Benjamin was being born and Rachel gave birth to Benjamin in Bethlehem, she also died during that. She was waning in her health. And as the child was delivered and they showed her the child and said, it's a boy trying to encourage her to bring her spirits up. She looked down at the child and named the child Ben Oni. Ben Oni means son of my sorrow. And then she kicked the bucket.

She died. Well, her husband thought, my kid can't live with that name. That's going to be tough when he goes to school and he's called son of my sorrow. So he renamed the child Ben Yamin, son of my right hand.

So anyway, enough of that. Alimelek is a great name. It means my God is king. So wherever he would go, he would say, my name is my God is king. His name was his testimony. And yet he didn't live up to his name, because if your God is king, why aren't you trusting your God and staying in Bethlehem instead of going outside of the promised land to the land of Moab? But this guy who had the name, my God is king, didn't believe that his king God could take care of him in Bethlehem. So looking over from Bethlehem across the Dead Sea, he could see the highlands of Moab, 3,500 feet in elevation, 16 inches of rainfall per year, porous soil. So he goes, we're moving, man.

Let's go over there. And so he goes over there with his wife, Pleasant, Naomi. While they're there, they have a couple of kids and the kids are mentioned here. They don't have good names. The name of his two sons were Malon, which means sickly. And the second child, Kilion, means pining or weeping, crying.

So sicko and crybaby. Not great names, right? I did mention that people named their kids based on the condition of the birth. This could simply be dad's reaction to seeing his kids being born.

You know, for a new father, for a young father to see a live birth can be daunting. It's like, really? That looks like an alien. That's my child? I mean, look at that head.

You know, put a Chiquita sticker on there. It's just so, right? It could have been his reaction, ooh, sick. And then the next one came out crying, oh, crybaby. Well, those were the names, sicko and crybaby. Then, verse three, then Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died so he wasn't healthy himself. And she was left and her two sons. Now, they took wives of the women of Moab. The name of the one was Orpah, which means fawn, like the animal. And the name of the other, Ruth.

And they dwelt there about 10 years. Then both Melon and Killian died. So the women survived, her two sons and her husband. They thought it was going to be great. They made a choice, let's go to Moab.

They go to Moab seeking a livelihood and in the process lost their lives. They thought they were going to start some new, wonderful life together. Instead, they found a grave. Remember what Jesus said? He said, if you seek your life, you're going to lose your life. If you lose your life for my sake, you'll find your life.

There's a lot of loss and a lot of pain compressed into these verses. This woman loses everything. She loses her husband. She loses her son. She loses the family name. She loses the inheritance. It's all gone.

She is bereft of it all. We're not told how the deaths occurred. Could it be a disease, some kind of a plague, some kind of a congenital thing? We just aren't told. They probably started out.

It was great. They had a four-bedroom tent, two-camel garage. They joined the local donkey lodge down the street.

They were integrated into the community. Then one night, Naomi gets a call from Moab General Emergency Room. Ma'am, your husband's dead.

Identify the body. She decides, however, to stay in Moab. Her two sons marry Moabitesses. Their names are given, and they play an integral part of the story. Verse 6, she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the country of Moab, for she heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.

Now, this is interesting. For five verses, God isn't mentioned. The Lord isn't mentioned. He's only mentioned in names like Elimelech. But the Lord isn't mentioned.

Now he is being mentioned. It's as if there is a God consciousness that is returning to Naomi. She starts thinking about God. She hears that the famine has lifted, and the way it's couched here, the way it is written, it says, the Lord visited his people.

And the name Lord is the covenant name that is used, Yahweh, the God of the Jews, the God of the covenant. Yahweh has visited his people in giving them bread. Therefore, she went out 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.

So she hears about what happened. She attributes it to God. Notice down in verse 8, Naomi said to her daughter and I, we're going to get back to a couple of these things in the verses, but I want to draw your attention to this. She says, Go return each to her mother's house, the Lord, there's that name again, Yahweh, the covenant name, the Lord deal kindly with you as you have dealt with me. Verse 9, the Lord grant that you may find rest each in the house of her husband. Go down to verse 13. Would you wait for them till they are full grown?

Would you restrain yourselves from having husbands? No, my daughters, for agrees me very much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me. It's as if for years they have walked away from the Lord.

At least she's not mentioned in five verses that tell that story. And all of a sudden she's very God conscious now. Now there is a principle, I believe in that. And that is affliction can do that. Sorrow and pain can awaken a person's need for God, like nothing else. David said in Psalm 119, I think it's around verse 67, there's a lot of verses in that Psalm. But in Psalm 119, David said, before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I keep your word.

You see how that works? You know, you got my attention, God, the affliction got my attention. Before I was afflicted, I did whatever I wanted to do.

I went astray, but now I keep your word. The affliction has woken me up to my need. Martin Luther even said, were it not for trials and affliction, I wouldn't understand the scriptures.

He attributed much of the depth of his understanding to the fact that he lived through such deep sorrow. And so like that, Naomi is talking about the Lord, the Lord, the Lord. Now verse seven is noteworthy. Therefore, she went out from the place where she was and her two daughters-in-law, with her, they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. In that verse, you have a beautiful picture of repentance. She goes on the main road that she came in with, and now she does an about-face, and she turns around to go back to where she came from. That's really a beautiful picture of repentance. Repentance means to turn around, to change direction, to do an about-faced to go in the opposite direction, to do a 180.

They came into Moab, now she's turning her back on Moab and going back to where the covenant God, Yahweh, has blessed his people in Bethlehem. And that's always the quickest way back to God. I feel so far from God. Well, just turn around. I feel so far from God.

Well, just turn around. You'll find him. Just repent.

You'll find him. Oh, but I've taken a hundred steps away from God. Well, it's only one step back. You turn around and say, Lord God, forgive me.

You're there. You don't have to remake those steps. Just turn around.

Quickest way back is just to simply turn around. And Naomi said to her daughters-in-law, go, return, each to her mother's house. The Lord, deal kindly with you as you have dealt with the dead, that is your husbands, and with me, the Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.

So go back, get married again, get a new husband. Then she kissed them and they lifted up their voices and they wept. Now just freeze frame this for a second, because now we come to one of the decisive moments in all of history.

It doesn't look like it. Just three women out on a dirt road, having a conversation. One decides to go back home. So certainly there were better, more important things happening in the world at that time. And I suppose if you were to freeze frame that historically and look around at the world at that time, there would be some significant things happening. For example, at this very moment over in Greece, the golden age of Greece was starting to come to fruition at this moment in history. In China, at this very same time that these three gals are out on the road, the Zhou dynasty is beginning to blossom, coming into existence. That's historically significant.

Over in Central America, in South America, at the very same time, the Mayan dynasty is starting to sprout. All of these are significant, but I say to you that this is more monumental than all of those world happenings. Well, how is that? Because if this decisive moment doesn't play outright, you better tell the Magi not to come to Bethlehem. Because the Magi come to Bethlehem because Jesus is born in Bethlehem. Jesus gets born in Bethlehem because David, his ancestor, had been born in Bethlehem. David was born in Bethlehem because his dad Jesse was born in Bethlehem.

Jesse was born in Bethlehem because his dad Obed was born in Bethlehem and Obed was born in Bethlehem because Boaz and Ruth got married and had Obed. So this is a very decisive moment that is playing out on the road somewhere in Moab. All of that to say this, there's a beautiful scripture in Zechariah chapter 4 that says, we should not despise the days of small beginnings. Those choices that you make, one that leads to another that leads to another, small though they may be or seem, can lead to great and monumental things. And they said to her, surely we will return with you to your people. Now they're out there, you know, having a little cry fest and they're highly emotional so they say, no man, we're coming back with you, we'll just follow you, we love you so much. But Naomi said, turn back my daughters, why will you go with me? Are there still sons in my womb that they may be your husbands? Turn back my daughters, go your way, 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 also bear sons, would you wait for them till they were grown?

Would you restrain yourselves from having husbands? No, my daughters, for it agrees me very much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me. Now what is she referring to? She's referring to an ancient custom. We'll just touch on it and go on, we won't get into it. But there's a law we have already uncovered in the Old Testament called the law of the Leveret marriage.

The law of the Leveret marriage is that if in Israel, actually this is in all the Semitic cultures, the ancient Middle East, if somebody had a wife and that husband died and there's no one to perpetuate the family name, the brother of that dead guy who would be alive would do the courtesy of having a child through that man's wife to perpetuate the family name in Israel. That's what she is referring to. She goes, look, you know, even if I could have kids, you're going to rob the cradle and, you know, wait, you know, 20 years until they grow up and they can do that.

Now, something just to make note of. Twice she says, when they said, we're coming with you, she goes, no, go back. No, go back. Why would she tell her daughter-in-law or both of them to go back? I mean, it'd be nice if you went with me to Bethlehem, but twice she says, go back. She dissuades them from coming.

Here's what I think. I think more than a courtesy, she is basically saying, if you're going to follow on this road with me, you're going to have to count the cost. First of all, being a widow is tough in any generation. Any widow who's here tonight would say amen to that. It's hard.

It's very difficult. Being a widow in ancient times was even worse. And being a widow in ancient Israel, especially if you were not an Israelite, but you were a foreign woman living among Israelites, is a hard wrap.

And Naomi knew the prejudice of her people toward a cursed society. The Moabites were cursed to Israel. Moab was the result of incest. You remember the story of Lot and Lot's daughters, and they got their dad drunk, and they went and lay with him, and they got pregnant from their father. And one of the children born was named Lot. I mean, was named Moab. And the Moabite race came from that, from an incestuous relationship. So the Jews never looked kindly upon the Moabites.

Even God in Psalm 108 says sort of humorously, he says, Judah is my lawgiver. Moab is my washpot. Washpot is like a garbage can. So Elimelech and Naomi left the house of bread to go eat out of a garbage can. Now Naomi knows if you, who come from what Israel would call God's garbage can, if you're going to come back to Bethlehem as a widow, bearing the stigma of having a husband who was a Jew who disobeyed God's covenant by marrying you, and you're going to live in this culture, it's going to be hard. So go back home. Go back to your mama.

Go back and hang out with your people. Well, verse 14, they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother in law. It was a goodbye kiss. She walks off the pages of history. She's never mentioned again. She goes back home. She goes, you know what? She's right.

Bye. And you never hear from her, but it says this, Ruth clung to her. She was more determined. And she said, look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods.

Return after your sister-in-law. But Ruth said, entreat me not to leave you or to turn back from following you for wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, your God, my God. And where you die, I will die. I will die and there I will be buried. The Lord do so to me. Yahweh do so to me and more. If anything but death parts you and me.

And when she saw that she was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her. Now we have just read one of the most beautiful, poetic sections in all of literature. Rhetoricians and poets have a hard time coming up with something that comes close to being this beautiful. It's so beautiful, I use it on my wedding invitation. Where you go, I will go. Your God will be my God.

Your people will be my people. Until death do us part. Even though that has nothing to do with the wedding, it's a commitment between a daughter-in-law and a mother-in-law.

I just thought it was appropriate for the covenant we were going into. It's a beautiful, beautiful poetic statement. Here, Ruth makes a commitment, a sincere commitment. She says, entreat me not to go back. Don't pester me to go back.

I'm going with you. So it was a sincere, heartfelt commitment. That concludes Skip Heitzig's message from his series, Expound. Find the full message, as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Right now, listen as Skip shares how you can share life-changing teaching from God's unchanging Word with more people around the world. You know, I've always believed that studying the Bible is absolutely essential to any kind of a vibrant walk with Jesus Christ.

That's why we share these Bible teachings in order to strengthen you in God's Word so you can stand in faith before a world that is hostile. And when you come alongside this ministry through your generous support, you do the same for many listeners around the world. Now, this year, I'm praying that God will open doors for these teachings to go out to even more cities across the United States. You can help make that happen. If you would consider partnering with us today, here's how you can do that. Visit connectwithskip.com slash donate to give a gift. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Or call 800-922-1888.

800-922-1888. Thank you for your generosity. Come back tomorrow for the conclusion of Skip's message and discover what Ruth teaches about God, our provider. Now, the undercurrent in this book is the providence of God.

The timing was already told us about the beginning of the barley harvest. The place, the fields of Boash. You could be in any field, but all of these things are lining up, and God is working all things together for good to those that love Him. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross. Cast all burdens on His word. Make a connection, a connection. Connect with Skip Hyten is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-04 06:30:02 / 2023-12-04 06:40:18 / 10

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