Ruth 1:6-12 Two Rays of Hope; Repentance and Prayer
August 30th, 2020

 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. 

That she might return

The word shoob doesn’t mean “to leave” it means “to return, to turn back, to restore, revive, repent”.  And this is how it’s used throughout the Old Testament. 

for she had heard in the land of Moab that the Lord had visited His people in giving them food. 

God visited Bethlehem to bless His people, but Naomi wasn’t in Bethlehem to be blessed; she only heard about the blessing, and did not experience it herself.

Instead of just asking God to bless us and bless what we do, sometimes we should be asking God to “make us bless-able”.  That He would change our hearts to line up with His will for our lives, and put us in a place where He can bless us without causing us harm by the way that we react to His blessing.  We must return, turn back, repent,—come back to the place of God’s blessing in our lives, by returning to His will.

Example:  Jacob returned to the place where he had first encountered God, in Bethel, and heard God speak to Him, renewing the promise that He’d given to Abraham; promising to take care of Him; where he had seen that vision of Jacob’s ladder, and when he did this, he was blessed.  In John 1 verse 51, Jesus Identifies Himself as this ladder that bridges the gap between God and man, and it’s by coming to Him, on His terms, repenting, believing in Him as Lord and Savior, and that God has raised Him from the Dead, that we are saved .

 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.

This word, describing how the Lord treats people is Hesed.  It’s a difficult word to translate, because it encapsulates so many ideas—mercy, compassion, love, grace and faithfulness. It speaks of how God treats us—with mercy, compassion, love, grace, faithfulness.  When it’s used of a human being, then it means that they’re acting toward others, like God acts toward His people.  It’s the witness that we all should have, and the way that we should act as Christians. 

Although Naomi keeps insisting that she’s in a hopeless situation, and that she’s empty and bereft of everything, somewhere within her it is her faith in who God is that causes her to pray this prayer.  Implicit in her prayer is the knowledge that God knows what we’re going through, and rewards those who act with lovingkindness; caring and compassion and love toward others.  She says that she thinks God has forgotten her, but deep inside she knows enough about who God is to know to pray to Him for lovingkindess—and if that’s not hope, I don’t know what is!  Every prayer in the book of Ruth is answered by God. 

 May the Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.” We’re going to get a lot of details in the book of Ruth about just how God helped Ruth find a good husband.

10 And they said to her, “No, but we will surely return with you to your people.”

They’re giving up their own happiness and the chance for new husbands and children to help Naomi, and sacrifice their futures to take care of her. 

 11 But Naomi said, “Return, my daughters. Why should you go with me?

She turns to a rational approach, asking them why, on earth would thy consider going with her?  What do they hope is going to happen? 

 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?

Even if she said that she had hope of having a husband and having more sons, Ruth and Orpah would be too old to marry them by the time they were grown up, and that would leave both Ruth and Orpah with no hope, just like Ruth.

 No, my daughters; for it is harder for me than for you, for the hand of the Lord has gone forth against me.”

She’s saying don’t let the tragedy that has happened to me take you two down too.  You have a way of escape, I don’t.  Ruth didn’t see any hope left for herself. 

There’s always hope in God, no matter what your circumstances.  But you have to turn and seek Him.  Isaiah 55:6-7 6 Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the Lord, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.    There’s no-one who has sinned so much that God is not willing to forgive them.  He sent His one and only son to die on the cross for this very purpose—to seek those who are lost and to save sinners.  Looking down through the ages, He saw You, right where you are, in the circumstances that you’re in, with all the things that you’ve done, and HE said—“if you are willing, then come to me, and I will give you rest.