Heroes of Faith: Ruth
Are you going through a difficult trial? Without exception, each of us faces difficulties in life. This Sunday, we will learn from the life of Ruth how to handle life’s hardships in a wise and winning way.
Heroes of Faith: Ruth
How to Handle Life’s Difficulties
Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – March 12th 2017
- Today is the sixth part of our Heroes of Faith series where we are looking into the lives of our Biblical predecessors to gain insight and principles from their lives and times that apply to our lives as well. We have looked at the lives of Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses and Sampson. This morning we are looking into the life of Ruth to gain insight and instruction as to how to handle life’s difficulties.
- The story of Ruth and her life fits into the time frame where the judges where ruling the people of Israel
Hardships happen to us all
- No one is exempt. Even Jesus promised us John 16:33 NIV In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
- Hardships come from 4 sources: living in a fallen world, the choices of other people, the choices that we make, supernatural powers
- In Ruth’s case, there was famine in the land – which led to disruption and difficulties as people moved around looking for work and food. Ruth’s father-in-law died, her brother-in-law and her husband both had premature deaths (Ruth 1:5). So Ruth lost her provision, protection, partner, and her opportunity for procreation.
- So, this was a bad situation for Ruth, which was not her fault at all. So, how do you handle life’s difficulties? I think we should do what Ruth did.
Bind yourself to Godly people
- Naomi, Ruth’s Mother-in-law had heard that the Lord had visited her people and given them food and she decided to go back to the land of Israel. Naomi with tears urged her two daughter-in-law’s to return to their parents’ house and start a new family. Naomi prayed her heart for them that the Lord would bless them and deal kindly with them and that they would find rest in the house of their husbands.
- The girls both said they would stay with Naomi, but Naomi reasoned and wept with them a second time. Orpah then decided to leave. Naomi tried a third time to convince Ruth to remain in the land and go back to her family home, and this is how Ruth responded:
Ruth 1:16-17 ESV
But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”
- This was a very strong vow, Ruth bound herself to Naomi in powerful and beautiful terms. Ruth knew that Naomi was a Godly woman (she was praying, selfless, loved the girls) . . . and chose to stick to her like glue, to tie themselves together. (Il. of mountain climbing in a storm)
Eccl 4:9-12 ESV
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
- When times are difficult, don’t isolate, marginalize or pull away from people who can love you, guide you and strengthen you. I don’t ever remember reading in the bible where God instructs people to go off alone and solve the problem by themselves (yes Jesus do go away to pray, but then always retuned to be back in the garden – and in personal difficulty brought people with him -garden of Gethsemane) – that is the exact opposite of what you need to do. (Ill. of lions and a pack of antelope)
- Bind yourself tightly to Godly people
Do what you can to improve the situation
- Ruth did not just sit around just wringing her hands and crying about the situation, hoping that somehow things would change, she got to work to improve the situation.
Ruth 2:2-7 ESV
Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” 3 So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers . . . and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest.”
- She gathered information, she looked for opportunities, and she worked hard. And because of who she was, what she has done, who she knew and who she trusted, she found favor.
- So look around you and think, what can I do to make things better? And then get after it and work hard.
- Do not give in to a victim mentality be proactive to do your part to get out and move on. Don’t just wait for it to come to you – go get it A moving car can be steered – so get moving
- You can always do something to change and help your situation. You can’t do everything, but you can do something
Seek shelter under God’s wings
- Ruth bound herself to the godly, she worked hard to improved her situation, and she prayed and drew herself close to God. People knew who she was and who she trusted in and they took notice
Ruth 2:12 ESV
The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!”
- So who or what do you take refuge in during times of hardship and difficulties? Who do you cry out to and what do you do . . ?
- God want’s us to run to him and uses imagery of a hen with her chicks that run to her and find refuge under her wings. And in order to be under the wings you have to draw close to Him. This is what David said about this through the Holy Spirit and from his experience:
Ps 91:1-8 ESV
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.5 You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.
- Know that difficulties and hardships come to everyone
- In them make sure you bind yourself to Godly people, do what you can to improve the situation, and seek shelter under God’s wings
Questions for the ride home
- Who are the godly people in your life that you can bind yourself to? Name them and intentionally stay close to them, especially during difficulty and hardships.
- What can you be doing in your life right now to improve your situation?
- How can you or how are you drawing near to God and seeking shelter under His wings?