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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Tue, 2/12/2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

RUTH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Tue, 2/12/2013

Pursued By Grace - Sermon

Ruth 1:6-18
THREE WIDOWS IN A WASHPOT, Lesson 2a

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, and 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 to observe these three women as we consider the thought “Three Widows In A Washpot”.

V. 8-13 ONE WIDOW IN THE PLACE OF DEFEAT

Naomi is a picture of a child of God who has grown clod and backslidden on the Lord!

V. 13b The Cause Of Her Defeat - Can be traced to verses 1-5. There is always a high price tag on sin! (Gal. 6:9; Pro. 13:15). No good will ever result from a child of God returning to the world!

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.

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 and no place to live. She has nothing left but the Lord. She doesn't realize it now, but He is always more than enough!

V. 11-13a No Hope For Tomorrow - Even her future is bleak. She has no husband, she 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). 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).

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. There, 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). 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!

TODAY’S VERSE! (Deuteronomy 4:29)
New King James Version (NKJV)
29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

TODAY’S HYMN!
“Love Lifted Me” By: James Rowe (1912)

1. I was sinkin' deep in sin
Far from the peaceful shore
Very deeply stained within
Sinking to rise no more.
But the master of the sea
Heard my despairing cry
And from the waters lifted me
Now safe am I.

Refrain:
Love lifted me
Love lifted me
When nothing else could help
Love lifted me.

Love lifted me
Love lifted me
When nothing else could help
Love lifted me.

2. All my heart to him I give
Ever to him I'll cling
In his blessed presence live
Ever his praises sing.

Love so mighty and so true
Merits my soul's best song
Faithful, loving service too
To him belongs
Refrain:
Love lifted me
Love lifted me
When nothing else could help
Love lifted me.

Love lifted me
Love lifted me
When nothing else could help
Love lifted me.

TODAY’S PRAYER!
Loving Father, Glorious God! We praise You for Your greatness and Your goodness. Thank You that You are a good God and Your mercy and grace toward us endures forever. Help us never to forget all the good You have done for us, all the good You are doing for us, and all the good You will do for us. You fill our lives with the good things of heaven, including Your Word and Your Spirit. Enable us to dwell in Your house all the days of our lives, to behold the beauty of our Lord, and to worship before You in Spirit and in truth. Your mercy is good and Your truth endures to all generations. Thank You for blessing us with Your goodness. These things we pray in Jesus Blessed name. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 2/12/2013 10:54PM

    Thank you Vic for your great lesson, hymn and prayer for us. I love the hymn, it is also one of my favorites. I try not to backslide and focus on the gospel only. It seems when I stay close with God, satan sends people to try to harm me. I have to learn to let go and let God take over my life. Thank you for the goodie and note. God bless you for your teaching.

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MNABOY 2/12/2013 10:40PM

    Love the hymn

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SPARTAN40 2/12/2013 10:04AM

    emoticon emoticon

Great Blog.

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RSSSLHB 2/12/2013 9:55AM

    emoticon I love that hymn it's all about Jesus Vic, God bless

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TONYVAND1 2/12/2013 7:50AM

  Good lesson Seeking The Lord my God with all of my heart

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JOANIE69 2/12/2013 7:46AM

    emoticon Your in-depth studies are the best ever!
(I was wondering what the term wash-pot meant, BTW.)

Backslidden Christians are not only harmful to themselves, but they deter others from the truth. I pray I shall never be a stumbling block, although there was a time in the past when I was out for myself and not the Gospel. Thankfully God gives more grace and restores us and allows us to again be His witnesses. He died for us while we were yet in our sins. If we confess and turn from our sins, He forgives and restores. Yes! God is good.

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 2/12/2013 7:23AM

    I am so glad our God is good! Thank you for another great devotional full of hope!

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AZMOMXTWO 2/12/2013 6:45AM

  thank you

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Mon, 2/11/2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

RUTH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Mon, 2/11/2013

Ruth 1:1-7

Ruth: Pursued By Grace

THREE TOMBSTONES IN A WASHPOT, Lesson 2d

V. 6-7 A TIME OF DELIBERATE CHANGES
These last two verse of our text will help us to leave this message with a little hope. Out of death and defeat we can catch a glimpse of life and victory in the actions of Naomi.

V. 6 A Time Realization - Somehow or another, Naomi heard that the Lord was again blessing His people. In truth, He had never stopped blessing! Did you know His chastisement is also His blessing? If he didn't love you He would chastise you when you failed. Anyway, someone came into Moab with the good news that God was blessing back in Israel. This sparked a desire in her heart to go home. Maybe she remembered what it was like to be close to the things of God. Maybe she remembered the sacrifices and the worship. Maybe she missed the sweet fellowship she had enjoyed with the people of God. Whatever the thoughts were that went through her head, she finally woke up in Moab and wanted to go home. This is what happened to the Prodigal Son, (Luke 15:17), "And when he came to himself...". Being in a backslidden condition is a form of insanity. When that boy saw where he was and what he was missing out on, he wanted to go home. So it was with Naomi.

Sooner or later, that time of realization comes to all those who wander away from the Father's house. There will come a time when the fog and haze of sin will clear away for a moment and in that moment of clarity, the backslider will see where he is and how far he has fallen. He will hear the tender voice of the Lord saying, "There's bread in my house. Come home!" That moment is a defining moment in the life of the person who is away from the Lord! If they, like Naomi, will remember and will arise and head back, they will reenter the realm of blessing and hope. If they continue on in their sins and their wanderings, they will open themselves up to progressively harsher chastisements. What is the Lord saying to your heart today?

V. 6-7 A Time Of Repentance - The Bible says that she "Arose...that she might return from the country of Moab", (v. 6); and "Wherefore she went out of the place where she was..." Naomi rose up and left Moab behind! She experienced a change of heart that resulted in a change of action. She is a picture of someone repenting of their time in Moab and returning home.

Friend, if you are guilty of going away from God into Moab, then you need to do what Naomi did! Can you see that it was better back at the Father's house? Can you remember the times when the Lord met with your soul in sweet communion. Are you looking back at a time when you were closer to the Lord and served Him more faithfully and fervently than you do today? It is time to come home! It is time to bring that sin, that attitude, that problem, that hurt, whatever it is to the altar and let God have it! It is time to repent of your sins and come home to the Father! It is time to leave your Moab behind you, to get out of that place and to get back to the Lord! If you will, He will receive you and He will balance the books of your life, (1 John 1:9).

V. 7 A Time Of Returning - Naomi rose up and went on her way to return to the land of Judah. She was headed back to the land of "Praise". She was going back to where she should have been all along! She was going home!

Did you know that God never saved you so that you could wander off into sin? He saved you so that you might worship Him in spirit and in truth. He saved you so that you might be used of Him for His glory. He saved you so that you might live a life filled with joy, peace and the glory of God. But, that will never be true as long as you choose to remain in Moab. You see, dwelling in Moab will rob you of your peace, of your joy, of your praise, of your usefulness to the Lord. It will kill anything in you that God can use to help you and to bless you. If you are there today, please return to the place of praise. Please come back to the Father today!

Conc: When Naomi went into Moab, by her own testimony, she went in full, (Ruth 1:21). When she came out, she came out empty. All of her hopes, all of her dreams and all of her to morrows were reduced to three tombstones in a washpot called Moab. When she left that country she left everything she valued behind. When you go to Moab, you always leave something! Naomi left three tombstones in her Moab, what will you leave behind? Will you leave you testimony? Will you leave you innocence? Will you leave your health? Will you leave your wealth? Will you leave you family?

What will your journey away from God cost you? Whatever it is, it will cost less to come home today than it will if you wait to a later date. You will leave less behind if you come now than if you wait until later. God can salvage more from your life now than He can if you linger in that polluted country.

By the way friends, this message is for all you! God is calling you to leave your wretched life of sin behind and to come to Him and be saved. If you linger there away from Him, you will pay the ultimate price. You will lose your soul in Hell! It doesn't have to be that way. If the Lord is calling you to be saved, get to Him today and let Him take care of that for you!

TODAY’S VERSE!
Deuteronomy 4:29 (New King James Version (NKJV)
29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

TODAY’S HYMN!
“There Is Power In The Blood” By: Lewis E. Jones (1899)

1. Would you be free from the burden of sin?
There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
Would you o’er evil a victory win?
There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.
Refrain:
There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

2. Would you be free from your passion and pride?
There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
Come for a cleansing to Calvary’s tide;
There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.
Refrain:

3. Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?
There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
Sin-stains are lost in its life-giving flow;
There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.
Refrain:

4. Would you do service for Jesus your King?
There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
Would you live daily His praises to sing?
There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.
Refrain:

TODAY’S PRAYER!
Father of Mercy, God of Salt and Light! Let us be Your flavor and Your light in this dark world. We know that salt disappears a few seconds after it sprinkled on food, but yet it fulfills its purpose by enhancing the favor of the meal. Light does not disappear but it fulfills its purpose by scattering darkness and revealing things. Make some of us salty Christians who work behind the scenes quietly and unseen, yet influential. Make some of us Light Christians that are visible, out front, teaching and leading. Both have but one purpose, and that is to praise You and glorify You, our heavenly Father. Forgive us when we seek to praise and glorify ourselves. This we pray in Jesus’ wonderful name. Amen!

BE SURE TO READ MY DAILY “DID YOU KNOW” POST!
SHARE THIS LESSON WITH FRIENDS AND INVITE THEM TO JOIN THE TEAM!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WENDYSPARKS 2/11/2013 3:39PM

    Thank you!!

Wendy emoticon

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MNABOY 2/11/2013 3:36PM

    Thanks for sharing.

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JOANIE69 2/11/2013 3:16PM

    emoticon for telling the old old story of Jesus and His love, Vic. The message of salvation through the precious blood is something we don't hear enough - even in our churches, in these days. You are a faithful witness, and lead us to the Light. And this small Book of Ruth sure has a LOT to teach us! emoticon

I think there are times when I glorify God behind the scenes, and at times I am a leader and in the so called 'lime-light'. It is hard to say which position I prefer, (a light-reflecting teacher or deacon for example, or a salty encourager and prayer warrior). But that doesn't matter at all. What matters is that God is glorified, and I thank Him that He hides me and my sins too...for my righteousness is as filthy rags and worthwhile only if it is His working - is His imputed righteousness. In all things His is the glory. May Jesus Christ be praised!

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IAM_HIS2 2/11/2013 10:27AM

    Thank you for this. We all read your blog, and each of us receives a different message depending on where we are it. It is beautiful to see how each receives exactly what they need.

I am currently facing a crisis and I thank you for helping me see it as a blessing.

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RSSSLHB 2/11/2013 10:11AM

    emoticon Vic for posting emoticon

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ANHELIC 2/11/2013 10:07AM

    Thank you Vic for a great lesson, hymn, which I love, and prayer. I feel that I have been a salty Christian. At times I feel that I's not worthy of coming out in the open. I have been like that in many areas of my life. You have brought a light on this for me. Thank you. thank you also for the goodie and note.

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TONYVAND1 2/11/2013 9:29AM

  Come Home / Come Home all who are weary come home. Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling. Come Home today.

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 2/11/2013 8:04AM

    I'd never thought of salty people as behind the scenes and light people out front. Thank you for all the insight in today's message.

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LINDAMARIEZ1 2/11/2013 7:16AM

    The Lord has great plans for us all!

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SANDRALEET 2/11/2013 7:15AM

    He calls us back

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sun, 2/10/2013

Sunday, February 10, 2013

RUTH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sun, 2/10/2013

Ruth 1:1-7
Ruth: Pursued By Grace

THREE TOMBSTONES IN A WASHPOT, Lesson 2c

V. 3-5 A TIME OF DEADLY CONSEQUENCES

Sin always carries with it harsh consequences. This was the case in the life of Elimelech and his family as well.

V. 2 There Was Discipline In That Home - Before Elimelech loaded up his family to move to Moab, it is likely that he had already moved away from God in his heart. You see, no one just wakes up one morning and decides to leave God behind! It is a slow subtle process that builds until the believer has moved farther away from the Lord than he could have ever anticipated.

The reason I say there was discipline in that home lies in the names of Elimelech's sons. There names were Mahlon which means "Sick" and Chilion which means "Pining, or Wasting Away." It may be that these two boys were just the victims of circumstance. But, if you believe that, then you don't believe in a God of providence! I think God was trying to get Elimelech's attention long before he ever left for Moab.

Friend, He will do the same in your life as well. When a backslidden spirit begins to manifest itself in your life, God will begin the process of speaking to your heart. He may do it in a still small voice like He did with Elijah, (1 Kings 19:12). Or, He may do with the thundering voice of a prophet as He did with David, (2 Sam 12:7). He may use subtle means, or He may use direct means, but if you are His, He will reach out to you to bring you home again, (Rev. 3:19; Heb. 12:6-11).

V. 3-5 There Was Death In That Home - In spite of his relationship to the Lord, in spite of the blessings of God, in spite of the intervention of the Lord in his family, Elimelech moved to Moab. What was a reality in his heart became a reality in his life! After he was there for some time, he died. After a while, his sons were also taken in death. It is my opinion that God used the ultimate form of discipline in the lives of Elimelech and his family in order to bring the remainder of the family back to God. You see, the famine in Bethlehem was a call to repent. Those sick sons were a call to repent. God gave this family ten years of rope, but time finally ran out and they paid the ultimate price for their disobedience.

It is sad, but it is also true, God will use whatever means that He deems necessary to bring you home again! If you are His, you will not run from Him forever. He will discipline your life and if you do not repent, He will take your life, (1 John 5:16; 1 Cor. 5:5).

V. 5 There Was Defeat In That Home - Naomi and her two daughters-in-law were left desolate. In that society, the poorest of the poor were widows with no children to care for them. These women were left with nothing but desolation, discouragement and defeat. It didn't have to be, but because of the sin in their hearts and the choices they made in life, they were forced to pay a horrible price. All Naomi had to show for her disobedience and backsliding were three tombstones in the land of Moab. All she had left were her daughters-in-law and she couldn't even provide for them. These women were in a desperate condition.

Such is the nature of sin! It never brings anything good into our lives. While it may give those who wander off into it some pleasure in the flesh in the short term, (Heb. 11:25), all it can produce in the long term is death, defeat and discouragement. If you want to destroy your family, devastate your life and doom those you love, just wander off to your Moab and stay there. There is a price to pay! You see, sin brings its own club, (Pro. 13:15; Rom. 6:21). So, put the things of God last in your life and see how your children treat them when they grow up. Go ahead and indulge your flesh and its sinful appetites and see what good comes of it. When sickness, when chastisement, when defeat, disillusionment and discouragement come, just remember, you are reaping the harvest you foolishly sowed, (Gal. 6:9). Brother, the time to repent is now!

TODAY’S VERSE!
Galatians 5:5 (New King James Version (NKJV)
5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

TODAY’S HYMN!
“Sweet, Sweet Spirit” By: Doris Akers (1962)

There's a sweet, sweet spirit in this place
And I know that it's the spirit of the Lord
There are sweet expressions on each face
And I know that it's the presence of the Lord.
Refrain:
Sweet Holy Spirit
Sweet Heavenly Dove
Stay right here with us
Filling us with your love
And for these blessings
We lift our hearts in praise (hearts in praise)
Without a doubt we'll know that we have been revived
When we shall leave this place.

There are blessings you cannot receive ‘Til you know Him in His fullness and believe You’re the one to profit when you say “I am going to walk with Jesus all the way.”
Refrain:

TODAY’S PRAYER!
Heavenly Father, God of Wisdom, Word and Way! It is a privilege to be able to approach Your throne of Grace knowing that You hear our prayers and that You answer our prayer, because sometimes we do not know where we are. We need Jesus so we may follow Him. Make our steps firm so we cannot stray. Light the path to our feet so we may follow the way. If we must suffer, then let us suffer for following Jesus and doing good. Enable us to endure like He did, that we may follow the trail of His footprints which leads us to You. We thank You for Jesus, for our spiritual redemption, and for the peace we experience while still in this world. Teach us to walk by faith to Your glory and honor. We ask these things in His glorious name. Amen!

BE SURE TO READ MY DAILY “DID YOU KNOW” POST!
SHARE THIS LESSON WITH FRIENDS AND INVITE THEM TO JOIN THE TEAM!


  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SORTIZA99 2/11/2013 4:27AM

    Nice sharing.
God bless you always.

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ANHELIC 2/10/2013 11:37PM

    Thank you Vic for your great lesson, hymn and prayer. This lesson really shows us what happens when we stray away from God. Staying close to Him and following His desires for our lives will be earier to live with than the sin in our lives. Thank you for the goodie and note, Vic.

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MARYGOLD5 2/10/2013 9:02PM

    emoticon

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RSSSLHB 2/10/2013 8:39PM

    emoticon God bless

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MISSM66 2/10/2013 4:33PM

    emoticon emoticon

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 2/10/2013 2:57PM

    Thank you for the devotional, song and prayer. I was blessed by coming here.

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TONYVAND1 2/10/2013 8:53AM

  Yes we need Jesus and we must not stray from His word.

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LINDAMARIEZ1 2/10/2013 8:06AM

    bless you Vic for showing us the presence of the Lord!

emoticon

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JOANIE69 2/10/2013 7:40AM

    emoticon for another great lesson today, Vic. Most of all thank you for your constant witness to the truth.

emoticon "For you shall be His witness unto all men of what you have seen and heard" (Acts 22:15)

emoticon Bless you, Joanie.

Comment edited on: 2/10/2013 7:40:38 AM

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sat, 2/9/2013

Saturday, February 09, 2013

RUTH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sat, 2/9/2013

Ruth 1:1-7
Ruth: Pursued By Grace

THREE TOMBSTONES IN A WASHPOT, Lesson 2b

V. 1b-2 A TIME OF DANGEROUS CHOICES
As we will see in these verses Elimelech did not respond correctly to what the Lord was doing in his life. Notice three mistakes he and his family made during this famine experience.

V. 1 Chose To Leave The Promised Land - Verse 1 tells us that this man made a conscious decision to leave "Bethlehem-Judah" for the country of Moab. The name "Bethlehem" means "House of Bread" and the name "Judah" means "Praise". At the present time neither of those places were living up to their names. There was no bread in "The House Of Bread" and there was no reason for rejoicing in "Praise". However, while the geographic locations failed to live up to their names, so did Elimelech! His name means "My God Is King." If that had been true about this man, he would have known that God's valleys do not last forever and that God would have taken care of His people. After all, Elimelech had a close relative name Boaz. He stayed in Bethlehem and seemed to do quite well in spite of the famine, (Ruth 2:1). Yet, Elimelech chose to leave his inheritance in the promised land and head off to a land where God would not bless him!

This is a scene repeated countless times in the family of God! Here is a person who proclaims themself to be a "Christian". That is a name that means "Christlike One." Yet, when a famine comes in their life, they run out on God. Maybe things didn't go their way at church. Maybe a trial arose in their life and they were blind sided by it. Maybe they were placed in a financial crisis and placed God after income. Maybe they just came to love the world more than they loved the Lord. Whatever the reason, they chose to walk out of the promised land of God's blessing and to head off into the world to live life on their own terms. There is a word for that kind of behavior: Backsliding! I am afraid that more believers are in that shape than are willing to admit it this morning!

V. 1 Chose To Live In A Polluted Land - To leave Israel to go to Moab was to violate the clear commandment of the Lord, (Josh. 23:7, 12). Yet, Elimelech chose the forbidden path to Moab over contentment in the things of the Lord. To leave one's inheritance as Elimelech did was equivalent to denying the faith of Jehovah. It was a total turning from God to the world. You see, for Elimelech and his family, this move to Moab involved total separation from the things of God. They could not worship at the Temple, they could not bring their offerings, they couldn’t keep the feasts that were commanded by the Law. They were totally isolated from everything that stood for God. Not only that, by moving his family to Moab, Elimelech exposed his family to evils they would have avoided had they stayed in Israel. For instance, both of those boys married pagan women. It is never right for a child of God to marry an unbeliever, (2 Cor. 6:14), yet it happens. These men violated the will of God by intermingling with this pagan race,( Ezra 9:1-2; Neh. 13:23).

Again, how many times do we see this same thing repeated in the lives of those who call themselves God's children? When a believer walks away from the things of the Lord, he or she cannot possibly serve the Lord as they should. Friend, there is no way to be right with the Lord as long as you are separated from the things of God! When His house, His word, His work, His worship and His will are not priorities in your life, it doesn't matter what you mouth says, your life says that you are away from the Lord! The believer who walks away from the things of the Lord is saying, "God wasn't as good to me as I thought He should be. He isn't worthy of my love and devotion." It is a choice that always leads downward. If you walk out on God, you will find yourself doing things you never thought possible! You will see yourself involved in wrong relationship and worldly activities. It is a dangerous thing to choose the world over the Lord!

V. 2 Chose To Linger In A Prodigal Land - This family went to Moab and there they stayed! The word "continued" means "to exist or to become." This may indicate that not only did Elimelech and his family go into Moab, but that Moab got into them as well. Who knows how far into the sin and society of Moab this family fell. I am sure when they left they told themselves that it would only last a short time. But the days turned into weeks, the weeks into months and the months into years. Before they knew it, 10 years had passed, (v. 4), and they were farther away from the Lord than could have ever imagined themselves being.

What an example of the deceptive nature of sin! There are people today who are in Moab this morning in your heart and you can't even see it! For whatever reason, you have decided that God and His plan for your life doesn't suit you. Maybe you are struggling against something He had brought to pass in your life. Whatever the reason, you are away from Him today. You probably never thought you would get as far as you have, or that you would stay as long as you have.

Here's how it works. Someone gets offended in a church: A little spiritual famine. Maybe that person has always been very active and faithful to the things of God. Now, they are offended and they leave that church. Maybe they aren't offended, maybe they "fell led" to go somewhere else. I always get nervous when someone tells me that! It usually means they are headed to Moab! Anyway, they wander around trying to find a new church home. But, they only visit other churches on Sunday morning. After a while, they find a church to settle down in. They join that church. But, now they only attend on Sunday morning. They just can't seem to get back "in the habit" of attending regularly. Why? They went to Moab and have never come back!

Maybe it happened like this: it got to be a burden to get to church Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. So you decided to take a Wednesday here and there. Before you knew it, you were missing a Sunday evening as well. Then, all of a sudden, Sunday morning became too much. Now your attendance at church is just hit and miss. You never intended it to happen, but you went to Moab and you never came back!

That's not your story? Then try this one on for size. A financial need arose in your life. You know, a famine of sorts. Instead of considering that maybe God sent it to help you grow in Him, you went out and got you a second job. Now, you know it will involve your missing church now and then, but you got to make ends meet. Right? Well, before you know it, you are out of the church, out of the Lord's will and in trouble spiritually. What happened? You went down to Moab and you never came back!

Of course, it could be like this: you started to allow little things in your life that had always been out of the question. Before you knew it, you were doing things you never thought you would ever do again. You began to let little words slip. You tolerated sinful programs on TV. You indulged the crude speech and wicked humor of your friends. Then, you found yourself living just like the lost world around you. You never thought it would happen, but you went to Moab and you "continued" there! You need to come back!

Before I leave this thought behind, I want to remind you that going to Moab doesn't always involve an actual, physical move. There are folk who attend church regularly, who pay their tithes, who live clean, moral lives, but they are in Moab this morning. You see, we go to Moab spiritually when we allow our attitude to get bad. When we become critical, quick to find fault in others, but remain blind to the fault in our own hearts, we have gone to Moab. When we use our tongues as weapons instead of witnessing tools, we have gone to Moab. When we harbor grudges and ill will toward others, we have gone to Moab. Not all the prodigals leave the Father's house physically, though they are miles away spiritually.

Friend, I may have described your situation today. In doing so, it is not my intention to rub salt in your wounds. My goal is to help you get out of Moab and back to the "House of Bread" and the place of "Praise". Sometimes, the only way that will ever happen is for us to be confronted about our sins and our backsliding!

TODAY’S VERSE!
Isaiah 41:13 (New King James Version (NKJV)
13 For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand,
Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’


TODAY’S HYMN!
“Lord Be There” By: Ken Shackelford (1992)

Soprano
Lord, be there for me when I fall.
Be there for me when I call.
Be there for me, dear Lord.

Alto
Lord, be there for me when I fall.
Be there for me, dear Lord.

Tenor
Lord You know I always need You;
And I know that, Lord You'll be there.

Bass
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.
He is all I need.

TODAY’S PRAYER!
Father Almighty, God of Virtue, Vision, and Victory! You are an Awesome God and we lift up to You the areas of our lives that are overwhelming and burdensome. We come not to complain but rather to seek Your Help and guidance. Where we tried to handle everything on our own strength, instead of depending and trusting You, we ask for forgiveness. Take each burden of our hearts and enable us to rise above every challenging situation in our life to Your glory and praise. Help us to come back to the “House of Bread” and the place of “Praise”. These things we pray in the name of Jesus our Redeemer. Amen!

BE SURE TO READ MY DAILY “DID YOU KNOW” POST!
SHARE THIS LESSON WITH FRIENDS AND INVITE THEM TO JOIN THE TEAM!


  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NADINEL 2/10/2013 11:43AM

    Thank you, Vic. I appreciate these words.

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ANHELIC 2/9/2013 10:50PM

    Thank you Vic for an awesome lesson. If we don't put God before everything else in our lives, we are truly not God's children. He must be number one in our lives and everything else will fall into place. He will guide us along His path so we can stay away from Moab. Thank you for the goodie and note. God bless you for sharing God' word.

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 2/9/2013 8:29PM

    Thank you. emoticon

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GOOZLEBEAR 2/9/2013 4:41PM

    Thank you for this wonderful study and so true, the excuses people make and putting everything else before the Lord in their lives. I appreciate you very much. You are a wonderful witness for our Lord.

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TONYVAND1 2/9/2013 12:43PM

  Its all about making the right choices which you can if you listen to the Holy Spirit

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RSSSLHB 2/9/2013 11:26AM

    emoticon Vic emoticon

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SANDRALEET 2/9/2013 10:01AM

    One foot in the world one with God Hear no evil and think then there is non God gave us a mind us it See whot is going on in the world. Stay away from the ways of the world

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JOANIE69 2/9/2013 9:55AM

    emoticon Well you certainly didn't leave any stone unturned today! emoticon

I could see myself or another loved one in them all, at once point or another in my 48 years as a born again Christian. Thank God He is never done with me/us, and if we admit our sin and turn from it and repent, He is faithful and just to forgive us, and to restore us fully if we are sincere.

This line reminded me of a saying: "When His house, His word, His work, His worship and His will are not priorities in your life, it doesn't matter what you mouth says, your life says that you are away from the Lord!" And that saying is: "If you wanna talk the talk, then you gotta walk the walk."

Blessings, Joanie emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/9/2013 9:56:57 AM

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MNABOY 2/9/2013 9:50AM

    Thanks for witnessing

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MISSM66 2/9/2013 7:31AM

    emoticon emoticon

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BIGDOG18 2/9/2013 6:41AM

  emoticon

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Fri, 2/8/2013

Friday, February 08, 2013

RUTH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Fri, 2/8/2013

Ruth 1:1-7
Ruth: Pursued By Grace

THREE TOMBSTONES IN A WASHPOT, Lesson 2a

The little book of Ruth has been called "the greatest piece of literature ever written." Another writer called the story of Ruth "the Cinderella of the Bible." It is the story of how a pagan girl named Ruth came to be part of the covenant people of Israel. In the 100 verses that make up the book of Ruth, we see this young woman as she is pursued by grace, and brought out of her wretched condition. This is a story of redemption, of love, of grace and of hope. It is a story we need to become familiar with on a very intimate level.

Over the next few lessons, as the Lord leads, I will be teaching verse by verse through this book. I am titling this series of sermons: “Pursued By Grace”.


In these first seven verses of Ruth we are introduced to the family of a man named Elimelech who lived during the days of the judges, (v. 1). It is the sad tale of a man who chooses to walk out on the Lord and on God's plan for his life. As a result of his decision, he and his family pay a terribly high price.

We are told that Elimelech takes his family to a place called Moab. Moab was located just across the Jordan River, east of the Promised Land. It was inhabited by people who worshiped pagan gods. The Moabites were the descendants of a man named Moab who was the son of an incestuous relationship between Lot and one of his daughters, (Gen. 19:30-38). They were a proud people noted for their lawlessness, immorality and brutal violence, (Lev. 18:24-25; Deut. 9:4-5; Isa. 16:6; Psa. 60:8). They attacked and opposed Israel, seeking to destroy the people of God, during Israel's wilderness wanderings, (Num. 23-25; Deut. 23:3-6). This was a people opposed to God and His ways. In Psalm 60:8, God says this, "Moab is my washpot..." This phrase means that they were a despised thing, compared to a vessel containing water to be used by slaved to wash the feet of a conquering hero. God says that they are nothing and that they will be reduced to the lowest form of slavery! Yet, they were a people who could have been saved had they repented of their sins as Ruth did.

It is to this despised and wicked nation that Elimelech moves his family. Here we see a picture of that person who willingly turns his back on the things of God and pays an awful price. If this section of scripture teaches us anything, it teaches us that living in a backslidden condition carries with it devastating consequences, but repentance and restoration are always a possibility. With this information in mind today, let's look into this passage of scripture today as we look on the thought “Three Tombstones In A Washpot”.

V. 1a A TIME OF DESPERATE CIRCUMSTANCES

There was a three-fold famine in the land.

A Material Famine In The Land - Verse 1 describes the situation that Elimelech and his family faced by telling us that there was "a famine in the land." A famine is an extended dearth. A time when food is in serious shortage. While there was a shortage of foods in the land at that time, it wasn't the only famine the people of Israel faced.

A Moral Famine In The Land - Verse 1 tells us that this story takes place during the time of the Judges. The attitude of the people during those days is summed up in the last verse of the book of Judges, (Judges 21:25). It can best be described as a time of turbulence and social upheaval. They were days marked by lawlessness, idolatry, false religion, theft, drunkenness, homosexuality, sexual perversion, violence, national division, civil war and extreme unbelief. Days, it would seem, that are not too different from the days in which we find ourselves. Of course, when man "does that which is right in his own eyes", what else should we expect?

A Missionary Famine In The Land - Often, in the Old Testament period, God used famine as a tool of discipline. When His people strayed away from Him, He would reach out to them to call them back to Himself by orchestrating a famine, (Deut. 11:16-17; ; 2 Chron. 7:13-14).

Often, as we pass through this life, God will orchestrate these famine experiences for us as well. It may take the form of a financial famine, when there is more month than money. It may take the place of a physical famine where health and wellbeing become elusive. There may be a spiritual famine when the heavens become brass and the Lord seems very far away. Whatever form it takes, it is a famine in your life. God's intention during those times of life is not to drive you away from Him, but it is to draw you nearer to Him. He may be trying to correct you, (Rev. 3:19); or He may be trying to perfect you, (2 Cor. 12:9). How you react to your famine experience determines whether it becomes a time of blessing in your life or a time of devastation.

TODAY’S VERSE!

Proverbs 4:11-12 (New King James Version (NKJV)
11 I have taught you in the way of wisdom;
I have led you in right paths.
12 When you walk, your steps will not be hindered,
And when you run, you will not stumble.

TODAY’S HYMN!
“You Are My All In All” By: Dennis L. Jernigan (1990)

You are my strength when I am weak
You are the treasure that I seek
You are my all in all
Seeking You as a precious jewel
Lord, to give up I'd be a fool
You are my all in all
Refrain:
Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name

Taking my sin, my cross, my shame
Rising again I bless Your name
You are my all in all
When I fall down You pick me up
When I am dry You fill my cup
You are my all in all
Refrain:
Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name

Oh my
Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name

TODAY’S PRAYER!
Father Most High, God Most Loved! We pray You will help us to be a person who has a heart for You and for Your ways; a heart that is in the right place at the right time. Enable us to have a powerful effect on the world around us to Your glory, by standing up for what is right and by following Your example. Grant us the power of ONE with Jesus, to reveal Him to the world, to lift Him up for the world to see, that souls may be saved, the sick healed, the bereaved comforted, the suffering delivered. We praise You our God in good times and in bad times for You are worthy of all praise, glory and honor. These things we pray in the name of Jesus our Beloved Savior, Amen!

BE SURE TO READ MY DAILY “DID YOU KNOW” POST!
SHARE THIS LESSON WITH FRIENDS AND INVITE THEM TO JOIN THE TEAM!


  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOANIE69 2/8/2013 4:38PM

    I enjoyed this lesson and surely could relate to the times of famine in more than one way. But the Lord works His works in me, and changes me, Praise the Lord.
emoticon
I loved this line of the lesson:
"This is a story of redemption, of love, of grace
and of hope." YES!
("Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine....
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.")

emoticon God bless you, Joanie

Comment edited on: 2/8/2013 4:39:03 PM

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MNABOY 2/8/2013 3:19PM

    Thanks

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EDITOR 2/8/2013 3:01PM

    Thank you, Vic, for being led to expound this book. God provides during all types of famines! And thank you for the goodie.

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RSSSLHB 2/8/2013 10:18AM

    emoticon Viv the book of Ruth is emoticon

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ANHELIC 2/8/2013 10:13AM

    Thank you vic for a great lesson, beautiful hymn and prayer. Ruth is an inspiration to us how we need to be faithful during all times. We must remain humble through our bad times and remember that God is with us constantly. He will bring us through these times and teach us to remain steady in Him. God bless you for your teachings, Vic. Thank you for the goodie and note. I love the hymn, the words tell us that Jesus is our all in all.

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TONYVAND1 2/8/2013 8:57AM

  Staying true to Him in the famine times keep us humbled and shows us what He wants to teach us through those times. Pray that you will be faithful as He is faithful

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 2/8/2013 8:01AM

    Inspiring thought that bad times can be God's correcting or perfecting us. Count it all joy though we suffer. We can hide ourselves in His arms and know all is for our good. Thank you for that song. The melody is beautiful as are the lyrics. Thank you for the prayer, too.

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LINDAMARIEZ1 2/8/2013 7:56AM

    I appreciagted todays lesson Vic! thank you emoticon

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SANDRALEET 2/8/2013 7:41AM

    Will God punish us the same way .He in the old testament destroyed and then brought them back to him.Many in the lost days from other faith will be saved.Like Ruth who accepted God

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JSTETSER 2/8/2013 6:40AM

    Ruth is such a motivating story. She found God's favor through her obedience.

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AZMOMXTWO 2/8/2013 6:39AM

  thank you

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