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Friday, February 08, 2013


Ruth 1:1-7
Ruth: Pursued By Grace


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”.


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.


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.

“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
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
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

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!


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  • JOANIE69
    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.
    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
    1928 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/8/2013 4:39:03 PM
    1928 days ago
    Thank you, Vic, for being led to expound this book. God provides during all types of famines! And thank you for the goodie.
    1928 days ago
    emoticon Viv the book of Ruth is emoticon
    1928 days ago
    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.
    1928 days ago
    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
    1928 days ago
    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.
    1928 days ago
    I appreciagted todays lesson Vic! thank you emoticon
    1928 days ago
    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
    1928 days ago
    Ruth is such a motivating story. She found God's favor through her obedience.
    1928 days ago
    thank you
    1928 days ago
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