Sermon #15 Series: Ruth
Title: Ruth’s Choice
Text: Ruth 1:14 - “Ruth clave unto her.”
Subject: The consecration of faith
Date: Tuesday Evening - August 3, 1993
Great issues are often determined by choices that appear to be insignificant. The choice or decision of one person often affects many. Indeed, there have been a few people in history who made choices and decisions by which God, in his providence, has directed the history of the world. Ceasar’s decision to cross the Rubican forever changed the history of the world. Columbus’ decision to continue his western voyage for just one more day was a decision that has affected everyone of us. But by comparison the decisions of those men were insignificant when weighed against the decision made by Ruth the Moabitess in the plains of Moab over 3000 years ago. (Read v. 14 - “Ruth clave unto her” - Naomi). The decision of that Moabitess stranger forever fixed the course of human history in the direction of God’s eternal, redemptive purpose!
If we learned nothing else from Ruth’s Choice, we ought to be made to realize the importance of making, even seemingly insignificant decisions, with wisdom and care. Always consider the consequences of your decisions. Do not make hasty, rash, spur of the moment decisions. They are almost always costly and regretted.
· Elimelech made a decision which resulted in the ruin of his family.
· Ruth made a decision that was costly to herself, but was right, and resulted in the salvation, the everlasting salvation of untold millions! Yet, it was a decision, a choice made in a lonely dessert, which no one knew about but Ruth, Orpah, Naomi and God.
Tonight, I want to talk to you about Ruth’s Choice. We see the choice made in verse 14. It is explained in verses 16 and 17.
Ruth’s Choice involved the complete commitment of herself to Naomi, her people, and her God. It is a beautiful and instructive picture of every believing sinner’s consecration to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Hold your Bible open on your lap while we look at these six issues involved in Ruth’s Choice.
I. First, Ruth said to Naomi, “WHITHER THOU GOEST, I WILL GO.”
In the course of our lives we cross many paths. At each cross road we come to, we all like to reserve to ourselves the freedom to choose which direction we will take. Ruth had no way of knowing what cross roads she might come to. But here she deliberately and decidedly renounced all freedom of choice in the affairs of her life. She committed herself to a path, not knowing where it might take her, only that it would end in Bethlehem. She committed herself to a course of life that would be entirely determined by someone else.
That is exactly what sinners do when they come to Christ. I am calling for two things tonight. I am calling for…
· You who are yet without Christ to commit yourselves to him. Take him yoke upon you. Become his voluntary bondslave (Matt. 11:28-30; Ex. 21:1-5).
· You who have long known him to renew the commitment of your life to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Illustration: Peter went fishing, but one
visit with Christ brought him back!
Is this not what we publicly declared to our Lord, to his people, and to all the world in our baptism. To walk in the newness of life (Rom. 6:4-6). To walk in his way? It is the…
· Highway of holiness (Isa. 35:8).
· Low way of humility.
· Narrow way of faith.
· Rough way of trial.
· Old way of truth.
· Safe way of security.
· Good way home.
What could be more blessed than to have your path ordered by the Good Shepherd, who goes before his sheep in the way in which he leads them.
II. “AND WHERE THOU LODGEST, I WILL LODGE.”
Ruth makes no stipulations as to where the lodging place should be, or what kind. The one desire that filled her breast ws to be with Naomi, her beloved mother-in-law.
· She had many friends, but dwelt with Naomi (2:23).
· Even when she married Boaz, “Ruth clave unto Naomi” (4:15).
This is a picture of every believer’s great ambition and blessed prospect - To dwell with Christ (Psa. 27:4; 23:6).
· Isaiah 57:15
· John 14:23
A. It matters not where my path takes me, if Christ is there.
B. It matters not where I live, if Christ is there.
C. It matters not where I worship, if Christ is there.
D. It matters not what, or where heaven is, if Christ is there.
This is the blessedness of the New Jerusalem - “The Lord is there!” (John 14:3).
III. “THY PEOPLE SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.”
Ruth’s choice involved a painful separation. She left her people and took Naomi’s people. The very first thing God calls for is an affirmation of love by a separation, an alienation of affection from all natural, earthly relationships. If we would follow Christ, Christ alone must be considered (Lk. 14:25-27).
When God called Abraham, he commanded him to leave his country, his kindred, and his father’s house. But Abraham would not let go of his father Terah. So God killed Terah (Gen. 11:31-32). Then, he brought Abraham into Canaan (Gen. 12:1-4; Acts 7:1-4).
A. If we would follow Christ, there is a very real sense in which we must forsake our own people (Psa. 45:10-11). You can only worship and serve one Person!
B. Commitment to Christ not only involves the severance of old relationships; it involves loving, loyal commitment to all is family - Behold, my family! (Matt. 12:49).
IV. Then, Ruth said, “THY GOD (SHALL BE) MY GOD!”
Without question, this was the most difficult part of Ruth’s decision. The natural man clings with the utmost tenacity to his religion and to his gods. It matters not how degrading the religion is, or how useless the god is, the fact that it is his religion and his god gives it value in his eyes. He resents any reflection upon it. He will fight for his religion. He will die in the defense of his god.
Now hear me and hear me well - It is absolutely impossible for anyone to follow Christ without forsaking the religion of Babylon and the gods of Babylon (Rev. 18:4; 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1). You cannot worship at the altar of free-will and the altar of free-grace. You must choose , as Ruth did, between the gods of your fathers and the true and living God, the God revealed in this Book, the God revealed in the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
· Sovereign and gracious!
· Just and merciful!
· The God of election, redemption, and grace!
V. Then Ruth said to Naomi - “WHERE THOU DIEST, WILL I DIE!”
I like that! At the very outset, Ruth said to Naomi, “I have made my decision. It is a life-long commitment. It will not be reversed. Not one step will be retraced.” I will be with you to the end!” (Lk. 9:62).
Two things here…
A. The believer comes to Christ recognizing that in Christ’s death as the sinner’s Substitute, we died (Gal. 2:19-20; 2 Cor. 5:14; Rom. 6:11).
We glory in the cross of Christ, because we died there with him!
B. The believer’s commitment to Christ is a resolute, permanent, persevering commitment (Phil. 3:13-14).
With the believer, this business of faith in and commitment to Christ is not spasmodic!
VI. One more thing - Ruth said, “AND THERE WILL I BE BURIED.”
Her life was so interwoven with Naomi’s that she wanted to be buried with her! She could follow her no further than to the grave. But she followed her that far.
A. Ruth’s allegiance to Naomi ended in a common grave, but the believer’s union with and allegiance to Christ begins in a common grave - We are buried with him in baptism! (Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12).
B. Yet, our burial with Christ looks far beyond the grave to the resurrection and on to the endless ages of eternity.
1. If we died with him, we shall be raised by him.
2. When we are raised by him, we shall live together with him forever - We shall “ever be with the Lord!”
I hold before you the City of God and this world, Bethlehem and Moab. I hold before you the Lord Jesus Christ and this world. I bid you now to follow Christ, to consecrate yourselves to him in exactly the same way that Ruth consecrated herself to Naomi. I cannot tell you what you may meet with in the way. But I can tell you that the path I am calling you to follow is life and ends in life, eternal life. Will you make Ruth’s Choice your choice? “Whither thou goest…there will I be buried!”