27 September 2010

God's Providence in Our Bad Decisions (Part 3)


Ruth 1:19-22

As we continue in this wonderful story of God's providence found in the book of Ruth. Let me ask you something personal. How do you respond to bad decisions or bad outcomes in your life? BETTER YET! How do you respond to God in your bad decisions or circumstances of life?

WHETHER IT WOULD BE:
• Your finances
• Your marriage
• Your children
• Your farm or business
• Your health
• Your path that He has put you on

Sometimes it’s hard to see past the hurt...heartache and the confusion of life. Sometimes we say things we don’t mean or do things that display our inner character or feelings. TAKE FOR EXAMPLE! You’re standing at the grave sight of your 14 year old daughter. A person who by world’s standards has her whole life ahead of her. You watch as the machine lowers your daughter into the ground....a place where her body will remain until the final days of Jesus. It’s a sad time for everyone...including the preacher! Because that could be one of yours one day. What are they thinking? Are they angry with God......Are they angry at themselves?..............Are they thinking only if I could have stayed longer or hide the keys so that she couldn’t do what she did. WE CAN’T SEE THE PLAN GOD HAS FOR US...........because in reality if we did, we would run like Jonah and hide like Adam every time. God’s providence is when He displays His glory even in our darkest hour.........He takes what seems bad, uncomfortable, hurtful, and sinful and turns it out for His glory! “Providence is shaping our ends; a plan is developing in our lives; a supreme and loving Being is making all things work together for good.” F B Meyer. As the Psalmist says "Our God is in heaven and does whatever He pleases!" Psalm 115:3

IN THE CASE OF THE BOOK OF RUTH...........we see:
• 4 people went out and only 1 is coming back!
• 3 deaths and 1 surviving widow
• 4 full of life and 1 left empty

Which brings us to this part of the letter that most scholars believe the prophet Samuel wrote? WHAT WAS NAOMI FEELING DURING THIS TIME? According to the Scripture we are going to see a woman who is hurting..........broken.........frustrated.......sorrowful......and resentment for the cards the Lord has dealt her. Remember we need to understand! Naomi can’t see the future. So she can’t see the blessings that are about to follow in the coming day or even the plan that God had for her and Ruth. Let me ask you without making Naomi the only person who feels this way at some point in your life. Have you ever been angry with God? Do you blame God for your trials or think that this is His way of punishing you? Be honest because God knows your heart! And the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. I LIKE WHAT JOHN FLAVEL SAID “How often has providence convinced its observers, upon a sober recollection of the events of their lives, that if the Lord had left them to their own counsels they had as often been their own tormentors, if not executioners?”
George macDonald said “To the dim and bewildered vision of humanity, God's care is more evident in some instances than in others; and upon such instances men seize, and call them providences. It is well that they can; but it would be gloriously better if they could believe that the whole matter is one grand providence.” We as Naomi can’t see past the pain or trials sometimes. It’s better to be angry then face the facts and move on and say “Lord I surrender all because Your ways, are not my ways” Look at verse 19 they start to make that long journey home! The trip from Moab to Bethlehem would have taken between 7-10 days. It would have required them to cross the river Jordan and to climb the 2000 plus feet in elevation required to reach Bethlehem. IT’S INTERESTING TO NOTE: We don’t here of any of the events leading up to Bethlehem, but considering how dangerous of a trip for 2 unaccompanied women, and we again see God’s providential care for these two women. WHY I SAY THAT? Jeremiah called the road wicked and polluted (Jer 3:2). Remember the Good Samaritan story in (Luke 10) the man who was beaten on the road to Jericho. The same road these ladies would venture on back to Bethlehem. WHAT DO YOU THINK NAOMI AND RUTH TALKED ABOUT?

• Did Naomi tell her about her people and the Law of Moses?
• Did Naomi tell her about the customs of the land?
• Did Naomi tell her about the deliverance from Egypt?
• Did Naomi tell her about God’s wonderful plan of redemption?

Whatever they talked about is not for us to know otherwise it would be here in the pages of Scripture for everyone to see. One thing we do know from Scripture, is that Naomi’s attitude wasn’t the greatest.....Look at verse 20. Mara means “bitter”.........Naomi was bitter because of what happened to her and the family. By her husband’s compromise left this women whose name means “Pleasant” feeling “bitter” .....“It looks like Pleasant wasn’t pleasant anymore” This adventure had taken its toll on her....we all have breaking points and Naomi reached her after 10 long years of heartache and pain. Naomi attributes all her ill fortune to God as she acknowledges Him by saying “El Shaddai” .............Almighty......the All powerful One has afflicted me (Naomi)Not us but me! This is the name the patriarchs knew before He revealed himself to Moses in (Exo 6:3). Naomi was saying the Lord has made her life bitter..........not by chance or by any other gods! Now we need to be careful here! Naomi is acknowledging God’s sovereign hand in this not accusing Him of doing this...But this still doesn’t excuse the way we deal with things in life....Self pity! We are to seek His face for His yoke is light. He can carry us through even in our darkest of hours as David said in Psalm 23! Maybe this will help you understand how she feels.......There was another wife who felt the same way Naomi felt..... Job 2:9-10 “Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!" But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity (hardship, difficulty)?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” We have to understand the time and the commands that God had put in place because they are the same today for you and me! God demands obedience not compromise!

• We are not to compromise and flee for the sake of comfort.
• We are not to compromise God’s word because it might offend.
• We are not to compromise when God tells us to do something.
• We are to walk by faith and not by sight.

PRIME EXAMPLE KING SAUL.......in 1Sam 15:22-23 “So Samuel said: "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king."  Not only was Naomi feeling bitter towards her life circumstance she was also left with nothing! Look at verse 21 "I was full but know I am empty" This is a very sad statement, especially when it coming from a child of God. BASICALLY WHAT NAOMI IS SAYING IS........I have empty hands...an empty home....and an empty heart. CAN I SAY THIS! There is not one empty person in this church, or in this country or in this world! Why? No one is empty when they are breathing...that is a gift from God! Who else was full and came home empty?.............................Prodigal son. This is a prime example of how God deals with each individual when they don’t listen to wait upon Him.When we make our choices in the flesh it usually nine times out ten ends up hurting the flesh.What I find interesting about what Naomi says is true for most, if not all of us here in this church....GOD ALWAYS NEEDS TO EMPTY US WHETHER IT’S:

• a bad choice
• pride, money
• arrogance, bitterness
• hatred, selfishness
• idolatry and so on, and so on

Before we can see Him and His providential plan for our lives.....he needs to break our will sometimes........................God allowed Naomi to be bitter in time when she should have been like Job praising and thanking Him for His sovereign goodness. God was dealing with Naomi in her bitterness! LET ME ASK YOU......What is God dealing with you in your life? ARE YOU BITTER RIGHT NOW FOR THE CARDS THAT HAVE BEEN DEALT ON YOUR LIFE? I like what Warren Werisbe said in his commetary on Ruth “we cannot control the circumstances of life, but we can control how we respond to them. That’s what faith is all about, daring to believe that God is working everything out for our good even when we don’t feel like it or see it happening?” As the Scottish Preacher George Morrison said “nine-tenths of our unhappiness is selfishness” Naomi couldn’t see the future or what is going to take place in the coming days. She doesn’t have the letter that we hold in our hands today.......then at that time! She is going to be happy again! Praising God once again. Remember God always needs to empty us first, of our stubbornness and pride to make this possible. In the coming days of her present situation she is going to see the glory of God. She will finally see’s the plan that God has for her and Ruth. That’s God’s providence even in our bad decisions. He turns everything out for His glory even in your time of suffering and confusion or bitterness. If you don't agree with me, maybe you will agree with these examples:

• Abraham has he is about to plunge a knife into his son Isaac chest.
• Joseph as he sits in a prison cell for doing nothing wrong.
• Jonah in the great fish as he is about to witness the greatest revival of all times.
• Mary the chosen sinner that God looked upon with favour.
• Polycarp and the decision he had to make and the impact that he would leave behind for the people in the future.
• Ignatius and the impact he would have on people before he was feed to the lions.
• Luther and his faithfulness and how it would change the church forever.
• Jim Elliott and the sacrifice he and his team would make for the blessed Gospel that saves to the uttermost!
• Your present circumstance or situation...because He is going to get the glory whether you like it or not.

God’s Providence in Our Lives!  Despite how Naomi felt about her life and the situation she was lefty holding........God in His infinite wisdom and plan had something else in store for her and her Moabite daughter in-law. Despite how I wished or hoped things would turn out in my life God saw His plan was better than mine!Despite how you feel in your present situation God has a plan for you...and in the end it will bring Him the glory He so greatly deserves......Again as Warren Werisbe said “stop staring at the wall and by faith get up and open the door to a brand new tomorrow.” Naomi might have felt empty but she is going to find out that she is the richest person alive! Why? She has a daughter in law named Ruth! The mother that would lead to the line of David ......which ultimately leads to the Jesus Christ.........

• The King of Kings and Lord of lords....
• The Giver and Sustainer of life......
• The Great I’AM
• The Prince of Peace
• The Precious Lamb of God
• The Great Redeemer

The one that Paul said........ Eph 2:4-8 “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,” As we close let me say this! "We are the richest and fullest people on the planet, if you are a child of the living God."

God's Providence in Our Bad Decisions (Part 2)


Ruth 1:6-18

WHAT IS USUALLY THE NUMBER 1 THING YOU DO WHEN YOU (KNOW) THAT YOU HAVE MADE A BAD DECISION. Maybe this will help you answer that question. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU TRY AND DO WHEN YOU MAKE A BAD DECISION SO THAT NOBODY FINDS OUT? You try to fix or hide it from others! Or worse try to pretend it never happened! That’s exactly what the flesh wants to do....what our sinful nature wants to do! Bad decisions or choices make us look bad on the outward appearance (At least that’s how most people feel)..... But my reply to that kind of thinking is.......to whom do you look bad to? We even do this in our Christian lives! When we deliberately sin or get caught up in a sin, we think that if we can hide it, nobody will ever know about it or talk about us or worse yet look down or different towards us; and call us hypocrites....or Pharisee’s. THE GREATEST EXAMPLE OF THIS IS FOUND IN THE BIBLE! Gen 3:7-11 “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?" So he said, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself." And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? But back in Chapter 2 we see that they had no problem being naked....but when they made that bad decision (in this case chose to sin) they were ashamed ....We try so hard to cover up our messes thinking that everything will be ok!We think that we can fix or make the problem go away and say “everything will be just fine” That’s not true. ANOTHER PRIME EXAMPLE WE FIND IN THE SCRIPTURE IS DAVID AND HIS ADULTERY! He does everything humanly possible to make things right but in the end it cost two people to lose their lives....As we continue in Ruth’s letter....we still witness the outcome of bad choices.......but we also see God’s sovereign providence in the lives of 3 women. Naomi is left holding the cards.....her husband has died.....and here two son’s (v5) She has some big decisions to make.....one is what to do, know that see is all alone! Naomi gets word that the famine has been lifted in the city of bread in the nation of praise. She starts of by making the right decision to go back......BUT her motives are wrong for returning to Bethlehem! The only reason I’m going back to my countryman is because there is food again! Her first idea to return was because they have food...not because I want to make it right with God. The underlining theme to the Old Testament has always been repent and return back to the Lord. God’s underlining theme is not return back because there is nothing left for you here and know there is food back home......Not come to me when you want something or when you have nothing left!! She decides to go back home after 10 long years away in a foreign.......despised......wicked nation that hated each other.....But this time she is going home alone without her husband and two sons.......Can you imagine the conversations of the little town of Bethlehem...the murmuring that would take place.....As she is walking home to a land that God said he would provide for and did....

• Here comes Naomi the doubter
• Here comes Naomi the one who run when times get tough
• Here comes Naomi the trader to her people

With a little sanctified imagination......I’m sure Naomi thought that! Otherwise she wouldn’t have said this in (verse 8-13) WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND SOMETHING ABOUT THIS STATEMENT! Naomi’s sons married Moabite women!! According to Jewish Law this was forbidden especially those from Ammon and Moab
Deut 7:2-4 “and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them. Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the LORD will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly.” It was the Moabite women in Moses’ day who seduced the Jewish men into morality and idolatry. The cost of that bad decision was devastating, 24 000 people died because of this.....(recorded in the Book of Numbers 25). Naomi knew if I go back to my people what will they think...... pagan gentiles married my boys and all I’m left with is........... these gentile girls. The easiest solution is kick them lose and nobody will know. I’m really doing them a favour because I’m of age and there is no way I’m going to have more children for them to marry (v11-v13). Go back to your people and begin living out your young life! Was she doing this out of kindness and concern for her two daughters in laws? Or was she thinking that if I returned alone, the people wouldn’t see that her family broke the Law of Moses. I want to stop here for a moment! Why? Something bothers me about what Naomi says here .......How does a person who knows the truth ...in this case the true Living God. Tell these young women who she has gotten to know and love by the embrace and the emotions we see from all of them in this portion of scripture....What would bring a person to tell them to go back to their pagan idol worshipping lives. It would be like anyone of us.....telling our neighbour who worships false god’s false religions and say have fun worshipping Satan while I worship the true living God. AS I SAID BEFORE......"How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate someone to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?" Penn Jillette, an atheist comedian, magician. Why would you in good conscience tell the very women who married your sons go back to Satan and his crafty tricks. While I go back to the place where God protects and guides and provides for His children to those who obey His commands. Was she ashamed of her son’s choices...and her husband’s decision to come to this wicked place? Was she ashamed because she had little faith in the true Living God? Was Naomi trying to cover-up their disobedience by returning alone? AS ONE PERSON SAID “Many bad choices are made simply because we move through the decision-making process too hastily, basing our conclusions on emotions, bad information or impulses.” Naomi has lost everything and there is a sense of bitterness and selfishness as she said at the end of (v13) “the Lord has gone out against me” Whatever her motives were.........the underline message is don’t follow me!! Go back!! HOW DID THE TWO YOUNG LADIES RESPONSED? What decision did they make?

Orpah.................a person who loved her mother kissed her and went back to her pagan idolatry (v15)When I think of this...... I’m reminded of Lot’s wife who loved the city and the worldliness. It’s that person who bought into Satan’s lie and says this is far better then what Christ can offer you. The person who hears the message of salvation counts the cost and says “I can’t give up my pleasures to serve this God”. The person who looks back from the plough. The rich young man who went away weeping. The parable of sower and the seed
in Matt 13:22 “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” JOHN SAID IN HIS EPISTLE! 1 John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” Orpah had a decision to make.......what she chose would in a sense determine her fate! Her heart loved Naomi...but she loved Moab and this world more. She gave up and went the other way! Orpah chose the world......according to the Scriptures we never her named mentioned ever again! BAD DECISION!

Ruth...................a person who loved her mother by what we read here in this portion of scripture. There is something here we see that Orpah never did! (v14) “she clung to her” Clung (means) to stay by.....abide.....cleave.....to be joined together. The same example God gave us when it comes to marriage! Gen 2:24 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” DO YOU REALIZE WHAT THIS REPRESENTS? Ruth was willing to forsake her own people, her father's house; her native country, the chances of never having an husband...to follow Naomi. Ruth was willing to go and abide with her forever.

HERE IS THIS:

• A Moabite woman who comes from pagan idolatry (Num 21:29)
• A woman that comes from a nation that promotes or passionately encourages immorality
• A place of child sacrifice (2 Kings 3:26-27)
• A woman who comes from worshipping false gods
• A woman who has just lost her husband....father in-law.......and brother in-law
• A woman who is left with no support and has more obstacles than the average person has had in their entire life!

WHAT DO WE SEE? A person who by worldly standards say “she has ever right to anger, hurt, and the right to curse this God”. She has ever right humanly speaking to hate this God of Israel. But she doesn’t....she shows a greater faith........ than Naomi and..... sadly than most Christian’s today!! Not only did Ruth cling to Naomi....look at what she said (v16-v17) This is God’s sovereign plan in our bad decisions. This is the heart of a woman who is being transformed by the power of God. This is a woman who desires to follow after the living God of the bible
“I will go wherever you go”
“I will lodge wherever you stay”
“Your family will be my family”
“Your God will be my God”
“I will lay down my life for you”
“My hope is in your hope”
“I love you to the end and forever”
She had a godly sorrow and passion to follow Naomi and her God.  This is a prime example of what Paul wrote to the Corinthian church in his second letter....2Cor 7:9 “Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” Ruth is pouring her heart to Naomi....Ruth is showing us her genuine heart and concern for her soul......Ruth passion is to live with God’s chosen people......Ruth willingly leaves everything behind to follow. Luke 9:23-24 “Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”  In John's gospel he wrote in 12:25-26 “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” Ruth wants to know this Living God......Ruth makes the smartest decision out of all these 3 ladies. Naomi does it out selfishness and lack of faith, because she has nowhere else to turn. Orpah does it out blindness and worldliness. Ruth does it with a heart of anguish and adoration to know the true Living God of the Bible and to live a life by faith! LET ME ASK YOU! Which category of lady can you relate to more this morning? The one who only has a little faith because of bitterness and pride, which is ultimately is affecting your decisions. The one who has no faith and is only looking out for self and what I can get out of this life. The one whose eyes have been open to the truth of God’s word and seeks to know His face to the very end......No matter what cost!! The one who says “I don’t care what life brings as long as Christ is at the center of it” The one who says “you can kill this body but you cannot kill my soul” The one that says “I’m with Him”. The one who clings to Jesus with all their might and never let’s go! That’s God’s providence in our lives.....even in our bad decisions! A tragedy that brings hope for Ruth and for many generations to come. As we close listen to this wonderful poem by the late great Richard Baxter

THE PATH WE TRED
From valley to valley out over the hilltops,
From sunshine to fog like the darkest of night;
So we follow the Lord down life’s winding pathway,
And walk much by faith and little by sight.
‘Twould be easy to see were His presence like lightning,
And easy to hear if like thunder His voice;
But He leads in the quiet by the voice of the Spirit,
And we follow in love for we’ve made Him our choice.
The path that we tread by the cross is o’er shadowed,
And the glory at times by pain is made dim;
Temptations assail and the spirit grows weary,
Yet we’re ever sustained by the vision of Him.
The years of our lives be they few or be many,
Will soon pass away as dreams of the night;
Then we’ll step through the portals on eternity’s morning,
And greet Him in glory as faith turns to sight.

God's Providence in Our Bad Decisions (Part 1)


Ruth 1:1-5

I love the Old Testament! It’s not an old boring book that means nothing to us today. I love the Old Testament because we see average (every day) people dealing with the day to day struggles of life. I love the Old Testament because it displays the attributes of God. I love the Old Testament because it shows the patience and mercies of God. I love the Old Testament because it prevalent even in our present generation.( no matter what age you are or where you come from). I love the Old Testament because it encourages my heart to see God prevail and glorified even the toughest of decisions whether as a nation, at war or whether you are alone. I love the Old Testament for how it shows the redemption plan of God for man from the beginning of Genesis all the way to Malachi. OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS we are going to be looking at a wonderful Old Testament letter that displays.......... God’s providential blessing and care to those who trust in Him. THE BOOK OF RUTH!!

• A letter that specifically talks about a young woman who came from pagan idolatry
• A letter about a love story
• A letter that plays a pivotal part in human history
• A letter is filled with many real life situations that we can learn a great deal from

IN THIS LITTLE BOOK OF 85 VERSES WE SEE:

• A story that connects the house of David with the Tribe of Judah
• A story that connects Jesus to the line of David
• A story about making bad choices in life and the lessons you learn from them
• A story about the consequences of disobedience to a faithful God
• A story about an outcast, a despised nation without hope
• A story about choices and the results of those choices
• A story about dedication and commitment
• A story about what a virtuous women looks like
• A story about what a real man of God looks like
• A story about God’s sovereignty and providential care
• A story about the glory of God displayed to mankind!
• A story about redemption even to the worst kind of people (sinners)

AS PAUL SAID “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Rom 7:24. The answer is in the verse (V25) “I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” That’s what this story is all about.......God’s redeeming grace to sinners and the continued blessed hope the Old Testament speaks about to the heart of every generation...even to us today! BUT THE STORY OF RUTH DOESN’T START OFF WELL! As you would read in a fairy tale or watching a Disney movie....”Once upon a time there lived this beautiful young lady.....”or “Once upon a time there was this noble king who was loved by all!” NO! THIS LETTER HAS A TERRIBLE START! The story begins with a big decision to make not only for yourself but for the whole family. As I like to call it....... a testing of your faith! Look at the first verse! “a famine in the land”. The very place Elimelech and his family lived were faced with a calamity of great proportions...........Bethlehem, Judah was without food. Bethlehem means “the house of bread” and Judah means “praise”.........“So the house of bread in the land of praise is without bread!” WHY? The very first part of the opening verse gives an indication for the reason of this famine in such a blessed land “These were the days of the judges” (v1). Time was not easy for anyone during the time of the judges ...especially for the Jewish people. Warren Werisbe said “the book of Judges is the story of Israel at one of its lowest points in history; it’s a record of division, cruelty, apostasy, civil war, and national disgrace.” You might think Warren is being a little bit too harsh!.................. BUT IS HE? Turn to the last verse of Judges.......look at what it says carefully!! “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Doesn’t this sound like the days we are living in, here in Canada today? Or.....North America for that matters? Or...... How about the whole world? SOMETIMES IT TAKES A CALAMITY TO WAKE PEOPLE UP FROM THEIR SLUMBER. It did for King David with losing of his new born son. What about Solomon when he felt empty in his letter of Ecclesiastes......Peter at his denial........Saul on the road to Damascus.........When you’re alone! Famines weren’t uncommon to these people......in the Old Testament up this point in the life of God’s chosen people. FOR EXAMPLE: Gen 12:10 “Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land.” Gen 26:1 “There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham.” Gen 47:13 “Now there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine.” Famines make people do some strange things as I said one time before were people would go as low as eating another person to survive. Elimelech had a decision to make stay and possible go hungry which ultimately would lead to death or find somewhere else to go that has food and be content and move on with life! The right answer would be to........wait upon the Lord and see what He is going to do!! LET ME ASK YOU A QUESTION MEN.......Dad’s, husbands! What would you do if you were in that situation? If your answer would be to go and find somewhere else....... you’re wrong! What did Elimelech do? He took his family from the house of bread a place that God’ promised the patriarch of old........ a land flowing with milk in honey! All God asks in return is that they (you) put their faith and trust in Him as they did when they crossed the Jordon River with Joshua and the rest of the people. Think about this! DO WE REALLY TAKE THE BIBLE SERIOUSLY! Matt 6:25-33 "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Do you beleive that? Answer seriously though! Did they forget how the Lord provided for their ancestors...those who walked before them? Did they lose heart because the chosen people had turned away from God? Did they have any faith at all? Elimelech chose the simple and easiest route for himself and his family......go where there is food......which is exactly what most of us would do!! “O you of little faith” would be the words we would her from Jesus. Their bad decision doesn’t end there...not only did he decide to leave the land of praise, but the place he choose was even worse.Where did he take his family? The country of Moab. Why is this such a bad choice Mike?........ He needed to provide for his family! YOU’RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT......But he did one thing that many of us are doing today! “Walking by sight and not by faith” It’s bad enough their lack of faith brought them to this point in life.....to doubt that God wouldn’t or couldn’t provide for their needs. (even in a time like this). Scripture makes it clear that God would have provided for Elimelech’s family if they had stayed in Judah  “I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lends; And his descendants are blessed.” Ps 37:25-26. As Paul said in 2Cor 4:8 “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;” By leaving they prevented God from displaying His power and care in their behalf. What’s worse is that they chose to go to a country..... and nations that God calls a “wash pot” Ps 108:9. A way you could paraphrase that verse would be to say “Moab is a garbage can” DO YOU KNOW WHERE THE DESCENDENTS OF MOAB CAME FROM? From the events that took place between a drunken Lot and his daughter (Gen 19:37) Not a very good beginning to a nation of people!

• Moab oppressed the Jews for 18 years up to this point in time during the book of Judges
• Moab were outcasts to the Jewish people (they were half breads and wicked)
• Moab is not spoken of well in God’s precious Word
• Moab tried to hire Balaam to curse the Israelites (Num 22:4-24:25)
• Moab was a pagan and idolatrous country (1 Kings 11:7-33)
• Moab was later defeated by king Saul (1 Sam14:47)
• Moab was cursed by God (read Isaiah 15, 16......Jeremiah 28......Ezekiel 25:8-11............

Amos 2:1-3 “Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because he burned the bones of the king of Edom to lime. But I will send a fire upon Moab, And it shall devour the palaces of Kerioth; Moab shall die with tumult, With shouting and trumpet sound. And I will cut off the judge from its midst, And slay all its princes with him," Says the LORD. A man whose name means “my God is King” leaves the land that God promised the patriarchs to go to a place that is described as a garbage can...... It would be the same as if anyone of us said there is no more food here..... we must go to the Grahamdale Garbage Dump to find it. Now are you starting to see that was a wrong move on the part of Elimelech? WE DO THE SAME....apply this to our lives today....We get stressed out about where our next meal comes but if asked you today did you eat yesterday....YOU WOULD SAY YES! So to that....... I would say “isn’t God providing for you then.....” Look at what happens to this family over the next ten years....Now we need to understand...This doesn’t mean God killed off all the men for their bad choices.....we don’t read that here passage! What do see here is........God who is glorious and all powerful display His providential plan for the redemption of many in the years to come! If they didn’t go to Moab we would never see later through Ruth and the birth of her children........the birth of David! SO LET ME ASK YOU! What are you going to do when you are faced with a crisis or in this case a famine? Are you going to run or stand firm in Christ that He will find a way to provide for you and your loved ones.....Because truthfully, He does every day, you just don’t take notice of it.

• Have you always had shelter?
• Have always had food on the table?
• Have you had fairly decent health?
• Have air to breathe?

Your answered would be YES.......... right! Sometimes God allows these kinds of things to happen in our lives to refine us...to strengthen to help us lean on Him more each and every day! He can always take our bad decisions and turn them out for our good. Just as He did for Jacob.....Jonah....David.......Solomon......Peter and You. He knows what He is doing! You need to walk by the faith trust Him...as Abraham had when he said to his young son Isaac......."My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering." So the two of them went together.” TO BE PERFECTLY HONEST ..........when we refuse to trust Him, what we really are doing is calling God a lair and dishonouring Him! SEE TO WALK BY FAITH IS TO........ Claim (state...declare..right it down) the promises of God. Obeying His word ........in spite of how you feel or what might happen. It means committing yourself to the Lord and relying solely upon Him to meet your needs. That’s a living faith that honours God and pleasing to Him. Again as Warren Werisbe said “when we live by faith, it glorifies God...” There is wisdom of this world that leads to foolishness and sorrow.....and there is wisdom of God that seems foolish to the world but it leads to blessing! THE SUNDAY QUESTION IS........Who are you going to listen to? The world......you.........or............. God the Author and sovereign sustainer of our souls?