Ruth 1:6-18


Verse 6, Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.

1.   She heard - signifies she was listening.

a.   Perhaps she had kept in contact with friends in Israel.  But she was still away from the ordinances of God.

b.   Many church members do this today.  They are away from their right place, but still keep in contact with what is going on.

2.   Had heard in the land of Moab.  Sinners always seem to know when God is blessing His people.  They also seem to know when God's people are fighting.

3.   An end to the famine - We need to learn that when God sends chastisement, He always does so in love and will soon give blessing again.

4.   Naomi's new acquaintances in Moab did not stop her from returning to Israel.  She had had enough of God's judgment.

5.   She didn't let the graves of loves ones keep her in a wrong place.  Many people today will be a member of a certain church so they can be buried in the church cemetery.


Why did Naomi leave Moab, going back to Israel?

1.   She saw that God was chastening her.  (verse 20, 21)

2.   Moab is a depressing place to her.  It's a place of judgment, no longer a place of refuge.

3.   Note: God has ways of making the earth seem bad that heaven may be endeared to us.

4.   Remember the story of the lit match?  The man was content to stay in his house as long as the lights were on.  But when the lights went out (trouble came), he was very happy to have one match lit, and he was ready to leave the darkness and go to the light.  God know when to send us trouble, doesn't He?


Verse 7, Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.

1.   Verse 7, Apparently Ruth and Orpah traveled with Naomi part of the way.

2.   Their traveling with Naomi showed that Naomi, as a Jew, had won them by her love.

3.   They counted Naomi closer than a mother, since they left their own families in order to follow her.

4.   They were true to her, even though those were dead that first brought about the unity.

5.   Though they had a religious difference, through a wrong marriage, they showed love and respect for each other.  This is a good example for us today.

6.   We don't want to forget another reason Orpah and Ruth traveled with Naomi.

a.   In those days, the law of kinsman redeemer as in effect, at least in Israel.  It probably wasn't in effect in the Moab.

b.   Since Naomi is a Jew, it is possible the two young women felt obligated to stay with Naomi in hopes of marrying her next sons, in order to raise up children to their first husbands.


Verse 8-18 is divided into three sections:

1.   Verse 8-10 - Personal reasons for leaving.

2.   Verse 11-14 - Secular reasons for leaving.

3.   Verse 15-18 - Religious reasons for leaving.



Personal reasons for leaving

Verse 8-10,  And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother's house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. {9} The LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept. {10} And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people.

A.  Naomi forces the issue of their going with her, not wanting them to follow her.  Why did Naomi ask them to leave?

1.   Perhaps she now understands why trouble came upon her (not following the Lord), and she is afraid of leading someone else astray.

2.   It's her desire that these women willingly follow the Lord (not her).

3.   If she got them to go to Israel by following her, couldn't she teach them after they got to Israel?  NO.  This is the mistake of many churches today.

a.   She couldn't be responsible for their economic well being.

b.   She wanted them to follow her (and the Lord) of their own free will - of a religious nature.

c.   Matt. 8:18-22 - Many wanted to follow Christ without counting the cost.  Naomi wanted these two women to know what they were getting into.

B.   The purpose is to teach them to "count the cost".

1.   This is not done today.  "Christianity" is made easy.

2.   Luke 9:57-62 - Jesus taught these men to count the cost.

3.   Matt. 4:19 - Make fishers of men.  Commercial fishing is hard work.  So is the right kind of Christianity.

C.   Naomi's persuasions.

1.   Reminds them of their mothers.

2.   Rehearses before them their goodness (ye have dealt kindly with me and the dead).

a.   These women have made good wives.

b.   It is very possible for lost women to be good wives to their husbands.

3.   Prays for them.

a.   The Lord deal kindly with you.

b.   The Lord grant you rest.

c.   And this to the Moabites!!!!

4.   That they find a husband.

a.   I Tim. 5:14 - Even unbelievers ought to marry!

b.   There ought to be rest in the married state (even for unbelievers).

D.  Verse 10, The answer of the two young women.

1.   It seems to me they talk it over, agree, and answer Naomi at the same time.

2.   They both determine to go, probably because of the emotional state they are in.

3.   We ought not have people follow us because of emotions.



Secular reasons for leaving

Verse 11-14,  And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me. And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.

A.  Naomi's persuasions.

1.   Turn again.

a.   It is possible Naomi saw some hesitation?

b.   This decision must be made by the women, for it is has life long consequences.

2.   Naomi outlines in detail what the flesh sees as their future.

a.   They have no hope for a home and family if they go with Naomi.

b.   She has no children, and no husband, therefore they will have no husbands.

3.   Naomi doesn't mention her financial condition, because that is clearly seen.  It's not expected that the financial condition would be any better in Israel.

B.   Orpah's reaction.

1.   She left, not because she didn't love Naomi, or her religion, but because she could not see anything spiritual.  In truth, she loved the things of the world more than the things of God.

2.   Many people are like this today.  Compare with the rich young ruler of Matt. 19:16-22.

3.   She returned to the worship of her gods like a dog to its vomit and a sow to her wallowing in the mire.

4.   Those that forsake the communion of saints for this world will surely begin to worship false gods.

C.   Ruth's reaction.

1.   She cleaves (to hold so tight that you can't tell who is who) to Naomi.

2.   She disregards the fact that, fleshly speaking, she will never bear children from Naomi's sons.

3.   She searches for the spiritual part and therefore receives the fleshly part.

4.   Matt. 6:33, But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

D.  Note the different reactions.

1.   The same message affects different people in different ways.

2.   Makes it very difficult to preach or teach.

3.   Somebody is always mad at you, and somebody is always glad with you.

4.   If God gives us a message, we need to learn to please God in that message, not people.



Religious reasons for leaving

Verse 15-18  And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.

A.  Naomi's persuasions.

1.   Why don't you do like everybody else is doing?

a.   It doesn't make any difference what everybody else is doing.

b.   We must serve the Lord.

2.   Go to your people.

3.   Go to your god.

4.   Follow your sister in law.

5.   We must be willing to leave all our family and all our gods to serve the true, living God.

6.   Matt. 6:24 - ye cannot serve God and mammon.

B.   Ruth's reply.  (In effect, she says she will go to her people and her God, but she cannot follow her sister in law to do it.)

1.   Intreat me not to leave thee.  Please stop asking me to leave.

a.   Let nothing stop us from entering into the promises of God.

b.   They are not friends that hinder us from serving God.

2.   She will travel with her to Israel, but:

a.   She's never seen it.  We are also traveling to a land we've never seen.

b.   The Moabites have a poor opinion of Israel.  Many people also have a poor opinion of the way we are going, but we ought to please God, not people.

3.   I'll lodge with thee (if you're rich or poor {and right now Naomi is dirt poor!!})

4.   Your people will be my people.

a.   Forsaking her nation - the Jews are a hated people by the Moabites, Num. 22.

b.   Naomi made a good impression for the Jewish religion in her everyday life, even when she was under the chastening hand of God.  May we be able to produce such fruits as these.

5.   My God is your God - a change of religion - the words Naomi is waiting to hear.

6.   Where thou diest, I will die - taking for granted Naomi will die first (since she is older).

a.   Ruth says she will continue after Naomi's death.

b.   Ruth has a religion of her own.

c.   It is a religion like Naomi's, but it's altogether hers.

d.   This is the kind of religion we need.

7.   I'll be buried in Israel.  Also forsaking the burying place of her husband, with no prospect of another husband.

8.   Didn't even want her dead body carried back to Moab (and her family burial plot).


IV. Verse 18 - Conclusion: Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah are all satisfied.

A.  Naomi is satisfied.

1.   Naomi now knows that Ruth's conversion is genuine.

2.   Naomi knows that Ruth is going to Israel freely.  She has no sense of obligation to Naomi.

3.   She left speaking to her.  Naomi never again brought up the subject, knowing Ruth was perfectly content.

B.   Ruth, in freely searching out God's will for her life, steps out by faith into the black unknown.

1.   She has a total trust in God.

2.   God always gives the best to those that leave the choice with Him.

C.   Orpah is satisfied with staying with family, friends, and country.

1.   She will never know what she missed.

2.   Lost people, and saved people who do not live by faith, wind up with nothing, and don't know it.