Being true to who we are

Transcript Search
Autumn 2019  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  12:40
0 ratings

Life is full of difficult decisions. Naomi and Ruth had some really difficult decisions to make. Yet, by staying true to who they were, they were able to bring about blessings that no one could have imagined. I would have been difficult -- but without this story, we don't get David to become King, and we don't get Jesus to be born in Israel. Sometimes making the hardest decisions brings the biggest blessings.

Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →

Difficult Decisions

The world is full of difficult decisions — and sometimes the ones that can be the most difficult can be the ones that involve family. You’d think that those might be some of the easiest decisions for we should know our family the best — and with all that knowledge decisions should be easy.


Naomi was no stranger to difficult decisions. At first, she had to decide what to do in order to feed her family — leaving home and extended family to move to another country just to survive isn’t an easy decision.
Ruth 1:1 NRSV
In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and two sons.
Then she had to decide on what to do when her husband died.
The Lexham Bible Dictionary The Status of Biblical Women

A woman’s primary role was as wife and mother, and her purpose was to support the interests of her father or husband. In turn, husbands and fathers were expected to provide, and protect. Nevertheless, women’s dependence on men made them vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.

Living in a foreign land, without the protection that society expected would have prompted more difficult decisions. When her sons died, there were even more difficult decisions to make. How could she continue to live in a foreign land, without safety? How could she live up to the meaning of her name?
How in the midst of so much loss and trouble could she be gracious, pleasant, show favour, be a person of inner beauty? In the midst of so much potential trouble could she remain true to herself? Difficult decisions would have to made.


Ruth was no stranger to difficult decisions. She has no husband, no brother-in-law, and no father-in-law. While none of that could be all that difficult today — in biblical times that was a significant problem.
The dilemma in front of her was how was she going to live — who would care for her? I hate writing that and preaching that — Ruth should be able to care for herself — but again that’s today’s standards — not biblical ones.
Naomi had to go home, but did Ruth?
Ruth was fine living in Moab — it was her home. Sure it wasn’t Judah, but it could have been a nice enough place — there was richness to some degree. Moabites might have been enemies of Israelites for most of their history but obviously it was OK for Elimelech, Naomi, and their sons to move there — and “OK enough” for the sons to marry.
From the flip-side, other than the relationship Ruth has with Naomi, what would ever possess her to move to the land of her enemies and move away from all that she knew? Maybe that’s all that it took — the relationship Ruth and Naomi had with each other.
We looked at the meaning of Naomi — gracious, pleasant, inner beauty. How about Ruth?
Well Hebrew words have “roots” — the vowels are kind of add-ons, so when you look at a Hebrew word, you need to also look at the root of it to gain meaning.
And that’s where we begin to see the importance of Ruth’s name in this story — be refreshed. The whole biblical narrative changes with this character. She is an ancestor of David — of Jesus — and yet she’s one of the “enemies” of the Israelites — she came from a nation that was founded on sin — and yet she’s willing to give up her home, her people, her life as she knows it as she journeys with Naomi.

Love & Blessings

Stories like this one are refreshing — we hear too much about war, difference, fighting, sin, … and not enough about situations like this.


Ruth in her love for Naomi was able to get past the idea of living in the land of her enemy. She was able to not only live, but become the great-grandmother of the great King David.
It’s amazing how our lives can be blessings when we focus on love first and foremost — not worrying about what divides us — but what brings us together.


Today we celebrate Thanksgiving — that time each year when we think particularly about the produce of the land — and as Christians — as God’s people — think about giving thanks to God for having created all this for us.
Yet we read this earlier:
Ruth 1:1 NRSV
In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and two sons.
Famine isn’t something we have experienced in this context in a long time. The idea of having to move for food is probably at least a generation or two — if not more — removed from our present reality. Yet we know that not only around the world — but here as well, people find it hard to find food at times. We wouldn’t give out food through our Meeting the Need basket, or subsidize Good Food Boxes, or have the Community Garden if we didn’t understand that at times, food isn’t as secure as we’d hope for everyone.
Yet we also read this:
Ruth 1:6 NRSV
Then she started to return with her daughters-in-law from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had considered his people and given them food.
We know that God is concerned about out ability to have food — does care for us — does want us to prosper — and wants us to journey with others so we can all prosper together.
Maybe that’s the lesson this Thanksgiving — maybe we learn to be like Ruth — willing to put divisions aside to show love and to become a blessing. We see that in Jesus — he could have cut lots of people out of his ministry without a problem — the unclean, those who would deny him over and over again, those who disagreed with him — yet he didn’t. Why? Because our God transcends any divisions — our God is love — our God blesses and for that we give thanks.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more