“A Fresh Start - Leaving Bitterness Behind”

January 6, 2008   Ruth 1  Play AUDIO (mp3)  Play VIDEO (wmv)

Bite a Lump, Find a Pearl

 ○     ten-dollar plate turns out to be worth much more
 ○     clam wisdom: overcome irritant with beautiful secretion

Why Ruth? A Gem of a Book

 ○     ancient story surprisingly relevant to the common person
 ○     features romance; counters racism; depicts a fresh start

From Fullness to Emptiness: When Tragedy Won’t Let Up

 ○     Naomi’s downward path from fullness to emptiness
 ○     pagan philosophy conjectured blind fate goddess with ‘wheel of fortune’
 ○     famine; refugees in foreign land; husband dies; sons die (1ff)
 ○     bleak prospects for older widows in agrarian patriarchal society

Overcoming Bitterness with Blessing

 ○     Naomi REALISTIC - can speak of life being bitter; empty, suffering, tragedy (13; 20f)
 ○     yet still RELYING on God - releases daughters-in-law; pronounces blessing in Lord’s name (8f)
 ○     descendant David trusted God to do to him as seemed best (2Sam 15:26)
 ○     cosmetic company founder undaunted by early tragedy

Sacrificial Grace in Sticking with a “Lost Cause”

 ○     Ruth part of a group of exceptional women in Jesus’ lineage (Mt 1)
 ○     similar circumstances to Orpah, but more caring response (10, 14)
 ○     declaration of unconditional commitment still popular today (16f)
 ○     God pledges Himself to remain with us always (Deut 31:8; Mt 28:20; Jn 14:18)
 ○     friends show kindness when we need it most