Each week we LIVESTREAM the Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, Lord's Day morning public worship at 11a, and Lord's Day p.m. singing (3p) and sermon (3:45), and the Midweek Sermon and Prayer Meeting at 6:30p on Wednesday

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

2019.11.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ruth 1:14-17

Questions from the Scripture text: What did the women do at the beginning of Ruth 1:14? What did Orpah do? What did Ruth do? To whom does Naomi tell Ruth that Orpah has returned (Ruth 1:15)? What does Naomi tell Ruth to do? What does Ruth tell Naomi not to do (Ruth 1:16)? Where does Ruth say that she will go? Where does Ruth say that she will lodge? Whom does Ruth say will be her people? Whom does Ruth say will be her God? Where does Ruth say she will die (Ruth 1:17)? What else does she say will be done to her there? Upon Whom does she call to enforce this promise? What does she insist will be the only thing that can separate them? 
Perhaps the most amazing part of Ruth’s famous declaration is at the end of Ruth 1:17, “Yahweh do so to me, and more also, if (even!) death parts you and me.”

There are many parts to what Ruth says. Certainly, she is rejecting the “Orpah option” that Naomi urged her to take. “Do not set upon me to forsake you,” Ruth responds in Ruth 1:16. Orpah had shown respect and affection to Naomi, but it was too much for her to give up her people and her gods.

For Ruth, however, everything is under the control of the one true God—even death, and the enforcing of oath promises.

So, yes, she is promising to share Naomi’s presence (wherever she goes), and Naomi’s plight (wherever she may end up spending a night), and her people (not just generally, but specifically—whatever indigent class she ends up in).

But, there’s much more than that. For Ruth, there’s God, and there’s eternity. Remember that their ages have been a big deal so far in this passage. Surely, the expectation is that Naomi will die first. And what will Ruth do then? She will continue trusting in the God whose blessing goes beyond death. She will rest in a grave alongside Naomi, who trusts in this God.

Not even death will separate them (note that the “anything but” is in italics in your English translation; the Hebrew reads, “So let Yahweh do to me, and so let Him do again, if death separates between me and between you”).

For the one who trusts that death is not the end—that for believers in Yahweh, the grave is a resting place until the resurrection—sticking to the Lord with His people is worth every possible earthly loss or hardship.

Ruth has come to believe that Yahweh hears what she says and carries out justice on earth. This Yahweh has appointed her to be a daughter unto Naomi, and the fifth commandment requires her to stick to her. This Yahweh has promised that a Seed of the woman will crush the serpent’s head, and death will not win.

If Jesus has taken away her condemnation, then even death can’t cause her separation from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. Or from others who have this same faith. Do you believe this?
What hardship might you have to suffer to stick to Christ and His people? Why is it worth it?
Suggested Songs: ARP46 “God Is Our Refuge” or TPH405 “I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord”

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