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Stuck on You

At the End of Your Rope  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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As I was thinking about this portion of scritpure, the lyrics to the song “Stuck on You” made their way to my mind:
Stuck on you
I've got this feeling down
I've got this feeling down
Deep in my soul
Deep in my soul
That I just can't lose
Guess, I'm on my way
That I just can't lose
Guess, I'm on my way
Needed a friend
Needed a friend
And the way I feel now I guess
And the way I feel now I guess
I'll be with you till the end
I'll be with you till the end
Guess I'm on my way
Mighty glad you stayed
Guess I'm on my way
Mighty glad you stayed
Mighty glad you stayed
This morning we arrive at one of the most beautiful portions in all of scripture. But before we dig into into it I need to say a couple of things I want you to bear in mind this morning.
This beautiful portion of scripture comes to us, not in beautiful circumstance, but in trial, not in rejoicing, but in the midst of bitterness
The beautiful declaration of faithfulness and commitment is made from someone unexpected, a Moabite woman.
This really starts to highlight some basic truths that I believe we need to hurry up and grasp today
God uses the unexpected
God uses the small
God uses the weak
But let’s come to our portion of scripture to start things off

Naomi Prepares to Go Home

Part of Naomi’s plans to go home included having to figure out what to do with her two daughter’s in law.
Initially it looks like they will all go together back to the land of Judah, but then in verse 8 we see the scene change.
The verbal exchange happens while they are on the road
The famine was the judgment of God for the people’s unfaithfulness
the famine had passed
judgment subsided
There may have been a concern on Naomi’s part about bringing Moabite women into Judah
7 With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah
Ruth 1:7 NIV
With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.
The New International Version. (2011). (). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Ruth 1:
Ruth 1:8–9 NIV
Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.” Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud
As I’ve pointed out for the past few weeks, Naomi has been through a great deal.
Her circumstances brought her to despair and depression and I don’t believe she had any kind of sense of God’s presence in her life. Sometimes we feel the same. We can relate. Our situations can bring us to the place where we have no sense of the immediate presence of God, Even so, he may bring others alongside to encourage and strengthen in time of need—whether or not we are receptive. Even when we don’t feel His presence.

Naomi’s First Argument

The New American Commentary: Judges, Ruth (2) The Second Interchange (1:11–14)

1:11 In the first speech Naomi challenges Ruth and Orpah’s perception of reality by asking two rhetorical questions. On the surface the first, “Why would you come with me?” looks as though Naomi is asking them to recite the advantages for them of casting their lot with her. But it is much more—it is actually a rebuke, which may be rephrased indicatively as “It is foolish for you to come with me; you will be much better off in your home country.”

The second question is even more pointed’ “Do I have any more sons in my guts that they could become your husbands?”
In other words, Naomi once again paints a picture that is meant to show how foolish it would be for them to stay with her.

Naomi’s Second Argument

Ruth 1:12–13 NIV
Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons—would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”
The New American Commentary: Judges, Ruth (2) The Second Interchange (1:11–14)

NAOMI’S SECOND ARGUMENT (1:12–13a)

1:12–13a In the second phase of this speech Naomi answers her own rhetorical question. First she calls upon Orpah and Ruth to be realistic. She is too old to remarry. If she was married at fifteen years of age and had her sons by twenty, and they in turn were twenty when they married, and this event occurs at least ten years later, she would now be at least fifty years of age, a senior citizen in that context and certainly past menopause. Second, in a flight of fancy she imagines60 a more hopeful situation. Even if she could marry and could bear sons, would her daughters-in-law wait for those lads63 to grow up and marry them? Would they, in the meantime, restrain their own impulses and remain single until the boys had grown up, refusing to give themselves to a man?

Ruth 1:12
She answers her own questions with definitive statements and increasing intensity
I am too old
You would not be able to wait
There is no good reason to stay with me, don’t be foolish Go home

Naomi’s Third Argument

The New American Commentary: Judges, Ruth (2) The Second Interchange (1:11–14)

In either case, together with her last statement, “because the LORD’S hand has gone out against me!” Naomi’s disposition toward her lot in life is exposed. Naomi is a bitter old woman who blames God for her crisis. Naomi feels that she is the target of God’s overwhelming power and wrath.

The New American Commentary: Judges, Ruth (2) The Second Interchange (1:11–14)

Many readers of biblical narrative tend to idealize and idolize the human characters, but in the context Naomi’s comment is troubling. The same person who had earlier implored Yahweh to be as gracious to her daughters-in-law as they had been to her and to provide them with security in the house of a husband turns around and accuses God of making her life bitter. Her comments offer no hint of human causation behind her tragedies. Instead of repenting of her own and her people’s sin (šûb), she accuses God of injustice toward her.

She still hadn’t come to terms with this simple truth, that sometimes people who belong to God compromise their faith disastrous consequences.
At this Orpah was convinced and after some crying and a kiss, Orpah went back to be with her own people.
But not Ruth. Ruth clung on her. Refused to be separated from her.
So at this you can almost hear Naomi sigh as she said this
Ruth 1:15 NIV
“Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”
Ruth 1:
She would have been really firm here
JUST GO!
Forgive my eloquence here, but have you ever been so messed up that you just demanded to be left alone?
This shouldn’t be confused with the times that Jesus needed solitude so that He could connect with God and gain strength, this was a case of attempted isolation that comes when misery is present.
GO! STAY AWAY FROM ME!
But Ruth was not having any of it
Ruth 1:16 NIV
But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.
The difference in Ruth and Orpah surfaces here. Orpah, although torn, chose the logical path. She chose the path that made sense.
It could be tempting to find fault with her here but this was the sensible human choice. Its a choice that we make all day long. We value and praise people for making good choices. When we hire people we want to know if they have a record of being sensible or reliable. Naomi painted a bleak picture and Orpah essentially said, “well since you put it that way”
But Ruth… Ruth’s character is the stuff that God looks for in a person
God looks for those who are willing to swim upstream. While people take into consideration outward appearances, God looks at the heart. It was a Roman Centurion of all people that Jesus pronounced had great faith. It was a lowly tax collector who found justification before God and not the arrogant religious expert. It was the samaritan that Jesus honored in His parable, the woman at the well found faith and on and on it goes.
So Ruth...
First, in saying don’t urge me to leave you, Ruth is essentially telling Naomi to stop it. It wasn’t quite the strength of shut up, but it was certainly a hush now kind of tone.
Five two line couplets:
Where you stay I will stay
Your people will be my people
Your God will be my God
The New American Commentary: Judges, Ruth (3) The Third Interchange (1:15–18)

A al-tipgĕʿî-bî lĕʿozbēk

Do not pressure me to leave you,

lāšûb mēʾaḥărāyik

To turn back from behind you.

B kî ʾel-ʾăšer tēlĕkî ʾēlēk

For where you go I will go,

ûbaʾăšer tālînî ʾālîn

And where you lodge I will lodge.

C ʿammēk ʿammî

Your people my people,

wēʾlōhayik ʾĕlōhāy

Your God my God.

B´ baʾăšer tāmûtî ʾāmût

Where you die I will die,

wĕšām ʾeqqābēr

And there I shall be buried.

A´ kōh yaʿăśeh yhwh lî wĕkōh yōsîp

Thus may Yahweh do to me and thus may he add,

kî hammāwet yaprîd bênî ûbênēk

Surely nothing but death will separate me and you.

The New American Commentary: Judges, Ruth (3) The Third Interchange (1:15–18)

With radical self-sacrifice she abandons every base of security that any person, let alone a poor widow, in that cultural context would have clung to: her native homeland, her own people, even her own gods. Like any Near Easterner of her time, she realized that if she would commit herself to Naomi and go home with her, she must also commit herself to Naomi’s people (Israel) and to Naomi’s God (Yahweh).

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