Faithlife Sermons

"Don't Try to Hide"

Staying Committed  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  37:31
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Intro:
One witty person has written:
* "A dentist's mistake is pulled out,
* A lawyer's mistake is imprisoned.
* A teacher's mistake is failed,
* A printer's mistake is corrected.
* A pharmacist's mistake is buried.
* A postman's mistake is forwarded.
* An electrician's mistake could be shocking!"
We all make mistakes. Some of them are more embarrassing than harmful. There was a congregation that, upon reading the Sunday bulletin, came across this announcement: "Ladies, please remember to pick up your bowels in the kitchen." Obviously, It was supposed to be bowls… All I can say is... I'm sure glad it is Margaret, not me, who types the bulletins here.
The point is, some mistakes matter more than others. And the thing that matters even more, is how we react to (or handle) the mistake once it has been made.
So often, when we make a mistake, the first thing that we want to do is cover it up, we want to hide it so that no one finds out… Remember the first thing that Adam and Eve did after they made their first mistake??? They covered themselves with leaves… and then when they heard God walking through the garden, they hid… its been a problem ever since…
When a child knowingly steals a cookie out of the cookie jar, do they stand in the kitchen and eat it??? No, usually they high tail to their favorite hiding spot as to not be seen or caught. Or how about when one sibling hurts the other??
I am sure most of you have been there… your older sibling gets upset and during a fit of rage, they throw a pencil at you… They immediately know this is not going to end well for them, because you are not supposed to have a pencil sticking out of your head… and as you are screaming bloody murder… because of the pencil sticking out of your head…
what is your older sibling doing??? First, they are trying to comfort you, through suffocation, as they cover your mouth and nose with their hand, as to not let mom or dad hear the screams... “Its ok, your ok, your fine, its no big deal...” that turns into… “I’m sorry, I’m Sorry, I’m Sorry” and finally, as they hear mom or dad coming down the hallway… they find the closest hiding spot, only to pop out after mom or dad shows up and act like they have no idea what is going on...
Did y’all know that I have 5 siblings…??? Never a dull moment at the Ekkel House...
We do our best to hide our mistakes and unfortunately, we don’t seem to grow out of that mentality as we get older… I am here to tell you, this morning; it is always better to own up to our mistakes instead of trying to hide them. I am hoping that by looking at 3 testimonies (SLIDE), of 3 different ladies, you too will come to the same conclusion… This is part of how we are to stay committed to our Heavenly Father, even through times of Sorrow… … Lets look at Ruth 1:6-18 together...

3 Testimonies:

Meat:
The first testimony that I want to look at this morning is...

1. Naomi’s Testimony

Remember that Naomi’s husband has died, her two sons married Moabite women and then they passed away as well, and she has now been in the land of Moab for about 10 years. v.6 tells us that God visited His faithful people that remained in Bethlehem, and when Naomi heard the good news, that the famine had ended, she decided to return home.
This makes me think of the story of the prodigal son… Luke 15:17-18 17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father...”
The quick lesson here is… There is always “bread enough and to spare” when you are in the Father’s will. This does not mean that you are going to be eating steak and prime rib everyday. Your pantry may be filled with hot-dogs and macaroni and cheese, but God will take care of you when you are in the center of His will...
Naomi was not a recipient of God’s Blessing while she was in Moab. She...

(1)a. Didn’t Receive God’s Blessing

The only reason that she found out that the famine was over, was because she heard others in Moab talking about it. The reason for this was the fact that she was not where God wanted her to be. She was not in the center of God’s Will and missed out on the blessing.
How sad it is when people only hear about God’s blessing, but never experience it, because they are not in the place where God can bless them.
Many years ago, a Pastor was in a prayer meeting with a number of Youth for Christ leaders, among them was a man named Jacob Stam. Jacob was the brother of John Stam, who, with his wife, Betty, was martyred in China in 1934. Throughout the prayer meeting, several of the leaders, including the Pastor, had been asking God to bless a certain ministry and project. The word “bless” was used many times as they prayed. Then Jacob Stam prayed… Here is what he said... “Lord, we’ve asked You to bless all these things; but, please, Lord, make us bless-able.”
If it seems that you have not been receiving any blessings from the Lord lately, maybe you need to examine yourself and ask “am I in a place where I am able to be blessed???” Had Naomi been in that meeting, she would have had to confess, “Lord, I’m not bless-able.” Whenever we have disobeyed the Lord and departed from His will, we must confess our sin and return to the place of blessing.
Secondly, she had...

(1)b. Improper Motive

Naomi’s decision to return to Bethlehem was correct, however her motivation was all wrong. It would seem that her primary motivation for returning was the fact that the famine was over. She was more interested in returning to the food and not fellowship with God.
Again, this reminds me of the prodigal son, when he says… Luke 15:18-19 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”
I am not convinced that the prodigal son, really had an actual confession of sin here. It seems that he is trying to say whatever he can to get his dad to hire him on as a servant.
When looking at Naomi’s testimony… You don’t hear her confessing her sins to God and asking Him to forgive her. Which tells me that, she was returning to her land but not to her Lord.
There are many, just like Naomi. They look for that “shirttail blessing”. They go from place to place, church to church, ministry to ministry because they hear that God is really blessing the folks over here or over there and they want to get in on some of that blessing.
They themselves do not have a strong commitment to the Lord and His Will, but will gladly take a portion of the blessings that God gives to those who are able to “Stay Committed” through the hard times.
A famine came and Naomi, along with her husband, left for greener pastures. They could've stayed, they should’ve stayed! But instead they chose to leave. Now, God has blessed those that did stay throughout the famine and again, Naomi is motivated by the greener pastures and decides to return to her home land. According to v. 7, she and both her daughters in-law started the journey from Moab to the Land of Judah.
Not only did Naomi have improper motives, but unfortunately, she also had an...

(1)c. Improper Mindset

Look at vv.8-13… It is very obvious that Naomi did not want Orpah and Ruth to go with her to Judah. Most commentators describe this as a humble and selfless act on Naomi's part, due to the fact that she does not have any other sons for them to marry and be taken care of by. And due to her age, she would not be able to produce any more sons in the future.
I have to say that I am not in total agreement with that view and here’s why...
If it was right for Naomi to go to Bethlehem, where the true and living God was worshipped, then it was right for Orpah and Ruth to accompany her. However, Naomi tried to influence the two women to go back to their families and their false gods.
Why would a person who knows and believes in the One True God, encourage two women, women that her sons loved and from reading these verses, we can see that Orpah and Ruth loved her as well… why would she encourage them to go back to the very place that God hates, and on top of that, she is encouraging them to marry Moabite men and basically go back to their pagan way of life, worshipping and sacrificing to the false gods…
Why would she do that???
Sin will make us do some strange things. But the threat of being caught in our sin will make us do some drastic things. If I may speculate a little here, I would say that Naomi didn’t want to take Orpah and Ruth to Bethlehem because they were living proof that she and her husband had permitted their two sons to marry women from outside the nation of Israel. Which if that was not disgraceful enough, they married Moabite women, which is just adding fuel to the disgraceful fire...
In other words, Naomi was trying to cover up her disobedience. She was trying to hide the sinful lifestyle that she has been involved in for the past 10 years. If she returned to Bethlehem alone, she could tell whatever story she wanted and nobody would know that the family had broken the law of Moses… When there is no evidence that you did the crime, it is very difficult to be convicted of it.
This to me shows, even more, Naomi’s lack of repentance. When we try to hide our sins, it’s proof that we really haven’t faced them honestly, it’s proof that we have not confessed them and it also proves that we know that what we have done is wrong. True repentance involves honest confession and a brokenness within. Instead of brokenness, Naomi had bitterness.
She also had an improper mindset about God. She did not present Him in a positive way. in v.13 she suggests that God is to blame for the sorrow that all three women had experienced… “...Ruth 1:13 it grieves me very much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD has gone out against me!”
This is a “woe is me” moment for Naomi. She is basically saying that all of the hardship that they have endured is because God is mad at her. If Naomi would’ve had a proper mindset and had been walking with the Lord, there is a great possibility that she could’ve saved both Orpah and Ruth from a life of paganism. But, unfortunately, Orpah turned back to a life in Moab… Lets look at her testimony...

2. Orpah’s Testimony

Orpah was the weaker of the two daughters-in-law. She started to Bethlehem with Naomi, kissed her, and wept with her; yet she would not stay with her. (Read vv. 14-15)… Naomi told Ruth and Orpah three times to go back to Moab. Orpah had a decision to make and...

(2)a. She Chose Paganism

She made the wrong decision and turned back to her pagan lifestyle in Moab. Yes, she wept and even kissed Naomi, but in the end she heads back to Moab and is never spoken of again.
Let this serve as a lesson to all of us. Naomi, through her bitterness, painted such an inaccurate picture of the One True God, that the false gods of Moab, these gods that required child sacrifices, these gods of immorality, seemed more appealing to Orpah, than the only true God that could save her from her pagan life and her pagan sins.
When we find ourselves in times of sorrow, like these sorrowful times that Naomi, Ruth and Orpah are facing, we need to make sure that we continue to paint an accurate picture of Who the God is that we trust in and serve! If we are truly on fire about “staying committed”, then no matter what comes our way we can be “...confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in (us) will (carry it on to completion) until the day of Jesus Christ” Phil. 1:6Now, there is a promise you can stand on!!!
The only God that we should be encouraging people to follow, is the One True God!
And finally, lets look at...

3. Ruth’s Testimony

(read vv. 15-18)… Ruth did not listen to Naomi’s request and had no desire to go back to Moab with Orpah. Instead…

(3)a. She Chose to Follow God

At some point Ruth must have heard about the God of Israel. Whether it was through Naomi, during her not so bitter days, or just through hearing other people in Moab talking about how God had provided for Israel, whatever the case was, she had heard about the One True God.
She had experienced trials and disappointments, but instead of blaming God, she had trusted Him and was not ashamed to confess her faith. Even though Naomi, at this time, was setting a bad example, Ruth had come to know the true and living God, and she wanted to be with His people and dwell in His land… Ruth’s conversion is...

(3)b. A Picture of God’s Amazing Grace

As a Moabite, everything that Ruth was taught, everything that she thought was normal and sacred, everything around her, presented obstacles to her faith… Her father in-law died (possibly before she ever met him), her brother in-law died, her husband died, her sister in-law left, her own mother in-law is trying to get rid of her... and yet she trusted the One True God.
God intervened and graciously saved Ruth in spite of all these obstacles. This is the sovereign grace of the God “who (according to 1 Timothy 2:4 ) desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”… … It was God’s amazing grace that lead to...

(3)c. A Wonderful Confession

Ruth said (SLIDES) “…For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.
17 Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.”
… Some call this one of the most magnificent confessions found anywhere in Scripture. First, she confessed her love for Naomi and her desire to stay with Naomi, until “death do them part”. Then she confessed her faith in the true and living God and her decision to worship Him alone… She was willing to leave everything else behind… her friends, her family, the rituals… … What a great picture of…

(3.)d. Total Surrender

Closing:
Are you totally surrendered this morning? Are you at a place in your relationship with Christ that he is able to bless you? Or are you just receiving some shirttail blessings because of someone else’s commitment? It is easy for us to ask God to bless us, but we need to make sure that we are bless-able...
We all have our own testimonies, just like Naomi, Orpah and Ruth. And right now, each of our testimonies would line up with one these three that we looked at this morning.
Maybe, Like Naomi, we are missing out on some blessings, we are improperly motivated and are suffering from having an improper mindset, maybe we are trying to “hide our sins”...
Maybe, Like Orpah, you have made the choice to go your own way, you are following the easy and familiar path, you don’t want to risk the chance of losing your friends and family because you’ve made a commitment to the One true God...
If you fall into one of these first two categories, then I am here to tell you that it is time to
Choose to Follow God… It is time to see and accept...
God’s Amazing Grace… It is time for you to make your own...
Wonderful Confession… and it is time for us, as believers, to be...
Totally Surrendered!
“Don’t try to hide”… … don’t try to hide your mistakes. It never ends well... As momma always said “Be sure your sins will find you out”… Of course, we didn’t know it at the time, but she was quoting a verse from Numbers… and like the verse in Numbers... Proverbs also warns…
Proverbs 28:13
Proverbs 28:13 NASB95
13 He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
Don’t try to hide...
Prayer:
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