Have you started something and stopped along the line?
You made a decision to walk out of a relationship, change from a bad to a new habit, learn a new skill, live a life free from fear… Whatever that decision was.
Starting out something could be easy, but pushing through till the finish line is what separates winners from losers.
We wouldn’t be reading about Naomi and Ruth if they, out of fear of the unknown or lack of strength and will to push through, stopped their journey halfway.
Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah. (Ruth 1: 7)
You know that woman the Bible admonished us to REMEMBER? Lot’s wife, right?
What gave her that sad remembrance?
Stopping halfway. Looking back.
She became a pillar of salt. She didn’t make it to the top of the mountain where the angels asked them to flee to.
Thank God for Naomi. She rose, like we discussed in the last study, and went forth out of the place… unto the land of Judah. Out and unto.
A clear cut step. The step anyone who wants to walk into the abundance of Christ must take. You must walk out and walk unto.
Out of sin and into righteousness. Out of your old life and into a new life. Out of old friendships/relationships and into new ones. Out of former gods (anything that took God’s place in your life) and unto the Lordship of Jesus.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5: 17)
One word that describes this turn-around: Repentance.
Repentance means a total turn away from sin. Anyone who desires to walk in the newness of life must repent and be converted.
Living the lifestyle of Moab – a picture of the sinful state of this world – heaps loads of sin on your shoulders. And that weight can crush you down before you get to the promised land.
Are you wondering how to get the burdens off your shoulders so you can get onto the promised land?
You need to do what Christian did in Pilgrim’s progress. (Have you read that grand book?)
Christian had been carrying his heavy load all along the way, from one point to the other, almost weighed down by it.
Here’s how he lost that burden:
Now I saw in my dream that the highway up which Christian was to go was fenced on either side with a wall called Salvation. Along this way, therefore, he struck out his best pace, which was not all that impressive by reason of the great burden that hung heavy still, upon his back.
So I saw in my dream that Christian, with great effort, struggled to the foot of said cross and gazed with wonder upon One suffering there. And it came to pass, as soon as he came up even with the cross, the ropes which secured his burden turned to ashes and released the accursed burden from off his shoulders. Striking the ground behind him, the hideous mass began to roll… with ever increasing speed… into that bottomless pit his burden fell and I saw it no more.
Then was Christian glad and light of heart and said in a voice choked with joyful emotion, He has given me rest by His sorrow and life by His death!
What a scene. One that can be yours if you fall on your knees, shut your eyes and walk to the cross this moment.
It’s Not Just About You
Naomi rose to return. But it wasn’t just her – her two daughters-in-law rose with her. Oh, what an impact your decision today can make on someone else’s life.
I wonder how endearing this woman was to these wives of her son that made them cling to her. Think about it… Is your life endearing to others? Does it repel or attract people?
Not just acting nice in church, place of work or when with strangers. I mean, with those in the same house with you. Will they crave to follow you wherever you go, or will they be happy to miss you?
What are some characteristics that can make your life sweet – something people will love to stay close to? – Love, joy, peace, humility, empathy, forgiveness, kindness, care… The fruit of the spirit.
Or are you the tongue-lashing, quarrelsome type? Always picking an offence at everything. Expecting everyone to lick the floor at your word.
Naomi’s amiable life is a challenge for us.
So, Naomi journeyed home… her two daughters-in-law with her.
Do you know that your decisions directly or indirectly affect those around you?
Naomi’s return journey propelled these two young women to go with her.
Who knows how many people your repentance and return will directly affect.
Your decision to return to the Lord, return to the task He assigned you to do that you’ve abandoned for so long… As you step out today, you’re calling others to return too.
As Marianne Williamson put it, “As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
Since I started studying this book of Ruth, I’ve been on different return journeys too: like walking away from different things limiting me from pouring my heart and time into this blog, and coming fully back to give you and God the best I can.
That’s a major return for me. And I don’t want to return alone. I want you to join me on this journey… Your steps won’t be exactly like mine, but the journey is the same.
And so, to you girl who’s lost in sin, and feels there’s no way out… return.
To the girl who’s tired of “mum and dad’s church”, and is gone to live life the way she wants… return.
To the girl who thinks God has failed her, because of the hurt and loss you’ve tasted in life… return.
To the girl immersed in pain, shame and unforgiveness, because of the abuse and mockery of yesterday… return.
To the girl who has turned to guys and the world for validation and love (you can’t get it there)… return.
To the girl who’s prayed and prayed, yet now answers in sight. Now you’re out to go find answers without God… return.
No matter how lost and empty you are, rise up and return.
According to the following verses, what are the promises for those who return to God:
- If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles. (Job 22: 23)
- And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart. (Ezekiel 24: 7)
- And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. (1 Samuel 7: 3)