1. Hello, listening friends.
2. I am so glad you tuned in to listen to the rest of the story from the Book of Ruth,
3. because I left you last time halfway through the message;
4. and I deliberately left it there, because I want you to tune in tonight.
5. I want to tell you about the consequences of shortcuts;
6. and, when I left you the last time, I told you that shortcuts sometimes take a long time for the consequences to appear.
7. Do you know how long it took for the consequences of Elimelech’s decision to appear?
8. You will find it in the Book of Ruth, Chapter 1, verse 4.
9. It says they lived there about ten years.
10. It took ten years from the time they’ve sinned to the time they reap the consequences.
11. Oh, yes, God is very, very, very patient.
12. God waits and waits and waits;
13. and He may be waiting for you come back from your Moab.
14. Are you comfortable in your Moab?
15. Have you thought that God has forgotten about you in your spiritual Moab?
16. Let me ask you first, what is your Moab?
17. Your Moab may be a relationship that is not honoring to God.
18. Your Moab may be a friendship that is dragging you down spiritually.
19. Your Moab may be a distrust in God’s promises.
20. Your Moab may be the placing of your emotions and feelings above the Word of God.
21. Your Moab may be an unfaithfulness to God with your money.
22. Your Moab may be a complete self-absorption.
23. Whatever your Moab is, don’t stay there,
24. because God’s patience may wait for ten years, but not forever.
25. Let me tell you a few things about Moab.
26. Moab has a way of turning a short stay into a permanent one.
27. Moab has a way of saying, “It’s okay. You can do it only once...”
28. but, before you know it, you are in the clutches of Moab.
29. Moab has a way of saying, “There is plenty of time in the future to live the consecrated life...”
30. then, you’ll find the time has gone.
31. Elimelech and Naomi and their children intended to be there just for a short period of time during the time of famine;
32. but it always turned out to be much longer than they intended.
33. When you convince yourself that you will only get out of the will of God just for a short period of time,
34. believe me when I tell you, you will stay there longer.
35. Ruth, Chapter 1, verse 5,
36. tells us that the father died and the two boys died in rapid succession.
37. Now, I want you to put yourself in Naomi’s place.
38. She went with her husband and two sons to this “utopia”;
39. but, then, she loses her husband and two sons.
40. It’s impossible to put yourself in her place,
41. because a widow without any male family member to provide for her in those days were terrible times.
42. Naomi is a foreign lady in a foreign land with no support.
43. Oh, yes, there are consequences to shortcuts;
44. but what I want to talk to you is about the cure to shortcuts.
45. I can put it in two words:
46. “Go home.”
47. The only cure to spiritual shortcuts is to go home again.
48. The only cure to your wandering away from the Lord into Moab is to get up and go home again.
49. It is true, there is a saying which goes like this: “You can never go home again...”
50. however, from a spiritual perspective, it is the only way.
51. As the song says, there is no way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
52. Naomi wasn’t just at the bottom of the barrel,
53. but the barrel had fallen on her with an overwhelming force.
54. In Ruth, Chapter 1, verses 8 and 9,
55. it shows us that, in her bitterness, Naomi wanted to go home alone.
56. She asked her daughters-in-law to go back to their own homes,
57. to go back and find husbands.
58. One of them obeyed.
59. The other insisted on staying with her mother-in-law.
60. Lovely Ruth.
61. Gracious Ruth.
62. Loyal Ruth.
63. She told her mother-in-law that she would follow her wherever she may go.
64. You know, I’m one of those people who do not condemn Naomi for her bitterness.
65. In fact, I admire her candor.
66. I believe we need to be honest with God about how we feel;
67. however, let me caution you.
68. Before you put all the blame on God, like Naomi did,
69. find out, first, if you had had a hand in what had happened to you.
70. Sometimes, things happen completely out of our control;
71. but, many times, they happen as a natural consequence to something we have done.
72. Perhaps, we’ve done it long time ago;
73. but we forget because we have short memories;
74. but God doesn’t,
75. and Ruth makes an iron-clad commitment to stick by Naomi.
76. As we will see, God honors this iron-clad commitment and loyalty.
77. In fact, it was Naomi’s faith that attracted Ruth to that faith.
78. It was Naomi’s complete trust in God that made Ruth want to know that God.
79. What led Ruth to the Lord was the testimony of her mother-in-law.
80. Ruth came to know that Naomi’s God must be a faithful God.
81. He must be a restoring God.
82. He must be a forgiving God.
83. He must be a God of new beginnings.
84. He must be a God of a second chance.
85. Although Naomi was bitter, she never stopped loving.
86. Although Naomi was in deep pain, she never stopped caring.
87. How do I know that?
88. In Ruth, Chapter 1, verse 9,
89. you will find Naomi praying for her daughters-in-law.
90. This is what she said,
91. “May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”
92. Although Naomi now goes back home without her husband or two sons,
93. she goes home with a faithful daughter-in-law.
94. In Ruth, Chapter 1, verses 19 to 22,
95. we see the two women make the only decision that pleases God.
96. They went home.
97. They made the only decision that could release God’s blessings again.
98. I want to conclude by telling you a story.
99. There was a godly mother in the United States of America.
1. She found herself dealing with a rebellious daughter,
2. especially after the father left home.
3. Finally, the daughter picked up her favorite belongings and left her mother’s home.
4. For weeks and months, the mother prayed for her daughter;
5. but she knew nothing of her daughter’s whereabouts.
6. She talked to her daughter’s friends.
7. She called everybody she knew;
8. but no one would tell her where her daughter was.
9. One day, a family friend told her that her daughter was living in England as a prostitute,
10. and, the mother sold all that she had and bought a ticket and went to London;
11. and she went from bar to bar with her daughter’s picture,
12. and, she would ask, “Have you seen this girl?”
13. “Have you seen this girl?…”
14. and, finally, one of the bartenders said to her
15. that she comes here occasionally;
16. so, the mother hung the daughter’s picture on the wall with the following notice;
17. “Please come home again.”
18. A few days later, the girl went to that bar with bloodshot eyes, and half-drunk.
19. She noticed her picture on the wall,
20. and, she asked,
21. “Who hung this picture here?
22. Where did this picture come from?”
23. and the people in the bar said to her, “There was a lady from the United States who was looking for you.”
24. Immediately, she knew that this was her mother.
25. She began to sob and sob and sob;
26. and she realized how far she had come from the arms of her loving mother.
27. The next day, she sold all of her possessions and returned to her mother.
28. She went home again.
29. Let me ask you this:
30. what is your Moab?
31. Whatever your Moab may be, you can come home again.
32. You can ask God the Father to accept you through Jesus the Son.
33. He is saying to you, “Come back.
34. I am waiting for you.
35. I am ready to forgive you.”
36. Will you turn to him tonight?
37. If this is your desire, let me pray with you.
38. Heavenly Father,
39. I have run away from home,
40. but I come back to You in repentance and faith.
41. Accept me for Jesus’ sake.