Preached during the morning service on 14 July 2020 by .
- Sermon series: Thoughts during Covid 19
- Bible passage: Ruth 1
- Permalink: https://www.wellingtonec.org.uk/sermon/thought-for-the-day-115/
E V A N G E L I C A L WELLINGTON CHAPEL
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Ruth 1:16 — ‘Ruth said, ‘’Entreat me not to leave you,
or to turn back from following after you.’’’
Recommended reading: Ruth 1
This morning I want to turn our thoughts to a young woman in the Bible who
broke a number of barriers, and is fondly remembered thousands of years later
for doing so. Her name is Ruth.
Ruth lived in the country of Moab at a time when the judges ruled in the land of
Israel. There has been long debate over which judge ruled at this particular time,
as the Bible does not inform us. It may have been towards the beginning of their
rule for Boaz was born of Rahab.
The story of Ruth may have taken place during the days of Gideon, because in
Judges 6:3‑4 we read of a famine which occurred during the Midianite invasion.
So who were the Moabites? These people descended from Lot. By her father his
elder daughter had a son who was called Moab, and the nation became a sharp
thorn in Israel’s side for many years to come.
The nation of Israel, which had known God’s blessing in many ways, was going
through very turbulent times. They were in an utter mess spiritually, morally and
economically. A king didn’t reign, but chaos did.
Due to this famine in the region of Bethlehem, Elimelech, his wife Naomi and
their two sons Mahlon and Chilion, decided to leave the turmoil behind and
set up their home in the land of Moab. Elimelech died, and Naomi’s two sons
married women of Moab whose names were Orpah and Ruth.
About ten years later, Mahlon and Chilion also died, which left three widows.
Naomi decided the time had come to return to Judah. Orpah and Ruth decided
to accompany her to the border. In 1:8, Naomi encouraged them to return home,
and after much persuasion Orpah did so. However, Ruth would not let Naomi
return to Judah without her, and so they began a long and difficult journey back
to Bethlehem (v.14).
During the following days we will see that Ruth broke four important barriers.
This morning we will consider the first:
1. The Generation Barrier.
We do not know the age difference between Ruth and Naomi, but Ruth was a
young widow, whereas Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, had been a widow for a
good number of years (1:11). There clearly was a generation gap which could
have been a significant barrier to them. For Ruth, here was a barrier to be
broken, and she broke it.
In the New Testament we read of generation barriers that were broken. Barnabas
and Mark were different generations, but they worked together for the spread of
the gospel. The same applied to Paul and his son-in-the-faith Timothy.
Paul has much to say about the generation gap. Read 1 Timothy 5:1-8.
I am always impressed when I watch our Queen in a carriage procession through
the streets of London and see how Her Majesty attracts both young and old
who pay their respect to her. Queen Elizabeth II is a lady who has broken the
generation gap even at 94 years of age.
When I recall my teenage years, I am so grateful to God for the elderly believers
in our church who were an inspiration to me as I embarked upon my Christian
pilgrimage. Could I say to all young people who may be reading this, to learn
from and respect older members of your congregation. Don’t despise their age
and experience; they have much to teach you.
But can I also say to our elderly friends: do not quench the enthusiasm of young
believers. Just channel it in the right direction. Never look down on the young,
but encourage them on their journey in life.
They might talk differently – don’t we all! Sometimes they may look differently,
but try to understand them and work with them. They are growing up in a
challenging and dangerous world and they need your help. In fact, you might
learn something from them if you give time to them.
When we turn to the Gospels, we read of a man who broke the generation
barrier. Young children gathered around Him and He didn’t turn them away. He
also showed compassion and concern for the elderly in their time of need. His
name was Jesus. A good example to follow, don’t you think?
I do not know what lies ahead,
the way I cannot see;
yet one stands near to be my guide;
he’ll show the way to me.
I know who holds the future,
and he’ll guide me with his hand.
With God things don’t just happen;
everything by him is planned.
So as I face tomorrow
with its problems large and small,
I’ll trust the God of miracles,
give to him my all.
I do not know how many days
of life are mine to spend;
but one who knows and cares for me
will keep me to the end.
I do not know the course ahead,
what joys and griefs are there;
but one is near who fully knows;
I’ll trust his loving care.
Alfred B Smith and Eugene Clarke
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THE THOUGHT FOR THE DAY IS PREPARED BY JOHN ROBERTS