Ruth 1:6
When Naomi heard in Moab that the LORD had attended to His people by providing them with food, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to leave the land of Moab.
Sermons
A Woman of CharacterJoseph Ogle.Ruth 1:6
God's Dealings with His PeopleR. Bernard.Ruth 1:6
Good News from the Far CountryC. Ness.Ruth 1:6
Homeward LongingsC. Ness.Ruth 1:6
Naomi's Undying Faith and Loyalty to Israel's GodA. Thomson, D. D.Ruth 1:6
The AwakeningS. H. Tyng, D. D.Ruth 1:6
Home ReturningW.M. Statham Ruth 1:6, 7
Then she arose with her daughters-in-law, that she might return. And they went on their way to return. Home again! The first step is everything! "She arose." It was all well with the prodigal when he did that. Not simply when he said, "I will arise;" but when be arose and went to his father. Directly the eye and the heart and the step agree, then the whole is settled. We read nothing of the preliminaries of departure. Who does not know the power of the loadstone when it first begins to act? When the breeze swells the sail from the foreign port, the sailor sees not the intervening waters, but the home cottage under the familiar cliffs. There are many beautiful home-returnings in the Bible, but the best of all is the son seeking the father's house.

I. HEARTS ARE UNITED BY COMMON EXPERIENCES. These daughters-in-law were not of her land, nor of her religion; they were not Hebrews; but they were widows! A common sorrow is a welding power, uniting hearts more closely than before. It is said that a babe in a house is a new clasp of affection between husband and wife. True; but an empty cradle has done more than a living child. During the time of these ten years these two wives remained still heathen. We do not know what family they sprang from, or if they were sisters. We do know that Naomi exercised no control or domination over their religious principles. She respects their personal liberty and responsibility; she even urges Ruth not to let natural affection for her override her religious convictions, but to go back to "her gods," as Orpah did. "Behold, thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister-in-law." What a sorrow it must have been to her that her sons had married heathen women. We can respect that sorrow. And we can see that Naomi did not slight her own religion when she said these words, but used them as a test of the sincerity of Ruth. A common sorrow had brought them all very close together. "For," as Bailey says in Festus, "the world is one, and hath one great heart."

II. RETURN JOURNEYS HAVE A TOUCHING ELOQUENCE IN THEIR SCENES. There were the places Naomi had traversed with her husband and her boys; places of rest under the shadow of the rocks, and of refreshment at the wells. Much must there have been, to recall conversations touched with anxiety concerning their future in the land of Moab. So would many places speak to us today. There, care gazed at us wistfully, and we remember all the thoughts it suggested. There she heard the tinkling of the bells of the camels, as the little trading cavalcade passed by her. What reminiscences! And they would all remind her of the good hand which had led her on, and never forgotten or forsaken her.

III. RETURN JOURNEYS REMIND US OF LITTLE EPISODES OF LIFE THAT ARE OVER FOR EVER. We cannot in the ordinary course of an unbroken and unshifting home realize the flight of time so well as when we have marked changes, which by their very abruptness divide life into chapters, which, like volumes, have their commencement and close. A new nest has to be built, and new trees have to be sought to build it in. Thus with ordinary observation we may notice how those who have had to seek new homes find the pilgrim-nature of life more marked in their thought than those who are born and brought up and settled through the long years in one home. There is a dreamy sense of continuance unbroken in some lives! "That she might return!" But she would not, could not take all of herself with her. She would leave, as we all do, a memory of character, an influence of good or evil over those who had been associated with her in the foreign land. - W.M.S.







She arose... that she might return.
Observe —

1. God's house of worldly correction is to God's people a school of heavenly instruction. Naomi's crosses and losses she met with in Moab made her soul to sit loose from that cursed country, and to long for Canaan — that blessed land of promise. God's rod hath a voice (Micah 6:9), and now Naomi's ear was open to hear the instruction of it (Job 36:8-10; Micah 2:10). It is a rich mercy when affliction brings us from worse to better, from Moab to Canaan, further off from sin and nearer to God.

2. Godly souls should lead convincing lives. Such and so amiable was the conversation of godly Naomi in the eyes of those two daughters of Moab that it convinced them both — to love her and her people, and to go along with her out of their own native country unto her land. Plato saith, "If moral virtue could be beheld with mortal eyes, it would attract all hearts to be enamoured with it." How much more, then, would theological virtue or supernatural grace do so?

3. Every heart should hanker heavenward, as Naomi did homeward from Moab to Canaan.

(C. Ness.)

I. SHE RETAINED HER RELIGION — HER ALLEGIANCE TO THE ONE TRUE AND LIVING GOD — IN THE MIDST OF SURROUNDING IDOLATRY.

II. SHE BELIEVED IN GOD EVEN IN THE MIDST OF ADVERSITY.

III. SHE EXERCISED AN INFLUENCE FOR GOOD ON OTHERS.

1. On those who had known her intimately — her own household.

2. On those who had known her long — long enough to find out her true character.

3. On those who, according to all experience, are least easily influenced by one in her position — on her daughters-in-law.

IV. SHE COULD DENY HERSELF FOR THE GOOD OF OTHERS.

1. It would have been an advantage to her to have these two strong, active young women with her to work for her in her old age. But a settlement would be easier for them in their own land than in Judah. So she bade them return, and was willing to go home alone.

2. She rose, too, above that petty jealousy which might have been excused in one so circumstanced, and wished them that provision which was the best security for rest and honour for a woman: "rest each of them in the house of her husband." Naomi's religion was no mere surface thing. It had become a part of herself. It had informed her character. It saved her from the corruptions of idolatry, from despair, and it enabled her to exercise a beneficent power over those who knew her best. What imperfect religion could do for her the sublime faith of Christ can do for all.

(Joseph Ogle.)

To trace the course of the wanderer away from God is sad and painful. The result of misery and regret is always the same; whether he ever return to God or not his sorrow over the remembrance of his wandering will be equally sure. We must never hesitate, therefore, in proclaiming to all the wanderers from God, "You will find no rest in Moab." But I am not now to trace this course of sin to its dreadful result. There is for some a day of awakening in the present life. And, painful as this day may be, it is still a happy day. It is the beginning of a new life, a happy life, a life of glory. It is the dawning of a light which is prepared as the morning. It is the blessed visitation of the grace and goodness of God to the lost and guilty. We must never forget that this awakening of the soul is the work of God. Idolatry and enmity to God reign throughout the land of Moab. There Naomi dwells. There, if God permitted, Naomi would die. There, if God did not arrest and arouse him, the sinner would perish. To leave him in prosperity in this condition is to leave him to hopeless destruction. God speaks unto him in his prosperity, and he says, "I will not hear." This is his manner from his youth. Then God sends awakening providences. Afflictions and losses are multiplied. The nest is broken up. The soul is made sorrowful. Thus it was with Naomi. Her husband died. Her two sons are taken away. How many of His children have been saved by the bitter remedy of affliction, and have thus been taught to bless the chastenings of the Lord! But why should you make affliction necessary to your soul's salvation? Let the goodness of the Lord lead you to repentance. Let His love awaken your gratitude. But whether affliction or joy be made the instrument to awaken the soul, it is equally a Divine instrument. Welcome it, do not resist it, but cultivate it as a priceless gift. Now God means to bless you indeed. Listen to His voice with gladness. In this day of awakening, Naomi found that she had gained nothing by her wandering from God. There had been a famine in Judah. But ah, she had found a far worse famine in Moab. There every comfort had failed and every hope had departed. In no single point was her condition improved by her flight from Israel. But was this peculiar to her? Can you ever gain in such a course? Are you ever the happier for transgression, or made the more contented by forgetting your Creator? Far enough from all this is your actual experience. Your awakened mind looks back upon life, to say, with distress, "I have sinned, and what hath it profited me?" There is not a single real pleasure, or joy, or gain in life, of which any man can truly say, "This, at least, is the reward of my sin." Even if you never truly repent, your retrospect of life will be just as unsatisfying and destitute of comfort to your soul. You will despise all that you have gained. You will despise yourself for pursuing vanities so madly. And nothing will remain to you as the result but the most overwhelming despair. How much you have lost! You have thrown away the favour of God. You have sacrificed your peace of conscience. You have lost your early readiness to receive religious impressions. But good news from the Lord's land comes to this awakened wanderer. "Naomi heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited His people in giving them bread." What precious intelligence does the gospel bring to the guilty! It declares the pardoning love of God. It proclaims complete atonement in the blood of Jesus. It announces full salvation in His merits and death. It exhibits God reconciled to those who have rebelled against Him. The message comes to you. Receive it. Rejoice in it. It is a message from God to each of you. Then the awakened wanderer sets out at once on a return. Naomi "arose, that she might return from the country of Moab; wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, on the way to return into the land of Judah." Yes — the very first thing, when your mind is awakened, and you see and feel your guilt, is to go back. Many think they must first feel much, and mourn much, and suffer much, before they can hope to go back in peace to God. But why? Will your suffering save you? Will your multiplied tears add anything to a Saviour's worth? Is your dwelling on fire? And must you wait until you are scorched with the flames before you can escape in safety? Have you mistaken your road in journeying? And can you recover your lost steps the better by delay or hesitation or fruitless grief? Nay. You want all the time for actual pursuit. You have none to waste. Turn! Turn! fly! Fly! 'Tis madness to defer. Naomi goes to no other part of Moab, to no other land of idolatry. She goes directly back to the land of Judah. This is a blessed example. How many go from one broken cistern to another! But all these efforts are vain. Edom or Babylon are no better than Moab. No. You must fly to Bethlehem at once. Now is the accepted time. This is the day of your salvation.

(S. H. Tyng, D. D.)

How that the Lord had visited His people in giving them bread
I. GOD SEETH HIS PEOPLE IN ADVERSITY AND WANT, AND COMETH IN HIS DUE TIME TO HELP THEM (Exodus 3:7, 8), which is from His mere mercy and the stability of His love and promise to His people.

II. GOD HATH EVER HAD MORE SPECIALLY A PEOPLE OF HIS OWN CALLED "HIS PEOPLE." This should make us to examine ourselves how we be God's people, whether according to creation or after the work of regeneration.

III. CORPORAL FOOD AND THE NECESSARIES OF THIS LIFE ARE GOD'S GIFT (Leviticus 26:4, 5; Deuteronomy 11:14, 15; Hosea 2:8, 9; Joel 2:19).

(R. Bernard.)

I. GOD WILL CERTAINLY REVIVE HIS PEOPLE WITH SOME GOOD NEWS FROM HEAVEN WHEN THEIR HEARTS ARE ALMOST DEAD WITHIN THEM UPON EARTH (Proverbs 25:25). This cheered up her drooping spirit, that was almost dead within her by her manifold afflictions. This is one of God's methods, first to kill and then to make alive (1 Samuel 2:6; Psalm 16:10; Psalm 18:16; Psalm 90:3); the good news God sent concerning the weal of Zion to His people as they sat weeping by the waters of Babylon (Psalm 137:1, 2) was a little reviving to them in their bondage (Ezra 9:8); and when His people were humbled He then granted them some deliverance (2 Chronicles 12:7). Heaven is called a far country (Matthew 25:14); good news from thence brought in by the Holy Spirit. Oh, how welcome should that be to us and how unspeakably comfortable! (1 Peter 1:8).

II. GOD HATH HIS VISITING TIMES AND SEASONS IN RELATION TO HIS OWN PEOPLE.

1. Sometimes God visits their sins (Jeremiah 14:10), and then He fulfils His word of threatening evil against them. This is called God's visiting in His anger (Job 35:15), but He retains not His anger for ever (Psalm 57:11).

2. He sometimes also visits in mercy (2 Samuel 24:16). This is that visit which David begs, "Oh visit me with Thy salvation" (Psalm 106:4).

III. GRACE AND BOUNTY FOLLOW WANT AND PENURY THROUGH DIVINE GOODNESS TO HIS PEOPLE. After a long scarcity (of ten years) God visits them with plenty. This holds true both in the temporal and spiritual famine (Amos 8:11).

(C. Ness.)

During all those ten years of absence, Naomi had maintained in undiminished strength her attachment to the service and worship of the true God."Among innumerable incorrupt she stood," like Abdiel in the midst of fallen angels, or like Noah in the midst of a revolted world. There must have been root and reality about her religion to make it thus evergreen and perennial. So have we sometimes seen in the Arabian desert a solitary palm fed by a fountain, and glassing its beauty and abundance in that from which it derived all its verdure and life. How many persons are there whose religion could not endure the test of an ordeal a hundred times less severe than this! It is a thing of mere outward imitation and reflection. Withdraw them from the midst of favouring external influences, and their superficial piety will speedily vanish away like the morning dew. Like the vase that has been electrotyped so as to resemble silver, a little tear and wear brings into view the inferior metal which forms its real material. Carey used to complain bitterly, in his days, that the Christianity of many who came out of England to India did not survive a sea voyage. It was all gone before they had "doubled the Cape." In like manner, the Sabbath-keeping and the church-attendance of multitudes have undergone sad decadence during a few months of residence in Berlin or Paris. And yet the degree in which our secret devotion and our Christian habits can live and flourish in the midst of unfriendly influences and when dependent on inward support alone, is the true test of the reality and strength of our religion. Naomi had nobly stood this test, and had thus proved herself to be "an Israelite indeed."

(A. Thomson, D. D.)

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