|PS1RE||X||m||(Albert, age unknown, minister) unspecified|
|J8MPSUNK (respondent W0000)||X||u||(Unknown speaker, age unknown) other|
|J8MPSUGP (respondent W000M)||X||u||(Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other|
 A word gets around the famine is over and after the tragic experience of loosing her family, her three men in her life, her husband and her sons, nobody starts to consider the situation again, she's alone now in a foreign, a strange land, surely the only sensible thing for her to do would be to return to her own people in Bethlehem, they say news comes through that they've been a succession of good harvest, well of course there was gonna be good harvest, god hadn't forsaken his people, although they had sinned, although they had done what was wrong, he hadn't forsaken them, gods not in the business for forsaken people, he's long suffering, he is faithful, he keeps his covenant from one generation to another ... that he hadn't forgotten the people in Bethlehem and he had sent them through and he had provided good harvests ... those who had remained in Bethlehem during the famine, they'd only suffered for a short time, perhaps enough time to bring them to their senses, to bring them back to god, now the suffering was forgotten as they revelled in a plentiful supplying in abundant harvests ... Naomi on the other hand she knows want now, she's suffering bereavement, she's suffering poverty, she's suffering remorse, there's nothing for her in Noad, there's no rest, no joy, no provision, nothing that could meet her needs ... what a pity she had wasted there those ten wasted those ten years, ten long wasted years in her life ... now she comes to a decision whatever the cost and there is a cost, she's gonna have to eat humble pie, how are they gonna receive her when she goes back ... but she comes to that decision that no matter what it costs her, she will go back to the place that was chosen for her by god, her inheritance of him ... It always to our cost when we under value our inheritance, do you remember the story of Jacob and Aesop and how Aesop despised his birth right, the inheritance that was his, and Illuminarc and Naomi had done the same, and you and I can do it so easily, leaving, forgetting, not entering in to the inheritance that is ours in Christ, we do it to our own costs, and so she goes through that I'm gonna go back, I'm gonna take up my inheritance, I'm going back home.
 You know sometimes the way forward is backward, there are no short cuts with god, if he's leading along a certain path and were disobedient, there's no way we can opt out of it and join the trail further along, he doesn't allow it, its back to where we left it, that's were we've gotta get back to, we can't skip an experience, we can't miss any thing out, we've got to go back to where we start, where we were when we left the trail ... and Naomi has to do just that to go back to Bethlehem, that's the way forward for her, and you see because we all, we always find this if we are really children of god, then we can never ever be satisfied away from the will of god, there's nothing else that meets our need, its god will or nothing, you know, when we know frustration in our lives, when we know sort of the, these annoyances and, and, and, and er sense of frustration there, its not because god is leaving us that way its invariably cos we have actually gone out of gods will because he's will is not frustrated, its satisfying, can I just, it will only really be headings this morning, just leave us with three brief headings in this little incident that we'll read or we, we won't read the whole passage but its, er in the remainder of the, or more or less the whole of the remainder of the first chapter ... tha that the cost was involved and then the choices that were made and then the commitment, the cost that was involved Naomi had to pay something, you see before she could return to Naomi she had to con , before Naomi sorry could return er to, to Bethlehem, she had to acknowledge she'd done wrong, she had failed, she had sinned, she had to acknowledge she had made a mistake ... now ... in fairness to Naomi she did it and she excepted her responsibility, she didn't try and shift the blame on to
|Unknown speaker (J8MPSUNK)||[...]|
 she didn't say well er my husband brought me here because it was a decision that she had parted, it was a choice she had made as well and so she, she excepts her responsibility, she excepts her blame and she goes to return so there was, there was this sense of confession and, and confession can be costly when we've got to admit that I was wrong, I did wrong, I was mistaken, I went the wrong way that could be a costly mistake and, and, and er costly experience for us to go through, but surely the, the true sign of repent is that we do acknowledge our sin, we acknowledge our failure, that we acknowledge what it means to god, we can't shift that blame onto somebody else ... then also consider not just the cost that Naomi had to pay in going back, but also there was a cost for Auper and for Ruth as well as Moabias there would be little joy for them in Israel, they were foreigners, they were strangers, there wouldn't be much hope for happiness for them, there would be very little likeliness for them ever getting married in or remarrying er in, in Israel, they wouldn't be able to worship there own god, they'd be taken from one culture to another, there'd be taken from one language to another, what was it gonna be like for them, alright, perhaps whilst they were living with Naomi perhaps she could pull a few strings for them, but what happens when she goes and they are left by themselves ... and yet it would appear that with ... Naomi making her decision to return that they too these two daughters in law they decided to go to Bethlehem with her and it tells us that they set out together ... but ... perhaps they hadn't thought it really through ... because their not totally committed to us and as they come towards the frontier and their gonna pass into in, back into Judah with their few miserable possessions that they've gathered together, Naomi again considers the consequences facing these two young women, Auper and Ruth, they continued with her, as she pleads with them to go back home, Judah is no place for a foreigner, Judah is no place for somebody to come unless they are part of gods people, and I'm reminded of again of what it tells me in, in the book of acts, that in the early church, that people were actually frightened, frightened to join with the disciples, they were frightened to join the church, there was no room for, for stragglers, there was no room for hangers on, there was no room for those who went just because they thought it was gonna be the next, the in thing to do, but folk were actually frightened of joining because they knew they had to put their lives right, they knew they had to live holy lives, they knew that god had to be lord and master in their lives and unless they were willing to do that and be committed to him they were actually frightened of joining and one of the great weaknesses of the church today is that it becomes and it can becoming our thinking and nothing more than just something we join, something we belong to, something we go along to er as like a club, like an association, but that's not the picture we see it in the New Testament, it is a very exclusive body, it is a very exclusive grouping, a grouping of those who have committed themselves to Jesus Christ and that's why not every body is a member of the local church, not every body who goes to church on a Sunday is a member of a church to Jesus Christ ... now they know if they are, but other people may not know, they know and the lord knows, I know if I belong to him and he knows if I belong to him ... other people may not, I can put on the act, I can look as though I'm playing the part, I can go through the routine, I can, I can, I can fool every body, but he knows and I know, and he knows and you know and so Jesus said not every body who says lord, lord on that day will I acknowledge and recognize ... and so for Ruth and Nao er yes Ruth and Auper it was gonna be different of course for them as foreigners in Judah especially when Naomi goes ... and she pleads with them go back home, Judah is not place for Moabias, she knew what it had been like to be a foreigner, she knew what it had been like to be an alien land in an alien culture in a different religion with a different language she had known the bitterness of it all, she pleads with them go back home ... she prayers for them the lord bless you, the lord you know be gracious to you and so on, but they refused ... and again Naomi puts it to them, to please go back and Auper reconsiders and she takes the counsel and advice of her mother in law ... but no so Ruth and Naomi turns and says look your sister in law's gone back, she's gone home, you go as well , you can't do it, its a too greater price for you to pay, its a choice you mustn't make, a decision you mustn't make, your gonna have poverty, your gonna have loneliness, your gonna have hardship.
 ... I'm sure that Ruth searches her heart, she, she may of made her decision lightly way back to go with Ruth er, to go with Naomi but not now, its a heart searching decision she makes, the choice before her, do I go back or do I go, do I go on, do I go back to Moah with its familiarity with all the things I am aware of or do I go on into the unknown with my mother in law and with her god ... Auper makes a choice and she goes back and Ruth had, Ruth says no and she makes the commitment and she says there, in verse sixteen, do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you, for where you go I will go and where you lodge, I will lodge, your people should be my people and your god my god and its those last few words that makes all the difference, your god will be my god, I will not be a stranger there, I will not be an alien there, I will be part of your people, and the only way she could be part of Naomi's people was for Naomi's god to be her god, that was the thing that kept, that was, that was the common denominated should all of Naomi's people, because they all belonged to
|Unknown speaker (J8MPSUNK)||[...]|
 and Ruth says I commit myself to him, he will now be my god, and therefore your people will be my people, your home will be my home, your destiny will be my destiny ... the way is clear, she makes that greatest decision of her life, a decision that will affect the whole of her life ... but its not as say a life decision is a commitment now, we, we, we are always confronted, day after day we are confronted to make decisions, some of you make decisions and were not too committed about them, and if things alter they will change our minds, not just a ladies prerogative to change her mind, men do it as well and things happen and we think oh no well, I won't go through with that I'll change my mind before its too late, but here Ruth she is not just making a decision, she is making a total commitment, a commitment that is worth time of the whole of her life, to promised to be loyal to de to Naomi and her deceased husband, she promises loyalty to Naomi's race and the people of god, but above all she acknowledge's Naomi's god and her willingness to follow him to the end, you know this, how she finishes of this commitment ... where you die I will die its to the end ... its to the end of my life, I will not walk out of it and even after you've gone mother in law, even after you are dead I am still committed to that decision, this decision I am making today where you die I will die, there I will be buried, and here she sorts of puts this solemn vow to this commitment, thus may the lord to do me and worse if any thing but death parts you and me.
 Nao Naomi realizes there's no point talking about it now, the dye has been cast the decision has been made, the commitment has been entered into, whatever the cost she was going gods way, there was nothing more to be said about it ... we find that a de a decision made before god and we all make those decisions, means nothing at all unless were determined to carry it through, whatever the cost may be, three women here make their decisions before god, they make their choices, Naomi she chooses to return to Judah once again and enjoy the inheritance god has given her, Auper she chooses to return to her own country and her own god, as far as were concerned that's the end of the story, but Ruth she chooses, she expresses her faith in the one true god, she turns her back on the old ways and decides to follow gods way, no matter what the cost, she would of said with Joshua, but as for me and my husband were gonna serve god, whatever the cost, I dunno what'll be and she didn't know what she was letting herself in for, and the, I counted it, although I don't know what it is, I counted that cost, I'm willing to pay it and Jesus said that that is the acid test of disciples, said to count the cost and weigh it up and Ruth had done that, then to make their decision ... and because if we make a decision without counting the cost, without weighing it all up, like Auper you'll go back, it won't last, there is that choice for every one of us day by day, who will we serve, not to be like Joshua, its for us, never for any body else, I will serve the lord because and this is the reason for it, not because you've done nice things for me, I will be your saviour because he is god, that's the reason for our serving god, not because he blesses us because he blesses people who don't serve him, blessing is not exclusive to gods people, blessing, god blesses across the board, god is generous he's gracious, he causes the rain and the sun to shine on the just and on the unjust, blessing is not the ground for serving god, but because he is god that's sufficient reason for our committing ourselves to him.
 Let's just sing shall we as we close, whilst were singing were gonna take up our morning offering, its number one ninety seven, one hundred and ninety seven ... an element of commitment in this song, one nine seven, well stand to sing.