Choosing the Godly Response to Circumstances

In our journey through the Word (I’ve been preaching through the entire Bible on Sundays), we’ve come up to the book of Ruth – one of my own favorites in the Old Testament. Ruth’s story takes place during one of the darker ages of the history of the Israelites. It’s a dark time in her nation, her life, and her family, yet Ruth manages to make some pretty great decisions along the way.

ONE GREAT TRUTH: Life presents a series of circumstances to us that are really opportunities for us to make a godly choice.

We Can Choose Comfort

A lot of people in the story were choosing to do what was best for self-interest.

  • It was the time of the judges when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (not a good thing)
  • Elimelech ran from famine to the land of the enemy. He was trying to avoid physical hunger and ran to a land of spiritual famine.
  • Orpah chooses to run back to the land of her comfort.
  • Naomi tries to choose being alone, and chooses to remain in bitterness rather than to work through her problems.

We Can Choose Bitterness

Naomi says some things in this passage that are evidence that she was making the choice to be bitter in light her circumstances. She blamed God for putting her into her circumstances. When people greet her on her way back into the land of promise, she asks them to call her Mara, which means “bitter” instead of Naomi, which means “pleasant.” Her life, appearance, and personality had all been changed because she had allowed her circumstances to define her view of God.

It really is true that we can either view God through our circumstances, or we can view our circumstances through the eyes of God. What we decide will make all the difference in our future.

We Can Choose to Walk by Faith

Ruth chooses God, God’s people, and God’s land. Boaz points out in 2:12 that Ruth had come to trust under the wings of the Almighty. And she seemed to be the only one in her family willing to do so.

She demonstrates complete acceptance of God’s people, even if they endured negative circumstances. She accepts the land of promise. She accepts the God of Israel as her own God.

Amazingly, Ruth’s name is recorded in the New Testament book of Matthew as being in the lineage of Jesus Christ Himself. She’s listed along with some other women of questionable reputations. Why? Because of God’s grace. His grace makes all the difference.

We can choose to run to the temporary comforts of the world around us. We can choose to be bitter against God because of our circumstances. Or we can choose to trust and follow Him completely and allow Him to grow us through those circumstances into the people He desires us to be.

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