Intro - Typical stuff
-DISCLAIMER ABOUT SERMON…TALKING ABOUT SUFFERING, BUT UNDERSTAND THAT SUFFERING FOR A SEASON IS PERFECTLY NORMAL. GRIEF AND DESPAIR ARE BIGGER ISSUES THAN CAN BE SOLVED IN ONE SERMON. BUT STILL THERE IS SOMETHING THAT WE CAN LEARN FROM SCRIPTURE ABOUT OUR RESPONSE TO THE NATURAL PROCESSES THAT WE CANNOT NECESSARILY CONTROL. AND THAT IS WHAT I WANT TO DO TODAY.
-Talk about hard times
-paraphrase Naomi’s story---lived in time of Judges, unknown when, but give an idea of time period-----Husband-ELIMELEK, died suddenly sometime after they got to Moab (all from Judah). Has two sons. Both get married to Moabite women (maybe give snippet of history). They died after 10 years.
-----Naomi/Orphah/Ruth----Naomi tries to go back home/convince them to leave her. Orphah leaves, Ruth stays (don’t mention verses though)---
------NAOMI TRIES TO GET THEM TO LEAVE, I THINK, BECAUSE SHE JUST WANTED TO BE ALONE.
------talk about that-----
------AT THE END OF THE DAY THOUGH, SHE PRESSES ON TOWARDS BETHLEHEM, COMPLETELY BLINDED BY HER DESPAIR. SO BLINDED THAT SHE OVERLOOKS GOD’S PROVISION AND FALLS DEEP INTO SORROW AND PITY.
So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?” “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”
Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them. And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun. Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh. Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind. Again, I saw vanity under the sun: one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, “For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business. Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
Relate to the scripture for the day.
Focus on “Went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty----talk about school and music.
Make previous point relate-able to everyday situations. Friends/coworkers/family/spouse/church (even had people leave church because of situations)
FORECASTING---[MUST MAKE THIS POINT]
....I THINK WE FORECAST LIKE THAT BECAUSE SO OFTEN LIFE IS SO GOOD! JUST LIKE FOR NAOMI…FURTHER I THINK THAT WE REACT AS MUCH AS WE DO TO SUFFERING BECAUSE WE ARE SO SURPRISED BY IT! WE LIVE SO MUCH OF OUR LIFE IN THE MIDST OF GOD’S GOODNESS THAT WE FORGET WHAT IT IS LIKE TO HAVE HARD TIMES, AND WHEN WE GET THEM, THEY COME AS A SHOCK TO US!
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Talk about that
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
Sometimes we just have to come to grips with the fact that hard times, and suffering, are just a part of the bigger picture. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT THOSE HARD TIMES ARE THE VERY THING WE NEED TO BECOME STRONGER AND CLOSER TO GOD!
----BACK TO NAOMI----MOVE TOWARD IDEA OF HER WALLOWING IN PITY----THEN MOVE TOWARD RUTH’S FAMOUS RESPONSE.
But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”
Talk about that
There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless— a miserable business! Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
CHURCH WE ARE NOT ALONE!----EXPOUND ON THAT...
[in this life you will have suffering - Jesus…use it…move sermon from this to …We are not alone…even in the darkness of our suffering Jesus is there, having suffered for us and with us. …might need a story in there somewhere…break things up…we are always looking for acceptance and when we don’t find it we are dissapointed, and suffer sometimes…but we are accepted by christ and therefore rejected by the world like him…suffering can be a surprise because we have it so good so much of the time(talk about kids here)…we see god’s goodness in creation, relationships, personal life, and in the little everyday moments we have so when those moments get hard we are shocked by it and feel like God isn’t there…we look past the good and dwell on the bad.]