Character

Text: Ruth 1:6-18

Something missing in Christianity today.  It is character.

Ruth and Orpah were raised the same, from the same place, married the same, and had a desire to do right.  Only one ended up doing right.  Today, we will look at the character of a virtuous woman.

The questions that define character

  • In an interrogation questions are asked to get to the facts of the case.  Questions are revealing by nature; to uncover some piece of information.  These are questions that reveal character. They define character because they determine motivation and longsuffering.
  • Why will ye go with me? (1:11)
    • “Why” is a question you have to answer if you haven’t had to answer it yet.  It is a word not very far from a disaster.  It’s a word in ministry that is one of the most difficult words to deal with
    • Ruth answers, Because it’s right.  Ruth is not considering benefits to herself.
    • Why reveals the source of your actions.   It reveals the motivation of God’s actions.
  • Will ye tarry? (1:13) The question is “how long are you willing to wait?”
    • 1 Timothy 5:11 matches Ruth and Orpah’s situation.  They are younger widows anxious to move on, but only Ruth has patience because of her character.
    • Security and happiness don’t enter Ruth’s equation.  The only question Ruth entertains is, what is right?

The tests that prove character

  • Ruth’s character was tested.  She conquered the temptation to quit.
  • The three tests Ruth faced
    • Test #1: Orpah’s failure.  Behold thy sister in law is gone back unto her people (1:15).  Temptation comes in the form of other people’s failures.  Orpah had chosen an easier path and that would make it harder for Ruth to do right.
      • People will fail you
      • Leaders will fail you.  Looking for a pastor.  The next man this congregation chooses to be their pastor will be a failure.  He’s going to do things some of you won’t like.  He’s going to hurt some people.  Don’t badmouth people.  That’ll become a character flaw and will ruin lives and the work of the Holy Spirit.
      • And you know what, you’re going to fail people.
    • Test #2: Naomi’s failure.  Return thou after thy sister in law (1:15).  Ruth trusted Naomi and loved Naomi and now, as well intentioned as she was, Naomi was pressing Ruth in the wrong direction.  It’s one thing to see a peer go, but add to that a trusted elder who is suppose to have wisdom telling you to go in the wrong direction.
    • Test #3: Naomi’s silence.  She left speaking unto her (1:18).  The last and final temptation comes in the silence of Naomi.
  • Character is revealed  under pressure.  Proverbs 31:25 Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.  The only way to know you have strength and honor is that strength and honor have been tested and proven.

The motivation that drives character (sacrifice)

  • What Ruth is doing is making a sacrifice to take care of what’s left of her household.
    • With Ruth we are talking about a sacrifice where there were no visible benefits to her personally.
    • Read 1 Timothy 5:4 and Proverbs 31:27.  Ruth truly is a keeper at home as Titus 2:4 says.  Notice her sacrificial care of her household.
    • a virtuous woman is mentioned in the Bible she is mentioned in relation to her household.  Proverbs 12:4, 31:10-31, and Ruth 3:11.
  • Proverbs 31:28-29.  The reason the virtuous woman is blessed by her household is because of her sacrifice.
  • Ruth is recognized by Boaz because of what she did for Naomi, Ruth 2:11-12 applied from Proverbs 31:31.

Ruth was Virtuous

  • Ruth is a Gentile Moabite doing what her conscience says is the right thing to do just like Romans 2:14-15.
  • What makes Ruth spiritual is that she is DOING the things she knows to do.  She is not answering questions like the wise Solomon.  She isn’t working miracles.  But what she is doing is more than you or I do with much more light than young Ruth has.
  • Interesting enough Ruth is absent from the Hebrews 11 role.   This is because Ruth is not responding to any direct command of God, she is following what she knows is right as Romans 2:14-15 describes the situation with Gentiles.
  • Ruth acts in accordance with everything the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 does and everything New Testament Christian women are instructed in without having any of these benefits.
  • Add to your faith virtue – 2 Peter 1:5.  So virtue doesn’t come with the equipment, you’ve got to add this character trait that Ruth had.

The benefits of a life of character

  • You will be in the right place at the right time – Ruth 2:3 and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging to Boaz
    • Ruth obeys the voice of her character and it just so HAPpened that ends up in the field of the most eligible bachelor in Bethlehem.
    • How many times have you heard the sad story of some criminal who followed a crowd of sinners, disobeying his own conscience, wound up in jail and said, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Well, the way you get to the wrong place at the wrong time is you followed the wrong voice.  Virtue will always lead you out in the right place at the right time.
  • You will be provided for – Ruth 2:8-9
  • You will have the grace of God as your companion – Ruth 2:10, 12