On Your Worst Day
In today’s sermon, we take a look at the two examples set by Naomi and Ruth on their worst days to see how we should carry ourselves as genuine believers in our worst days.
On your worst day, how are you? What shape are you in physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually? Let’s compare how we are on our worst days with how we are on our best days. You see, on our best days, many of us are happy and full of joy. You can see easily see it on our faces and in our walk! However, the opposite can be said for how we are on our worst days.
On your worst day, some of us drag, pout, complain, and are easily frustrated. Some of us are absolutely miserable people and are filled with little to no joy. (Some folks are actually miserable people on even their best days and that’s truly sad.) On your worst day, I tell you that you should not feel that way because even on your worst day you are wonderfully blessed!
Today, I want to take a look at two women who I hope you will fall in love. One of these women will show you their faith while the other will make an important decision that many are refusing to make today. If you are refusing to make this decision it could lead you to struggle with finding both happiness and joy, especially on your worst day.
Ruth and Naomi
The other day, I was searching for scriptures to send for my morning text ministry, and I happen to end up in the book of Ruth. Honestly, it’s not a book I have read or studied since I finished reading the 66 books of the Bible many years ago. That said, I was so happy that the Spirit lead me there and I read the entire book in about 15 minutes. I would certainly encourage you to read Ruth (it will put a smile on your face and it’s only 4 short chapters). Let me introduce you to Ruth.
Firstly, Ruth was a Moabite (gentile) woman. This means that she was not of one of the 12 tribes of Israel. Ruth grew up with idolatry and paganism among her people. We meet Ruth when Elimelech moves his family into the land of Moab due to a famine (drought) in the land of Bethlehem-Judah (Ruth 1:1). This means that Elimelech and his family were Israelites.
Elimelech was married to Naomi – the other woman who will play an important role in our sermon today. Together, Elimelech and Naomi had two sons (Ruth 1:2). So, nothing seems wrong here, from the outset, right? They move from a land where there is no food to a land where there was food. After all, we’ve seen this happen in scripture before. Abraham moved to Egypt when he first came to the land of Canaan due to a drought. Israel and his sons ended up in the land of Egypt with their brother, Joseph, due to a drought.
Breaking of the Mosaic Law
However, we must remember the times that this event took place. This event took place during the times of Judges in the land of Israel. This means that these events took place prior to Saul, David, and Solomon – the time of the kings. The children of Israel were fresh into the Promised Land after their Egyptian bondage. Also the Mosaic Law was still fresh to the children of Israel.
Faith in the Lord was always expected of the children of Israel, just as faith in the Lord is expected from the children of God. Elimelech, though we would say he made a good decision, moved his family out of the Promised Land into a land of Gentiles. This actually displayed a lack of faith in the Lord’s providence in his worst days. So, in his worst days, Elimelech was not faithful to God.
So, Elimelech died in the land of Moab, leaving behind Naomi and their two sons (Ruth 1:3). The two sons would end up taking wives of the Gentiles, one of which was Ruth (Ruth 1:4). This type of marriage was prohibited by the Mosaic Law as the children of Israel were expected to marry within the tribes of Israel. So, along with Elimelech’s death, his two sons ended up dying as well (Ruth 1:5). These deaths left Naomi alone in a foreign land with two daughters-in-law of a Gentile people.
Naomi on her worst day
You could say that Naomi was having her worst day. It would have been easy for Naomi to be miserable on her worst day, wouldn’t it? She could have pouted and cursed the Lord. (Isn’t that what some of us do in our worst days?) Naomi easily could have also given up hope on her worst day. Yet, we see that Naomi was a different type of person. One not easily moved towards the negative in her spirit, even in her worst day.
On her worst day, I tell you that Naomi was filled with hope with joy. She had heard that the Lord had visited His people and blessed them back in Bethlehem (Ruth 1:6). So, this tells us a little something about Naomi’s faith. Even after suffering loss, we see that Naomi was still a woman who’s hope was the Lord! She hears what was happening back home and is filled with so much joy of the Lord’s blessing, that she has to get back home!
Moving in faith
On her worst day, we see that Naomi began to move in her faith and return to her homeland. For folks who always have hope in their heart, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, even on your worst day. The hopeful person can still smile and move in faith because you just know that the Lord will make a way when God is your hope!
However, Naomi’s return could prove to be problematic for her two daughters-in-law. The reasons being that the Isrealites just didn’t get along with the Moabites. Naomi reasoned that life would be rough for the two women if they were to return to the land of Israel. So, we see, she says to both of them (Ruth 1:8), “return to your mother’s house. The Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me.”
Again, this tells us a lot about the type of person that Naomi was. On her worst day, she was still a woman who filled with love and compassion for others. She was truly accepting of those that the Israelites would not have gotten along with. Naomi truly loved and cared for both of these young women.
Ruth on her worst day
So, let’s put ourselves in Ruth’s place. How do we imagine Ruth was on her worst day? She was married for 10 years to this Naomi’s son (Ruth 1:4). Ruth most likely fell in love with this young man, but then he tragically died at a youthful age leaving her to be widowed. Now, a woman she has gotten to know is telling her, “you will not want to come back with me because you won’t be able to marry nor live a wonderful life (Ruth 1:12-13). Ruth then watches as her sister-in-law turns to stay in the land of Moab – this was a rough day.
Yet, we find that Ruth, like Naomi, was a different type of person. All her life, Ruth had grown up in a land of idolatry and paganism but something had changed in her life. She says to Naomi, “For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.” Naomi may have not known it, but on her worst day, Ruth was just like her – she had hope in the Lord!
The wonderful change
I believe that as Ruth was around this family, she began to notice something about Naomi – there was something different about both her and her God. Ruth had witnessed the works of the one true God and she also stood in witness of the type of person that Naomi was. There was a hope and joy that Ruth witnessed from this woman, that she had likely never came into contact with. I imagine that Ruth wanted that same joy and hope to be in her and shine from her as well!
You know, I will tell anybody that one my worst day I am still a man that can smile and give the Lord praise because I am wonderfully and happily blessed! Can you say the same thing? Naomi could definitely say the same thing. Ruth, after being around Naomi, recognized what it meant to be truly blessed and wanted to also be able to say the same. Let me show you how deeply Ruth, this gentile woman’s faith was in the Lord.
Ruth first says, “Where you lodge (go/stay), I will lodge.” This shows Ruth’s loyalty to Naomi but also a loyalty to the Lord. We must consider that Naomi would have nothing as she returned to the land of Judah as a widow. Yet, Ruth said, “I am going to be by your side.” So, even in their worst days, Ruth showed that she was a woman of loyalty and faith.
Do you have this type of loyalty and faith as a believer? You see, this type of loyalty and faith is needed from those who call themselves a child of God. On your worst day, can you or will you remain loyal and faithful to the Lord?
Some of us struggle with remaining loyal to the Lord in our worst days. As I said last Sunday, on this journey there are many ups and downs – many good days and many bad. We all face our trials and our tribulations – all of them unique and different for us. Some of us are reminded what the Lord said to Paul (2 Cor. 12:9): “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
The faithful, in our worst days, will remain loyal to God and turn to the His love and strength! We know that God’s strength, His power, will work a blessing for us in our worst days! However, some of us do like Ruth’s sister-in-law (Ruth 1:14), we turn back to old ways instead of clinging to God.
Ruth, one of the Lord’s people
Ruth then says to Naomi, “Your people shall be my people.” Naomi’s people were the Israelites – “God’s chosen people”. So, instead of identifying herself with the Moabites, Ruth says that she will now identify herself with the Lord’s people. What a decision! To identify with the Lord’s people means that she will also now identify herself with the Lord! Again, this is a mighty powerful statement from this woman who grew up in a land of paganism!
We, the genuine people, are God’s people – His children. I consider how we are viewed in the world today. We are mocked for believing in “a God”, and in an old book of “fairy tales”. The popular decision to make nowadays is to stay away from the church. Many people in my generation (Millennials) and those after (Gen Z), are now more likely to say that they rarely step foot inside of a church. Most would claim to either be agnostic in their beliefs or prideful atheist.
They would rather not identify themselves with God in today’s secular world. How about you, are you really sure that you want to identify yourself with God and His people? On your worst day, will you identify yourself with the Lord’s and the Lord’s people as Ruth said she would?
Your God, My God
Next, Ruth said to Naomi, “Your God, [will be] my God.” Ruth’s faith in God, on her worst day, was not a temporary. You know, some of us only like to turn to God in faith on our worst day. When God brings us out of our worst day, we turn back to whatever we was doing. Ruth’s commitment was not one made lightly as we will see that she also said to Naomi (Ruth 1:17), “Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.”
Ruth, you see, was committed unto the Lord until the day she dies! This means, her commitment to God was one that was not temporary – her faith was genuine! On your worst day, will you be as committed to the Lord as Ruth was? On your worst day, will God still be your God? Ruth’s answer was a very loud yes! I am curious what we would answer to these questions.
Wonderfully and happily blessed
You see, as a repentant believer, we have to have faith in the Lord, identify with the Lord, and be fully committed to the Lord. In our worst days, we want to be wonderfully and happily blessed but where do we stand when it comes to God? We want the Lord to bring us out of troubles and our misery in our worst days, but again, are we really standing on God on our worst day?
I tell you to stop being adulterous in your faith and remain faithful to the Lord. I will also tell you to never be ashamed to identify yourself with the Lord! Where others are turning to their idols and other spiritual things, we should remain committed in our faith to the one true God Almighty.
On your worst day, I pray that you will cling faithfully to the Lord. I’d much rather cling to the Lord on my worst day because I know that I will still have my happiness and joy in Him than anywhere or anything else! This is the key for us – a very important key.
Many people suffer on their worst day because they are dependent on their idols, or maybe themselves, to pull themselves out. Then, sadly, many people find that they are not strong enough to do such a task alone or that their idols have not worked. We as genuine believers cannot put ourselves into such a place when we have faith in the Lord.