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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1072

Your Day of Decision
Part One

April 21, 2013

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1072 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Well, Praise God! Appreciate that. I’ve been wrestling with the Lord all morning, ‘cause what I have or the thoughts I’ve been having, don’t sound very connected to Easter, but that’s all right. We’re not tied to the calendar. And yet it is, in a way. I was actually going to the book of Ruth, of all places. But yet it does illustrate, I believe, some of the very things that Mike was talking about, in a very profound way. You know, how many of you have read very much in the book of Judges?

( congregational response ).

Yeah, it’s pretty ugly isn’t it? A lot of stuff…you see the people in terrible condition, constantly drifting into idolatry, and God sending judgment and sending deliverers, and even the deliverers weren’t all that much to shout about sometimes. I mean, the Lord blessed Gideon but he had his faults too. But you see God’s mercy and God’s faithfulness.

But, the one thing that struck me as I got to the end of Judges and started reading Ruth the other day, was the fact that this took place in the middle of all that. So, in the middle of all that God…and all that was wrong with the nation, God had a people, didn’t He? God always had a remnant of people who were faithful to Him and who believed in Him, who trusted in Him, and this was a story about that.

And, of course, just to give you quickly the background of it, you remember that there was a man in Bethlehem, in Judah, and he and his wife and his two sons went to live in the neighboring country of Moab. And they did it because of circumstances. Mike was talking about the Lord arranging circumstances. Well, this was one where He allowed them to experience a famine in Judah and so they had to go over to Moab to try to survive.

And so, they settled there and over a period of some years, they had two sons, Mahlon and Kilion, and they married a couple of Moabite girls. And so, life was good and they were going on and all of a sudden, well, over a period of time, I don’t know how sudden it was, but all three of the men died. So now you’ve got a widow named Naomi, and her two foreign daughters-in-law living there. And I’m sure they were struggling for their existence and things were not great.

But then, all of a sudden, Naomi heard that things had changed back home. And so she said, I’m gonna go home. And that’s the background of it. And so, they were on the road and actually her two daughters-in-law were so attached to her at this point that they actually began to follow her, didn’t they? And so, in verse 8 it says, “Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband. Then she kissed them and they wept aloud and said to her, We will go back with you to your people.” (NIV).

So, at this point, both of them are still attached to her enough that they want to go back. Obviously, they had seen something in her…now perhaps, well, you’ll see as you go along that…I’m sure both of them liked her, both of them felt safe in her company and they felt a natural attraction to her as a person, but there came a point where they went in two different directions, didn’t they?

And so, here is the circumstance that God had arranged. It says, “But Naomi said, Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons—would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has gone out against me!”

And so, I mean, she’s laying out how it really is here. And I’ll tell you, there’s a principle that you see throughout the scriptures when it comes to people coming to God, and that is counting the cost, because there is a cost in serving God. You have to have the real goods if you’re gonna follow Him and be separated from this world. You’ve got to have something beyond affection for somebody, beyond any natural tie. And this was what the Lord was…the Lord was arranging a circumstance.

Now the glorious thing about all of this is that God, from the very beginning, you can see His hand. You know, we can read the whole story now, so we know…we can say, hey, hang on, it’s gonna be okay. But they didn’t know that at the time. As far as they were concerned, they saw no particular reason to go forward. There was no natural thing that could have caused either one of these girls to continue on their journey.

But God had had from the beginning His eye upon a girl, a foreign girl. He loved her, He planned for her. He had…talk about the Lord having plans? The Lord had plans for that girl that she had no concept of. But in order to bring her into that, He had to first strip away every other consideration, and say, what is your life really about? What do you really want?

And I sense, I don’t know, I have nobody particular in mind here today, but I just felt this burden to say these things and what the Lord does with it, that’s up to Him. But you know, pray! We’ve got people in our midst that haven’t really made up their mind. They haven’t really seen. And you’ve got to see something. In this world…you know, it’s too easy in America to join a church and think you’re a Christian. But, what’s gonna happen if the day comes when it’s not like that? Are you gonna have what it takes?

Well, at this point, “At this they wept again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law…” But what did she kiss her? “…Good-by…” She kissed her good-by. “…But Ruth…” You know, if you’ve got the right thing in you…people can’t run you off.

( congregational response ).

Because you’re not there because somebody has sweet-talked you, or tried to persuade you, or because you have some natural attachment, you are there because you see something that you can’t let go. It’s got a hold in your heart and your life. It’s a conviction! It’s a God-given conviction! And you know, you don’t really see, other than the result, we don’t see the dealings of God with this girl’s heart. But somehow, somewhere, she had not only developed an attachment of affection for her mother-in-law, she saw something in her about the God of Israel that she served. And so, it made every bit of the difference.

You know, we could have people grow up here and you’re here because, well, it’s expected. You’re here for a lot of reasons. You might like somebody, you might like the people you hang out with. You’ve got a whole lot of natural reasons. But I’ll tell you, God has a way, as Mike said, God has a way of arranging circumstances to bring people to real, true conviction and faith.

And it has to be a revelation. As I say, all we can surmise is from the context of scripture and from the result that we see in Ruth’s response that we’re about to read, Ruth saw something that Orpah did not. Now how does that happen? I mean, how does it happen that one person sees and another one doesn’t? God has to reveal it!

( congregational amens ).

God has to deal with the heart. And you know, you’ve got folks out there that think that when God deals with the heart, it’s inevitable. Well, I’ll tell you what, we’ve got a will. We’re gonna have to yield. There’s gonna have to be choices made. God brings conviction on a lot of people who go like this and they run from it. To them it’s a terrible thing. To them it’s a, oh, what God is expecting from me is unfair, it’s just…you know I want this.

How many of you have seen people who when there’s a real call about salvation, some message about salvation, they run to the front and they cry and they cry and they cry? And then nothing really changes. You know what those tears are really about? It’s, I know I need Jesus but I want my life so bad that I’m not willing to give it up.

And you know, I know somehow it’s obvious to me that Orpah here had such an affection for her mother-in-law that it really broke her heart that she couldn’t have it both ways. But she was…what was she looking at? What was her…when she was evaluating her situation and making her choice, what was it that she saw? She saw strictly the earthly issues. How am I gonna make it? What am I gonna do? I want a husband. All natural desires…and she saw no prospects going forward. In spite of her affection, that wasn’t enough to hold her.

And so she…and though she had that deep yearning, and deep love, and wanting to be with Naomi, she knew there was something there, but yet, it wasn’t enough to really hold her. And so…she wept and she kissed her good-bye.

“But Ruth replied, Don’t urge me to leave you.…” You know, stop it! I understand you’re really putting me to the test here. God’s arranged a circumstance where nothing looks pleasant here. There’s no prospects that I have. But stop it! “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.”

Now here’s a dimension that is often overlooked, “Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Do you know that God has people in the earth? Well, you know, when you get down to it, they’re not much. We don’t have anything to brag about. But I’ll tell you, God has people in the earth. They’re flawed, they’re in all kinds of the process—stages of the process of God working in hearts and lives to change us into what He intends that we become. But I’ll tell you, there’s a people who have something on the inside that says, there ain’t no place else to go. That’s it. It doesn’t matter whether it looks…whether things look promising or they don’t. I know! I know God is real!

How many of you have tried to put that aside and say, I’m just gonna…I’m mad at God? I’m gonna do this, I’m not gonna do this anymore. How many would admit it? You know, that you’ve experienced…yeah, well see, Ron’s got the courage. I’ll admit it, too. Yeah, there’s times when we just get so disgusted with this issue or that issue, that we just, you know, I’m mad at God. This isn’t worthwhile.

How does that work out? Not at all! It doesn’t work. Why? Because I know! There’s something down in there, there’s a conviction that’s been formed because God put it there! Somewhere along the line, God formed a conviction with me. I can’t do anything else! It doesn’t matter how my emotions go or what my circumstances are, I have nowhere else to go.

( congregational amens ).

You know, what is it that has held God’s people down through the ages except a conviction that God is real?

( congregational response ).

And that they are far better off being identified with God and with His people than they are anywhere else. And so you see this conviction, “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 anything but death separates you and me.”

I mean, that’s pretty strong conviction right there. Only God can give somebody a conviction. Folks, we are not dependant—you and I are not dependant on the strength of our wills when it comes to this. This happens when God begins to deal with a heart, and that heart, instead of going like this, says, yes, Lord, and it begins to yield, and it softens, and the ground becomes plowed up, and the circumstances of life bring a softening towards God instead of a hardness and a bitterness.

And then God plants the seed of real conviction and faith there. And it begins to come up, and God waters that and He prepares it. And so, when the trials and the tests of life come, you know there’s no other place to go. Praise God!

( congregational response ).

Now you look at how…what an utter choice this really was. Because Orpah didn’t just go home for better earthly prospects, she went back to her gods, her people, her gods. It was an entirely separate people. How many of you know there are really two kinds of people in the world? It’s not good and bad people. We’re all bad, we just…some of us, you know, understand that and know we need a savior, and God’s working in us.

But the truth is, God is calling out a people. They are a people who have a conviction that this world is not their home, this world system is something to be turned away from and run from like poison. It is…the world is destined for the fire and its inhabitants to perish.

And there are gods in this world. You know, on the one hand you have the kingdom of darkness that rules over the hearts and lives of men. You think you’re free? You know, I think I mentioned before, but I’ve met people that don’t think they have to serve either God or the devil. There’s no choice. If you don’t serve God you are serving the devil!

( congregational amens ).

You are a part of a world that is married to its own desires, its own ways, and their mind is on earthly things. And I’ll tell you, it’s people like that…they’re the enemies of the cross of Christ. And that means simply, they don’t want to die. They don’t want to let go. They don’t see the value of letting go. The utter…they don’t see the deliverance that God has wrought, through His son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to absolutely set us free from something. Unless He opens your eyes to what it really is, it will still hold its appeal to you and you’ll still want to go and do things its way.

But oh, I’ll tell you, God is absolutely, in this hour, I believe…well, He’s done it in every hour…whenever He’s dealt with a heart, it’s like Mike says, He’s gonna arrange the circumstances to where you and I are going to make a radical choice. It’s either me and my life in this world, doing things the way I want to do them, or I’m gonna let go and I’m gonna serve God and I’m gonna trust in Him. I’m gonna put all the issues of life in His hands, to do with me as He will, to arrange my life as He will.

You know, He could put somebody on a throne or He can put them in extreme poverty. But I’ll tell you, I would rather be…well, as David said, “I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” (KJV). I’ll tell you, you can’t say that unless you really see, unless God has opened your eyes to see the difference.

But I’ll tell you, when Orpah said no, it wasn’t just no to Naomi, it was no to the God who would have drawn her in and made her a part of His covenant people. And here’s this poor little heathen girl named Ruth, somehow God had birthed in her such a conviction that in spite of the fact there were no prospects that she could possibly have discerned at that time…all she knew was she was going to ‘stick with the stuff’ and come ‘hell or high water,’ come poverty or whatever, she wasn’t leaving, period. I’m with you through thick and thin. But oh, I’ll tell you, God had plans for her, didn’t He?

( congregational response ).

His love…it was His love that had brought her to such a conviction, and she became one of the more honored people in the scriptures. There’s a whole book devoted to her story. Oh, I’ll tell you, you can’t lose serving the Lord! And I don’t care what the temporary circumstances are that involve laying down our lives and saying no…oh, the reward is eternal! Praise God! Do we have something to live for this morning?

( congregational response ).

Praise the Lord! And of course, you know the rest of the story, how God brought her to the attention of one of Naomi’s relatives, a wealthy man named Boaz, and he was in the middle of his harvest, and she went out and harvested in his fields, and he took note of her. And you know, her reputation had gone before her. Everybody knew about this young woman and how she had made that radical choice. There was already a respect for this woman. God had put that in the hearts of His people.

That tells me, God had some people. They weren’t all bad. They weren’t all a bunch of idolaters. God had some people who had some real conviction about serving Him. And so, God absolutely worked one thing after another, after another. She wasn’t out saying, how can I get ahead, how can I do this? She wasn’t scheming, she wasn’t doing anything. Just trusting God and doing what came to her hand, and you see God maneuver one step at a time until she winds up as Boaz’s wife.

And God blesses them and they have a son named Obed. Obed had a son named Jesse. Jesse had a son named David. And all of a sudden, you have this heathen girl brought in, given a divine revelation, and she steps right into the line of God’s eternal purpose, and she actually was one of the progenitors of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to the flesh. I’ll tell you, we serve a great God!

( congregational response ).

We serve a God who is worthy to be served, whatever the cost. But oh, God is going to bring every soul that He brings to himself to that point. Which are you gonna go—which way are you gonna go? And I don’t know whose…I don’t know who this may apply to. I have no idea. But somehow, I cannot shake it and so, you know, halting words, whatever is gonna come out, that’s…I pray that God will absolutely convict somebody.

( congregational amens ).

Because when he does, it’s His love, it’s His mercy, even as it was in the case of Ruth, to give her a conviction! A conviction, we think of it as a negative thing. Oh God, I’ve got to face my sins, I’ve got to face all this. Yeah, that’s part of it. But the conviction is not just that you’re a sinner needing a savior, the conviction is that Jesus Christ is a savior who is worthy to be served and worthy of your life!

( congregational response ).