We have a lot to cover in this weeks message, so lets get to work.
First thing I want to let you in on is that since I will be preaching here for the next three weeks, I thought I would do a little three week series with you. I wasn’t sure what to do, there are so many possibilities in the Word, but the fact that today is mother’s day, I wanted to preach a passage that would relate in some ways to the cultural calendar, and bless the Mom’s among us, as well as anyone here who at any point of their life had a mother. So I was thinking and praying, asking God to show me a passage, or a book that might be good, not only for the day, but for this particular church. I want to preach the word that God wants to bring to this body of believers, in this season that you are in.
So, I was praying while bush hogging the other day, and the book of Ruth came to mind, and I thought, that is it. were going to do a study of Ruth. But we aren’t going to take it in a typical way. Ruth is different from many books of the Bible. The genre is narrative, it tells a story. The point of the book is not to tell people what to do, like a letter, or a book of prophecy. So because of that, I want to look at the whole story, and take the next three weeks and do three character studies of the people in the Book of Ruth. This week we will be looking primarily at Naomi, next week we will look at Boaz, and the third week, we will look at Ruth.
But instead of reading the whole book to you, I am going to read chapter one this week, two next week, and three and four the following week. What I would recommend for you is to take half an hour this week, and read through the whole book for yourself, asking God to speak to your heart the things that he wants you to hear from the truth contained in this narrative, and asking Him to show you that the real lead character in this story is God himself.
So with that said, lets read the first chapter of Ruth.
Ok, that took a while I know, but I think that we will never waste time reading scripture. I might waste time speaking my own words, but NEVER the words of God.
So, if you have never read, or heard the story of Ruth, you have the background for the story, the first chapter. An Israelite man takes his wife and two boys to the Land of Moab because of a famine in the land. They get there and her husband dies, then their sons marry moabite women, and then her sons die. then something strange happens, the text says that the Lord had provided food for the people back home and she decides to go back, her daughters in law love her and say they will go with her, she convinces orpah to leave her, but Ruth wont go back to her people. So to make a fairly short story even shorter, we will see in the next few weeks, Ruth returns with Naomi, she meets a man named Boaz, who is whats called a kinsman redeemer, and a little love story blossoms, Naomi gives Ruth some motherly dating advice which she follows, Boaz marries Ruth, and redeems the line of Elimelech and provides a son for Ruth and a descendent for Naomi. Great story right. It is a great story, in itself, that would make a great movie. But, that is not the point of this story. The point of this story is that from the marriage of Ruth and Boaz comes a child named Obed, who was the father of Jesse, who had a son named David, of whom God said would be the line of the messiah.
Thats the truth I believe God wants us to see in this story, that no matter where we have come from in life, and no matter what devastation may have befallen your life, God is working his purposes through your circumstances, and He will get the Glory from them.
So, let’s turn our attention to Naomi.
Who is this Woman? Well, when we come into the story, were given a brief overview of how she got to where she is, but it seems that when we find her, she is at the end of her rope. She has lost just about everything a woman, mother and wife can lose. She is far away from her home, in a pagan land, she was driven there by a famine, so you know things were probably bad for a while before they left. She is a widow, then her sons die. If anyone was ever down and out, it was Naomi. No future it seemed, no chance of her line being carried on, no hope of being provided for. All is apparently lost for her.
She even speaks of her hopelessness when she tries to convince her Daughters in law to stay in Moab, she tells them there is no hope for them, no future, no promise of better times, no bright side, hopeless, hopeless. Can you relate to Naomi at all? its ok if your sufferings don’t really stack up compared to hers, I think we can all relate to at least a sense of hopelessness at some point in our lives. Maybe you feel it today.
Well, if that is where you are, or have ever been, or for many of us one day will be, I think the truth that God has for us in this text today is that God is about using hopeless situations and people to reveal true Hope to this world.
Now there are several truths that you and I need to see in this story before we can truly understand, and love what God is doing here. The truths I want to briefly draw out for us this morning are that God will do things to us, do things for us, so ultimately, He can do amazing things through us. Or to say it another way, God will empty us of ourselves, so that he can fill us with Christ and display Him to the world.
- God empties Naomi of herself: Massive loss, family destroyed, destitute. Ruth 1: 20-21
- He stripped her of all earthly hope: Homeland (family, status) Husband (provision) sons (heritage)
- She never doubted his
- For those who are Christians, this is not a sign of punishment, but of discipline. Heb. 12. For those outside of Christ, it is a foretaste of the eternal punishment to come.
- God Fills Naomi with Himself: Even during the pain, and loss, God was working a plan to fill her up with himself. 2:20.
- Ruth is a ferociously loyal daughter. Who wouldn’t love to have that?
- Boaz, is a kinsman redeemer, who takes an interest in Ruth.
- Boaz provides above and beyond for Ruth and Naomi. Ruth Marries, and the family line is kept intact.
- God brings a Savior through this hopeless case. 4:14-15
- Praise be to the Lord, he has not left you without a redeemer. Christ is the true redeemer that Boaz is the shadow of.
- He will renew your life… Boaz redeemed the line of Elimelech, but Christ came to redeem the line of sin inherited from Adam.
- Christ came to fulfill all that God was showing in this story and so many others in the old testament, God is in the business of taking ruined and shattered lives and redeeming them. Read 4: 9-10
- When others looked at Naomi’s life, they praised God: God will use the trials, and sufferings in your life to put his work on display for the world to see.
- Read Revelation 7:9-17
So, where are you this morning? do feel like you are a hopeless case? do you wonder what God is doing to you? Do you feel like God has emptied you? or maybe you are being filled with Christ, and you can relate to beginning to see the sun rising on your life, and seeing God’s plan unfolding for you.
The call for all of us, in any place in this passage is that first of all we see God’s purpose for the emptying that Naomi went through, and that it is no different for us. There is a story unfolding here that is bigger than you, or me. Your comfort, or mine, God is redeeming broken lives, so that the broken people around us will see that there is hope in this world, and it is only found in Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 ASV
For I received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread; 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, This is my body, which is for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 In like manner also the cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood: this do, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink the cup, ye proclaim the Lord’s death till he come