Summary: In this message we discover how we can experience God’s favor in our lives, as we continue in the book of Ruth.
GETTING THE LUCKY BREAKS...
INTRO: Some people put a lot of stock in “luck.” That explains why I always get stuck in line paying for gas behind someone buying lottery tickets. Last week, the Kentucky Derby – “The most exciting two minutes in sports.” Trust me, the excitement has nothing to do with a love for horses. While many base their lives on luck, others are convinced that if it wasn’t for bad luck, they wouldn’t have any luck at all. How do you relate to “luck”?
The Bible doesn’t talk at all about luck. Instead, it talks about ‘favor.’ But Christians often think of God’s favor in the same way others think about luck. Instead of blind chance, the Scriptures point us to a personal God who bestows favor on people.
Do you desire God’s favor? Do you have any idea if or how you will receive it? Today we will discover how we can experience God’s favor in our lives, as we continue in the book of Ruth.
How do we receive God’s favor?
Naomi and Ruth could certainly have blamed bad luck for their circumstances – dead husbands, sons, and no future. But in our text today we will see an amazing story of God’s favor, and we will glean some important insight about obtaining God’s favor.
A. Boaz’s introduction (1)
Read Ruth 2:1
The table is set with an enticing introduction of Boaz, for later reference. Probably a close relative. “Man of standing” (NIV) often translated “man of wealth”, but term is “mighty man”, referring often to military prowess, here to high social standing and noble character. Like the English “knight.” All further references point to his character, not wealth. Same wording used of Ruth is 3:11 w/out reference to wealth...
B. Ruth’s initiative (2)
Read Ruth 2:2
Ruth asks Naomi’s permission to go out and find some work, get some food. They were in desperate need. Urgent sense of language implies she went out the morning after they arrived. She is resolved to provide her own (& Naomi’s) keep. Though she had the right to glean (pick up after the reapers), she needed someone’s favor - she was, afterall, a “Moabitess.” The law allowed her to glean, but landowners could be very uncooperative.
C. God’s intervention (3)
Read Ruth 2:3
“As it turned out” - gives the impression of blind chance/luck. It just so happened she ended up in Boaz’s field...
Of all the fields in all the places, she ends up in Boaz’s.
Here we see an important step on the road to receiving God’s favor. The first step has to do with how you view your circumstances. In a situation like this, you have to decide:
Is this a coincidence? Or is God involved? God’s involvement in the affairs of people, guding them to his intended end is what we call providence. What do you make of this scene?
Clearly, the writer sees this as providence, not just coincidence.
We can almost hear the writer’s tone of voice as he chuckles. We can almost see his tongue planted firmly in his cheek.
This is providential in that it is Boaz’s field (he is a man of standing and a relative, and in a moment we will see that he takes notice of Ruth.
God is constantly at work behind the ‘seen,’ arranging the events and people in our lives to flood us with his favor.
Illus.: When we moved back to California in 1975, I ‘just happened’ to be put on George Munzing’s baseball team. He took me to church and I found faith in Jesus Christ. Luck, or providence?
We often think we are not recipients of God’s favor because we fail to see his providence in our lives. We write things off to coincidence. But if you want to receive God’s favor, you must:
1. RECOGNIZE GOD’S HAND IN YOUR LIFE
You must become aware of the times and ways that God arranges things for your good. Is it by chance that you lived where you did or went to school where you did? ‘Chances’ are, you have received far more of God’s favor than you recognize. Spend some time today, or this week, cataloging the times God has shown up for you.
We must learn to recognize God’s providence at work in our “coincidences”. If we look, we’ll see God’s smile!
What comes next if we want to receive God’s favor?
A. Boaz’s arrival
Let’s look at Ruth 2:4 again and look for the second step to receiving God’s favor. “Just then” lends drama to the scene.
The boss shows up on the scene and greets his people.
Now, this verse reminds me a lot of the way things work around here during the week. Often when I come into the office I say, “The Lord be with you,” and Tim and John and Lee Anne and Logan and Glenna if she is here shout back to me, “The Lord bless you.” Yeah, right…