Summary: This is the second of four sermons from the book of Ruth. It deals with the question, "Is God actively involved in my life."
God Cares for You
Did you know that on 9-11 the New York State Lottery’s evening number game, popped up the numbers: 9-1-1?
Did you know that a news paper in Oregon on June 28, 2000 printed the pick 4 winning numbers in advance of the drawing? Actually, the news paper’s computers had crashed. In a scramble to re-create a news page, the copyeditor accidentally included Virginia’s Pick 4 numbers, which turned out to be the exact numbers that Oregon was about to draw.
Here is a really odd one. Did you know that in Psalm 46 of the King James Bible was published in the same year that Shakespeare turned 46 and that the 46th word from the beginning of the chapter is “shake”. But that’s not all the 46th word from the end of the chapter is “spear”? Is that an accident, luck or some odd coincidence? (What amazes me about the 46th Psalm is that someone should even notice that.)
Odd things happen in our world all the time. Strange occurrences happen every day. These types of events make me question: “What drives our world? Are we in a world that is nothing more then random circumstances? Or are we in a world that has a plan and a purpose – a destination and a goal?”
Last week in chapter one of Ruth we saw a life that seemed to be full of chaos. We saw a situation where there were three couples and all three husbands died. All three wives are left as widows. There seemed to be no future for these widows. Naomi becomes bitter – she tells her daughters-in-law to leave her and one of them takes her advice. Ruth sticks with Naomi in a situation that almost seemed that God was not present.
That is where we pick up in chapter 2. Please follow alone with me as I read the first three verses.
There was a relative of Naomi’s husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz. So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, "Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor." And she said to her, "Go, my daughter." Then she left, and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers. And she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.
Ruth 2:1-3 (NKJV)
I like the way that the NKJV puts Ruth’s situation as she just “happened” into the field of Boaz. Do you think that was an accident? Do you think that was random circumstance? Do you think it was just plain luck that Ruth ended up in the field of Boaz? Or was it Ruth’s planning and action that set things in motion?
In verses 1 and 2 of the text Ruth seems to put a plan in place so that she can meet up with Boaz. Ruth says to Naomi, "Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor." Naomi responds, "Go, my daughter."
Accident, chance, luck, human will - or maybe, just maybe God had a hand in it? I wonder.
Let me ask you a series of questions – do you think it was just coincidence that Ruth ending up going to a country with a welfare system allow her to survive by gleaning the fields? Do you think it was just coincidence that a young widow would meet a relative of her husbands who had the legal right to marry her? Do you think it was just luck that they would fall in love and marry? Do you think it would be random chance that they would have a son and that son would also have a son who would turn out to be King David? And that David’s children would have children – and the linage would continue until one would be born who would be known as Jesus the Christ.
Boy – how lucky for Ruth. Luck! How about the hand of God? How about God’s providence? How about God’s plan and purpose being acted out in the life of Ruth?
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
The NKJV says that “she happened to come” to Boaz’s field. This is one of those times when it looks like coincidence, but it is really the hand of God at work.
FACT: Things that seem to be “coincidental” turn out to have a plan and a purpose.
Life in not a game of chance. God knows our every move. He knows when you have a problem. When someone comes along when you have a flat tire or you’re just in need of a word of encouragement – it may not be coincidence – it may just be the hand of God actively working in your life.