Summary: Part 4 of series on Ruth
GODS HAND IN OUR REDEMPTION
Ruth, Part 4
This is the last week of our series on the book of Ruth.
Lets do a little review,
for those of you who may have missed a week.
The story takes place in the time of the Judges,
which is a dark period of Israel’s history,
about a thousand years before the birth of Jesus.
You can read about it in the Book of Judges
which is just before the book of Ruth in the Bible.
The story happens in the town of Bethlehem,
which literally means,
“House of Bread,”
and then we discover that there was famine,
so there’s no bread,
and its likely the result of
God disciplining his disobedient people
in an effort to bring them to repentance.
The story is about an ordinary family
headed by a man named Elimelech,
who makes a very dumb decision,
and because of the famine decides to move his family
away from Bethlehem,
away from God’s people,
away from anyone who worships God,
to a place called Moab.
Moab is a strange place to move to,
Because the tribe of Moab got started
when a man named Lot got drunk
and had incestuous relations with his daughter.
They gave birth to a boy and named him Moab.
And the Moabites are all descendants of that incest,
and they worship a false God named Chemosh,
who requires human sacrifice.
Of course when they arrive in Moab,
there’s no church to attend,
no Bible studies,
no prayer meetings,
nobody knows the God of the Bible,
no fellowship for his wife or sons.
Elimelek is basically a foolish man
who is only thinking about economic opportunity and money,
and doesn’t think about the Spiritual implications
of where his family will live.
I’m sure you’ve never met anyone like that,
who places a higher priority on money,
than they do on spiritual things.
They live there for ten years,
and the two sons get married to Moabite women,
named Orpah and Ruth.
No children are born.
And then tragically,
Elimelech and his two sons all die,
leaving the three widows destitute.
Naomi then hears that God has blessed his people in Bethlehem.
The famine is over,
a harvest has come.
She decides to return home to Bethlehem;
return to God and his people.
One of her daughters-in-law, Ruth
is devoted to Naomi,
and decides she also wants to go to Bethlehem
so she can worship the true God along with God’s people.
So she and Naomi get to Bethlehem,
and the women there ask Naomi,
“It’s been a decade.
We haven’t seen you.
How are you doing?”
She says, “Don’t call me Naomi,
which means pleasant or sweet,
call me Mara, which means bitter.
I’m unhappy. I’m angry at God. I’m devastated.
I don’t like what God has allowed to happen to me.”
She opens up and shares her heart,
and by being honest,
and not pretending to be okay,
she also opened herself to God’s healing.
In Chapter 2, we then find that
Ruth and Naomi have no money, no food,no help.
They’re in a desperate situation.
So Ruth asks Naomi permission to go glean in the fields,
which is the equivalent of going to the food bank
or the soup kitchen in that day.
It was dangerous for a young woman
to go all by herself and glean in the field,
but she’s trusting that
God would give her favor in the eyes of someone.
And then we start to see
one the great themes of the Book of Ruth,
the providence of God.
We talked about how God works through two hands,
his visible hand of miracle,
and his invisible hand of providence.
Sometimes God works through his visible hand of miracle,
so we see God part the Red Sea,
and speak out of a burning bush,
a we see that virgin has a baby
who walks on water, and raises dead people.
In those situations it’s obvious that God is at work.
God’s invisible hand of providence is less obvious,
we can only see it through faith,
but this is happening everywhere around us all the time,
whether we realize it or not.
God is involved with even the little details of our lives,
determining where people live,
and where they move,
and who they work with,
who they happen to cross paths with.
Well, it just so happens,
of all of the fields that Ruth could’ve ended up in,
she happened to find herself
in the field of a man named Boaz.
Who just happened to be Godly, rich,
generous, and single,
When he finds out who she is,
Boaz praises her
because he’s heard how kind she’s been to Naomi,
and he prays for her,
give her a generous gift,