Summary: Part 2 of 4 of the series, Ruth: A Woman of Faith. Coincidence or fate? Or the work of a Sovereign caring God? The events in Ruth’s life are a wonderful testimony of the loving care God has for His people - for YOU!
"IT JUST HAPPENED!"
READ AT BEGINNING OF SERVICE:
Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)
9 In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
Read Ruth 2
In 1858 a Sunday School teacher, Mr. Kimball, led a Boston shoe clerk to give his life to Jesus Christ. The clerk was Dwight L. Moody who became an evangelist. In 1879 while preaching in England the heart of a pastor named F.B. Meyer was set on fire, who later came to an American college campus to preach. Under his preaching a student by the name of Wilbur Chapman was saved. He engaged in YMCA work and employed a former baseball player named Billy Sunday, to do evangelistic work. Billy Sunday held a revival in Charlotte, North Carolina. Because the revival stirred the hearts of many, some 30 business men wanted to devote a day of prayer for Charlotte. In May of 1934 a farmer lent the men some land to use for their prayer meeting. The leader of the business men, Vernon Patterson prayed, "Out of Charlotte the Lord would raise up someone to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth." The business men then called for another evangelistic meeting asking Mordecai Ham, a fiery Southern evangelist who shattered the complacency of church-going Charlotte. The farmer who lent his land for the prayer meeting was Franklin Graham and his son Billy became a Christian during the meeting.
All I can say is Wow, what a coincidence! Who would have ever dreamed or imagined that because a Sunday School teacher told a young man about Jesus it would turn out the likes of Billy Graham. Now is that luck or what? If that isn’t fate I don’t know what is! What else could it be?
How about your life? Are there a series of events in your life that may appear as luck, or chance?
That is exactly what the world want us to believe about such events in the lives. It’s all just luck they say. Many would have us believe such things as:
FATALISM: the view that all things are determined by an untouchable law of cause and effect. In other words fate.
DEISM: the idea that God created the world but then withdrew from its day-to-day caring of it.
DUALISM: the view that two opposing forces in the universe are locked in struggle with each other for control.
As Christians is this what we believe life comes down to? An order of fate by an uncaring higher power who is struggling to gain control of the universe?
The book of Ruth and the rest of the Bible has something different to say about the everyday events and circumstances we happen to find ourselves in. It’s called God’s Providential Care.
"Do you know how many times the word coincidence (or any other word like it) is used is the Bible? Zero. Not one event in all of Scripture is ever spoken of as having been coincidental." [ Evan D. Baltz, Pastor Sun Valley Church ]So we begin by answering the question, "Who would have ever imagined or dreamed a Sunday School teacher leading a young man to Christ would have such an impact both now and eternally?" The answer is "God."
With providence meaning to see and know in advance we can conclude that God saw in advance what impact Mr. Kimball would have by leading a young man to Christ.
Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.
As Ruth gleaned in the field of Boaz, today I want us to glean from 2nd chapter of the book of Ruth some truths concerning God and His providential care.
God’s Providential Care Allows Us to Go OnRuth 2:2-3 (NIV)
2 And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, "Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor." Naomi said to her, "Go ahead, my daughter." 3 So she went out and began to glean in the fields behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she found herself [happened] working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech.
Think about this scene with me for a moment. Ruth is a now a widow, she has left her homeland (Moab) to move into a country to which she would be viewed as a stranger, foreigner, and outsider, and her mother-in-law who is a widow herself has given up, thinking the hand of God is against her.
Ruth however was not inclined to sit and lick her wounds. She knew they had to eat and that meant she would have to work in the fields a gleaner. And that she did!
There is a great deception in the midst of God’s church today. It’s called always got to be blowing and going. If it isn’t then God is not in it.