Summary: Exposition of Ruth 2:1-23
Text: Ruth 2:1-23 II, Title: No Coincidences with God, Date/Place: LSCC, 5/14/06, AM
A. Opening illustration: Providence: God is continually involved with all created things in such a way that he 1) keeps them existing and maintaining the properties with which He created them, 2) cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do, 3) directs them to fulfill His purposes.
B. Background to passage: The second lesson that I believe the writer is teaching us from chapter two is one of the sweet providence of God. The hand of God is all over the events in this chapter that begin to bring the light out from the darkness in the lives of Ruth and Naomi. This is a question that we all struggle with in our lives from time to time when things don’t go our way, or at least the way we planned. Is God working in this situation? Yes! The scriptures unequivocally affirm this. One writer says, “Life must be lived forwards, but is understood backwards.” And therefore describes the events in chapters 2-4, “God’s deliberately engineered twists of heavenly serendipity.”
C. Main thought: the providence of God is evident in four things in this text.
A. People (v.)
1. We have been led to believe up to this point that there are no possibilities open for help from Naomi or Elimelech’s family. But the writer brings in a man. Just in time. A man of wealth, a man of character, a man of God. But a man of Elimelech’s clan. But this man is just doing his thing, blessing his servants, looking out for his business and for others. But he is the instrument God uses to bless Ruth, who is the instrument that God uses to bless Naomi. God uses people as instrument of blessing in others lives.
2. Gen 50:20, Pro 21:1, 16:9
3. Illustration: When Kelley was going to India, LSCC was going to make a financial contribution from budgeted funds for members that go on mission, but after she sent out letters, God provided the funds so fast that she didn’t need our money. Tell about Nana, Logan, and the computer that has run every PowerPoint worship service and video for over 3 years.
4. Who is it in your life that God is using you to minister to? What traits, talents, and strengths do you have that God is using to bless others? Are there things in your life that hinder you from being useful in the kingdom in the lives of others?
B. Plan (v.)
1. The Bible always affirms that “random” events are always attributed to the Lord. “Acts of God” are really acts of God. And we see several parts of this story that are evidence of the Lord’s hand in action. First is the welfare system that God set up to care for the needy. Next the writer tells us “her chance chanced upon the field of Boaz. The writer is screaming “see the hand of God at work!” Then about that time, guess who showed up, to bless her and reward her for her love of Naomi.
2. Psa 135:6, Pro 16:33, Eph 1:11, Rom 8:28,
3. Illustration: Leslie and Steve Zeisler’s story p. 85-86 in A Conspicuous Love, “There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God’s sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that sovereignty overrules them, and that sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children ought to more earnestly contend to than the doctrine of their Master over all creation—the Kingship of God over all the works of His own hands—the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that throne...for it is God upon the Throne whom we trust.”—Spurgeon, locking my keys in my car this week.
4. God is sovereign over circumstances, over evil, over nature, over animals, over nations, over feelings, over success and failure, over wind and rain, over heartache, over life and death, over every detail of our lives. He is over the heart of your boss, your spouse, your mortgage company CEO, your car, your house, your finances, your promotions. There is no such thing as luck, chance, or coincidence with God. Nothing is ever beyond his control, out of his reach, above his power. But His sovereignty is compatible with our “freedom.” So you and I must work as Ruth worked, pray as she prayed, to watch the sovereign hand of the Lord move. You and I can have supreme confidence that God is bringing about every detail of our lives to accomplish His purposes of glory to Himself, and good to us. Trust in Him! Warning: this doesn’t mean that everything that comes easy in life is an open door from God. “Men worry about time, but God only concerns Himself with timing” Adrian Rogers.