Summary: 2nd in series.
O How He Loves You and Me!
Chad H. Ballard
Today we are going to continue our study of the book of Ruth, GOD’S LOVE STORY TO US. It is a parallel to the love affair that exists between Jesus Christ and those who have given their hearts to Him.
Let’s recap what we learned from the story last week:
The story began with Elimelech and his wife Naomi and his two sons fleeing from God’s judgment (a famine) in Israel and going to Moab, a country to which no Jew was allowed to travel to.
In this we saw the RESULTS of disobedience as Elimelech and his sons lost their lives as a result of disobedience to God. We saw that when a father lives in a way that is contrary to God’s law, his sons will pay the price because they will commit the same sins. We also realized that this family was never any better off in Moab than they would have been had they stayed in Bethlehem because YOU CAN’T RUN FROM GOD’S JUDGEMENT.
We discussed how many times we try to flee God’s conviction on our hearts only to find that we would have been better off to face the music and repent in the first place.
Now the death of Elimelech, Mahlon and Chilion left Naomi and her two Moabite daughters-in-law to fend for themselves.
So Naomi and Ruth left Moab and returned to Bethlehem. And in this we saw the RETURN of the disobedient. We saw that the whole city rejoiced in the fact that they had returned. This is an example of the joy that comes when we decide to repent of our sins and follow the will of God.
And finally, we saw the REWARDS of obedience. This story shows how Naomi and Ruth had come to the end of themselves to find the beginning of God. It had taken great tragedy in their lives to bring them to the point that they came to the end of themselves and gave their lives wholeheartedly to God’s caring, compassionate hands.
So this morning we will pick up the story with Ruth and Naomi having just arrived back at Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.
And as we look at the story of Ruth, I want us to see the story of God’s love and care for each of us.
I. A “Chance” Encounter (vv 1-3)
A. Since they had arrived back in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest, Ruth decided to participate in the custom of “gleaning” in order to get some food for herself and Naomi.
1. Now gleaning was the custom of allowing the poor to follow the reapers in the field and pick up and freely take the spears of grain that were missed by the reapers or that fell out of the bundles they had put together.
2. Its origins were found in Leviticus 19:9-10. “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of you vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God.
3. This is a demonstration of God’s compassion for those who are poor and needy. But just as God would only let the Israelites in the wilderness gather in enough manna for one day, it forced God’s people to demonstrate their reliance on His ability to provide for them, even in the face of this famine.