Summary: God colors outside the lines. He providentially sends us places we would not volunteer to go, because there is a Ruth, whom He wants to save.
Ruth My Redeemer Lives Series Intro
Today we begin a new series I am entitling, "My Redeemer Lives."
Redeemer is one of those religious words we have, that unless you have been brought up in the church you have no idea what it means.
To redeem something is to:
Recover ownership - like in a pawn shop Translated us from the kingdom of darkness unto the kingdom of His beloved Son
To free from the consequences of sin
To exchange for something of value. Kroger gas discount, S&H green stamps
To restore the honor, dignity of worth of a thing
The book of Ruth is about 3 main characters. Boaz, Ruth, Naoimi
It is a short book of only 85 verses, and yet it is so full of story that if could fill a 1000 page novel. It is a story of displacement because of bad financial times, hardship, bereavement, lost hope, a woman with a bitter outlook, the incredible devotion of a daughter in law, small tokens of hope that lead to rebounding, hope rekindled, incredible happenstance, a kind man in an unkind world, an unexpected marriage, laughter, and an incredible ending, that is really just an incredible beginning, because of the secret working of the Divine potter.
Last week I mentioned that there are two books in the Old Testament that are named after women. One is the book of Ruth, and the other, of course, is the Book of Esther. Both of them are very, very different. Esther was a queen. Ruth was a very lowly peasant girl. Esther was a Jewess who married a Gentile. Ruth was a Gentile who married a Jew. The Book of Esther opens with a feast, while the Book of Ruth opens with a famine. The Book of Esther comes to a close with the hanging of an enemy; the Book of Ruth comes to a close with the birth of a child. Both books are alike in that God is hardly mentioned in either of them, not at all in the book of Esther, and in the book of Ruth He is only mentioned in passing, - He has dealt bitterly with me, may He bless you.
Both books also teach a very important lesson: God is at work, even when you can't see it.
That is the message I want to talk about today. God is at work even when you doubt it the most. Instead of reading the text I want to watch a short video where a Jewish Rabbi reads it to a small group in a home setting.
The reason I like that video is that we hear the text the way Jews hear the text. Names are more than names to the Jews. For example when Abram was 99 God changed his name to Abraham. We read his name as a name. The people of his day hear his name as a story. After his name was changed if someone were to greet him they would call him by his old name and he would say that ain't my name anymore, oh really what is your name now. Father of a multitude. I could imagine the people of his day saying, "whatever you been drinking you need to stop, because it done drove you crazy." They don't hear his name is Abraham they hear his name is father of a multitude.
Names in the bible are not simply names, they tell the story. For example in the book of Genesis 5 there is a listing of names:
This is what the Jews read:
Man Appointed Mortal Sorrow The Blessed God Shall come down Teaching His death shall bring The despairing Rest, or comfort.*
So when we read the beginning of the book of Ruth we read Elimilech and Naoimi left Bethlehem Judah and went to live in the land of Moab.
Jews read My God is King, and Mrs. Pleasant, left the house of bread and praise, and moved to God's pot for washing dirty feet. Once they were there her husband and sons kept on dying.
If you leave the house of bread, in the land of praise for the dirty washpot what do you expect will happen?
Why would they do such a thing?
Famine, sick kids, wicked judges ruling.
Remember today's lesson is about God working even when we don't see or think He is.
Jud 14:1 ¶ Then Samson went down to Timnah and saw a woman in Timnah, [one] of the daughters of the Philistines.
Jud 14:2 So he came back and told his father and mother, "I saw a woman in Timnah, [one] of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore, get her for me as a wife."