Summary: Seeing God in the Ordinary: Seeking a Grace Filled Life
Seeing God in the Ordinary:
Seeking a Grace Filled Life
As I have been reading Ruth I am struck with the theme that God is behind, under and working through the ordinary events of life. We see this in the flow of farming, in Ruth ‘happening’ upon Boaz’s field, through generosity of Boaz, in Ruth’s diligence, in match making of Naomi, at the city gate, in the marriage of Boaz and Ruth, in the birth of their child, in the nation of Israel. The writer is telling us that it is not as though God is not working then all of a sudden he works in some extra ordinary way. He is telling us that in all of life God is working in the ordinary as well as the extra ordinary. Look for God in both.
1. God’s Grace Flows When I entrust myself to Him
We have seen that God is pouring out his grace or favor toward Ruth because she has entrusted herself to God, described as her seeking refuge under his wings (2:12). Ruth has abandoned her people, abandoned her country, abandoned her culture and gone to an unknown and uncertain place, embracing an unknown people, because she has embraced Yahweh. If you ponder her words to Naomi, we recognize that they are utterly amazing. She leaves everything safe, secure and protected to embark on a journey that is uncertain, and unsafe.
Last week we saw that God’s grace came through a person, Boaz. Boaz did a number of things. He gave her a position of favored gleaner, he protected her, as an outsider he embraced her as one of his own. Now in verse 14 -16 we see that God’s grace continues. He feeds her in a meal and gives her extra grain to glean. He invites her, an outsider, into his company with his staff. Boaz embraces her and welcomes her and includes her. He also looks out for her by putting her among his female servants and told his men not to harm her.
When we entrust ourselves to God as little helpless eaglets, God spreads his strong and mighty wings of safety, protection and provision over us to cast a shadow of grace and mercy over us. So the relation between taking refuge under God's wings on the one hand and abandoning everything to care for Naomi on the other hand, is that being under God's wings enabled Ruth to forsake human refuge and give herself in love to Naomi. God’s grace is God’s empowering presence or sustaining presence. Or another way to say it is that leaving home and loving Naomi are the result and evidence of taking refuge in God. Gods grace empowers us to do what we cannot do – like take radical risks.
2. God’s Grace Does not flow in a Vacuum
But God’s grace does not happen in a vacuum. The bible does not teach a let go and let God mentality. A fatalistic or deterministic what will be will be. Nor is grace is not a license to sin. I hear this unbiblical concept that we can do what we want and God’s grace will cover us. Notice Ruth’s actions. Ruth was diligent (v. 7) and she reaped abundance (vs. 14-17). Boaz prayed for Ruth (v. 12) and God answered the prayer (vs. 19-20). Ruth devoted herself to Naomi and she was embraced, protected, provided for by Boaz. Here is a theme that runs throughout the scriptures, and a principle that will endure as long as the earth exists. That principle is what I sow I reap.
What I sow I will reap
It starts in Genesis 8:22, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease." In other words, seedtime and harvest, or "sowing and reaping", will be as unchangeable and predictable as day and night. Sowing and reaping is a principle built into the way life works. It is a general truth that works the same way for everyone, everywhere. It's a principle that God has built into the created order. In Galatians 6:7, we are told, "Whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” Essentially, this means that every action has a predictable and corresponding consequence. If I sow corn, I'll get corn, not potatoes. If I sow radishes, I'll get radishes, not squash. It also works the same way in the spiritual realm. If I sow (give away) life to others, I will reap life myself. If I sow provision for others, I will reap provision for myself. If I sow forgiveness toward others, I'll reap forgiveness for myself. If I show compassion for others, I will reap compassion.
The principle has positive consequences
Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.