Summary: Third in Ruth sermon series. Outline: 1. How not to do God's will. 2. How to respond to compromising situations. 3. How we need a redeemer

The Dangers of Rushing God – Ruth 3:1-18

June 1, 2013

When we try to rush God’s plan we rush into danger. I know that many of you here are single and are probably thinking about marrying someone sometime in your life. Take a look at these suggested Christian pick-up lines (show video). Now all of these examples were of a man making the approach to a woman. Let me address the women out there. If a guy came with any of those lines, how would you respond? Yeah, sorry guys, my advice to you is not try any of those lines. But why do people use pickup lines in the first place? They want to take a shortcut in getting to know someone in a genuine way. You can’t take shortcuts if you want to build a real loving relationship that is built on more than just physical attraction. That takes time and work. Whenever you try to take shortcuts or rush into things, you often get yourself into trouble.

We have been looking at a love story in the Bible, the story of Ruth and Boaz. Today we look at how the two end up getting together. But before we get into the story, let me give a short review of what has happened so far. During the time of the judges, when there was no king in Israel, an Israelite family composed of a husband, wife and two boys, decided to leave the land because of a drought. They travelled and settled in Moab. While there tragedy struck. The husband, Elimelech died. The two boys grew up and married Moabite women. But then after ten years, the two boys, Mahlon and Kilion also died. Naomi, the mother was left with nothing but her two daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth. Naomi decided to go back to her home country since she heard the drought was over and food was available. At the first Orpah and Ruth accompanied her, but after Naomi urged them to return back to their parents’ homes, Orpah bides them goodbye. Ruth, however, refuses to leave and instead commits herself to follow her mother-in-law wherever she goes. Ruth says this in 1:16-17: “But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.’”

Chapter two picks up the story of the two women trying to survive in Bethlehem, Naomi’s home town. Ruth decides to glean after the harvesters of the barley crop. She happens to pick the field of Boaz, a close relative of Elimelech. Ruth works hard all day, and when Boaz arrives in the fields he takes notice of her. He immediately asks about her and finds out who she is. Boaz talks to Ruth and blesses her for being faithful to her mother-in-law and choosing to trust in the God of Israel. He offers her protection and provision and tells her to stay in his fields. He even gives her extra roasted grain to bring home to Naomi.

Chapter three continues the plot and tells how the relationship between Ruth and Boaz develops. I want to look at three themes that come through in this chapter. The outline is in your bulletin and if you like taking notes you may want to write down some thoughts as you listen. The first theme from this chapter is this: How not to accomplish God’s will. Take a look at verse 1 (read verse).

Chapter two was an encouraging start to the relationship, but what will happen now? Who is going to move the plot forward and bring these two together? Well, Naomi takes this task on herself. It is natural for mothers to look out for their children and try to find good spouses for them. Let me show you a clip from the movie, “Fiddler on the Roof” where Golda meets with the matchmaker to find a husband for her oldest daughter (show video).

Naomi is much like Golda in the movie Fiddler on the Roof. She wants to help Ruth settle in a stable household with a good husband who will provide for her. Look at verse 1 (read verse). Naomi then outlines her plan to Ruth. Look at verse 2 to 4 (read verses). Now does this seem like a good plan to you? No it doesn't seem like a very good plan to me either. Naomi tells Ruth to put on perfume and dress in her best clothes. Then she is to go down to visit Boaz at night while he is at the threshing floor. Then she is to wait until Boaz has eaten and had as enough wine to make him happy. Then when he is sleeping to go to him, uncover his feet and lie down.

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