Summary: A sermon examining God's great grace.
The Day An Outcast Found Grace
Dr. Don Bartlette is a Native American who was born in North Dakota in the 1930's. Dr. Bartlette was born with cleft palate. As a result of his facial deformity he struggled with a severe speech impediment. Not only did he grow up in poverty, his father was an abusive alcoholic. Because of his condition Bartlette was bullied in school and was an outcast in his village. The circumstances of his childhood caused him to become a bitter, angry and violent juvenile delinquent. Though his family, classmates and his entire village treated him as an outcast, one special lady took an interest in young Don Bartlette. She reached out to him, invested in his life, and began to teach him. Most importantly, she loved him. In his biography entitled "Macaroni at Midnight" Don tells about how this encounter with one who showed him grace would change the trajectory of his life.
The passage that we have read this morning chronicles an encounter Ruth's life that would have a tremendous impact on her future. Ruth was a widow from Moab who had recently traveled with her mother in law Naomi to Bethlehem. When she began this new life in Bethlehem, she was a poor outcast and a stranger in this land. One day Ruth went to "glean in the fields" in order to gather some food. Though she set out to find food, in the end she found much more. On that day, Ruth found grace.
- I would like to walk through these first 3 verses of Ruth Chapter 2 and preach about "The Day An Outcast Found Grace".
- In this passage we will see:
i. The Desperate Condition Of This Outcast
ii. The Diligent Search By This Outcast
iii. The Divine Appointment For This Outcast
Like Ruth, you may be searching for something, though at the moment you don't know what it is. But you would have to admit that your situation is desperate and you need help. Whether you realize it or not, the answer to your problem is found in Jesus Christ. Just as Ruth's encounter with Boaz would change her life, this could be the day that you have an encounter with Jesus that will change your eternity. As we examine what God did for Ruth, I pray that you realize that He can do the same for you.
Look with me to verse 1 as we examine:
I. THE DESPERATE CONDITION OF THIS OUTCAST
v1 Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz. 2 And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.
In Ruth's day, the poorest of the poor were widows and orphans. Naomi and Ruth were both widows. They were poor, hungry and alone. They had no one to care for them, no one to protect them and no one to provide for them. Though the famine had ended and "the Lord was giving His people bread" (v6), these women were still living in a desperate situation.
Ruth had already shown her genuine love and devotion for her Mother-In-Law by choosing to stand beside her and to follow her back to her homeland. That devotion and care is seen further in her willingness to go out and do what was necessary to find food for Naomi.
- Because of their desperate situation, Ruth sets out searching for food. Notice in verse 2&3:
II. THE DILIGENT SEARCH BY THIS OUTCAST
v2 And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. 3 And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.
Ruth's intention was to go into the fields and "glean ears of corn". Gleaning was God's method of caring for the poor in those days. This process is defined in Leviticus 19:9 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. 10 And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God.
God said that if the reapers left any grain in the field along the way they couldn’t go back and pick it up. Anything that was left over in the fields, the poor were to be permitted to gather and keep for themselves. Ruth made her way to the fields to gather what she could. Keep in mind that she was not a native of Bethlehem, she was a stranger and an outcast in that land. She did not know it at the time but she had entered the field of a man named Boaz.