Summary: In this final sermon in the Ruth series, God's favor finally breaks through for Naomi and Ruth. Boaz redeems Ruth and becomes her husband and God blesses them with a son. Through that son, God not only blessed them, but blessed Israel and all humanity. Lesson: trust God on Life's Journey.
A. Have you ever heard of the saying: “You can’t get there from here?”
1. Apparently the saying began in Maine and was used in response to a person asking for directions to a distant location that cannot be accessed without extensive, complicated directions.
2. I guess it has something to do with the lakes and the chaotic layout of roads in the vast rural areas of Maine.
3. To some extent the saying also holds true in other parts of New England as well.
B. I want to use that phrase “You can’t get there from here” as a lunching point for this final sermon in our series from the book of Ruth.
1. I have given the sermon the title of “Trusting God on Life’s Journey,” because that’s what Naomi and Ruth had to do, and that’s what all of us have to do.
2. And the truth of the matter is not that “You can’t get there from here,” but that “you can’t get there from here in a straight line.”
3. We can’t expect that our lives are going to be a smooth and straight line from where we are to where we want to go.
4. We need to trust God on life’s journey, because our journey isn’t going to be like a straight interstate highway through Arizona, rather its going to be more like a highway through the Rocky Mountains.
5. Our journey is going to have dead-ends and ups and downs, there will be hairpin turns and sudden stops.
C. The journey that Naomi and Ruth found themselves on was a hard one with mostly downs and what looked like dead ends.
1. But one of the key lessons we learn from the book of Ruth is to trust God on life’s journey.
2. The setbacks that we experience in our lives may very well be the way that God is leading us to a place of favor and joy.
3. We started the sermon series referencing the old hymn “God moves in a mysterious way” because it encourages us to realize that, as the verse says: “the clouds you so much dread, are big with mercy and shall break, in blessings” and “Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace. Behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face.”
D. As we have moved through the story of Ruth, we have seen that they experienced a series of setbacks.
1. In chapter 1, Naomi and her husband and two sons decided to leave their homeland in Judah on account of the famine.
a. Then Naomi’s husband died.
b. Then her sons married Moabite women but had no children.
c. And then her sons died leaving two widows in the house of Naomi.
d. Even though Ruth decided to stay with Naomi, chapter 1 ended with Naomi’s bitter complaint: “I went away full and the Lord has brought me back empty...The Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.”
2. In chapter 2, Naomi began to have new hope because Boaz appeared on the scene as a possible husband for Ruth.
a. But Boaz didn’t propose to Ruth. He didn’t make any moves in that direction, at least that’s the way it seemed.
b. So the chapter closed brimming with excited hope, but also with great suspense and uncertainty about how all that might work out.
3. In chapter 3, Naomi suggested that Ruth make a risky move in the middle of the night.
a. So, according to the plan, Ruth went to Boaz on the threshing floor and said in effect: “I want you to spread your wing over me as my husband.”
b. Boaz was pleased by Ruth’s proposal and said he would be happy to be her husband, but there was another man who according to Hebrew custom was ahead of him and had to be given the first opportunity to be the kinsman redeemer.
c. Boaz promised Ruth that he would take care of the matter first thing the next day, and that she would have a husband, either him or the other kinsman redeemer.
d. So, chapter 3 ended with that cliff hanger, but now here’s the exciting conclusion of the story of Ruth.
E. Ruth chapter 4 begins: 1 Boaz went to the gate of the town and sat down there. Soon the family redeemer Boaz had spoken about came by. Boaz said, “Come over here and sit down.” So he went over and sat down. 2 Then Boaz took ten men of the town’s elders and said, “Sit here.” And they sat down. 3 He said to the redeemer, “Naomi, who has returned from the territory of Moab, is selling the portion of the field that belonged to our brother Elimelech. 4 I thought I should inform you: Buy it back in the presence of those seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you want to redeem it, do it. But if you do not want to redeem it, tell me so that I will know, because there isn’t anyone other than you to redeem it, and I am next after you.” (Ruth 4:1-4)