Summary: This sermon looks at the process of character development and how it is importnat for us to "wait well."
© 2007 Eric Bain
Note: This message is available in audio format at www.sanctuary-church.com
Four weeks ago we began a new series in the book of Ruth. We’re going to continue that today. So, grab a Bible – if you don’t have one – and open it to Ruth, Chapter 3.
In case you missed it, let me just fill you in on some important details. In Ruth, Chapter 1, we learned…
• That there was a famine in the land of Israel.
o And one of the things we talked about is how, in Old Testament, God would use things like famines to teach his people about himself.
A lot of people think that’s sort of mean… or weird
But God was communicating in a way that they would understand
In their culture… people associated weather with God’s blessing & judgment
o They would have understood the famine to be a consequence of their sins.
• Then we learned about a guy named Elimelech…
o When things got bad… Elimelech took matters into his own hands and tried to fix things.
o The only problem was… he didn’t fix things by turning to God… he ran from God!
o Elimelech understood the famine to be a consequence of sin… and rather than dealing with the problem, he thought, “That’s it… I’m out of here!” Then he took his family and moved to Moab.
o Moab was foreign land… it was a Godless place.
• A place where no-one knew of his sin.
• A place where there would seem to be no consequence to his sin.
o The only problem was… he died there… away from God.
o He left behind his wife (Naomi) and his two sons.
o His two sons got married… but they married Moabite women. Women that didn’t worship Yahweh.
o Nonetheless, they soon also died. Leaving behind, two daughters-in-law. One of which is named Ruth the Moabitess.
o In spite of growing up in what we would call a “non-Christian home”… she learned about God. She learned about God through her relationship with her mother-in-law… Naomi.
o And then when tragedy struck… cause her husband died.
o And it would be very easy for her to take matters into her own hands… to just go back to her old home… back to her old forms of religion… and to look for a new husband that could take care of her and give her children (that’s the way that women in that time and culture found their identity & worth)… So, it would be very easy for her to take matters into her own hands and turn back to her old ways of life… but rather…
• She becomes a follower of God
• And she abandons her faith in everything else… And she begins to pursue that voice that she heard calling in the distance (a voice calling her home)… But clearly it’s not her home in the physical sense… it’s a spiritual sense!
• So with what may seem like reckless abandon…
• She leaves her physical home
• She leaves her family
• Leaves her friends
• Everything that was familiar… and goes to Bethlehem. And Bethlehem is found in what was known as the Promised Land…. the Land of Yahweh… the land of God.
• And the plan is to start a new life.
But as we move into Chapter 2, we learn that that life isn’t so great!
• Ruth is a poor… she’s a foreigner… she’s a widow.
• Which means she’s basically at the lowest rung of society
• And we learn that in order to survive, she has to scrounge for food.
• So Ruth was enters into a season of suffering.
But we learned that this suffering is a gift from God!
• But character is built in the crucible of suffering… and we must persevere.
Rejoice in our suffering… because suffering produces perseverance…
and perseverance produces character… (Romans 5:3-4)
*** Note the process!
Character development doesn’t happen over night.
This suffering that Ruth perseveres through… I want you to note that it lasts more than a day. In fact, it’s lasts a season. And what that means, is that Ruth is going to have to wait. She is going to have to wait on God.
And so Chapter 2 has this theme of Character Development, but as we move into Chapter 3… the story sets up this new theme of Waiting on God… and how those two come together.
Let’s begin… Ruth, Chapter 3…
RU 3:1 One day Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law said to her, "My daughter, should I not try to find a home for you, where you will be well provided for? 2 Is not Boaz, with whose servant girls you have been, a kinsman of ours? Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. 3 Wash and perfume yourself, and put on your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do."