Langenburg Evangelical Fellowship

Lifting Up Christ, Transformed by His Love; Serving Others

Langenburg Evangelical Fellowship - a small church in southern Saskatchewan which promotes authentic worship of God, is Christ-centered, and holds the Bible as being divinely inspired and authoritative.

Sundays
9:45 am - Pre-Service Prayer and Sunday School for all ages
10:45 am - Worship Service

January 13, 2019
Ruth 1:1-5
So, the Grass is Greener?
Pastor Bryan Watson

This morning, we are going to begin a short series on the Book of Ruth. This is going to be a tag-team effort between myself, Pastor Dennis, and Brendon Galger. Because I am an easy victim, I have been given the daunting task of kicking this series off, which means that I get to set the direction of the series, and they have to spend a great deal of time cleaning up and correcting my heresies! As all of you baseball fans know, batting cleanup is potentially the most exciting role, but not so much if the lead batter makes a giant mess of it.

Overview

With that being said, part of leading off means giving a brief overview of the book that we are going to be covering. On the surface, Ruth is a beautiful book with a wonderful love story that would make any Hallmark movie jealous. As Pastor Dennis so aptly described on Christmas Eve, this story has all of the elements of a classic fairy tale romance: it begins with tragedy, with three women: Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah, recently widowed, wondering how they would make it in this world. Tragedy gives way to hope, with the potential budding of new-found love between Ruth and Boaz. But hope gives way to anxiety and uncertainty, as there is another man who has the potential to steal Ruth away from Boaz. But the climax of the story comes when Boaz secures the opportunity to marry Ruth, and they live happily ever after, and as the credits roll with my wife in tears and me scraping all the butter and salt from the bottom of the popcorn bowl, we learn that their descendants include King David, as well as the Lord Jesus Christ. And if that’s all there was to it, it would be a great, great story.

But that’s not all there is to it!

For a book as small as Ruth, there are a surprising number of important themes at play:

First, we see that God’s plan for redemption extends beyond the Jews to include the Gentiles. We will explore this as we consider that Ruth, a Moabitess, really doesn’t belong in the lineage of Christ, yet there she is!

Second, in Ruth and Boaz, we see honorable lives unfolding as singles, and when God’s timing is right for them to find romance, their relationship is built on virtue and honor.

Third, we see how God uses seemingly unimportant people at apparently insignificant times to orchestrate His masterful symphony of world history. These events often prove crucial to fulfilling God’s will.

Fourth, we get an important glimpse into some of the genealogy of Christ. This includes David’s right to the throne, and therefore Christ’s right to the throne, traced back to Judah. In Genesis 49:8-12, as Jacob is blessing Judah, he prophesies about the Messiah by saying that “the scepter shall not depart from Judah… until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.”

Fifth, we get to see Boaz as a type of Christ, in that he becomes Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer, paying the price necessary to redeem her.

But for today, to begin the series, I am going to open with Ruth 1:1-5, and see what we can learn from this. As you can see, I’ve titled this sermon, “So the Grass is Greener???”, challenging the assumption that things would just be better if our circumstances were different. This is the prevailing theme of a man named Elimelech, whose life story is captured in the first five verses of the book of Ruth.

Reading from the New King James Version:

1 Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. 2 The name of the man was Elimelech, the name of his wife was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion—Ephrathites of Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to the country of Moab and remained there. 3 Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left, and her two sons. 4 Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. And they dwelt there about ten years. 5 Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died; so the woman survived her two sons and her husband.

So, this was the time of the judges. This was a very difficult time in Israel. One of the things we know about this time period is what the Bible tells us in Judges 17:6, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” And if you were here a couple of years ago when Pastor Dennis led us through the Book of Judges, that was a brutal time of repeated cycles of apostasy, and rebellion, and punishment, and repentance. Wave after wave of this repeated cycle for years on end. And it is in this time that we are introduced to an Israelite man named Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and his sons, Mahlon and Chilion.

Using David’s reign as an anchor, and working backwards from there, there is a high probability that the time period for Ruth is during the judgeship of a man named Jair, approximately 1126-1105 BC. If that is indeed the case, we can learn a little more about Elimelech’s environment by reading about the time of Jair in Judges 10:3-9.

3 After him arose Jair, a Gileadite; and he judged Israel twenty-two years. 4 Now he had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys; they also had thirty towns, which are called “Havoth Jair” to this day, which are in the land of Gilead. 5 And Jair died and was buried in Camon.

6 Then the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the people of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; and they forsook the Lord and did not serve Him. 7 So the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel; and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and into the hands of the people of Ammon. 8 From that year they harassed and oppressed the children of Israel for eighteen years—all the children of Israel who were on the other side of the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, in Gilead. 9 Moreover the people of Ammon crossed over the Jordan to fight against Judah also, against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was severely distressed.

So God is angry with Israel. They are oppressed by their enemies, and there is civil war between the tribes. This is consistent with what we see in in Ruth 1:1, in that there was a famine in the land. God often used famines as a form of punishment after periods of apostasy and rebellion. And Elimelech, in his role as husband and father, wants to provide for his family, so he leaves Israel and goes to Moab, where apparently, the grass is greener.

Now, I’m reluctant to point a condemning finger at Elimelech, because given the circumstances, I don’t know that I would have done anything different. I find that hindsight and Bible commentaries combine to make me look a lot smarter than I really am. But when all is said and done, Elimelech and his family had to live with the consequences of his decision. This brings us to an important life lesson: We do not make decisions in isolation. Our families will have to live with the consequences of our decisions.

But what made this a bad decision? I don’t know if Elimelech was a devout Hebrew, but he should have been familiar with the book of Genesis. Specifically, he should have been familiar with Genesis 12:1, where God says to Abram, “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you.” He knew full well that he was already in the land that God had promised to Abram.

And Elimelech should have been aware of Abram’s big mistake, in that very same chapter of Genesis 12. Verse 10 says this: “Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land.” Does that sound familiar? If we read on from there, we see that Abram and Sarai, as there were known before they were given the names of Abraham and Sarah… Abram and Sarai went down to Egypt, and led Pharaoh to believe that Sarai was not Abram’s wife, but rather his sister, and that would have ended extremely poorly if it was not for God’s intervention. We know from this passage that Sarai was taken to be part of Pharaoh’s harem for a period of time. So Elimelech should have know that Abram didn’t have such a great time when he turned his back on God’s promised land and ran to a foreign country.

And furthermore, Elimelech would have also been aware of Exodus 3:17, when God tells Moses to tell the Hebrews in Egypt, “I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey.” Elimelech knew that he was already in the promised land, even if that land was currently going through a famine due to God’s discipline. And yet Elimelech, whose name meant, “God is my king,” turned his back on the promised land, and God’s promise, and went where? Where did he go? To Moab. Moab! Moab was one of Israel’s biggest enemies!

What do we know about Moab?

Well, the origin of Moab goes back to when Abraham’s nephew Lot fathered a son named Moab by an incestuous union with his daughter while he was in a drunken stupor.

Later on, in Numbers chapters 22-25, while Israel was en route to the Promised Land after leaving Egypt, Balak the king of Moab, hires Balaam, the “prophet for hire”, to curse the nation of Israel. Instead, every time Balaam opened his mouth, he blessed Israel instead. In fact, it is during that time that Balaam utters that famous prophecy in Numbers 24:17 about the coming Messiah, “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult.” How ironic that he utters this prophecy in the presence of the king of Moab, considering that a Moabite woman would factor in to the genealogy of this very Messiah!

In Judges 3:12-30 we see that Moab had oppressed Israel for 18 years.

In Numbers 25, it was the Moabite women who enticed the Hebrew men to commit harlotry with them and worship the Moabite gods, and as a result 24,000 men lost their lives that day.

So, it’s not like Elimelech was going over to a friendly nation. Instead, it’s like he left Saskatchewan to go to Winnipeg and started wearing Blue Bombers gear. It’s just not right! And so we see that Elimelech honored the enemy and not the Lord.

Now, Elimelech only intended to stay there for a little while. But a little while turned into years, and Elimelech died in Moab. And from there, the story goes downhill.

You see, Elimelech’s sons, Chilion and Mahlon, married Moabite women (Orpah and Ruth, respectively). Marrying Gentile women was strictly forbidden by Hebrew law.

Deuteronomy 7:3-4 – “3 Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. 4 For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the Lord will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly.”

Deuteronomy 23:3,6 = “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the Lord; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the Lord forever… 6 You shall not seek their peace nor their prosperity all your days forever.”

And now this passage ends with Mahlon and Chilion also dying in Moab, leaving an elderly Hebrew widow with two Gentile, Moabite widows in her company. Elimelech traded a famine for three funerals. At this point in the story, Ruth is still a Gentile, and even though she will follow Naomi back to Israel, we do not know at this point that she has converted to Judaism, and therefore we do not know that she would be free to marry Boaz. This all happens later. But according to Hebrew law and Elimelech’s bad decisions, Ruth should never have been a part of this story at all.

So, this is the beginning of the story of Ruth. The tragedy has transpired. The women are in a perilous situation. And we are left in suspense wondering what is going to happen next week!

Although the situation looks bleak, one thing that we will learn from the Book of Ruth is that your circumstances are not too big for God. Regardless of your background, or the choices you’ve made, you are not out of God’s reach, nor are you beyond His redemptive power! You can choose, today, to say yes to God’s plan for your life, by making Him the Lord and Savior of your life. If you want to find out more about that, you can come and see me, or Pastor Dennis. There will be people over by the piano who would love to meet with you and pray with you.

And so I’m going to park this story with the words of Isaiah 55:9 – “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Let’s see what God is going to do with Ruth’s story… and with your story… amen. Amen.

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January 27, 2019
Ruth 2
A New Hope
Pastor Bryan Watson

We are continuing on with our journey through the book of Ruth. Last week, Pastor Dennis took us through to the end of Chapter 1, where we found our two widows, the Hebrew Naomi, and the Moabite Ruth, travelling back to Bethlehem after experiencing personal disaster in Moab. Naomi, in particular, is bitter to the point of changing her name to Mara, which means bitter.

And so chapter 1 left us with the cliffhanger of what would happen to Naomi and Ruth upon their return to Naomi’s homeland. Will they survive? Will Naomi’s bitterness remain? What will happen to the foreigner, Ruth?

Well, let’s dig into Chapter 2 to find out.

1 There was a relative of Naomi’s husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz.

At this point, we are introduced to a new personality. Boaz. We don’t know much about Boaz at this point, other than that he is related to Naomi through her late husband, Elimelech. We also know that Boaz is a man of great wealth.

But having the privilege of the completed scripture available to us, we know something else about Boaz. Skip over to Matthew 1:5. “Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab…” This little piece of seemingly insignificant trivia probably plays a key role in what happens next in Ruth’s story. Who was Rahab? The story of Rahab occurs throughout the Book of Joshua. Rahab was a harlot… a prostitute… who lived in the Canaanite city of Jericho. She was NOT an Israelite. She was a pagan foreigner.

On their journey to the Promised Land after God set them free from Egypt, the Israelites came to Jericho. Two spies were sent by Joshua to scout out Jericho prior to battle. God moved Rahab to hide these spies and help them escape from Jericho. In return, Rahab was promised safety, and when Israel destroyed the city of Jericho, Rahab and her family were given refuge among Israel. Obviously, she married a man named Salmon, and they had a son… the leading man in our current story, Boaz.

So, it wouldn’t be a strange idea for Boaz to extend favor to a foreign woman. After all, his own mother was a foreigner who was extended favor by Israel. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

2 So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor.”

And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.”

In this verse, we can assume a few character traits which are clearly implied when you think about them.

First, Ruth has great respect for her Mother-in-Law, Naomi, and sees Naomi as the head of this two-person family. “Please let me go,” she says.

Second, Ruth is willing to meet her circumstances head on instead of wallowing in her grief or bitterness. Recognizing their plight, and knowing that the government isn’t going to bail her out, and refusing to beg, she wants to go out and glean in the field, gathering whatever food she could for herself and Naomi.

Third, it appears that Ruth knew something about Hebrew law. Do you remember last week, when Pastor Dennis was preaching from Ruth Chapter 1, and Ruth said to Naomi, “Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.”? (Ruth 1:16b) Apparently those were not hollow words. Turn with me to Leviticus 19:9-10. In this passage, God is giving the law to Moses, and in this passage, is talking about gleanings. God says to Moses, “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God.”

So, Ruth apparently knew that leftovers from the crop; these gleanings; were to be left behind for the poor, of which she was one, and for the stranger, or foreigner, of which she was one.

She also apparently knew how God felt toward the widows of the land, of which she was one. Let’s read Exodus 22:22-24. Again, God is speaking to Moses about the law. God says, “You shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child. 23 If you afflict them in any way, and they cry at all to Me, I will surely hear their cry; 24 and My wrath will become hot, and I will kill you with the sword…

Ruth trusted in God to provide for her in her meager state. Do we trust God in the same way? I know I struggle with it. But good on her, because this foreigner who really has no business being in Christ’s genealogy, has demonstrated the kind of faithfulness that God can use.

3 Then she left, and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers. And she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.

And this is how God works. Ruth, a poor, foreign, widow, just “happens” to come to the field of her potential kinsman redeemer, Boaz, who just “happens” to deal kindly and fairly with foreign women because his mother just “happened” to be one! I don’t know about you, but I’ve lived long enough to know that I don’t believe in “coincidences” the way I used to.

But before I go any further, I want to unpack the idea of a “kinsman redeemer” in case there is anybody here who hasn’t heard this term before. The term “kinsman-redeemer” comes from the law that God is giving to Moses in Leviticus 25. A kinsman-redeemer is a close relative who could redeem (or pay the price in order to buy back): a) a family member sold into slavery; b) land which had been sold due to poverty; c) the family name by way of a “levirate marriage”. This could happen if a man dies without an heir, his brother could marry the widow, and the resulting offspring would legally be the children of the dead man, thus preserving the family name and the inheritance. This is the scenario that the Sadducees used to try to trick Jesus about the Resurrection in Luke 20. That’s the incident where the Sadducees said to Jesus that there were seven brothers, and one of them got married and died before they had children. So his brother married the widow, and then he died without children. And then the third brother married her and he also died. And by that time they couldn’t even find the fourth brother. (Sorry, I borrowed that joke from the Love & Respect conference.) And so on through to the seventh brother. Their story to Jesus was an act of the imagination, but the concept clearly explains the idea of a levirate marriage. That’s what a kinsman redeemer can do.

But back to our story in Ruth.

4 Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!” And they answered him, “The Lord bless you!”

This is a wonderful example of how a Godly employer or supervisor should be. Don’t forget that as a Christian, the Holy Spirit goes with you into your workplace. We should all conduct ourselves accordingly.

5 Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?”

Now, Boaz was an eligible bachelor. This probably wasn’t so much of a “Hey, who is that?” as it was a “Hey, WHO is THAT?!?” And yet, even in this question, Boaz showed respect and integrity. Asking, “Whose young woman is this?” isn’t meant to disrespect Ruth by implying that she was somebody’s property, but the reality is that she could have been somebody’s servant, or somebody’s spouse, or certainly somebody’s daughter. And Boaz wanted to know so that he would understand if this lady who caught his eye was already in a committed relationship, and if not, who he needed to speak with about her.

6 So the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered and said, “It is the young Moabite woman who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. 7 And she said, ‘Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.’ So she came and has continued from morning until now, though she rested a little in the house.”

Ruth’s work ethic stood out enough to be noticed by Boaz’s servant. Why else would he talk about it? The servant’s answer went further than was required by Boaz’s question.

8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, “You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women. 9 Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.”

Boaz shows respect and endearment to Ruth. Speaking directly to her, Boaz refers to her as “my daughter.” Being older than Ruth, this was the way in which he should show her respect, as well as inclusion. Referring to a foreigner as “my daughter” made it clear that Boaz accepted her, not as a foreigner, but as a fellow Hebrew, which was probably quite astounding to all those within earshot, if there were any. Remember, Ruth had committed herself to the One True God when she said to Naomi, “Your people shall be my people, and your God shall be my God.”

Boaz, perhaps signalling his intent as a kinsman redeemer, encourages her to stay with his own people, in his own field, and protects her by telling the young men to leave her alone. In fact, she was invited to drink from the water that these young men have drawn. That’s quite a role reversal.

But there is more to this than just the story that we see on the surface.

In these two verses, we begin to see Boaz as a type of Christ. Boaz, recognizing himself as a potential kinsman redeemer, offers to protect and provide for this foreigner. He is willing to extend his grace to her for no other reason than that he cares for her and because he can. She doesn’t deserve his grace. She can’t earn his grace. She is completely at his mercy.

In fact, like Christ, it is Boaz who takes the initiative to reach out to her to draw her to him. She doesn’t initiate the conversation. Who is she to speak to the lord of the harvest? Rather, Boaz speaks to her first.

In 1 John 4:19, the Apostle John tells us that, “We love Him because He first loved us.” As we sang in our opening hymn, “Oh, how I love Jesus, because He first loved me.”

It is the wonder of this grace that separates Christianity from every other religion on earth. It is not a grace that is lost on Ruth, as we read in verse 10…

10 So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”

Verse 11

11 And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”

Quite clearly, although Boaz had not yet met her, nor knew her to see her prior to this meeting, Boaz had heard all about her. It could just be small-town dynamics where everybody’s business is everybody’s business, and Boaz just happened to have a regular table at the Chicken Chef of Bethlehem where all the wisdom gets dispensed. But more likely, Ruth was making an impression on her community through her hard work and loyalty to Naomi and to her late husband’s household. It’s a good life lesson to remember… your reputation will precede you, for good or for bad. As the Bible says in Proverbs 22:1, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold.”

13 Then she said, “Let me find favor in your sight, my lord; for you have comforted me, and have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants.”

Here, Ruth reinforces her awareness that she has no standing of her own merit, and anything she receives from Boaz is because he chooses to give it to her. This is the same response that we should have to God, because we don’t deserve any of the good things we receive from Him.

14 Now Boaz said to her at mealtime, “Come here, and eat of the bread, and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed parched grain to her; and she ate and was satisfied, and kept some back. 15 And when she rose up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16 Also let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.”

Boaz, being kindhearted and righteous, goes far beyond the requirements of the law. He is not providing for Ruth out of a sense of duty, but has humbled himself to serve her out of love. She is invited to eat with him, even though she doesn’t belong at his table, and he even gives the food to her from his own hand. He even goes so far as to command the young men to intentionally leave extra grain for her. This same attitude of Boaz is demonstrated by Jesus when he washes His disciples’ feet in John chapter 13. Jesus said in Matthew 20:28, “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Boaz models this Christ-like behavior for us, and we would do well to serve each other likewise.

17 So she gleaned in the field until evening, and beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. 18 Then she took it up and went into the city, and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. So she brought out and gave to her what she had kept back after she had been satisfied.

Ruth’s diligence, coupled with Boaz’s grace, has provided what these two widows needed, not just for today, but for several days. An ephah is about a half bushel, and Boaz had assured Ruth that his kindness wasn’t just for today. “Give us this day our daily bread” isn’t just a one-time lottery win for us down here, but rather, a promise made by a faithful God in whom we can trust. As David wrote in Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you;” This is what Ruth did with Boaz, and he did not let her down.

How do you think Naomi is going to react to all this? The last we saw her, she was still bitter. In fact, when Ruth asked to go and glean, Naomi didn’t even give her a word of encouragement. Nothing. No advice. No well wishes. All she said was, “Go, my daughter.” Let’s see how Naomi reacts.

19 And her mother-in-law said to her, “Where have you gleaned today? And where did you work? Blessed be the one who took notice of you.”

So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked, and said, “The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz.”

All of a sudden, Naomi is full of questions. She went from, “the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me,” (Ruth 1:21b) to “Blessed be the one who took notice of you.” (Ruth 2:19) Suddenly, a new hope is beginning to stir in Naomi, and then Ruth tells Naomi that it was Boaz’ field in which she worked.

20 Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “Blessed be he of the Lord, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!” And Naomi said to her, “This man is a relation of ours, one of our close relatives.”

Naomi is elated when she hears that it was Boaz who showed such kindness to Ruth. And her statement about Boaz showing kindness to the living and the dead, along with proclaiming him to be a relation, tells us everything we need to know about where her thoughts were racing to. Showing kindness to the dead in this case would be what a kinsman redeemer might do, by redeeming Ruth’s late husband’s land, his widow, and potentially fathering children in his name, thus preserving the family line.

21 Ruth the Moabitess said, “He also said to me, ‘You shall stay close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.’ ”

22 And Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, and that people do not meet you in any other field.” 23 So she stayed close by the young women of Boaz, to glean until the end of barley harvest and wheat harvest; and she dwelt with her mother-in-law.

Naomi knew exactly what was going on, as any perceptive mother, or in this case, mother-in-law, would. The fact that Boaz insisted that Ruth stay close to his servants told Naomi that Boaz indeed had a plan. And Ruth and Naomi had a new hope.

So, what does this mean to us today?

Although there are number of valuable life lessons in this chapter, if you only take one thing away from today, let it be this: For as long as the Lord lives, (which is a really, really long time, by the way), there is hope. The Bible says in Romans 5:3-5, “3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

As God did with Ruth and Naomi, He can orchestrate things so that they just “happen to happen.” And He can redeem the most dire of circumstances to bring forth a multitude of blessing in fulfilling His purpose.

And if you’re here today, and you’re feeling like you’re out of hope; like you’re hanging on by a thread; If you’re feeling like you need a kinsman-redeemer in your own life, there will be some people over here by the piano who would love to speak with you and pray with you and tell you about our own Kinsman-Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Or come and find me or Pastor Dennis after the service. But don’t leave here today without considering the hope that can be yours.

Amen. Let’s pray.