I. An Israelite Family’s Sojourn in Moab
a. Famine in Judah
b. Death of Naomi’s Husband and Children
II. Naomi’s Return to Judah
a. Naomi’s Appeal to her Daughters-in-law
b. Ruth’s pledge to stay with Naomi
c. Arrival of Naomi and Ruth in Bethlehem
III. Ruth the Gleaner
a. In the fields of Boaz
b. Boaz notices Ruth
c. Boaz provision of Ruth
d. Ruth’s conversation with Naomi about Boaz
IV. Encounter at the Threshing Room floor
a. Naomi’s advice to Ruth
b. Ruth at the feet of Boaz
c. Ruth’s return to Naomi
V. A Transaction at the city Gate
a. A kinsmen’s refusal to redeem Naomi’s land
b. Boaz’s purchase of the land
VI. Birth of a son to Boaz and Ruth
VII. The Genealogy of David
I. Family of Faith in God
II. God the Faithful Provider
III. God Provided Redeemer
Conclusion: God provides!
Secular: Do you remember those infamous lines from your parents – This is going to hurt me more than it is going to hurt you! With those loving words spoken it was then that select the means and mode of punishment… you were sure hurt you more than them! Our parents tried to convince us that this was for our own good. It was part of the program of care – they provided shelter, food and clothes and yes… correction as required. Though some aspects of child rearing are not that exciting our parents provided what we needed to get this far. As a parent I now recognize that my parents were truly interested in what was best for me. Sometimes what we want and what we need are different – parents generally have the long term view in mind, raising their children for the future.
Biblical: Jesus is recorded in Luke’s Gospel talking about worry – it speaks about trusting in God as our parent. 22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! We do not need to worry. God provides. We not to be careless with jobs or savings but we can be confident in God’s care for us. He is the current that flows through all life and He cares for us. Just as our parents provided for us so He provides for us.
Personal: Have you ever had a situation where you wonder how you could possibly make it through? And yet when you look back you see God’s guiding hand through people and situations steering your life. What seemed like a winding confusing road – looks straight as an arrow in retrospect. Do you remember the feeling of comfort when you realized God’s role in your life?
Bridge: Today I want to read a letter written by a Moabite woman. It was written to Orpah and it tells the story of Ruth and Naomi and how God truly provided for them. As we wind our way from Moab to Bethlehem and beyond I want to show you 3 very exciting ideas. A key to the peace in Naomi and Ruth’s life is that they were a Family of Faith in God. Their faith did not return empty as God proved to be the Faithful Provider. Ultimately we see that Ruth was redeemed and through her family line God Provided the “Redeemer”. We need to be faithful to our faithful God.
Family of Faith in God
How are you…blah…blah
Wow I cannot believe how things have changed since we parted company on the road to Bethlehem. I thought I would write about our adventure I still remember the stories about how rough it was on mom, Naomi, when dad moved the family from Bethlehem to Moab in the days of the famine. Remember how they would talk of how bad the weather was, how the crops were failing and how tough it was on dad to make the decision to move- leave their land, their family and the synagogue. And how hard it was to finally pack up the family and move to Moab – the price of land was okay and it wasn’t that far away… and well it was better than going hungry. And I guess we can’t complain it worked out okay for us… two handsome Israelite men… I do still miss Mahlon, God rest his soul, do you think often of Kilion. Anyway it was tragic for poor Naomi to have lost her two sons and her husband. But did you ever notice how faithful to Yahweh she was even though things were tough. She continued to pray and celebrate the festivals even as we struggled under the workload at the farm. She never cursed God for her misfortune even when she seemed at wits end. Her faith had a huge impact on me. Her faithful prayer life, and the way she trusted in God’s promises. Do you remember on the road when she stopped at the crossroads and told us to go back to our families? I know it was hard for you and I am sure you have been happy in your decision. But for me I felt a loyalty to Naomi and to her faith and to her God…my God. I couldn’t leave… abandon my God or my mom. I said,”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."
Narrator – Wow, can you imagine. Someone who radiated their faith so powerfully that her daughter-in-law was able to look past all her hardships and see the God that she faithfully followed – such a commitment to family and faith. That’s a pretty contemporary issue… passing on our heritage of faith to our family. If our family could see us living a life loyal to God what an impact that would have. Ruth was introduced to Yahweh through the faith of her mother-in-law… I know too many people who would have split at the soonest offer to depart. Faithfulness and loyalty… hmmm… They were a Family of Faith in God.
O…where were we…? Ah yes… O’ Little Town of Bethlehem
Naomi and I arrived in Bethlehem just at the beginning of the barley harvest. Naomi was a little bitter at the hardship she had faced she even told everyone to call her Mara… which means bitter. I still called her mom. She was a little embarrassed to return home empty handed, no husband, no animals, no… well you get what I mean. Things got desperate pretty quickly so I thought I’d best get into the fields and do some gleaning. The Jewish rules about caring for the poor allowed me to seek out the barley that wasn’t taken in the first pass with the sickle… I chose a field owned by a man named Boaz; little did I know that he was a relative of Mahlon and Kilion’s father. He is such a sweet man. His workers loved him. Really… I know usually the landowners are harsh and unfair. I could see him looking at me while I was gleaning and was worried he might be upset… I was pretty good at it. But instead of pressuring me t leave or something he told me I could drink from the worker’s water bucket and told the young men not to bother me- he told his workers to leave lots of barley for me… on purpose! He is so kind - I was able to bring lots of grain home to Naomi. He said it was so kind of me to care for our mother-in-law and I’ll never forget the words Boaz said to me next –“May the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully." I was under the protection of Yahweh. He is my God and I am one of his people. Boaz continued to expand the area in which I gleaned… I could even take from the sheaves if I wanted. After the barley was harvested he continued to provide for me in the wheat fields. One day he even shared lunch with… I had so much to eat that I took some home for mom. I told Naomi all about what had happened, while she ate of course – she had a funny gleam in her eye… she said something about him being a kinsmen redeemer and asked me to go on. I had told her Boaz would be in the threshing room that night and can you believe it… she said I should go to him. I bathed and put on some perfume and went back to his farm. He was sleeping and I nestled up to him and… well I think it was the last straw… I think that’s when he fell in love with me! Anyway he told me to sneak back home before daylight and said he had a plan. A plan to redeem Naomi and I... I was a little nervous because apparently there was someone who was a closer relative… Boaz said have faith… I prayed… Naomi prayed…
Narrator: Whoo… getting kind of steamy. Ruth and Naomi arrived without a dime or a shekel. God has truly used Boaz to care for his children. Of all the fields around Bethlehem, Ruth wound up in the field of a kinsmen and a single one at that. Little did old Boaz know that his prayer for God to reward Ruth’s loyalty and faithfulness included him. I guess Boaz is going to find out about redeeming Ruth and Naomi. Can you see God at work? From poverty to provision - God is Faithful Provider.
Oh... yea a redeemer… where was I….
God Provides a Redeemer
Well Boaz went into town and talked the other gentleman out of redeeming us – I have no idea how, but I am sure God had it all planned. I was redeemed – God had truly provided for me, a Gentile woman blessed by the God of Israel. The deal was sealed and well I became a wife again… The Rabbi said that before Boaz met me he was Ruth-less… it took me a minute… but I got it. Boaz purchased the land that had belonged to Elimelech. I did not get settled into married life too long before God brought more joy into my life. He gave me a son. Naomi was ecstatic! For her she saw God’s faithfulness and oh I know I am beginning to gush. Oh dear Orpah I have missed you and pray that the Lord has cared well for you… if you see my family….
Narrator: God had truly redeemed Naomi and Ruth. He took these two faithful women from their meagre means in Moab and richly blessed them in Bethlehem. God working through Boaz redeemed them and showed them love and faithfulness.
Sometimes in our life we get lost in our own misery and loose faith in God. We need to take a lesson from Ruth and Naomi and recognize that God is faithful to his faithful.
Sometimes we wonder how we are going to survive life’s trials. When the things get tough we need to lean on God and remember he is our provider.
A gentle Moabite, Gentile woman came on bended knee before Yahweh the God of Israel. He did not cast her aside. He drew her into the family. He provided discipleship for her through Naomi – A Family of Faith. He provided food, a husband and a redeemer for her in Boaz - God the Faithful Provider.
This Moabite Gentile woman would be weaved together in God’s plan to call all people to himself. She would be the great grandmother of King David of Israel. In King David’s line the Messiah would be born. God brought to his people “THE REDEEEMER” – Jesus Christ- who would call Jew, Samaritan, and Gentile into the Kingdom of God. Through his blood he redeemed all who have faith in him.
God is waiting for all who would believe in him – regardless of nationality. Jesus Christ was sent to redeem a people to God.
God provides faithfully!
Whatever it is in your life… trust it to him.