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God is In Control

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Big Idea: God is in Control


There was great pain in Naomi’s life at the close of chapter 1; although she had loyal Ruth at her side, she was so embittered against God in her spirit that she could not see His hand of blessing in her life. That is where we left her last week. But thanks be to God that He does not leave us where He finds us!!

Read Ruth 2:1-17

Ruth is great literature! The author of the book meticulously crafts the opening 4 verses of the chapter to make his main point absolutely clear: God is in control! Say that!!

  1. Look at setup for the chapter to introduce Boaz (2:1)
  • Key information shared about Boaz: relative, wealthy/righteous
  • The reader is put on alert to watch for him
  1. Ruth is a hard worker who moves out to provide for herself and Naomi (2:2)
  2. Her “chance chanced” on the field of Boaz (2:3)
  • We might say it, “she lucked out” or “it just so happened” or “wouldn’t you know”; KJV says, “and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging to Boaz.”
  • Everybody say, “What luck!” NO! We don’t need luck because we have a sovereign God! He is in control of everything, down to the minute details
  • The writer is not trying to tip his hat to lady luck
  1. Behold, Boaz!
  • We might say it, “check it out, Boaz is here” or “look, it’s Boaz!”
  • This is yet another “coincidence” in Ruth’s life, right? Wrong! It is another example of God working behind the seen to accomplish His bigger purposes

Transition: The opening verses of the chapter clearly establish the vertical action in this story. God is actively working in the lives of Boaz, Ruth, and Naomi. However, there is almost no mention of His name in the book. What we have in Ruth 2 is the result of God’s direct vertical actions “behind the seen.” God is in control and we see the implications of that worked out in the lives of Ruth, Boaz, and Naomi.

I. God is worthy of our trust and faithful action—Ruth (Ruth 2:2-3, 5-7)

James MacDonald defines faith as: "…believing the Word of God and acting on it (no matter how I feel) and trusting God will bring a good result."

A. Ruth moved in faith (2-3)

  1. She was taking God’s word at face value that she would find grain to glean (cf. Deuteronomy 24:19-22)
  2. She was going to work not only as a widow (a lower class in Jewish society), but as a foreign widow!
  3. Her radical renunciation of everything familiar (including her own family) is evidence of her great faith—akin to Abraham (Ruth 2:11; cf. Gen. 12:1-4)

B. Ruth was the recipient of grace/favor (הן) (2, 10, 13)

  1. She did not deserve any of what she received; that is what makes grace what it is
  2. She knew she did not deserve and was incredibly grateful to the one who bestowed it upon her (10, 13)

Transition: Ruth was blessed by the generosity of Boaz, a man who whole-heartedly obeyed God’s instructions regarding care for the poor, the sojourner, and the widow (i.e. Ruth).

II.God is glorified in our whole-hearted obedience—Boaz (2:4, 8-16)

A.Boaz was a man who loved God (2:4)

  1. His speech to his workers was God-focused
  2. His life demonstrated that he truly loved God

B.Boaz was obedient to the laws of reaping (Leviticus 19:9-10; Deuteronomy 24:19-22, 15:11, 26:12; 14:28-29)

  1. He followed what the laws said
  2. He exceeded what the laws said
    • He offered Ruth protection (2:9)
    • He was generous to overflowing with her (2:14-16)

C.Boaz’ obedience allowed him to be a channel of grace to Ruth and Naomi on God’s behalf (2:8-16)

  1. Our decisions impact others: good and bad
    • Lot’s decision to live in Sodom led to Ammon and Moab
    • Elimelech’s decision to live in Moab led to the death of himself and his two sons
    • Boaz’ decision to live in obedience to God led to blessing Naomi and Ruth and continuing the line of Christ (13)

#.He turns out to be both the wing and the rest

    • He is the protective wing of God
    • He is the rest Naomi wished for her daughters-in-law

III.God is graciously working even when we doubt Him—Naomi (17-23)

A.Naomi was embittered against God (1:20-21)

  1. She seems to be ruled by her feelings in the story
    • God gave her a raw deal
    • She stays home (don’t want to say too much about that, but given what we know about her attitude toward God, she gives the impression of a cross-armed, pouter)
  2. By her own decisions/reactions, Naomi is estranged from God

a. Situations do not determine our response, we do

b. God is the same no matter what is happening around us

      • Compare/contrast Naomi’s loss and response to that of Job

B.Naomi received grace in even greater measure than Ruth

  1. Even through great pain God was in control and bringing about His glory and Naomi’s good
    • God provided abundant food for the two women (2:17-18)
    • God provided a man to preserve these two destitute women
  2. God did all of this in spite of Naomi’s attitude (2:19-22)
    • We see her attitude toward God begin to change
    • Even Naomi can’t deny God’s goodness in the turn of events in chapter 2 (2:20)
    • She wanted to be called Mara (“bitter”) at the end of chapter one—but did you notice that the narrator never granted her request?
    • She lost her husband and her sons, but never God—He was actively working behind the seen to richly bless her, her family, her nation, and the world through the birth of Messiah
    • So why did God bless this woman who had written Him off? God always acts for His greatest glory so the praise is due to Him alone. He made the birth of Messiah through Naomi impossible and then possible again

God is in control and extremely gracious to us—we will never earn God’s loving-kindness toward us

IV.Application Points:

A. God is undeniably and absolutely in control

B. Ruth: God is in control, so commit your way to Him, no matter what you’re facing

C. Boaz: God is in control, so our obedient service to Him will always accomplish His purpose

D. Naomi: God is in control, regardless of our bitterness, estrangement, and disillusionment; He is extremely gracious and will accomplish His purposes

  1. The God who is in control may sovereignly take us through hard times, but He is always there with us working out His purposes in us
  2. Are you mad at God today? Does it seem that He has given you a raw deal? I challenge you to do 3 things:
    • Remember His grace
    • Remember His power
    • Come back to Him: He will bring beauty from ashes
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