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We Must Live By Faith in the Lord

Book of Ruth  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  34:44
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Before God changes our circumstances, He wants to change our hearts. Listen as Pasor Leger shares with us the three conditions for allowing God to work in our lives and accomplish His great purposes.

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We Must Live By Faith in the Lord

Before God changes our circumstances, He wants to change our hearts. If our circumstances change for the better, but we remain the same, then we will become worse. God’s purpose in providence is not to make us comfortable, but to make us conformable, “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29). Christlike character is the divine goal for each of His children.
Naomi was bitter against God, but Ruth was willing for God to have His way in her life; so God began His gracious work with Ruth. Ruth would influence Naomi, and then God would bring to pass a wonderful work that would eventually bring the Son of God into the world. Ruth and Naomi had no idea that they were part of an eternal plan that would fulfill God’s promise to Abraham that his seed would bring blessing to the whole world (Gen. 12:1–3). Ruth’s story begins with the death of a husband, but it will end with the birth of a baby. Her tears will be turned into triumph.
If we want God to work in our lives and circumstances and accomplish His gracious purposes, then there are certain conditions that we must meet. These conditions are illustrated in Ruth’s experiences in this chapter. Let’s look this morning at verses 1-3...
Ruth 1:1–3 NKJV
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.

Faith in the Lord Promotes Action (v.2)

Let’s skip to verse 2. We’ll come back to verse one in a moment.
Ruth 2:2 NKJV
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.”
A Latin proverb says, “Providence assists not the idle.” Since Ruth was not the kind of woman who could long remain idle, she asked Naomi’s permission to glean in the fields so they would have food to eat. This was a step of faith on Ruth’s part, based on God’s commandment in the Law (Lev. 19:9–10; 23:22; Deut. 24:19–22).
To live by faith means to take God at His word and then act upon it, for “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20, NKJV).
James 2:18–20 NKJV
18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
Action actually makes our faith complete,
James 2:21–22 NKJV
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?
Since Ruth believed that God loved her and would provide for her, she set out to find a field in which she could glean. This was completely an act of faith because, being a stranger, she didn’t know who owned the various parcels of ground that made up the fields. There were boundary markers for each parcel, but no fences or family name signs as seen on our farms today. Furthermore, as a woman and an outsider, she was especially vulnerable; and she had to be careful where she went. But she went out anyway. Faith in the Lord Promotes Action...

Faith in the Lord Promises Provision (v.2)

Ruth 2:2 NKJV
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.”
Ruth’s faith was based on God’s commandment in the Law (Lev. 19:9–10; 23:22; Deut. 24:19–22). Whenever they reaped a harvest, God’s people were to consider the poor and leave gleanings for them. After all, God gave the harvest; and He had every right to tell the people how to use it.
The existence of this law was proof of God’s concern for the poor among His people. The nation was instructed to treat the poor with equity (Ex. 23:3, 6; Lev. 19:15; Prov. 22:22–23) and with generosity (Lev. 19:9–10). God was also concerned for the widows, many of whom were poor, and He told the people to care for them (Ex. 22:22–24; see Isa. 10:1–2). Ruth was not only a poor widow, but she was also an alien. Therefore, she had every right to look to God for His help and provision. “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing” (Deut. 10:18, NIV).

Faith in the Lord Provides Providence (vv. 1, 3

Let’s go back now to verse one and pick up another main character in this story of Ruth and Naomi.
Ruth 2:1 NKJV
1 There was a relative of Naomi’s husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz.
Ruth 2:3 NKJV
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.
It is here that Boaz enters the story (Ruth 2:1, 3), a near relative of Elimelech who was “a man of standing” in the community. His name means “in him is strength.”
The Hebrew phrase used here, that’s translated “a man of great wealth” likely identifies Boaz as a wealthy landowner, a member of the upper class. The phrase in the Hebrew commonly refers to warriors (Josh 8:3; Judg 11:1; 1 Chr 12:8), the phrase in the Hebrew is literally, “a mighty man of valor. but it can also designate a person of wealth and ability.
By the providence of God, Ruth gleaned in the portion of the field that belonged to Boaz. The record says Ruth “happened” to come to this portion of the field, but it was no accident. Her steps were guided by the Lord. “I being in the way, the Lord led me” (Gen. 24:27, KJV). The same providence that later led the Magi to Bethlehem directed Ruth to the appropriate Bethlehem field. She was guided by grace into the place God provided.
God’s providential working in our lives is both a delight and a mystery. God is constantly working with us (Mark 16:20), in us (Phil. 2:12–13), and for us (Rom. 8:28) and accomplishing His gracious purposes. We pray, we seek His will, and we make decisions (and sometimes make mistakes); but it is God who orders events and guides His willing children. In a spectacular vision, the Prophet Ezekiel saw the providential workings of God depicted by a throne set on a “firmament” that was moved here and there by “wheels within wheels” (Ezek. 1). You can’t explain it, but thank God you can believe it and rely on it!
So, how do we apply this to our lives? First,
A. If you trust God and take Him at His Word, Act on it. Let’s not just sit around waiting for something to happen. Like Ruth, let’s believe God will direct us as we get up, get out, and get going. His providential grace will lead us in the way.
B. We may be humbled, but God will provide for His children. Just trust Him.
C. Trust that God will make things happen in our lives to direct and provide for us.
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