Faithlife Sermons

Faith is the Victory

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During the Thirty Years' War in the 17th century, German pastor Paul Gerhardt and his family were forced to flee from their home. One night as they stayed in a small village inn, homeless and afraid, his wife broke down and cried openly in despair. To comfort her, Gerhardt reminded her of Scripture promises about God's provision and keeping. Then, going out to the garden to be alone, he too broke down and wept. He felt he had come to his darkest hour.
Soon afterward, Gerhardt felt the burden lifted and sensed anew the Lord's presence. Taking his pen, he wrote a hymn that has brought comfort to many. "Give to the winds thy fears; hope, and be undismayed; God hears thy sighs and counts thy tears; God shall lift up thy head. Through waves and clouds and storms He gently clears the way. Wait thou His time, so shall the night soon end in joyous day."
It is often in our darkest times that God makes His presence known most clearly. He uses our sufferings and troubles to show us that He is our only source of strength. And when we see this truth, like Pastor Gerhardt, we receive new hope.
As we have made our way through Chapter 2 of Ruth, we have seen Ruth “Walk by Faith”, We have seen Ruth “Live in the Field of Grace” and today we are going to see how Her AND Naomi, “Continue with Hope”.
Boaz has introduced himself to Ruth, He instructed his workers to help her and protect her, He has made sure that she had plenty to eat for lunch and now she is ready to get back to work… we pick up our story in v.17 (Read vv.17-22)
For the rest of the day, Ruth was able to work with a happy and hopeful attitude. (Read v.17)… She didn’t have to worry about anyone harming her, she didn’t have to worry about anyone stopping her from gleaning… when she was hungry, she ate… when she was thirsty, she was able to drink… and when she was tired, she had a place to rest.
We are told that when she was finished for the day she ended up with an Ephah of barley... Which would be enough to feed her and Naomi for about a week. Anything thing that she gathered over the course of the following days, she could sell and have money for other neccesities that they may have had… Ruth was not only a hard and diligent worker, but she was also a good steward of what God had blessed her with… She couldn’t wait to get home and tell Naomi all about her day...
That brings up the first point on your outline...

1. Naomi’s Attitude Change

Look at vv.18-20a… The last time we saw Naomi, she was sharing her bitterness with the women of Bethlehem and blaming God for all of her sorrow and her life of poverty... Even when Ruth asked for her permission to go to the fields to glean, the only thing that Naomi said to her was,... “Go, my daughter”… There were no words of blessing, no prayers for guidance, no prayers for Ruth’s protection… it is kind of an attitude of “yeah go ahead, do whatever you want, see ya when you get home”...
But Now… There seems to be a new word in Naomi’s vocabulary… and that word is… “Blessed”… … Naomi’s Attitude changed from...

1.1 Bitterness to Blessedness

She says “Blessed be the one who took notice of you.” “May he be blessed of the LORD...” But she doesn’t stop there… Naomi goes on to say this about the LORD… “who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!”
What a change has taken place in the heart of this grieving widow! It is like someone flipped on the light switch of the dark room that she was hiding herself in. The fire in her heart has been rekindled and the “pleasant” Naomi is starting to shine through once again...
How could she go from bitterness to blessedness so fast?… What changed her attitude??? … … The answer is found in a four letter word… … Some of you are getting a little nervous… “uh oh, Pastor is going to use a four letter word”… yes I am! … and (SLIDE)
Naomi’s attitude changed because of one of the good four letter words… Hope!

1.2 Naomi’s attitude changed because of Hope

One night at dinner a man, who had spent many summers in Maine, fascinated his companions by telling of his experiences in a little town named Flagstaff. The town was to be flooded, as part of a large lake for which a dam was being built. In the months before it was to be flooded, all improvements and repairs in the whole town were stopped. What was the use of painting a house if it were to be covered with water in six months? Why repair anything when the whole village was to be wiped out? So, week by week, the whole town became more and more disheveled, more gone to seed, more miserable. Then he added by way of explanation: "Where there is no faith in the future, there is no power in the present." 
Up until now, Naomi had “no faith in the future”… she had no hope… But now that Ruth has told her about this man named Boaz, her hope for the future has been rekindled.

2. Ruth & Naomi had Hope in...

Ruth and Naomi both shared hope in the same man, Boaz. Ruth had the hope of being willing and available to marry and Naomi had the hope of being taken care of as Ruth’s mother in-law… … lets look at this new found hope… first of all, they had hope in...

2.1 Boaz’s Eligibility

What I mean by that is; They had hope in Boaz because of who he was… The last part of v. 20 says “This man is a relation of ours, one of our close relatives.”
This may not seem significant to us, but it was and Naomi knew it… Naomi knew that there was a thing called the Levirate(lev-er-it) Marriage Law, which said that…
If a man died and left a wife behind with no children, the legacy of the man was in danger of passing away forever. So, a brother of the man was obligated to marry the woman and have children with her, so that the deceased man’s name and family would not disappear.
If there was no brother available, another relative was to marry the woman so that she could bear a son, who would then bear the name of the deceased husband. This would preserve the man’s legacy so that, in the words of the Old Testament, “his name will not be blotted out from Israel”.
This relative was called the “kinsman-redeemer”, because he was related to the deceased man and he was redeeming his name from being erased from history.
It was usually the closest brother who would fill this role, but if there was not one, it passed down the ranks of kin… A close relative could redeem;
(1) a family member sold into slavery
(2) land which needed to be sold under economic hardship and/or
(3) the family name by virtue of a levirate marriage
We don’t know where Boaz falls into the lineage, and we’ll later see that he’s not the only one who qualifies as a kinsman-redeemer... Nonetheless, he is a close relative, possibly a first or second cousin and that is part of the reason that Ruth and Naomi are so hopefull.
Secondly… they had hope in...

2.2 Boaz’s Actions

Remember from last week that Boaz treated Ruth with Amazing Grace. Boaz ordered his harvesters to let Ruth gather grain from among the sheaves. He also told them to drop some heads of barley on purpose for her. Instead of gathering enough for a meal or two, Ruth was loaded down with grain.
She had received "handfuls, on purpose" from the hands of Boaz. Boaz was not required to provide for her the way that he did. But he chose to show her grace and Naomi was very excited and very hopefull when she heard about it.
Boaz also put a shield of protection around Ruth. If anyone bothers her, because she’s a foreigner, a widow, a moabite, they’ll answer to him. So in the place of rejection and mistrust that foreigners (especially Moabites) often received, Boaz gives compassion, kindness and care, just like we give to someone close to us. Out of sheer kindness and grace, Boaz gives Ruth protection and provision.
(Try to find an illustration)...
Ruth and Naomi had hope in Boaz’s Eligibility, Boaz’s Actions and finally...

2.3 Boaz’s Words

(Read vv. 21-22)… Note that little phrase at the end of verse 21: “…until they have finished all my harvest.” … I believe that Boaz was saying to her, “At the end of the harvest, something special is going to happen.”
It’s odd that Boaz was so insistent that Ruth not go to anyone else’s field to glean. I think Boaz had some special plans in mind at the end of the busy harvest... I also think that Naomi was able to read in between the lines when Ruth told her exactly what Boaz had said and that is why, in v.22 “... 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.”
I believe Naomi realized that Boaz insisted on Ruth staying close to his servants and in his field because he was making plans that would change her future and Ruths future. That is why Ruth and Naomi were able to find Hope in Boaz’s Eligibility, Boaz’s Actions and Boaz’s Words...
And the last thing that I want you to notice this morning is...

3. Ruth Continued with Hope

Look at v.23… The barley harvest occurred during March and April and the wheat harvest during June and July… And Ruth didn’t sit around twiddling her thumbs waiting to see what Boaz would do. She went right back to the field and labored right on through the barley harvest and the wheat harvest.
But I believe she returned to the field with a new attitude and a new purpose because the situation was different… Now she knew the lord of the harvest! Ruth was now more than just a foreigner laboring in the field. She had the special care and attention of the lord of the harvest. Her labor was not the dismal labor of a slave; it was a joyful labor of someone who had great expectations.
Now that Boaz is fully in the picture. We are going to see many examples of how his relationship with Ruth is just like Christ’s relationship with us.
We can continue with hope in our hearts because of WHO JESUS IS:
He is OUR Redeemer. He has purchased us from the slave market of sin and paid our debt for us. 1 Peter 1:18-19“For you know that you were not redeemed with perishable things, such as silver or gold, from your futile way of life received by tradition from your fathers. 19 But with the precious blood of Christ…” He is OUR Redeemer!
Second, we can continue with hope as believers because of WHAT JESUS DID:
What did Jesus do for us?… where do we begin?… He died for our sins; He gave us a new life with fulfillment and purpose; He gave us eternal life; He gave us the Word of God to guide our lives; He gave us a spiritual family in the church. And He gave us the greatest gift of all—His precious Holy Spirit to empower, encourage, convict, and guide us, and He has given us so much more.
Third, we can continue with hope as believers because of WHAT JESUS SAID
He has said many wonderful things that give us hope, such as…
“I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:2b-3)
Or this hopeful promise, That we will look more into this evening… “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:…I give to them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; and no one is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10:27-29)
Warren Wiersbe said “For the Christian believer, hope is not a shallow “hope-so feeling” generated by optimistic fantasies. Hope is an inner sense of joyful assurance and confidence as we trust God’s promises and face the future with His help. This hope is God’s gift to His children through the Holy Spirit, who reminds us of God’s promises found in His Word”
I am also reminded of the great Hymn that says
“My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus' blood and righteousness I dare not trust the sweetest frame But wholly lean on Jesus' name"
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