Faithlife Sermons

Ruth - Part 2

Lessons from the Book of Ruth   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Questions Raised by the Text
What forces guide our daily lives?
Do we believe in chance, fate, or luck?
Do we live as functional atheists where ultimately its just our choices that shape our lives?
That is a existenial question the next two are practical and have to do with our relationships with others?
How do we treat the most vulnerable in our community?
What influence do laws in our country have on the most vulnerable?
What impact do we really have on the lives of others? Can I really make a difference?
Scripture Reading: As Jess reads the Scripture for us this Morning lets Keep these Questions in mind.
Would you pray with me to prepare our hearts for the reading, preaching and application of the word this morning?
Jess to Read Ruth Chapter 2

Walking Through the Text

Prolouge: The Chapter Opens up by introducing us to a man named Boaz, a relative of Naomi on her husband’s side.
Reintroduces the main Characters:
Naomi an israelite widow, who lost her husband and her sons. (As I think about Naomi, I am reminded of Dorothy, who lost so much, yet kept going, kept the faith, ran the race with endurance.
Ruth, also a widow, but a Moabite- foreigner who has decided to show hesed to her mother in law and stick with her.
Ruth: Takes initiative in the most dire of situation.
Ruth uses a phrase here that we learned about in the fall in the Character of God Seriers.
Ruth says’ “someone in whose eyes I might find favor”.
Anyone remember what hebrew word is used here?
Finding favor in someone’s eyes
Hein or grace- an undeserved Gift.
Background: on this situation- Ruth doesnt go out to steal or rob from someone she goes out to glean.
What is Gleaning?
There were laws that God put in place for gleaning. (Slides)
Deuteronomy 24:19–22 NIV
When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.
Deuteronomy 14:28–29 NIV
At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.
So as a member of both groups, Ruth goes out to glean. We see here that God has laws in place to care for the most vulnerable. However, it is not just the laws that allow flourishing in this situation. Its also luck too, or is it.
By Chance, Ruth Gleans in a Field belonging to Boaz
Verse 3 says, “by chance” Ruth gleaned in a portion of a field owned by Boaz.
In fact, the text says, “by chance” or “as it turns out” and she “happened to find herself” - the author is using these phrases in a form of hyperbole to say, this isnt by chance at all! This is by God’s care!.
This moment in the Book of Ruth challenges our worldview to say, “is there anything that happens by chance”? Does anyone just “happen to be there?” or is the Hand of God.
Let me tell you some things that have happened by chance in my life:
By chance: when I was born, even though I was not expected to live, especially after my twins death I lived.
By chance: I was adopted into a family that wanted to love me.
By chance: On vacation with my family in Maine, I went down to the beach and my life changed forever.
By Chance: I met a girl who I thought was too happy on a play ground, who I would later marry.
By Chance: Diller Mennonite Church was looking for a part time pastor in 2017, the same year I graduated. By Chance: Bishop Richard reached out to my advisor days after meeting with me about going into ministry.
By chance: When we were moving, Elsie heard a voice to come and help us pack, when I just prayed for someone to help.
By chance: Our friends nathan and Ziba were moving to texas, in the same month that we were evicted from our apartment.
By chance: We happened to wake up this morning, and come to church.
This single scene reminds us that there is nothing by Chance Church! Every moment falls within God’s plan, Amen??
Ruth and Boaz Meet on the Harvest Field
Boaz’s Care for Ruth, required intentional relationship!
vs 5 Boaz notices this woman and inquires about her.
The servants tell of her politeness and hard work.
Boaz blesses Ruth- tells her to stay here with his young women, to glean after the harvesters, he provides protection from men who might go after such a vulnerable woman, he even gives her water from his workers jugs.
The Laws were in place to protects the vulnerable, But its Relationship that provided for Ruth
The Law commanded the Israelites allow the vulnerable to glean, but we know that they didnt always practice this.
Boaz took special care to tell his harvesters to leave extra
The law did not protect her from possible assault or rape. Boaz did.
I want to pause and reflect on this: The Law was in place, but relationship fufilled the law. That speaks powerfully to us today church.
Roe v. Wade was overturned- in turn it means abortions should decrease, but the same principle in the story of ruth applies:
The law is in place, but its relationship that fulfills the Law.
We must ask, How does this decision effect the most vulnerable in this community?
Will a young teen with an unplanned pregnancey or a rape victum feel less vulnerable because of this legal change?
Does the overturning of law really do anything for a young woman caught in this situation?
Does the changing of the law, change someone’s heart? Does this law bring real heart change?
Should we rely on the goverment to legislate morality? Does the government want to bring people into relationship with Jesus?
Changing the law doesnt build the kingdom, it doesnt bring people into relationship with God, but you know who is called to do these things? The Church!
We are called to Intentional relationship: How can we be intentionally supporting young women, mothers and children in our community as a church?
Yes the law has changed, but its not laws that change people its relationships!
Its not the law that provided for Ruth, but Boaz’s intentional care.
If we look at verse 10, Ruth says, why would you do all this for me?
Boaz wasnt just looking for a pretty woman, no he says, I heard your story and all you did.
Ruth’s One act of Hesed, inspired Boaz’ Hesed - the Ripple effect
Ruth’s actions in chapter 1 causes a ripple effect look at verse vs 12 (Slide)
Then Boaz goes beyond what is required by giving her lunch, pulling out extra grain, and showed extraordinary grace.
I want to pause and reflect what how that speaks to us today, Imagine, Ruth’s one act, inspired Boaz’s Kindness, which will in turn lead to a marriage, that marriage will start the line that leads to Jesus.
What we learn is that one act of Hesed can change the world!
When we ask, does what we do really matter the answer is Yes!
Doing hesed does matter!
Doing ḥesed requires taking the initiative; it will not get done if we sit back and wait for someone else to do what needs to be done.
Doing ḥesed for others does not mean that it will always be a piece of cake
One commentator notes:
It is not in some religious setting that Ruth or Boaz manifest their ḥesed. Rather, it is in the daily workplace, the place where too often ḥesed is lacking. Such manifestations of ḥesed are the result of commitment to the Lord, and both Ruth and Boaz exhibit ḥesed qualities to those around them
Perhaps one of the most powerful lessons from the book of Ruth is that we never know what God will do with a single act of Hesed.
People who made a difference are humans Just like us. James 5:17 reminds us of this (Slide)
Moses- was a man who decided to listen to God’s voice one day.
David - had faith that with God and a stone, He could stop a giant.
Mother Teresa- was the youngest in her family born in Albaniana
Billy Graham- did not like the very man that introduced him to Jesus.
Martin Luther King Jr.- had to be persuaded time and time again to join the civil rights movement.
Mary the Mother of Jesus- was a poor Jewish girl living in a backwater town.
These are all people that changed the world: Yet, they are men and woman just like us, who changed the world.
Two things these people had in common:
They were willing to show hesed to others in their lives
God caused a ripple effect for his Glory
The Truth is Church. God Can do the same with us!
Do you think Moses knew what he was getting into when he said yes to God? No
Do you think david thought, God’s going to make me the greatest king, when he threw that stone? No
Yet, God did it!
Close your eyes with me and imagine what God can do with each of us this week?
Imagine the ripple effect of taking time to help out a neighbor.
Imagine the ripple effect of praying for a stranger this week?
Imagine the ripple effect of sharing Jesus with someone this week?
Church- Mission , Kingdom building, revival, it all starts with one single act of Hesed.
World change starts with Just one person: imagine what God can do with you.
Would you pray with me?
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