What is your favorite love story?
- Cinderella with Prince Charming
- Gone with the Wind with Clark Gable & Vivien Leigh
- When Harry Met Sally with Billy Crystal & Meg Ryan
- The Princess Bride with Westley & Buttercup
- Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts & Richard Gere
- Titanic with Kate with Leonardo DiCaprio & Kate Winslett
- The Wedding Planner with Jennifer Lopez
- Music & Lyrics with Hugh Grant & Drew Barrymore
- Hitch with Will Smith & Eva Mendes
Regardless of your movie preference, we all have an ideal “narrative story line” that we want our life and relationships to follow. And when we compare our lives to others, or worse to Hollywood, then our expectations become really dangerous. We cast ourselves as the main character in a story and when life is not “happily ever after” we get angry and bitter with God.
The reality is that life is not telling our story but God’s story. In God’s story we are a supporting actor, playing a minor role. Yet, when we realize our life is His story then our role becomes that much more significant; because we are no longer in a movie only we want to see but we are telling a story that the entire world needs to hear and see.
Both Naomi & Ruth had to experience this beautiful letdown of expectations that their life experiences were leading them to tell the greatest love and redemption story ever to tell. The Book of Ruth is one of the greatest love stories of all time. This is the last message in series: “Redeeming Family” from the book of Ruth.
EXAMINE RUTH 4:13-22 God’s Faithfulness is Greater Than My Famine
Review: 1000 years before Jesus was born there was the biblical time of the Judges. It was a day of instability, immorality, injustice and idolatry – a lot like 21st century. The book of Ruth opens during this time in a small town called Bethlehem (House of Bread). Elimelech (my God is king) and his wife Naomi (pleasant) are living in a famine and leave to go to Moab (a place named after a man who’s parents had incest – Lot’s daughters got father drunk and seduced him). Naomi & Elimelech’s two sons Chillion and Mahlon marry two Moabite – pagan – women, Orpah and Ruth. After 10 years of famine and infertility with the children there is greater tragedy in that Elimelech and his two sons die. Naomi is heartbroken and wants to send her daughter-inlaws away. Orpah leaves but Ruth stays. Eventually, Naomi & Ruth return to Bethlehem and find favor and food through a man named Boaz. Boaz is generous to allow Ruth to work in his field. Ruth works tirelessly in sweaty and stained clothes. After six weeks of Ruth working Boaz is silent, he does nothing with Ruth. He’s a typical male – no communication, no cards, no coffee, no calls; not even a dinner date! So, Naomi tells Ruth to dress up and present herself to Boaz and all of a sudden they’re getting married J. Today’s passage shows the marriage and even the results of a honeymoon with which they have a son. Naomi loves being grandma to spoil and cuddle him. It’s a remarkable story of redemption, not just for Ruth but for all of us. The son that is born to them will continue generations to the great king of Israel, David and then onward through the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. It reminds us that God is faithful and He brings hope out of heartbreak and hopeless situations.
God is faithful to transform our hope (4:13-15)
This passage completes the cycle from grief to grace. Boaz takes Ruth to be his wife. This is the beauty of giving and receiving one another into covenant marriage. Their marriage is the climax of the book. Previously Ruth was a widow and now she is wed; previously Ruth faced adversity and now she is redeemed; previously Ruth was barren and now she has new beginnings and soon to have a baby!
ð Marriage is not an end but a hopeful beginning.
This is not to discourage anyone, but it takes more work to stay married than it does to get married. When you wed there is all the potential for love, joy and happiness. But we must remember, marriage is the union of two sinners and therefore, only faith and hope in the gospel with forgiveness of sin and assurance of unconditional love is the glue to transforming our relationships.
Verse 13 says, “the Lord gave her conception.”
ð What a wonderful reminder that God fills the womb and fashions each child; He is the author of life (Psalm 139; 127-128).
In verses 14-15 The women pray with Naomi. They bless the Lord that He did not leave Naomi (His footprints were unseen”; cf. Psalm 77) nor did He leave her without a redeemer. The ladies pray that the redeemer’s (either Boaz or the child) name be renowned in Israel (not just in Bethlehem!; cf. 4:11). Naomi had left Bethlehem for Moab but through tragedy and trial had restored her and even was bringing hope to Israel. The women prayed that the redeemer shall be a restorer of life and nourisher in Naomi’s old age [literally “a sustainer of your grey hair”] – this seems to identify the redeemer as the child, not Boaz! This son will come from a loved [ahava – strong attachment that leads to action, love of the will] one and mean more to Naomi than seven sons (viewed as a perfect family with ability to leave strong legacy).
Naomi was able to have hope by learning to follow the hand and trust the heart of God. You see, Naomi followed the hand of Elimelech to Moab but she should have followed hand of God by staying in Bethlehem. Upon returning to Bethlehem she had to allow her grieving heart get healed by the helping [ahava] love of Ruth.
Paul Tripp – Grief: Finding Hope Again, p.6 “Every time someone dies, it reminds those watching that God’s work is not yet complete. Because of sin, death entered the world. Only when sin is completely defeated will death cease to be part of the equation… As you weep, know this: the One who weeps with you is not content for things to stay as they are. His death was a cry and his resurrection a promise. The living Christ will continue to exert his power and you will grieve no more.”
ð We can follow the hand and trust the heart of God; they will lead us to see His love in Jesus Christ. In times of hardship we do not have to be shaken because in God’s providence, He is working together all things for good.
Psalm 34:19 “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
God is faithful to transform our heritage (4:16-22)
Naomi’s hope was full again. She expected a lonely life but now her lap would bounce her grandson. The women connected Ruth’s son to Naomi’s inheritance. Together they named the son Obed (servant or worshiper of God), whom would be the father of Jesse and grandfather of David – the king of Israel.
The genealogy contained 10 names and perhaps stand in contrast to the 10 infertile years in Moab. Boaz was number 7 and David was 10th name, showing fulfillment. It shows the gift of life and legacy.
Remember, Peloni Almoni (4:1) was unnamed and his legacy would remain untold. Yet, Boaz’s legacy would be a holy heritage.
Questions may arise in this list of names: Why start with Perez when Judah, his father, was given the initial promise to the throne from Jacob (Genesis 49:8-10)? The author undoubtedly knew this and was trying to show that this genealogy begins too early to go all the way back and though it leads to David, it does not stop there but will extend a further legacy than beyond understanding! Even more prophetically, Obed enters this genealogy not through the original line, which would have been Mahlon, but through the unique redeeming father, Boaz. Likewise, Jesus will enter salvation history not through human origin but through the unique conception from God the Father.
ð Each name in history played a role to continue the purposes of God; so do we.
ð You never know who your children or grandchildren (and so on) will turn out to be. Will they be the next king of a nation? Will they be a teacher whom influences hundreds of children? Will they serve the public through congress or courts? Will they minister as a mom to inner-city children? Will they be fathers who foster children from broken and abusive homes? Will they fly planes across jungle lands to transport Bibles and missionaries? Will they write books and learn languages to translate Christian curriculum to evangelize unreached people groups? We must continue our commitment to growing godly generations.
Psalm 119:90 “Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.”
Psalm 78:6-7 “so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.”
– àWe each have a part in growing godly generations
God never wastes a moment.
The things that most people overlook are the very things that God creates as opportunities to bring Himself greater glory. The Book of Ruth is a reminder to not overlook the ordinary, to not trivialize our trials but remember God is a redeemer.
Reflect on these words:
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.