Posts Tagged ‘ Great Commission ’

Sermon: The Story of a Girl – Ruth 3

I preached again!

Thr little book of Ruth always gets me emotional, and I did struggle through this message.

Below are my notes, and remember that they are just notes. I add stuff as I preach!

The Story of a Girl – Ruth 3

Romance Stories

Hollywood and book publishers love telling us about love.
We get stories about how boy and girl find each other, they fall in love, often they sleep together, then they decide they want to be together forever.

In other words, “Yeah, relationships are great, but let us tell you how it’s done, even if it gets a little spicy, and especially if it helps you get over your old-fashioned, out-dated morals.”

The majority of TV shows and movies not only suggest but even promote “test driving” before marrying – if marriage is even necessary.

[Personal story]

But what of a truly good romance?

The story of a girl

Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you? Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.” And she replied, “All that you say I will do.”

Ruth 3:1-5, ESV

The relationship these two women have is wonderful.

[Personal story]

Would Naomi have truly slipped into full bitterness without her daughter-in-law? “What else do I have to live for? I am too old to have more children. God has forsaken me. I have nothing.

Maybe you have felt this way, like nothing right happens in your life, whether for a season or your whole life. Maybe you get stuck seeing the bad more than you see the good, like when the president you didn’t vote for is elected or it looks like World War III could happen. Is there any good left in the world? Does anything good ever happen?

You need a faithful friend, one who can remind you of the good and help you find your way back home.

After all, Ruth means “compassionate friend.”

For now, Naomi has a focus: find a way to continue her husband’s lineage, help Ruth find a husband.

And it sounds like the advice she gives is scandalous: privately go to him and lay down near him at night. But we know we are dealing with honorable people.

A girl before a boy … er … man

So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down. At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” And he said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman. And now it is true that I am a redeemer. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I. Remain tonight, and in the morning, if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the Lord lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.”

Ruth 3:6-13, ESV

It is likely the end of the barley harvest, so the men are celebrating. It might even be close to Passover – this is the time of the barley harvest, after all. The women who have gleaned may have been invited, as well, not making it strange for a woman to be present.

Regardless, after a festive evening, Boaz lays down near a pile of barley. The farmer protects his investment, sleeping at the harvest field until the goods are stored.
Ruth does as she was told and finds him, uncovers his feet, an lays down. Many times in the Bible “feet” are an allusion to … the reproductive organs. But, like said, these are honorable, God-fearing people. It just means feet! She folds back the hem of his robe that he is using as a blanket.

This is not a modern romance story.

Maybe it was uncovering his feet, or laying down a little too noisily, or maybe one of his workers suddenly snored a little too loudly, but Boaz awakes at midnight to find Ruth laying at his feet.

She takes the posture of a servant – property, someone not worthy of his attention. Humble. Contrite.

Yet, she is bold. She asks for his protection. Not just a safe place to glean some food, but “cover me with your own clothes, feed me with your own plate. Only you can elevate me from nothing to something.”

I think of a woman over 1200 years later. A woman who does not try to cover herself with the hem of a robe, but she merely tries to touch the hem of a robe. A different Redeemer. One whose hem not only protects, but heals. (Luke 8:43-48)

I think of a story that Redeemer shares, of two men: one a Pharisee who brags to God about how righteous he is, and a tax collector who humbly laments his sin and knows of only One who can elevate him from despair to salvation. (Luke 18:9-14)

Just like these two with Jesus, Boaz shows grace and kindness, calling her daughter and blessing her.

We see here he admits to being older. As a redeemer, he would have to be a brother to the deceased (which obviously, he is not Ruth’s brother-in-law), a cousin, or even an uncle. It is likely that he is either an uncle or older cousin, and the other redeemer is a closer cousin. Perhaps he was Elimilech’s cousin, and this other man is Elimilech’s nephew or even brother. Regardless, Boaz is not that young, at least as old as Naomi. Ruth is probably 16-25 (remember that Naomi and her sons lived in Moab for 10 years!) Boaz could be as old as 80 (tradition holds that died soon after Obed was born.)

It reminds me of a Redeemer who is called our Everlasting Father.

We also see that this kindness is greater than the first. Which first kindness?

Probably that a young woman forsake her home for her mother-in-law. A young woman who worked hard to take care of someone she was barely related to. A young woman who could have looked for a “young stud” who could take care of all of her needs.

But she’s still thinking of her mother-in-law as well as her own needs.
But he promises to make sure she is taken care of, even if it could potentially look like some impropriety may have happened (but tries to minimize that appearance.)

Which reminds me of a man who tried to look out for a girl who claimed God gave her a child.

Which reminds me of a Man who made sure His mother was cared for, even as He died on a cross for crimes He did not commit.

But Boaz is not done yet.

A story of hope for a girl

So she lay at his feet until the morning, but arose before one could recognize another. And he said, “Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.” And he said, “Bring the garment you are wearing and hold it out.” So she held it, and he measured out six measures of barley and put it on her. Then she went into the city. And when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “How did you fare, my daughter?” Then she told her all that the man had done for her, saying, “These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said to me, ‘You must not go back empty-handed to your mother-in-law.’ ” She replied, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest but will settle the matter today.”

Ruth 3:14-18, ESV

Boaz means “swiftness”.

He makes sure they are awake before dawn. He provides food for her to take home. This is both a sign to Naomi that he will handle this situation – “Don’t worry, Naomi” – while also ensuring both women are cared for.

Then, as we see in the next chapter, he goes straight out, finds ten men to witness, and finds the other redeemer to get it settled … swiftly.

The Story. Of a Girl.

In the beginning, was a girl. She was tempted with evil, and her husband did not protect her as he should.

There was a girl, whose husband, brother-in-law, and father-in-law all died, but she found a man who would protect and care for her.

There was a girl, who found a man, and gave birth to the Son of Man.

There is a girl. She felt abandoned. She also abandoned. But her Redeemer came for her. Provided for her. Saved her.

This girl is the Church. She is all the redeemed. She is all of the saints of God who humbly … boldly approach the Redeemer, knowing they are unworthy of attention, not even worthy to be a slave, but seek His mercy, His grace.

As we approach this Passover, this Resurrection Sunday, may we faithfully glean from the sown Word of God – sown by the faithful writers and fellow servants, sown by the our very Redeemer. May we seek the favor of our Redeemer, knowing He has been faithful and has redeemed us.

All we need do is ask.

This life may be hard. We may face our struggles, our hurts, our disappointments. We may fail, feel abandoned or lost.

But we have a Redeemer. One who provides for us and protects us.

We, the Church, are His Bride. He longs to be with us.

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

Revelation 19:6-8, ESV

He has given us work to do. We glean from His Word and carry it home, and to our neighbors, sharing His bounty with those around us.

How do we say it around here? What is the vision, the mission statement of The Church Next Door?

Live a full life in Jesus and bring others along for the ride.

As the Bible puts it in Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV):

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.””

This is the greatest love story.

Ruth and Boaz were just a picture of it, a vision of a simple story of a girl.

We are a part of the Greatest Story: The Story of the Redeemed in Christ.

VerseD: John 14:26

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

John 14:26, ESV

The Holy Spirit empowers us to do God’s work and share His words:

In Christ’s authority we make disciples by teaching them to obey the commandments found in Scripture and the warning and hope of Christ’s return. (Matthew 28:18-20)

VerseD: Matthew 28:19

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

Matthew 28:19, ESV

With the Authority of Christ with us, we have no reason to fear others, rather we should boldly proclaim the gospel to all.

VerseD: Isaiah 43:18-19

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

Isaiah 43:18‭-‬19, ESV

Our world is a spiritually dry wasteland, and we often long for what people in the past seemed to have. Yet, God the Holy Spirit flows through each believer in Jesus Christ to bring our Lord’s grace and love to this dry and weary world to the glory of the Father.

VerseD: Habakkuk 2:14

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

Habakkuk 2:14, ESV

Our God came to us. He has sent us to spread His fame and glory around the world until His return.

VerseD: Isaiah 6:8

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

Isaiah 6:8, ESV

The Word should change us. The call of the Lord should push us.

May we proclaim the change that comes through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit.

VerseD: Luke 11:13

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Luke 11:13, ESV

The greatest gift God gives us is Himself. The greatest gift we can give others is the Gospel, the good news that they can be saved from their sins and receive God Himself.

VerseD: Mark 16:15

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”
Mark 16:15, ESV

Our purpose in life is to glorify God. The best way to do this is to tell others about the work of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins and offer us eternal life.

VerseD: Matthew 28:19

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
Matthew 28:19, ESV

God changes us, but how will He change others if we do not obey His command to make disciples?
Good use us to bring change to the world.

VerseD: Matthew 28:19

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
Matthew 28:19, ESV

We should not be hiding away from the world or pushing others way from God. Rather, in the authority of Jesus, we should be going into the world and doing everything in our power and beyond to help this world understand God’s Word and lead them to righteousness.