Sermon on June 14 by Pastor Roland Eskinazi
Scripture: Ruth 1
Sometimes it takes only 5 verses for your world to crumble….
When life seems to hit a dead-end:
1. SEE GOD – IN HIS UNREMARKABLE PROVISION!
Despite the past, and Elimelek (name = ‘God is King’) leaving Bethlehem for Moab, God has a future for Naomi.
God’s working is often subtle, but twice in Ruth, we see His direct involvement (1:6 and 4:13).
When you feel you are at a dead-end, open your eyes to see God’s daily provision.
He is the God behind the black, or any color garbage bags you put out, and is also behind the Ruths in your path.
2. SEE GOD – THROUGH HIS UNDYING STEADFASTNESS!
- Naomi is struggling, but still engaging
To say, that God is sovereign, means that God will be predictably unpredictable.
‘Don’t call me Naomi (‘pleasant’), call me Mara (‘bitter’). I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty… the Lord has afflicted me, the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me’ (v20, v21b)
‘Though we have had times of shock and fear, God has been remarkably present with me through all the many tests, biopsies, and surgery of the past few weeks.’ (Tim Keller, pastor and author)
- Naomi is confused, but still clinging
God’s sovereignty cannot be separated from His ‘hesed’ (= His kindness, generosity, and unfailing love).
Being real and faithful does not mean we won’t be confused, nor that we must defend God.
Like Naomi, we are invited to praise the Lord with joy in good times, and with tears when we don’t understand.
The dead-end you face may well be the God-end of a new beginning!
3. SEE GOD – WITH UNFLINCHING FAITH!
Miracles happen – Ruth the Moabitess, is a picture of faith in the Living God of the Hebrews.
‘Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God, my God’ (v16b)
Ruth does not follow Naomi and her God for any advantages – economic, social, racial, or psychological.
Following Jesus, and faith in Him, is as inexplicable, for He calls us to carry a cross.
If you are not yet a Christian, Jesus is worth following, because He left the glory of heaven to find the outsiders and bring them home.
‘The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become – because He made us. He invented all the different people that you and I are intended to be…it is when I turn to Christ, when I give myself up to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own’ (CS Lewis)
If you love Jesus, the One who came to take you to glory provides all the unseen support you need to get there.
Ruth was the immediate answer to Naomi’s needs but not the ultimate answer.
Jesus is THE answer. He gave His life, He tasted bitter judgement so we may have all of God’s ‘hesed’, His covenant love for life, for death and for eternity,
THOUGHTS FOR REFLECTION AND PRAYER
- Was Elimelek honouring the Lord when he left Bethlehem for Moab? Did his decision prevent God from showing grace to Naomi, years later? Does this give you hope when you regret some of the decisions you have made?
- How does the Lord show His kindness to Naomi? As you think of the past weeks, list at least five ways the Lord has shown His loving kindness towards you?
- Of whom is Ruth a picture? What makes the love of Jesus stand out from the best love we may experience from our spouse or most trusted friend? How does it encourage our evangelism, to know that Ruth was a Moabitess and not Hebrew?