Ruth 1-4, Psalm 77
The story of Ruth, though so simple and beautiful, is packed with so much to learn from. We just finished the Torah, with so many rules and laws, which at times can seem random and loosely connected. But the law is good. We see here in applying the laws in Leviticus 23:32, Leviticus 25:23-34, and Deuteronomy 25:5-10, just how perfect God’s law is when acted on faithfully.
Naomi is a character typical of so many of us. When things start to go wrong, rather than reflecting on how God may be trying to get her attention (famine and death of loved ones), she feels God has cursed her and is choosing to afflict her (Ruth 1:20-21, “But she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?”). Like Naomi, how many of us run from God when trouble befalls us, rather than run into his arms, which is what he desires.We read in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”. As we see at the conclusion of the story in Ruth 4:14-15 “Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel! And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better than seven sons, has borne him.” God indeed turned Naomi’s life into a blessed one.
Ruth is such an example of humility and child-like faith at a level which is rarely seen today. After one of the most beautiful statements of love directed at another human being in Ruth 1:16, “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.”, we see her, in total humility, continuously submitting without protesting or exerting her own opinion both to Naomi and Boaz. How often we do not allow ourselves to totally submit, but in pride feel the necessity to push our own opinions. In Matthew 18:3-4, Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is greatest in the kingdom of heaven”.
Boaz, the kinsman-redeemer is a beautiful picture of Jesus, our Kinsman-Redeemer. When Adam sinned in the garden, he forfeited our rights of dominion over the earth, and not only sold himself but all of his future relatives (us) into slavery. We, being sinners since birth are unable to redeem ourselves, there is absolutely no way we can be good enough, since even one sin disqualifies us. But our Kinsman-Redeemer, Jesus, came to earth to pay the price by shedding His blood. When He said on the cross, in John 19:30, “It is finished!”, it also meant paid in full. Thank you Jesus for releasing us from the bondage of sin and death.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: