March 18

Ruth 1-4, Psalm 77

When people are asked, "When you die , where will you go, heaven or hell, and why?", the near universal response (to those who have some acceptance of God) is heaven, because, "I'm pretty good". Most choose to view themselves according to the world's standards rather than according to God's standards. Most don't see themselves as sinners, or morally bankrupt. If asked to explain a little further, most tend to over-inflate the weight of their good works and under-inflate the weight of their sins; therefore believing they have enough in their good-works to override anything wrong they have done. Minimizing lying, envy, lusting, and most importantly not placing God first in their lives; they point out the time that they helped someone across the street, the time they gave a homeless man a dollar, or went to church. Due to this over-inflated and exalted view of their own standing, they do not seek the only One who actually can payback for their sins. They fail to see the hopelessness of their situation outside of Christ. If I was told to pay someone 10 billion dollars by tomorrow, the situation is obviously hopeless. This is all of our situation in paying back what is required for our sins.

Boaz, the kinsmen-redeemer in the book of Ruth is a beautiful picture of Jesus Christ. The duty of the kinsmen-redeemer or Goel is stated in Deuteronomy 25:5-10. Though the Sadducees did not believe in a resurrection, they tested Jesus and confronted Him with a fictitious story of six brothers who followed the law of the kinsmen redeemer in Matthew 22:23-33. At night, we read in Ruth 3:7, "...and she came softly , uncovered his feet, and lay down." When Boaz gets startled and asks who it was at his feet, she responds in 3:9, "...I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative." Notice the response of Boaz in 3:10, "Then he said, "Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether rich or poor." Notice that Ruth had to approach Boaz, just like we must repent and approach Jesus. Just as Boaz does not reject her, neither will Jesus reject us, as we read in John 6:37, "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." Notice that Boaz blesses her for not being carried away by younger men and the worldly temptations of this world. Likewise, for us to come to Jesus, we must care less for the trinkets that the world offers and seek Him. We read in Ruth 4:1-10, how Boaz goes about fulfilling the role of kinsmen-redeemer before all of the elders, therefore purchasing all of their belongings and Ruth as his wife. When our Kinsmen-Redeemer, before all of the witnesses, died on the cross, He said in John 19:30, "It is finished!", or "Paid in full". In so doing, He purchased us, His bride(the bride of Christ), purely by His actions. He did it all, we can do nothing to accomplish this. We simply, like Ruth, need to come in repentance and seek His covering.

We are so entrenched in the world that we often times miss or ignore what He did for us. When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, he forfeited his right over the world to Satan. Realize it or not, by this one act we, the relatives of Adam, have been sold into slavery, and without Christ are in bondage to this day. No amount of good works on our part can release us from this bondage. But Jesus, our Kinsman-Redeemer, came to earth to redeem us back to God. The price for our freedom, is the blood of our Savior. He paid it all, we must never forget this. This free offer of salvation is available to anyone at anytime. All anyone has to do is come to God in full repentance, bankrupt, offering up none of our good works. Once we repent, or re-think and accept God's ways as the standard rather than our own devised standards, we simply need to come before Him anywhere: in our bedroom, in the shower, and accept what He did for us on the cross. Lastly, recognizing what He has done, He must become Lord of our life. Realizing that He offers what no one else can, should bring us all to exalt Him above all: including spouses and children. If any are interested to read a beautiful parable by Jesus demonstrating what He did, and how hopeless our situation is without Him, read the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, in Matthew 18:21-35. If anyone reads this and has not yet accepted Christ's offer of salvation, please take the time to think about this, the most important decision of your life, before it is too late.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster