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Ruth – A Lenten Series (Part 6) | Ruth 4

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Thanks, Lauren. And let’s keep that slide up there ’cause we’re gonna do it all together, that’s how I say this. This is part of God’s story. Lauren, that was a great reading. May be seated. And Lauren, I was gonna ask you what version are you using there

And… I never would have guessed that. My goodness. Well, that’s terrific. And as we get started, we’re gonna be looking at Ruth chapter four, as you could probably guess, since we just read Ruth chapter 4, but I have to say something before we get rolling, if you noticed in that last song that all the slides went like split and you’re probably like my wife leaning over to me and saying What is going on in the Tech booth… I will tell you what was going on in the tech, but I was sitting on the clicker…Oh my goodness. It’s an amazing thing, but I will catch on technologically here.

I really do. I thank Alex for the opportunity to teach in Ruth chapter 4. This is a terrific passage, and one of you came up to me before and said, Oh wow, you’ve got the kinsman redeemer passage.

Yeah, a kinsman redeemer or family redeemer or whatever we wanna call it. This is about being redeemed this morning, and this story in Ruth, I’ve enjoyed it every week as we’ve gone through this Book of Ruth.

But the suns also a very special Sunday for us, and that it’s Palm Sunday is Palm Sunday. And I think Jesus, as He was coming down on that donkey and the crowds were waving the pals and they said, blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord, Peace in Heaven and glory in the highest heaven.

This is a joyful day for us as Christians. Yes, it is. But I also know that as Jesus was coming round in that corner and seeing Jerusalem, He was saying in front of him, the task that lay in front, he realized that soon he was gonna have to be stepping into this aspect of redeeming His creation and the price was gonna be huge. So yes, it’s a day of joy, it’s also a day of reflection, and as we enter into the story of redemption here in Ruth chapter 4, I just wanna encourage you to realize there’s a reason why we need to be redeemed, and it costs something great. I was trying to think, Okay, how do we illustrate redemption or redeem those of us in the church, we’ve grown up with that name, it’s quite a theological expression, we always think of people being redeemed. It basically means you have to buy back to repurchase to bring new life into a dead life. Redemption. So I was trying to think of an illustration. I tell you, I went through a lot and I found out most of them were false stories, don’t you know that…

I don’t know why it is we preachers make up stories to illustrate our points, but I looked in my own kitchen and this is what I saw, just a piece of furniture, we call it our kitchen cabinet. But to me, as I was getting ready for this week, I couldn’t help but think, Yeah, that’s quite a picture of redemption in that little cabinet.

We keep our pots and pans and some dishes in there years ago, in fact, over a century ago, a century in a couple of decades, it was a regular fixture in my grandfather’s house, and he told me one of the functions of this cabinet in the beginning was to whole buckets of coal, and they would put buckets of coil in there, close the doors and look nice, then they don’t open it to take it over, the cost dumping in, and that lasted that function for a while, and then they got new heating in new ways to cook, and so I no longer had to have coal bucket, so it became a jamb cover and then would put canned goods in there.

Each time it would change its purpose in had a new Code of paint slapped on it, it became a tool covered. And eventually the last function was a pain cover, so you can imagine what this covered… Look like when my grandfather passed away. This covered was basically on its way out, he was gonna be thrown out, and my dad and my mom stepped in and said, You know, we’d like it, so I took it and it sat in our garage for quite a while, and then unbeknownst to me, Dad started re-finishing it, and he began stripping one layer of paint off after another layer of paint, and he got down to that wood and he started sanding it, and he started repairing the hinges, and then he gave it a finish that gave it this beautiful Cherry coating. And then he gave it to us. And you know, this thing isn’t worth much, but it’s priceless to me, surprise list to me because this was the last piece of furniture my Dad ever was able to repair. Alzheimer’s took over. And he just wasn’t able to do it after that. I look at this crazy piece of furniture, and I’m so glad I’m married to a woman who said, You can put it in a place of honor in our house.

And we have it right there in the kitchen. Functioning in a new way. It was supposed to be thrown out on the trash. The story we’re gonna look at this morning in Ruth chapter 4, where we left Ruth last week, was in kind of this one, I wouldn’t say limbo, but it was this verse, they only said, We were just be patient, my daughter until we hear what happens.

And if we look at some other translations of that… I think it’s actually King James, it says, just sit still, daughter. Let’s see how this turns out.

Now, this is Ruth, this is Ruth, who was very proactive. This is Ruth who stepped into the situation, she didn’t like grass Grinder Her feet, this was the gal who… When Naomi was coming back from Moab, destitute alone, Rossi, I’m gonna stick with you. Your God is gonna be My God, your peer, gonna be my people. I’m gonna establish a name where you go… I will never leave you. This is Ruth who, as they were there and she realized we’re getting hungry, he just said, Do it, name, I’m gonna go out and I’m gonna find us some food, I’m gonna lean… And she was from Moab, from a whole different country. She didn’t know all the rules and regs of this culture, but she went and she cleaned and you know when she knew, she was directed to go to one of her closest cousins field, and he protected her, and Naomi was through… This is Ruth who worked through the barley harvest, through the wheat harvest, through the second barley harvest, and when you kind of figure all these things out, that’s like five to six months that she’s putting her back into things and she’s providing for Naomi, she’s providing for herself this is Ruth who took things on her win, and this was Ruth who followed her mother-in-law’s advice, and like Alex handled so well last week, got a showered up, went over there on her best, dead at night on all the guys on the threshing floor were sound asleep, she prepped over there where boys wasn’t she? Don’t buy his feet.

And she laid there, and when he woke up and wondered who this was at his feet, she said, This is… I’m Ruth, I’m Ruth, your servant. Please cover me. You’re my family redeemer. And when she said those words, she was putting herself out out on the line, and we’re gonna learn a little bit more about what her request really meant as she asked Boaz these words, but

Let me show you why she has to just sit still and be patient right now, and that’s because Boas says to her, Oh, it’s true that I’m one of your family redeemer, but there’s also another man who is more closely related to you than I am, so let me try to take care of this. And so Ruth, who has been following through on everything to this point has to sit still and wait.

So we’re gonna take a little detour now, because I just… This is why I get Connick, kinda like Aaron gets a lot of Deakin ESS when he breathes. I kind of enjoy some of these things about the law of God, and God way back in the very beginning, he inserted things, teaching his people how to live so that they could really take care of each other. Is back in Leviticus chapter 25, and I don’t want you to turn to this, I’m gonna be popping up a lot of verses, you can look at it this afternoon or this week, sometimes a little bit, ’cause 25 is a fascinating chapter. In fact, I was almost gonna say it’s one of the most amazing chapters in scripture, but then I realized there’s a lot of amazing chapters in scripture, so I think I’m safe to say it’s one of the most amazing chapters in Leviticus.

Mimetic is a tough read, we get to this chapter, and you have the year of July, but it starts with something else. So let me give you a little bit of background. It talks about something called this Sabbath year.

Now, you know the sabbath day is the seventh day of the week, and we’re to rest. And God commanded us to do that, to rest, to replenish your body. Well, he also commanded that for his creation, he said There’s a Sabbath year, so the seventh year, the Israelites were not supposed to plant anything, they were supposed to let their land rest and regenerate and re-energize, and then had this thing called the year of jubilee, and the year of jubilee was a Sabbath of Sabbath years. Now, let me just stop back and do the math, that’s seven times… Seven years, that’s 49 years. The next year, the 50th year, was this year of jubilee. Okay, what was the purpose of the Year Jubilee? Let’s read this Here.

Set this year apart as holy a time to proclaim freedom throughout the land for all who live there, it will be a jubilee year for you, when each of you may return to the land that belong to your ancestors and return to your own plan.

And we may read that today and say, Oh, okay, it’s the time to have a reunion, go back home, see the family say hi to my ancestors who might still be living there, and we’re supposed to honor them in that way, but He’s saying something much, much deeper than that, it’s not going back just to visit, it’s going back to repossess the land that your ancestors owned, and I’ve sat there puzzling trying to say… I wonder how we do that today. This is a foreign thing to me. I was doing the math. Okay, this is supposed to be… Every 50 years. We were supposed to do that. We bought our house in 1999. I think it was built in about 1986.

So what if in about what, 14 years night. 2036, I get a knock on the door, and I don’t find the door and the person says, Hi, I’m the fellow who built this house and I’ve come back to take it. I have a hard time. There’s a principle underlying this year of jubilee, as found in the next verse, the land must never be sold on a permanent basis, for the land belongs to me, That’s God speaking. This is my land, you’re only foreigners and tenant farmers working for me for every purchase of land, you must grant the seller the right to buy it back. And I had to ask myself the question, me, I wonder what this would do to inflation, I wonder what it’d be like for all of you who are so desirous to buy a house of your own… And here you are in Colorado, where it’s so expensive. Well, there’s a principal.

Okay, every five or 50 years, the land reverts to the person who owned it first, so in essence, the people had to realize it’s not the land that I’m possessing, it’s the harvest that that land makes that I’m processing. So you have to do the math. And you know what? Frankly, the Bible does the math for us.

When you make an agreement with your neighbor to buy or sell property, you must not take advantage of each other, the seller must set the price by taking into account the number of years remaining until the next year of jubilee, the more years until the next… You believe the higher the price, the few years, the lower the price.

After all the person selling the lands are actually selling you a certain number of harvests, and I love what the ads show your fear of God by not taking advantage of each other. I am the Lord, your God, built right into the law. It’s just economic principle. In a way that God protects his people. Well, I wonder what it be like if we put that into practice. And frankly, I don’t know how we would. And also frankly, I’m not sure that the Israelites did. We don’t have a lot of indication that they did, but I think what a great thing that God would slide in there, and then you come to that question… Okay, so that’s for people who are selling the land. What about a person who loses it… Okay, if one of your fellow Israelites falls into poverty and is forced to sell some family land than a close relative should buy it back for him, a close relative, and is where we get into looking at some different translations, and you know if you’re new to Christianity I apologize, ’cause we throw out all these translation… You heard me ask, Lauren, what was the translation you were reading…

Well, you know, this book is so important to us, this Bible, we believe this is consort to us, and it’s fascinating, generation after generation has tried to translate it, but they get new manuscripts, new things are found, and they try to get closer and closer to what it originally might have met. So that’s why things might differ in different translations, I… Your something called the New Living Translation, and it just helps it flow for me. I didn’t realize the NIV was so flowing. But it swith. Anyway, in the English Standard Version.

On the English Standard Version, interprets this a close relative as his nearest Redeemer. So it takes that word close relative and it brings it is nearest redeemer or I would say family redeemer, or as you heard me say earlier. Kinsman redeemer.

Okay, hey, the price that the kinsman has to pay is the same thing as we saw before, the price of the land will be discounted according to the number of years until the next year of jubilee. So this person who is a family redeemer, one of the things he can do is buy back or redeem your land that maybe you’ve lost, or for some reason you’ve had to sell, but

That’s not the only thing that the family redeemer can do, or was even asked to do, he was also asked to buy back your freedom, to buy back your freedom, if for some reason you as an Israelite lost your freedom, there’s a principle behind us too, and I love this again, it’s so much fun getting into the Bible. I would encourage them to read Leviticus 25. I’m not sure about Leviticus, but 25.

If one of your fellow Israelites falls into poverty and cannot support himself, support him as you would a foreigner or a temporary resident and allow them to live with you, don’t charge interest or make a profit in his expense, instead show your fear of God by letting them live with you as you’re relative. Can you imagine? If we did that… Now, I love the fact that we have a Benevolence Fund, I love the fact that we try to take seriously in one of our own body gets into trouble when we try to home. He’s asking us to go a second mile, and he put it right in His law, and He invites the kinsman, Reimer, the family redeemer, to open up his home and allowed to come in.

Same thing, you may ask them, Okay, if all the Israelites were not supposed to be made slaves, how would someone get into a problem where their freedom had to be bought back? Well, he goes on. Suppose a foreigner or a temporary resident becomes rich while living among you, if any of your fellow Israelites fall into poverty and are forced to sell themselves to such a foreigner or a member of his family, they still retain the right to be bought back even after they have been purchased, they may be bought back by a brother, an uncle, a cousin, in fact, anyone from the extended family may buy them back, and the principle of how you buy them back the same thing as the year of jubilee, they will negotiate the price of their freedom with the person who bought them, the price will be based on the number of years from the time they were sold until the next year of jubilee, whatever it would cost to hire a worker for that period of time.

Again, I love how God thinks of all these details. Anyway, anyway, we go to see that the family redeemer can buy back land, the family redeemer can buy back your freedom. There’s also another one that’s in numbers, I’m not gonna touch on it much today, but the family redeemer can avenge justice for you…

That’d be a tough one for me to do, but it’s one that is called, if someone is wronged, you can go and make things right, but there’s a fourth one, provide an air for you, and this is one where you’re saying, Okay, what’s going on here?

And basically what it’s saying, if an individual was married, has no children and he dies, the family redeemer is called to marry that lady, to have a child by her so that the name can be carried on. I say married, but basically, I kinda mean a choir, which is unfortunate women, but that’s the way it was looked at. Back in that day, the family redeemer would come and do his responsibility by acquiring this woman and providing protection for her, the first son that bears to him will be considered the son of the dead brother, so that the name will not be forgotten in Israel. So I wanna look at these three incidents of this kind, in redeemer, you can buy back the land, you can buy back the freedom, you can provide an error for the person. And that’s what this family redeemer was called to do.

When we look at that, we begin to realize, Okay, there’s gotta be some characteristics of this person who is the closest relative… Okay, the one thing is, I gotta be the closest relative, they’re gonna be that nearest relative, but not just that, they have to be the nearest relative who’s also willing to do it, willing to step in and help in this situation, and they not only have to be the nearest relative who’s willing, but the nearest relative who was willing and has the ability to be able to redeem all of those things, when Ruth went on to that threshing floor and laid at the feet of Boaz and said to him, cover me. Cover me as my family redeemer, she was asking a big thing of base was saying, Boaz, would you buy the land that belonged to my father-in-law… Boat, which I also buy my freedom. I’m a foreigner in this country. Would you take me into your house and boys, would you help me provide an air for the family of Elimelech?

Wow. And now she has to sit silent and wait, and we’re gonna go on now into the passage in chapter 4, and in chapter 4, we’re gonna have some big passage to read here about how Boaz steps into this whole situation to perform this aspect of being a family redeemer. So let me just read this and we’ll kind of stop to make a few comments as we go, boys went into a town gate, he took a seat there, this was the next morning, and he goes to where the business was oftentimes contracted around Bethlehem at their gate. Just then the family redeemer he had mentioned came by, so boats called out to him and said, Come over here and sit down and… Friend, I wanna talk to you. So they sat down together. Now, let me just stop there. One of the things that jumped out of me was that were just then just an mansoor translations say, Behold, the family redeemer just popped in on the shore.

It’s so easy to look at that and say, Wow, what a coincidence. I don’t think it was a coincidence at all, because I see God’s providence to this every step of the way, how amazing that Ruth would go to a field she had no idea who it was, and it turned out to be her cousin. How amazing that he would reach out and care for her each step of the way, there’s the providence, and I believe how amazing is this guy who is a closer relative, shows up just then as Bois is waiting. Anyway, then Boas called 10 leaders from the town and he asked them to sit as a witness, that thing 10 leaders on all I can say is there’s no place in scripture that says You gotta have 10 people in order to do business. But it is interesting later on in the history of the Jewish people, when that a synagogue… In order to have a quorum, you had to have 10 people to do business. And so here’s Boaz, who knows the business has to be done, so he calls 10 leaders in Bethlehem to sit down to listen to what he has to propose to this family redeemer, and He goes on the same…

I said to the family redeemer, you know Naomi who came back from me, I’m… She’s selling the land to belong to our relative Elimelech, I thought I should speak to you about it so that you can redeem it if you wish, if you want the lands and buy it here in the presence of these witnesses, meaning you think that… Or there Naomi is selling the land that belonged to our relative Elimelech.

Now, we went through all of those scriptures there in Leviticus 25, oldest versus about this kinsman redeemer or this family redeemer. And it sounds like Naomi still owns the land. And maybe you can look at it a couple of different ways. Maybe a line, when he realized that there was a family and he had to move his family over to Moab to provide them, they just left, left their land, and he anticipated to be back in a year or two…

Well, it’s been over 10 years. It’d be interesting to know if that land just the empty for 10 years, I’m not sure. Or it could be that a lilac as he was anticipating going to Moab, went to someone and sold his land, realizing that when I go to Moab, I can make some money, come back and re-purchased the land with the whole year of Julie thing that we just read, and I believe very much that Naomi has that right of purchase, and Naomi, through Ruth, has approached Boaz to ask him that big favor, would you take my right and purchase your cousin’s land? And I’ll let you have it. So Boaz, being the righteous man he is, goes to the nearest relative and lays it out for him, and this relative, I can just imagine what he’s thinking.

Wow, I could increase my land, it’s a pretty good price because it’s not a full 50 years, I have to pay for… And he says, Alright, I’ll redeem it. And I can just imagine if Ruth were sitting there kinda getting caught in her breath, going, Wait a minute, that’s not the way this is supposed to go. I asked Boaz.

Boaz continues… Boaz told him, of course, your purchase of the land from the… IT also requires that you marry Ruth, the Moabite widow, that way she can have children who will carry on her husband’s name and keep the land in the family. I just like to point out, as we’ve been looking at this whole thing about a family redeemer, it all sounds good and nice and wonderful, and the right thing to do, and yet we don’t realize it was also a very costly thing to do. There was no guarantee that when this person bought the land, that they would possess it, they were supposed to buy the land for the person who lost it, and when Paul was as being asked to provide an air, he’s realizing it is inherited and said, he’s been working on is now gonna be shared, and that’s just what this other fellow, this near her cousin realizes, and so he backs out and he basically said, Bai can’t do it, I can’t jeopardize my estate, if that’s what I have to do, if I have to acquire the malate woman as my wife, no way my wife would not put up with that.

So he backed out of the deal, and we read in the passage of Scripture, there’s some legalities that have taken place, like it seems like he takes off his shoe and he hands it to Boaz in front of all these 10 witnesses, and they all realize that he is handing over his responsibility to Boaz by doing them, and then Boaz in front of all the people, we… The witnesses says, Now you’re a witnesses that today I have bought from the OMA all the property of elimination and melon, and with the land I have acquired Ruth, the Moabite, widow of Malone to be my wife. This way she can have a son to carry on the family name of her dead husband and to inherit the family property here in his hometown, you are all witnesses of that today, boasts as then the nearest relative who was willing to intervene and to get involved and had the ability to be able to do it. And those three aspects are so important, he’s the nearest, he’s the most willing, and he has the ability to be able to do it, and then we see the rest of the chapter, it kind of unfolds like a Disney movie, all of a sudden, they’re married that the town is praising them, they get married, they have a child named Open, and Naomi, Naomi is praised and she holds over her grandson, everything seems right, and it would be great if everything could have ended there, but the way it ends is interesting because it ends with a genealogical record.

It ends with this that Lauren, it’s such a great job in reading as far as all these names, the genealogical record of their insurer Paris, Paris with the father of Hazara, Heron was the father of Ram, ram was the father, eminent dot was the father of national nation. Was the father of Salmon, Salmon was the father of Boaz, Boaz was the father of Obed, Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father, David, King David. And we begin to catch on, whoever is writing the story is looking back, maybe he’s the live during the time of King David, maybe he’s just a live during the time of the kings in Israel, but he’s looking back and he’s realizing the pivotal point that this situation played when Boas was willing to be the kinsman redeemer for Ruth and they united together, and it continued this genealogical line that went down to David.

King David, that many people looked as a redeemer for Israel, as one who was able to establish a strong kingdom for the Israelite people. He stops there. But the story doesn’t stop there. Because the story continues hundreds of years later, when Matthew, in his biography of Jesus, takes this very same section of names and puts them into the genealogy that he’s putting together, starting from Abraham and going all the way to Jesus Christ, and you’ll see those names within Boys was the father for Aedes, mother was Ruth. Amit was the father of Jesse, Jesse was the father of King David. And then it goes, I think it’s like 32 generations. 32 generations until it comes to, Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah.

And I wanna present to you today, just in closing…Yeah, that was the whole purpose of Ruth being ready. Now, I doubt that the person who wrote Ruth really understood that, but he thought How important to show that runs came together and that protected the line going to King David, but how amazing that Matthew and the other apostles saw how important Ruth and Boaz were… Come together and go all the way to Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and that brings us right back to where we started.

Where the crowds today on Palm Sunday saying, blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord, praise in Heaven and glory, and highest Heaven. And Jesus is coming down that hill to the Mount of Olives, and a little bit later in Luke’s gospel, Luke records these words, but as he came closer to Jerusalem and you saw the city ahead, he began to weep. How I wish today that you of all people, would understand the way of peace, and I pictured Jesus as he’s coming around on that donkey and probably even looked a little odd, and the people around her waving palm branch is saying, Oh, SANA and breaks down and weeps and says, If only you knew the way of peace today, and I believe when he went… Yeah, I believe he saw other things. I believe he saw time in a garden at the beginning of creation, when he and the God had walked with His created ones. I believe he remembered how wonderful it was to walk with Adam and Eve who actually put his image into them and had so many hopes and desires for them, and he walked, and I think he remembered that time when they were attempted and they succumbed and they chose a different way, they chose to take his place rather than to accept His offerings to them.

And I have a feeling Jesus might even have remembered when he had to kill one of his other creations to be able to cover those two of their shame and their guilt and their fear, and I believe as he looked at Generation since then, he saw the same thing happening a year after year, where some of these other creations, these animals who had no idea what was going on had to be sacrificed to be able to cover the choice, the guilt, the fear, the shame, and I believe as he looked over Jerusalem, he saw that whole path of history that brought him to this point to realize he was going to step in to be that family redeemer for us. He’s the nearest relative to us, he was most willing to do it, and he had the ability to do it too, is… I just wanna read just some verses, I’m not gonna flash is up, I’ll put it up at the end, and if you wanna know what the addresses of these verses are, but let me just share some verses, I believe that Jesus is our family redeemer. Yeah, is the nearest relative. This is this, he’s our Creator, For by Him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things were created through him.

And for him, that’s Jesus Christ, who created us just as a father and mother would come together, he created us, he became human, he entered into His creation, He entered into our skin. Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges. He took the humble position of a slave. He was born as a human being. Finally, he became our brother. He became our brother. So now Jesus and the ones he makes Holly have the same father. That’s why Jesus is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters. He stepped into that role of being the nearest relative to us, he was also willing… He was also willing to step into it, he paid the redemption price voluntary. And now this is from John chapter 10, where he’s talking about the Good Shepherd, and he identifies himself. Is that he says, I’m the good shepherd, the good shepherd. Sacrifices his life for the sheep. No one can take my life from me.

I sacrifice it voluntarily, I have the authority to lay down my life when I want to, and also I have the authority to take it back up, and I almost hear him saying, I’m not gonna do it until it’s done. And He came for this very purpose, in Mark chapter 10, it says, For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others, and to give His life as a ransom for many. That’s the reason he came. There was another one, I meet with a bunch of guys on Friday, and on Friday, we were going through Matthew 26, and we came to that verse in the garden of Gisele, where one of His disciples had chopped off the ear of a high pre-servant and Jesus healed it, and then he said, Put your sword away. Have we come to be revolutionaries? No, listen, I want you to know, if I wanted to get out of this, I could call thousands and thousands of angels right now to come and deliver, but that’s not what I’ve come to do, and so he willingly endured the cost of redemption that had to be made… And then finally, he is more than able to redeem us, He has the ability to redeem us, he paid with His own blood. I remember how he said he had to kill one of those animals to cover the shame of Adam and Eve, and year here after year, an animal was sacrificed to cover the shame of us, and Jesus came with His own blood, not the blood of goats and calves, entered the most holy place once for all time.

And secure our redemption. Forever, Christ offered himself to God. That’s a perfect sacrifice for our sin. But it wasn’t just his blood, he also paid through His generous grace, you know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, though He was rich, yet for your sake, He became poor. So the buy is poverty. He can make you rich. I say to you today, just as Boaz was a redeemer for Ruth, and brought meaning and purpose and future into her life and brought covering to protect her and provided to land for her, Jesus are redeemer, is open up the way that we can come back into the purpose that God had for us way back in the Garden originally, but redemption is a big cost. I’m gonna ask Aaron and the team to come up and I just wanna throw out two pictures for you just in closing.

I was reading about a translator who was working on the Bible and he was doing this for a language in Mali, West Africa, it was called Bambara, the Bambara language, and he came to this concept of redemption, and he asked his translator, what’s the word that means? This redemption. And he explained what redemption was, and the fellow, all of a sudden, he just spilled off a word, and so the translator wrote down that word and he said, What does that really mean? And the translator said, Well, it means he took her heads out, and this Bible translator goes, He took our heads out, now wait a minute, and

He explained what redemption was again to him. And the translators, yes. Yeah, it means he took our heads out and he said, Can you explain to me the story of that word is it certainly generation after generation has been told the story in our country, in our culture, of how the slave traders would come and they would go in land into our country. And in order to do that, they had to pass through all kinds of different tribes in different cities, and they were given permission to go on one condition that when they returned, they would have to stop at that tribe so that the chief could take a look and see who it was. And he said when they would go to the try that they were gonna capture, they would capture them and they would shackle them, they would change them person to person to person, and they would put a net color around them, and they would march them back to the Sea where they were gonna be put on boats, but as they came to each village, the chief would come out, and if you saw somebody who recognized or someone that he knew or someone that he liked, he would say, take his head out of the chain, and he would give the slave traders money that they would recognize is currency, and he would buy their freedom.

That’s what redemption has done for us, it’s taken our head out of that chain that is enslaved us to shame, to fear, to guilt, everything that God never wanted us as his creation have to go through. Jesus is our family redeemer. As we enter this week of Holy Week, I look forward to Easter, I do. But before every resurrection, there has to be a death, and we’re gonna go day by day, by day by day, until we come to Good Friday. I think of how Ruth spent that night at the feet of her family redeemer. I invite you to spend time at the foot of Jesus, think about the cost, the redemption was for you, but as you do, think with joy that He is a redeemer and He has freed us, but it costs. Let’s close with this song

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you may be seated thank you so much grace for reading the scriptures for us this morning it’s good to be with you south uh for those of you who are new or newish um jake referenced it uh referenced it a little bit but my name’s aaron bjorkland normally i’m the i’m the worship pastor here and so normally that means i’m up here leading the singing time um yeah but uh i got the opportunity to share the message today and so that’s exciting uh for me and it’s also it’s also sort of an interesting experience because as a worship pastor you know worship pastors are relentless for picking on pastors you know they always think that they could preach better than the pastor and they always think that they could preach shorter than the pastor and so um how the tables have turned so um this week just whatever you do if i preach for two hours don’t tell

alex because i’ll never live it down i’ll never live it down um but yeah we find ourselves in ruth so if you want to turn there feel free um also i just wanted to thank uh jake and the team for leading us in worship i mean that was a tremendous time of worship for me so sweet so good and uh jake must have made a lasting impression on some of you this last week because i actually had it on my agenda to talk a little bit more and introduce jake to this week because i knew i was gonna be preaching you know i’m gonna actually tie my shoe right now is that okay everyone that way i don’t stumble over so anyway so jake uh must have made a lasting impression because i got some text messages from some of you asking who is this jake guy and what’s he doing and why aren’t you going to be uh leading worship next week and what’s going

on what’s going on and so let me set your hearts at ease um and introduce you a little bit to jake a funny story last year middle of the year sometime i found out that kevin who was my worship resident at the time was going to be getting married and he decided to step back from school and work full-time and just invest in his marriage for a season and as excited as i was for him that meant that i didn’t have a worship resident anymore and so i was trying to decide what to do with that jake and i had been friends for years and so sort of as a hopeful joke i sent him a text message hey jake you want to become my intern and and uh you know i it was totally a joke because what you don’t know about jake is he runs a an organization that helps thousands of churches develop their worship ministries and their tech ministries his business

was growing like crazy he was leading worship at another church and he was a busy guy at a growing family all these sorts of things but uh much to my surprise he did not text me back instead he called me and the first thing he said is yes i want to become your intern and so that conversation sort of snowballed we joked we laughed about a little bit but he and i have been talking about partnering together and working together in ministry in some way because jake and i are kind of like what i call nerd twins for some reason we have all the same nerdy interests in all of the same categories and so it was just a ton of fun we started talking about that before you knew it he found about out about the open space next door here he moved his headquarters quarters of churchfront.com to that that space right next door here and the

conversation just kept on snowballing but as some of you um were sort of uh intuiting and you’re really smart you were saying there’s got to be something else going on here and so there is a little bit of something else going on uh what you may not know is about three years ago or maybe two and a half years ago the elders here at south established a sabbatical policy for the pastors on staff and what that sabbatical policy states is that every seven years every full-time pastor is supposed to take a three-month sabbatical to replenish recharge and fill up for the next season of ministry i’ve been here for eight years full-time and so i was actually supposed to take that sabbatical last summer and uh but given the fact that we were in the middle of his pastoral search process larry just announced his departure alex was on the horizon and covid

and my family wouldn’t be able to travel anywhere or do anything we decided let’s hold off on the sabbatical let’s let alice get established let’s wait to hopefully have some of kovid lift and then i’ll take a sabbatical and so long story short i’m going to be taking a sabbatical from the months of may through july and jake has so kindly been willing to step up and lead worship for us during that season of time so this is jake uh jake and his wife kaley they have two twins amos and galilee and they just had a couple weeks ago another little guy named levi and one of the things i want you to recognize though about jake and his family is just because he’s filling in for our sabbatical during this for my sabbatical um in may through july doesn’t mean that he’s just sort of like a temporary fill-in kind of guy um here at south he and i’ve been dreaming about all

sorts of new ways to partner and stuff and we have lots of dreams for long term in the future his family lives right across broadway here they’re super duper close part of the reasons he wanted to partner with us is because he can really invest his family in this community and so they’re here they made south their home church and i’m looking forward to his leadership his partnership and a lot of things that my intern will be teaching me about ministry and stuff so all right well that’s actually all the time i had so let’s close in prayer and no i do want to pray before we dive into this talk so let’s pray jesus i thank you so much for your truth lord i ask that today the things that i share um would be empowered by your spirit and that they would sink deep into our hearts and transform us further into your image and so lord i pray the prayer that

you taught us to pray our father in heaven hallowed be thy name let your kingdom come and your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever and lord i do pray that prayer that your kingdom come as a result of this morning we pray amen amen so in this um series alex asked me a few weeks ago three or four weeks ago if i wanted to preach as part of this lenten series through the book of ruth and i said yeah sure i didn’t think i was going to get another opportunity before i took the sabbatical and i like to stretch these muscles every once in a while they get really really rusty and cobwebs for start to form over my

preaching muscles so it’s nice to to do that from time to time but then um i happen to read the passage that happened to land on the week that i had been assigned and i thought hard pass hard pass because this text is heavy as you just heard that passage of grief and sorrow and lament and for those of you who’ve been exposed to personality assessments there’s one of them out there that’s been all the craze these days called the enegram and i’m what you call a seven and that means a lot of things for personality types and stuff but one of the things it means is sevens one of the major driving factors for a seven is the avoidance of emotional pain so i read this text and i said i gotta there’s gotta be another angle that i could preach this passage there no i don’t think i can do this and then don’t get me wrong sevens aren’t just they

don’t want to avoid all pain like they they can watch pain on a movie or read about it in a book it’s not really when it’s out there it’s when it starts to get a little bit closer to home and when i read this passage and i read the tone of voice that i heard in naomi’s voice i recognized that tone of voice because i heard it in my own tone of voice and it was a little bit too close to home and so i i wrestled and wrestled it weighed on me so heavily that right up until last sunday i was considering telling alex that i couldn’t do it and then he so kindly announced with enthusiasm and excitement that aaron was going to be preaching this week and it was going to be incredible and so i here i am i couldn’t back out but i’ll tell a little bit more about my story of grief and sorrow as the message goes on but my guess is in a room this size some of you have

faced a season like that some of you have faced a season of sorrow of grief of loss of pain i mean just look at 2020 by itself i mean that alone could bring many people to their knees in sorrow the pandemic political unrest financial unrest uh riots and and all sorts of violence uncertainty about the future when are we getting out of this how do we continue to form relationships how do we maintain relationships in a season like this it was enough to bring just about anyone to their knees with sorrow and so one of the questions that i want to ask is what do you do when it all falls apart what can a follower of jesus do when it seems like everything has unraveled around them but i can also acknowledge in a room this size maybe that’s not you maybe actually this season of covet has done the opposite for you and it’s a beautiful season of

coke like you’re staying at home with your family the pace of life has slowed down you’ve started to recognize what the important things in life are about and for you it’s actually um it’s actually been a sweet season so there’s another question that i want to ask and that’s this how can we love someone well who is in the clutches of grief because even if it’s good for you it doesn’t mean that everyone in your circle of friends and your family is thriving in a season like this and so how do you love them well how do you come alongside them even though you’re in a better place and maybe another question would be this what can i do in a good season to prepare to weather the bad ones i’m glad you asked those questions because otherwise i wouldn’t have anything else to talk about and so we’re gonna look at this story and i think that

the story of naomi actually gives us some tremendous insights into both how to weather a storm that we’re currently in or that we just were in and how do we prepare in the good seasons to weather the bad ones you know this reminds me of a passage in in john chapter 16 verse 33 it’s a beautiful promise of jesus you will suffer in this world aren’t you glad you came to church what a promise and so we need to learn how to weather these storms so last week uh alex kicked off our series in in the book of ruth he gave us the context because we’re in the genre of narratives in the in this cert in the series i want to just catch you up in case you weren’t here last week or in case you forgot and i know you would never forget a sermon but in case you forgot what’s going on in the story we were introduced to our characters we have naomi

and elimelech they were living in the land of in the in the town of bethlehem yes bethlehem oh little town of the same bethlehem that little bethlehem story and then there’s uh they have two sons but then there’s a a famine that takes place in bethlehem and so they’re forced to move to moab which is an enemy country it’s sort of there’s hostility there but they have to go because they need to find food and if it as if that wasn’t bad enough when they get there the head of household elimelech dies and so it’s this deep grief there’s famine and then death and then but there’s still a little bit of hope because naomi has two sons and the sons could grow up and in that culture having a man in the household meant that there was still hope there was still some prosperity potential but so those two sons they get married to ruth and to orpah and

then the boys die so that all takes place within the first five verses of this book and the narrator wants us to feel the sucker punch of that moment he wants us to to recognize the hopelessness we’re left with three widows and in that culture three widows without any prospects of marriage was a disaster grief hopelessness and that’s where we pick up our story aren’t you glad so we read this passage in verse six when naomi heard in moab that the lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them she and her daughter-in-laws prepared to return home from there with her two daughters-in-laws she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of judah so essentially with left with no other options naomi hears that there’s food again there’s now a feminine mob so

death death of two sons widows a new famine in moab there’s nothing left to do she hears that there’s food back at home last week we heard that the word bethlehem actually means the house of bread she hears a whisper in her ear that says that there’s bread in the house of bread again and she has nothing else to do so she starts to pack up it probably took a little bit of time because they would have to sell off some of their possessions they probably only were on foot and so they had to carry all of their provisions for the journey and then they set out on the road to bethlehem now there’s something about going on a long journey that makes you think about things a little bit differently something about not being where you were but not quite being where you’re going to be it makes you think about life slightly differently the journey makes the

reality of the future feel more real so allison and i are kind of weird whenever we travel we this is us in dia whenever we fly somewhere we get to the airport obnoxiously like i’m talking three four hours in advance to our flight and the reason we do that is because once we always joke with each other that once you get past airport security vacation begins and so the something about being at that stage in the journey makes the reality of the destination real and so we love to get there we sometimes sit there and you know we’re probably sitting there planning on what we’re gonna do on our trip and and making reservations for various different things the reality of the future and the destination suddenly sets in when you’re on the road and so that’s why we do that and i think that that’s exactly what happens for naomi here except for she’s not

going on vacation the reality and the gravity of her future starts to really sink in as she plods her way towards her hometown empty-handed she left her hometown having a full quiver of hope she had a husband and two boys she had done everything right in that day and age if you are a woman and you have two boys check check check successful life so she left her hometown full and she was plotting towards her hometown empty that longing that they might have had in the land of moab to go back home and to see loved ones and friends she’s now going back home alone and elimelech’s not going to be able to enjoy that moment and her sons will never know their family members and all just starts to sink in and then she starts to realize that her daughter-in-laws are on this terrible journey with her and so she begins to plead with them to

go back she says then naomi said to her daughter’s two daughters-in-law go back each of you to your mother’s house may the lord show you kindness as you have shown kindness to your dead husband and to me may the lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband in other words there’s no hope with me why would you come with me go go back there’s a better chance for you back there there’s more hope and potential for you back there and she doesn’t want just just for them to go back and and sort of like plod through life no she wants them to dream again she wants them to hope again and part of what the narrator gives us occluded to that desire because she says go back to your mother’s house it would have been more common to say go back to your father’s house because a father’s house represented

safety and security and and and financial stability but when she says go back to your mother’s house it’s sort of like this little nah subtle hint to us that she’s saying go back and plan a wedding you go to mom to plan a wedding and she says she wants him to start dreaming of another husband again she wants them to think past the season think bigger go home don’t just whatever you do don’t go with me but look at this how they respond to naomi they wept aloud and said to her we will go with you to your people i love this verse because it’s on this little um piece of information that the narrator gives us that i think we see a ton of what naomi is all about ton of her character i mean think about this you have two daughter-in-laws wanting to go to a foreign land where they will be hated with their mother-in-law i mean that’s a miracle in

and of itself am i not right that speaks of her character about the tremendous woman that she must have been right they’re willing to risk it all and go with her and they and we we also see that not just this deep love from a weeping allowed but also they want to be with her they want to be around her and they want to be with her people which which really doesn’t make a ton of sense in this day and age because going to be with her people is like saying i really want to go be with the enemy to be an outcast to be an outsider to reduce my potential for getting remarried naomi must have lived a life that was so beautiful so full of character so profound that there was this draw in the girls to wonder what what is that people about and maybe maybe what is the god of that people about and so i think that this little verse even in the midst

of all of naomi’s lament teaches us that naomi was a pretty incredible person she had a powerful draw for these girls but she wasn’t done making her argument listen to this i’m just gonna skip across this she says no no no return home my daughters why would you come with me am i going to have more sons i’m too old it’s more bitter for me the lord’s hand is turned against me she’s pleading with them to go back she’s basically saying you don’t want to be anything to do with me it’s so bad for me that just by staying connected with me god’s hand will be against you one of the things she she sort of like hints at here is this idea of elaborate law the levitt law in in that culture was this law that provided for a widow if a woman’s husband dies then the that husband’s brother was supposed to marry her provide safety and security

and children for her so that she would have some sort of hope in the future and what naomi’s saying here is that’s not even going to work that would your slim thin chance of hope that’s not even going to work because i’m too old i’m past the age of child bearing and even if i did have a kid you’re not going to wait for them you’re not going to wait for them to grow up and then marry them no no no go back go back plan a wedding hang out with mom plan the wedding have a husband back in your hometown and then she closes with this tremendous horrifying thought the lord’s hand is turned against me the lord’s hand has turned again i mean she is in a dark place the question i ask myself is is naomi lost the faith has is naomi a bad god follower because she’s blaming god for her problems i’ve already made the case that naomi had a

tremendous amount of character because of her relationship with ruth and orpah but i also think that it’s helpful for us to recognize that this is a normal reaction to sorrow and to pain so back to the question i asked in the very beginning what can we do when it seems like everything has fallen apart well the first thing we can do is acknowledge that grief and sorrow is a normal reaction to loss grief and sorrow is a normal reaction to loss i don’t think naomi was had given up completely on god i don’t think that naomi was a bad god follower no in fact i think some of the hints that we have from the narrator says quite the contrary naomi was a profound steady god-following god-fearing woman who had faced tremendous loss and let me tell you there are certain sorrows and there are certain pains in this world that are so profound

so deep so heart-wrenching that we as human beings were not designed to handle them we weren’t designed to handle we’ve got to remember that god created this world to be beautiful and perfect and a place of peace a place of meaningful work a place of significant relationships that do not break and do not fall apart and so we weren’t designed to handle a world that when sin enters in the with that sin came brokenness and destruction and relationships that fall apart and the destruction of the world and our relationship with god was broken our relationship with each other was broken our relationship with creation was broken and when we grieve our entire being cries out it’s not supposed to be this way and we are not wrong when we grieve we aren’t wrong and you know what else grief is actually a way that the soul agrees with god about

how things should be but aren’t so when we grieve our souls are saying god it’s not supposed to be this way and i can just hear god’s voice i know it wasn’t it wasn’t supposed to be this way i agree with your grief what else can we do when it seems like it’s all falling apart we can acknowledge that grief can overwhelm anyone even the faithful so charles spurgeon is just one example of many examples i could have turned to of a man who was by many standards said with the greatest preacher in christian history he preached and led tens of thousands of people to to the way of jesus and he struggled deeply with sorrow and depression and sadness so much so that he said this at one point i could say with job my soul chooses chooseth you know i don’t say chooseth very my soul chooseth strangling rather than life i could readily enough have

laid violent hands upon myself to escape from my misery of spirit this is a person a follower of god a faithful follower of god who was so depressed that he despaired even of life just because you’re facing sorrow just because you’re facing depression does not mean that you’re not a faithful follower of god jesus faced sorrow we learned from the book of hebrews that he faced such pain and agony against himself against uh because of the sinners who laid hands on him you know and he was perfect it doesn’t mean that we’ve lost the faith and that’s helpful to know why is that helpful to know for us is when you’re in the season of grief you think you’re going crazy you think that everything’s unraveling and there’s no hope on the horizon it’s all dark and it’s all bad and it’s never going to be anything different but to remember hey you

know what grief is a normal reaction to loss and pain so what else can you do when everything falls apart you can also return to the rhythms of faith where you last found god i think that that’s what’s going on for naomi she’s she’s just sort of plodding back home she’s doing the next thing she’s moving towards god contrary to her emotions contrary to everything else going on in her head she’s still making steps towards god and actually this is the first answer to the other question i asked at the beginning of the message the other question was this what can i do in the good seasons to prepare to weather the bad ones it’s establish a rhythm of faith that your body and soul can return to even when your emotions can’t when you’re in a good season you can establish establish rhythms of faith that your body and soul can return to even when

your emotions can’t and this is actually one of our values here at south is practice and the reason for that is because practices have this ability of training yourself to live in the way of jesus out of habit of body of soul and of mind dallas willard said about spiritual practices a discipline or spiritual discipline or practice is something in my power that i do to enable me to do what i cannot do by direct effort i know he’s a philosopher you might have to think about that one for a second i had to think about it a lot so let’s let’s read that again a discipline is something in my power that i do something i can do that enables me to do what i can’t do by direct effort when we do spiritual practices it helps us cultivate habit of obedience habit of faithfulness and i think that that’s exactly what’s happening in ruth’s life here she has

established such a current that drives her towards god that she does something kind of crazy she says god’s hand is against me and then she goes to god it doesn’t seem to make sense her emotion says god hates me and yet she’s making steps back towards the people of god back towards the things of god back towards the land of god and i think it’s because she had established patterns of faithfulness over the long haul that was driving her home what else can we do in good seasons where we can become a good grief companion I think it helps you to learn how to navigate your own shadows when you sat in the shadows of another and i really wish i could tell you i was good at this but i’m terrible you can ask my wife i’m terr this i almost didn’t even want to include this point in my message because then she’s just going to quote me

later but it’s there in the text so i had to include it again seven here run away from pain my pain other people’s pain if it hurts run away but i kind of wish i’d learned this lesson earlier because if i had learned how to navigate the shadows and the pain of another i may have had a better understanding of what to expect when i faced my own how can we love someone well when they’re in the clutches of grief interestingly the first two points are the exact same thing acknowledge the grief and sorrow as a normal reaction to loss you can’t look down on them for going through grief you have to acknowledge this is normal they’re reacting the way the human soul is supposed to react to sin and evil in the world grief can overwhelm anyone even the faithful just because they’re doubting god and blaming god does not mean that their deep spirit

that god has placed in them is doubting him look at this beautiful text verse 14 says at this the final plea she makes this they wept aloud again then orpah kissed her mother-in-law and she goes back home but ruth clung to naomi what a beautiful thing what a beautiful thing another thing you can do to love someone is to be with them to be present don’t be surprised and that’s exactly what now what ruth does for naomi here she’s a good grief companion she clings she clings she’s present so i saw this painting a couple weeks ago one of our members sherry malott painted this and posted this on social media recently i just want you to take it in for a minute i know it’s hard to read the verse or the words there and i’ll show you what those say in just a second but just look at that this is what it says sometimes someone isn’t ready to see the bright

side sometimes they need to sit with the shadow first so be a friend sit with them make the darkness beautiful i saw this and i was like oh that’s ruth right even in her own grief even her own sorrow because she’s a widow as well she clings to naomi and she’s a good grief companion i love that what can you do when everything falls apart here’s the last thing i think that we can learn from this story is that we can remember that when god’s involved there’s always hope when god’s involved there’s always hope you know at this point in the story naomi ruth orpah none of them have any signs of hope you know we don’t know what happens with orpah she could go back and maybe she gets married and that’s great we don’t know we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future for this story unless you’re read ahead if you did i

dare you no it’s just but um but we don’t know at this point the story they don’t see the hope there is it’s bleak and dark and there’s nothing but there’s someone in this book that does have hope and that’s our narrator remember last week alex told us that all throughout this story of ruth the narrator is depositing these little bread crumbs of hope it’s gonna be okay it’s gonna be okay it’s gonna be okay and so this is our breadcrumb in this passage this week back in verse six we read that when naomi heard in moab that the lord had come to the aid of his people and the hebrew it gives a more clear picture of what that means it’s actually like god rallies the troops and he comes to the rescue he comes to the rescue for his people and naomi is god’s people and because ruth had clung to naomi ruth is god’s people and the narrator wants us to

see that god is still at work even though naomi and ruth are blind to it and another thing is that this ruth clinging to naomi that’s also this little this little spark of hope and meaning and purpose in the middle of the story so this week um or a couple weeks ago i knew i was preaching this text and it’s a lot of grief involved and so i felt like i should reach out to some of our facilitators of griefshare because maybe they would have some resources for me to help me speak about grief well and if you don’t know anything about griefshare we offer this this group uh class or what uh whatever you want to call it called griefshare if you are in a season of sorrow and grief i’d strongly encourage you to sign up for that and the next time that it’s offered but long story short i reached out to grace hunter who read our passage this morning

and uh i asked her she’s one of the facilitators of griefshare i asked her is there any insights you can give me any any help resources you can give me she referenced this story that one of the speakers for griefshare shares during the course of the class and it’s by paul david paul david tripp and he says this when you grieve it’s easy to lose sight of what god is actually doing to wander down into a dark windowless basement the door accidentally locks behind you and you can’t see any light or feel the sun’s warmth but did the light stop shining no powerful feelings of grief get in the way of our experience of god’s goodness i thought that was really helpful because just like the narrator here tells us naomi’s in the in that dark basement and the lights are out and there’s no hope and and she can’t see but the reality of the situation is the sun is

out the sun is out and she can’t see it yet and she won’t be able to see it in the next week and part of the week after that she’s it’s pretty bleak for her in the season but the sun is out and what we have to remember is that when god’s involved there’s always hope there’s always hope because god’s in the business of changing situations god’s in the business of bringing dead things alive god’s in the business of redeeming what seems to be completely lost so i shared in the beginning of the message that this text really got close to home for me and um so i want to share a little bit more about what that means you guys are probably used to this guy on sunday mornings and that guy’s real because for me on sunday mornings when i gather here and i see you and i hear your voices rise in praise to god and when i see you worshiping it’s like that

breadcrumb of hope it’s like that reminder that the sun is out and so that guy’s real but much of the last two years for me this guy’s been a little bit more real and i it would honestly be easier for me to share this for some reason if i could tell you that like i’d lost a close family member or something because that would maybe be easier for me to admit how hard it’s been but what i’ve learned about grief is that and sorrow and loss is it’s not really a respecter of what i think the scale of grief should be you know one person’s grief is worse and even in this text naomi says it’s worse for me she’s telling this to two widows two women who’ve lost their husbands too and she says my grief is worse so grief and sorrow and pain it doesn’t ask you how you’re supposed to feel about it you just feel it it’s all consuming and it takes over and so i i kind of

wish that it was something like that because it’d be easier for me to admit but for some reason um this season has been really heavy for me over the last two years since since ryan made his announcement uh that he was leaving uh that was a deep loss for me you know ryan and i had spent hours and hours in that conference room over there on a whiteboard dreaming for you all we saw people come we saw people’s lives transformed we dreamt about the future together we fought like cats and dogs we really did but we’d come to a place by the end of this time here where we just got each other we were speaking we were finishing each other’s sentences we were dreaming the same dreams we would send each other the same texts we would send each other the same songs it was like a deep camaraderie and the staff was in the

place where i was so excited about what god was doing and how the potential of what was happening and everything seemed to be coming into alignment and then he made his announcement and it seemed like one puzzle piece of my dream was falling apart after another after another staff members started to leave some of the key volunteers that i loved and that i’d invested in started to leave and it was hard and it was like my dream was falling apart and i wish i could say that i handled it well i wish i could tell you that that i was super faithful and but all i can tell you is i did some of the things that naomi did as i showed up and i tried to come here and be faithful and i found a good person good people to grieve with people who are good grief companions and my wife and steve and rodney pennington and even in ryan and i’m just

plodding forward i’m trying to remember that the sun is out but you know what god is starting to do here again what he did back then and what he’s doing is he’s showing me that the sun is out you know the addition of alex on this team is the statement deep down in the narrative of god that the sun is out i’m i love having alex here his leadership has brought a lot of healing to this team having steve join our team here is the sun is out the sun is out it’s it’s gonna be okay now i’m still struggling with the new normal and what’s the future whole but the sun is out and it’s really helpful for us to know that when god’s involved there’s always hope and i’m not through it all yet and i wish i could give you the one thing that was going to make your sorrow and your pain work better but i can tell you that the sun is out so i’m gonna invite the team

back up and we’re gonna close with a song they’re gonna sing this song called waymaker and this song i want you as we sing this song and they’re gonna they’re gonna play the majority of the song for us i want us to stand and i want to us to look at these lyrics as this anthem of the sun is out that god is on the move he’s a waymaker promise keeper miracle worker light in the darkness because sometimes in the midst of grief that’s all you can cling to is i don’t see it i don’t believe it sometimes i’m not even sure if you’re good anymore but there’s these little glimmers of statements of hope that we can cling to that says he is the waymaker the promised keeper he is the light in the darkness you know there was another day where there was a dark dark basement that it seemed like there was no hope it’s when jesus went into that tomb and

the door was closed and it’s all pitch black and there’s no hope and it’s all bleak and it’s all dark and the savior of the world had died the one who was supposed to come and redeem his people to rescue them from the world and he was dead in a grave but the sun was out because he didn’t stay there so let’s stand together let’s declare that he is the waymaker

Ruth – A Lenten Series (Part 2) | Ruth 1:6-142022-01-27T13:47:58-07:00

Ruth – A Lenten Series (Part 1) | Ruth 1:1-5

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friends so for those of you that are used to a liturgical tradition uh you may have done responsive readings before you may not have read at the end this is part of God’s story and part of the reason we respond in that way is that there’s times where the traditional response of thanks be to God maybe doesn’t seem very appropriate think about what we just read we just read a story of loss and heartbreak to respond thanks be to God just seems strange we’re in this season called lent now if you’re kind of new to church the word lent may mean nothing to you if you have a tradition maybe in the catholic church the word lent maybe maybe has some good connotations maybe it has some bad connotations but lent is a season of spiritual winter it’s a time of waiting it’s a time where we think about things like repentance things like sorrow things

like change but it’s this season where we wait for easter easter is the end of the journey this moment of resurrection this moment of new life and we will celebrate like crazy when that day comes but we recognize the fact that during this season in Jesus life at least this season was a season fraud with with danger with struggle with pain with loss all of those different things all the way up to the cross and then even after the cross on good friday there’s this weird time of easter saturday where there’s nothing for those of you that have experienced grief and loss you may kind of you may resonate with that there’s the moment of the funeral where all of the family gather but then there’s the moment after everybody else is gone and it’s just you and you sit and and it feels like the support system start to ease up they’re not there in the same

way anymore and there’s this sense of struggle and I don’t know what is next lent has all of those different connotations running through it and throughout this season we’re going to embrace some themes like lament and sorrow and we’re going to do it through this book Ruth and so an important way to start that is to just think about well why is this book important why should you care about a book that was written about 3000 years ago why does it have anything to say to us today and I think you’ll find man this book says a lot to us today this book is going to be rich and deep for us as a community so I will turn my clicker on and then it will work so let’s start here with Ruth what is the story and where does the story fit in the big picture have you ever gotten lost somewhere have you ever had that that sense of I have no clue where I am

and I’m not sure what to do next I had this feeling uh when I was skiing with some guys from church the other day uh we went to this place copper mountain it was beautiful and we had a great time and they man these guys could ski and this was my first day out this year and I’m not used to the altitude completely yet at least that’s my excuse because I would get halfway down the mountain I’d be like I am done my legs are shaking everything about me is exhausted and we’re we’re going off through these glades and they are they’re ripping they’re going over the bumps they’re going over the jumps they’re doing the whole thing and I’m just I’m just trying to keep up and so there’s these moments where I see them sort of start to disappear around trees and I have that feeling of I have no clue where I am now I could trust that the gradient will take

me where I need to go eventually there’s only one way down a mountain perhaps but I’ve tried that before and ended up in weird little villages in switzerland and ended up catching buses back not that I expected to ski down copper mountain and end up in a weird little village in switzerland that would have been very wormholy but it’s that feeling of I don’t know the area and the same is true literary if you don’t know what you’re reading then you’re sort of lost from the beginning and and to sort of demonstrate this a little bit further I’d like to try this exercise with you we’re going to try a geographical exercise I’m going to put this on the screen and I would love you someone I would love it if someone knew where this is anybody I’ll give you the the roads there we’re talking about canyon vista drive and canyon vista lane anybody know

where canyon vista driving canyon vista lana darn it I was hoping someone would live there but let’s pull back a little bit and you guys that are locals I think you’re gonna start to sort of catch the picture okay where are we now anybody get a sense of where we are now anyone okay somewhere around there yeah maybe just a little bit further out this I’ll give you a couple of little things I see bear creek on there I see red rocks vista drive I see mountain falcon morrison trailhead how about the next one where are we now so we are in morrison we’re just down the road from red rocks and at this point we’ve zoomed out back far enough that almost anybody who’s lived in colorado and denver for a while you start to get a sense of where you are on the map but if you’re not a local if you’re not not been to colorado you you probably still struggle

and then we get back a little further and suddenly you see denver coming to view and now well now if you’re american you kind of have a sense where denver is it’s never quite as far west as you think it is it’s a lot more central I used to think it was basically california and I’ve learned it’s not but there’s there’s this sort of okay I’m starting to get to grips with it and now finally we zoom back further and we now know that we’re located somewhere in the united states reading a text from ancient literature has a lot of similarities with this map exercise we assume things based on our 21st century position we think people thought like us and often they don’t things that somebody in the in the 100 what about a thousand bc would have just known instinctively we just don’t know so one of the things that we get to do when we start a new

book is we get to orientate ourselves within the text and so here we go in the days when the judges ruled to a a person living three thousand years ago in the israelite community instantly that gives you a ton of insight the days when the judge’s rules tells you something very very particular but this is what’s true of the days of the judges in judges 21 25 it says in those days israel had no king and everyone did as they saw fit the days of the judges particularly this period which is towards the end of this period of the judges were crazy days go back and read the text if you get a chance just go read through the book of judges and things happen that just don’t seem like they belong in spiritual literature you’re reading you’re like how is this happening how is this part of God’s story how am I supposed to respond thanks be to God to

this part of the text because it doesn’t fit for those of you that have been game of thrones fans over the years which may be a smaller percentage in a community like south it fits more in something like that than it does in what you would think of a spiritual literature I even got my little red pen out and gave you a little j on there instead because it is like the game of judges it’s this crazy mess of violence and it’s just bonkers to use an english expression the game the day the day of the judges was a mess and so when we read a little further knowing that this is what we’re talking about there was a famine in the land so a man from bethlehem in judah bethlehem means house of bread so there’s two things that we know instantly just by jumping into this text just a little bit this community israel was known as a place of law they had more

laws than anybody else about 618 of them they got law following down to a science they were great at it and they were known as a place where there was food because God had provided for them recently when bethlehem means house of bread it says it for a reason it was a place where there was food and so now we know that the start of this text that we’re jumping into two things have happened there is no law in the nation of law and there is no bread in the house of bread society is breaking down people don’t have enough to eat and nobody’s following the laws people are just doing whatever they think is right and think about what happens in society when that starts to take place we don’t maybe see it in america right now we don’t see it in maybe western nations but there are places all over the world where we get

to see what happens when there’s no food and there’s no law this is a picture of the map of over in this bottom sort of corner over here is a place called somalia you may have heard of it over the years because of pirates so you may have seen movies like captain phillips which talk about the fact that piracy sort of made a return and and suddenly ships with goods that were sailing to places like america were suddenly sailing past the coast of somalia and people were using boats to capture them and take all of the goods now when we see that from the eyes of western media our an automatic assumption is the people on the boats of the good guys the people that are stealing the stuff are the bad guys but think about that for a second in the context of having no food and having no law you are forced to make some very strange choices

what do you do when your family don’t have enough to eat and what do you do when you feel like everybody else is breaking the law you’re left with two choices right you either do the same as everybody else is doing and and you you start stealing stuff you start taking other people’s possessions or you decide that I’m gonna get out of town I can’t stay here anymore your choices are these piracy or becoming a refugee and so hopefully this just automatically uh early on it speaks a little bit into what’s going on in today’s world Ruth is a tale of being a refugee Ruth is a tale of leaving those pictures we see of boats overloaded with people trying to cross the mediterranean that’s what’s going on here they’re trying to get out these people leaving somalia they’re like I can get north into africa and then I can get to europe and that will be the

promised land and of course it never is there’s all of these stories about people fleeing africa trying to get to california and when they get there they find that they’re depressed because they pictured everybody had a house like hannah montana they pictured those beautiful sort of like wooden floors and they pictured everything opening straight out into the ocean and and it’s not but it is better than the life that they’re fleeing the choices a piracy or being a refugee and some of the sort of like some of the thing I’d love you to wrestle with is is just how we perceive some of those people and the choices that they make you didn’t expect probably to learn somalia at all today but these are a couple of phrases in somali that refer to pirates so on one hand you’ve got berkhad badeed which basically means pirate ocean thief and on the other

hand you’ve got badde that means savior of the oceans there’s people that refer to the pirates as the first there’s other people that refer to them as the second when families with young children say the pirates have provided us with bread the pirates become heroes this is the difficult choice that these people wrestle with all over the world in places that aren’t america and this is the choice that elimelech is wrestling with right now this hero of our text what do I do do I stay in bethlehem this place where there is no law anymore where there is no bread anymore do I stay and become a pirate essentially or do I leave and hope that there’s a better life somewhere else knowing that the chances are that I might be rejected I might be pushed away I might be treated as an outsider all of those different things this is what the text is

wrestling with and we as westerners we tend to skip over these couple of early verses and yet they ground the whole text everything we will read every part of the narrative is grounded in this idea that these people are fleeing their homeland there is no law in the nation of law and there is no bread in the house of bread and so as they leave the question that remains is well what is the story what are we going to read about what what things can we pick up what can we learn we know that they’re fleeing yes but what’s going to take place and so we read a little further so a man from bethlehem in judea together with his wife and two sons went to live for a while in the country of moab you might say so far that the story looks something like this hero husband saves helpless wife from starvation they get out they just they go and and now she’ll

be provided for the man’s name was elimelech his wife’s name was Naomi and the name of his two sons were malone and kilian the story is about fleeing the story is about becoming refugees but one of the interesting things about Ruth is when you read early on and ask who is going to be the hero of the story you probably come up with the wrong answer so most stories that we come across most narratives that we read they have a protagonist they have a hero a person that will do the things and and what I would say is when you read the bible when you read scripture across the whole thing the hero is the person behind the narrative generally the hero is the God that that is orchestrating the story but within each every individual story as well there’s usually a hero that rises up somebody that God uses and so when we look at this book

Ruth we know that these people are fleeing we know that they’re getting out of town we know that they’re refugees but they’ll probably be a hero that appears and right now the most obvious answer is one of these three people the hero is going to be elimelech or the hero is going to be malone his son or the hero is going to be killing on his son because we know that in a literature of the ancient near east the hero almost a hundred percent of the time is a man men of the heroes and women are the bystanders women are helpless that’s why nobody wanted daughters a daughter makes another man rich a son will make you rich that’s why everybody wanted sons that’s why this story seems to start with like it’s going to go in a really positive direction okay they’re fleeing but at least they have sons life has promised life has the

potential for for good things to happen and it seems like when we start off early the heroes of the story well it has to be one of these people they were ephrathites from bethlehem judah and they went to moab and lived there we’re still just few verses in but we’re already still learning so much about what’s going on twice in three verses this author tells us he reminds us oh by the way can I just point out they’re going to moab they’re leaving israel and they’re going to moab and he does it probably because moab is the enemy you don’t go across to the enemy it’s just a short journey it’s just across the jordan river but they’re going to a town where they’re not going to be welcomed and the best way for us to understand this is to understand sports analogies because they help us understand almost everything I’m a huge new york yankees fan I

don’t know why it just happened early on I was at college and and it’s never popular anywhere it’s the one thing universally you can say will get booed regardless whether you’re pastoring in michigan or colorado or wherever but I grew up watching baseball at college I would stay up late the world series was on it was the yankees versus the diamondbacks and I just had to pick a team and I didn’t know where arizona was I didn’t know who the diamondbacks were I knew something about the new york yankees even if it was just the logo so I remember this one season where the yankees were doing great but they lost to boston in the alcs I was devastated and then the next year one of the key boston players makes a movement from the yankees from boston to the yankees some of you are old enough to remember you you may remember

this is johnny damon he he makes the journey the the long journey from boston to new york and it changes everything about who he is right it changes the culture because boston they’re known as the like they have this mentality of the cowboys he’s got his big beard and he’s got his great long hair and everything and and then he goes to the yankees that are known for their clean cutness and the short hair and he has to shave everything off but there’s this question that remains this guy’s the enemy this is the guy that beat us this is the guy that hit the grand slamming game seven this is the guy that cost us a chance to go to the world series we hate this guy how will he be accepted when he crosses over to the dark side to the evil empire and all those different things and yet somehow he manages to do this thing where he becomes

beloved by both cities but that sort of sports rivalry taps us in to what’s going on here because we don’t have the same connotation of moving nation today to move from israel to moab it’s to go over to the enemy they don’t want you there they don’t like you these nations that fall back and forth and so suddenly this guy is taking his family and say we’re going into enemy territory and it’s so important that the author mentions it twice for a while in the country of moab they were ephrathites from bethlehem judah and they went to moab and lived there it’s like the author just can’t get it into your brain enough they’re in moab people this is going to get weird this is going to get crazy now elimelech Naomi’s husband died and she was left with her two sons so we know that our primary hero our potential for our sort of like protagonist is the

number one guy he’s gone elimelech is not the hero of this story we’re three four verses in and elimelech is already dead but the good news is Naomi’s going to be okay because she has sons she has the potential for a good future because she has sons life will be okay so maybe the the new story line becomes this brave sons support grieving mother maybe this is the central piece of the narrative maybe these two guys are going to step up and they’re going to do heroic things and this lady Naomi is going to be fine because she has sons so maybe the likely hero of our narrative becomes either malan or kiliana maybe like at a push maybe Naomi will become the hero maybe she’ll become the central character they married moabite women one named author and the other named Ruth so now the text takes a a darker turn because it’s one thing

to live in moab that’s kind of okay at a push in time of famine you can go live in moab but you don’t marry into moab you don’t join yourself tomorrow because these people these israelites had all of these stories about just what terrible things happened when you did that this is from numbers chapter 25 a book slightly older than the book we’re reading while israel was staying in shittum the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with the moabite women who invited them to the sac to sacrifice to their gods the people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods so israel yoked themselves to the ball of pure and the lord’s anger burned against them back in their narrative all these stories about this is what happens when you marry the wrong person when you marry into the moabite community bad things happen so

much was this narrative in case the the case that there’s this this specific prohibition just don’t do it no ammonite or moabite of any or any of their descendants may enter the assembly of the lord not even in the 10th generation for they did not come to meet you with bread and water on your way when they came when you came out of egypt and they hired balaam to pronounce a curse on you the message over and over again is these are bad people don’t connect with them just stay distant stay separate the story takes a dark turn when we see that our two potential heroes that are remaining malon and kilian now they’re married to moabitesses it’s one thing to live in moab but you don’t take those people to become part of your family the story is now headed in the wrong direction and and and to talk about likely heroes people that

will become the centerpiece of the story malone and kilian are still number one Naomi is a good israelite woman in an israelite text maybe at a push it’s her but it’s certainly not oper and it’s certainly not Ruth these two women that her sons married in actual fact because of how central patriarchy was to this culture you might say that the order actually looks more like this it’s malan and kilian almost anybody else that’s male at least and then finally Naomi and oppa and Ruth and of the two daughters in law Ruth doesn’t even get the first mention she’s last on the list there’s no way she should take center piece of this story she’s a nobody she’s nothing after they had lived about 10 years both malone and kylian also died and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband the story moves from a story about potentially a hero husband

saving his wife a story that’s potentially about two sons that are going to support their mother through grief and loss moves through the the narrative of people making bad choices to now just flat out disaster to be single women alone in that time period was there was no hope there was nothing that could happen that would be good in her future maybe for her two daughters-in-law they can go off and get remarried but for for Naomi as a post-menopausal woman does nothing the story has gone from being a story of being refugees a fleeing of maybe of potential future hope to now we’re in the realms of tragedy now we’re in the realms of this story is going to fall apart this story can only get worse so the question is what are we even reading in this length season what is the heart of this story and this has been one of the keys to unlocking this

text over the last few years for those of you that are familiar with the bible you’ve read it a fair amount you may have come across a book called job and Naomi’s story is a female retelling of what happens to job job is a guy who is successful things are going well for him and he loses everything he loses his children he loses his property he loses everything that has been sort of grounding to his life except God except for God Naomi is job’s story in female form but here’s the big difference job being a man has the potential to recreate his own narrative he can go and make new things happen he has this potential still in front of him based on his maleness and for Naomi does nothing she has no hope of recreating a good narrative for herself in 1000 bc terms ancient near east terms her life is over she has nothing to wait for but death that taps into the

lentenness of this story early on right it is this season it’s dark and it’s cold she is an outsider in a country that she doesn’t belong and there’s no hope on a human level there is no hope the heroes of our story in those terms it’s still if there’s going to be a hero it’s almost anybody else before Naomi because she has no power she’s a nobody she is a zero in terms of influence in terms of power to rate those sort of power sort of abilities or whatever she has zero she has nothing and then we get this text Naomi heard in moab that the lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them Naomi heard that the lord had come to at the aid of his people there’s this whispering from home there’s this story that there is now bread again in the house of bread things are starting to turn around and for Naomi there’s this poor well she’ll

start to have this trajectory that moves her back to her homeland it starts to move out of moab back to the place that she came from and it’s here that we get this first glimpse that there is hope within the story that the narrative isn’t completely hopeless and to understand how this is going to work over the next few weeks it’s really important that we understand my good friend mr bill shakespeare over here shakespeare’s plays work in this magical way he has these characters that he uses as a literary device his tragedy and his comedy are almost exactly the same except for one thing so in his tragedy bad things happen and nothing stops them happening in his comedy bad things happen and then something comes along that tells you it’s going to be okay in shakespeare’s plays the device he uses is clowns now I know that apparently

fear of clowns has become a big thing so if this is a thing for you I apologize because we’re going to talk about these guys for a little while so much so is it a big thing that that recently I was told that 42 of americans are fearful of clowns the only thing that ranks above that is corrupt government terrorist attack lower gun rights infringement lower family members dying lower almost everything else and ghosts is way down there at nine percent I was expecting that to be a little higher because ghosts clowns seem like sort of you know same sort of fears but apparently clowns are now terrifying to people fortunately we’re not talking about exactly the ronald mcdonald type of clown because he’s just joyful look at him there’s nothing wrong with him it’s just bringing children joy um but we’re talking about clowns like this guy this is dog bree

from much ado about nothing clowns are these characters that they come in and they provide this comic relief they do goofy things that the other characters wouldn’t do a lot of the time they speak in prose instead of poetry because they’re uneducated people but clowns have this special function especially much ado about nothing where they have a piece of knowledge that tells you everything is going to be fine everything’s going to work out so in much ado about nothing when when the the heroine has been sort of her character has been maligned and everything is going badly for her dogbury knows the truth dogbury knows the truth and he’s going to bring the truth to leonardo the guy with the power and he’s going to fix everything everything may look really dark right now everything may look like it’s falling apart the heroes

might be fighting each other they might be falling out but but dogberry has this piece of information and he may not have brought it yet but he is on his way he is coming he is going to ride around the hill not on his white stallion because he’s a clown he doesn’t do that kind of thing but he is going to try interview on some kind of donkey or something like that and he he is he’s going to bring the story to resolution it’s going to be okay throughout Ruth this book there are these constant signs that things are going to be good things are going to work out God is at work behind the scenes characters are doing the right things and somehow even in this text that at the start seems like everything’s a disaster it is going to work out it is going to be good let’s go back to that text really briefly Naomi heard in moab that the lord had come to the aid of

his people by providing food for them we’re going to skip this week to the end of Ruth because we can do that because you can read the whole text and most of you know the end of the story and so that’s fine as well but it will help give us this sense of why that will be so important this is how it ends so boaz took Ruth and she became his wife when he made love to her the lord enabled her to conceive and she gave birth to a son the woman of women said to Naomi praise be to the lord who this day has not left you without a guardian redeemer may he become famous throughout israel he will renew your life and sustain you in your old age for your daughter-in-law who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons has given him birth that Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him and the woman living there said Naomi

has a son and they named him obed and he was the father of jesse the father of david this is the resolution this is it all coming to a great conclusion and the text will get messy at times the text will look broken at times but throughout this these hints Naomi heard that there was bread again in bethlehem when they arrive back we’re told it was the barley harvest they accounted boaz in the field there’s these little hints that God is at work still behind the text even when it seems like everything is broken there’s going to be a good resolution the story will get where it needs to go and think about what that does for us as we read this story together we looked at the start of at a map we looked at what it was to be right down close at the ground level and and we looked at these roads that we can’t possibly identify it doesn’t mean a lot and then we

zoom back and slowly the thing comes into perspective and the same is true when we look at this book Ruth overall on the ground level it’s a story about two people that fall in love Ruth and bo as well go through this romance and everything will turn out great from the point of true love true love will be shown to be victorious but but zoom back a little bit and something else is going on this is what the story is at its core the thousand foot view is this Ruth is a story of israel’s great king and his family we’re told about this lineage that this child will have that this child will be called obed and he’ll have a son who will be called jesse and he’ll have a son that will be called david and and everybody who knew who david was david was was the hero david was the the new great king who would make israel a great nation you zoom back and you see

this bigger story where God is at work but even that doesn’t get to the heart of it there’s something else going on that’s even higher up a 30 000 foot view you might call it Ruth is a story about God and his hes said love for all people this word hesed will come up over and over again it’s got this connotation of love yes but this faithful love even when it’s not deserved it’s a love that keeps coming back and keeps restoring and always hopes and is always drawing good things from bad things this is the heartbeat of Ruth the heartbeat of Ruth is that God loves this world yes we move from obed to jesse to david but it’s not enough to stop there as you will look at david’s lineages and who comes from him you see the story keeps moving and moving and moving and that ultimately is pointing towards Jesus and Ruth isn’t complete as a story

without realizing that this is God working on his big narrative his big meta narrative that covers all of history that this story is a microcosm of it God is working in history through his hessed love to restore this world to bring life where there is no life he is bringing spring out of spiritual winter he is restoring this earth this earth that he made and said was good he is taking it and saying it will be good again the story isn’t complete when you start with our brokenness and our sin the story is only complete when you start with the fact that God made us and said you are good yes we are broken yes we fall but the story isn’t about taking bad people and making them good it’s about taking this creation that was made good and restoring it through love through work through our own individual stories and at len isn’t that an encouraging thought

think about what we’ll need to read about Naomi and Ruth we’ll read about the brokenness of their story at different points will embrace their hopelessness will embrace what it is for Naomi to lose a husband and sons and feel like her story is over we’ll embrace what it is for Ruth to move into a new community of people a new nation about which she knows nothing and try to find a place and try to find security will wrestle with all of these different situations that each character is put in and ask how are they handling them and yet overall what we know is that God is working in their narratives to bring about good things what does that mean for you and I in this lent season there are seasons of our life where all we see is brokenness all we see is loss what we see is pain we feel like Naomi we feel like job we feel like God is missing from our story

and yet the real the reminder is this I am always working I am always bringing the story to completion you may not see every part of it but good things will happen I am involved in your story there’s this wrestling with Ruth because God doesn’t ever really appear but it’s clear that he’s working there is no supernatural in Ruth there are no miracles there are no startling turn of events that that has seemed to come from a spatial entity like a God that is interacting with the world all there is is God working in the hearts of individual people Ruth is a story about ordinary people doing extra ordinary things and doesn’t that speak to our world today in the midst of brokenness what is your role to play him what is my role to play yes there’ll be moments of supernatural yes there’s moments throughout scripture where God seems to step in in a very

particular way but one of the ways he seems to thrive on working one of the great joys to him appears to be when he takes ordinary people like you and I and enables us to do extraordinary things we’re told that the story will come to completion the story is going in a good direction but incredibly we’re invited to play a part in the story so at len as we begin this journey there will be times where we we reflect on lament and all of these different things but hopefully you noticed that our song choice today was remarkably upbeat for a lenten service and that’s because at its heart at our heart while we embrace this season of len as followers of Jesus we are people of joy we are people of the resurrection we are people of the new life God is involved in the story and good things are going to happen I’m going to invite the worship team

to come back on stage as we begin to close our service God thank you for this text thank you that we get to wrestle with it we get to open it and say what might you be saying to us what is this story on the surface it seems like it could be many things and and it’s ground level it’s a story about two people that fall in love but thank you for the 30 000 foot view where we get to see you working in this world through your hes said love thank you that you are faithful to your creation you made us good we appear to be broken and yet you don’t give up on us you continue to work wherever we are in our story right now for a second may we look up and see your goodness may we see you as the hero behind the scenes the one who is really controlling the story where we experience joy as we do that thank you Jesus

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Ruth – A Lenten Series (Part 1) | Ruth 1:1-52022-01-27T13:40:50-07:00
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