Thursday, May 22, 2014


Shavuot – is a Jewish festival in which the book of Ruth is read and remembered
God wants to speak to some of you tonight.  Let’s open His word to the book of Ruth and glean the truth from these scriptures.
Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
1 Timothy 4:13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.
Let me set the stage for tonight’s reading.  We see a man name Elimelech with his wife Naomi and two sons Mahlon and Kilion leaving Israel due to a drought in the land and settling in Moab.  Moab was a son between Lot and one of his daughters.  Because of that, Moabites were considered unclean and were not to be consorted with, but Naomi’s sons take wives for themselves; Ruth and Orpah.  After some time Elimelech dies, and 10 years later so do both of his sons leaving these three women widows and alone. 
Ruth 1:6-17  Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had visited His people by giving them bread. Therefore she went out from the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each to her mother’s house. The Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.”
This is an interesting situation to be in.  Without knowing the context one could imagine that Naomi doesn’t want her daughter-in-law’s to come with her or to be blessed.  But understanding the culture at the time is important.  People from Moab were dirt in the eyes of the Israelites.  Because of this, she realized that there was no future for them in Bethlehem and wanted them to at least have a good life with their families.  
So she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. 10 And they said to her, “Surely we will return with you to your people.”
11 But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Are there still sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? 12 Turn back, my daughters, go—for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, if I should have a husband tonight and should also bear sons, 13 would you wait for them till they were grown? Would you restrain yourselves from having husbands? No, my daughters; for it grieves me very much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me!”
14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
It is here that each of these girls’ greatness is defined.  The word kissed here is the same root word use for the word worship.  It can be related to how some approach God.  They come in every week and kiss God in worship but don’t ever truly commit to clinging to Him as Ruth does in the next few lines. 
15 And she said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said:
“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
17 Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”
This the right heart to have when things are bad.  Ruth shows us how to use the greatness we have for God and not the world. It is by the only thing that God wants; true relationship with Him and fellow believers.  He desires us to seek this above all else.

·         Bitterness can cause us to miss God’s best

The stages taught that when Naomi blessed the two girls the kiss she gave was transference of blessing to them for greatness.  Orpah returns the kiss and leaves to go back into the world, but the blessing of greatness doesn’t leave. It just changes from great for good to great for bad.  We can read historical sources that reveal the rabbinical beliefs regarding these two women.  It is well established that the Jews regard Orpah as the mother of the giants.  It is even mentioned in the Hebraic Bible in 1 Samuel. 
      We all have greatness in us

So we find Ruth in the field of Boaz working to find grain for her and Naomi.  Boaz, being a righteous man, is following the law about not reaping to the edges of his fields so the poor will have some grain.
9 “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God
Let’s skip to the end of Ruth and look at Boaz and their interactions as they relate to redemption for the believer today. 
Ruth 3:1 Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, shall I not seek security for you that it may be well with you? 2 Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. 3 Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what you should do.”
5 And she said to her, “All that you say to me I will do.”
6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law instructed her. 7 And after Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was cheerful, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain; and she came softly, uncovered his feet, and lay down.
8 Now it happened at midnight that the man was startled, and turned himself; and there, a woman was lying at his feet. 9 And he said, “Who are you?”
So she answered, “I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing,[a] for you are a close relative.”
10 Then he said, “Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich. 11 And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.
God looks us the same way.  Christianity isn’t always the popular choice or the way in which the world can use to get ahead. Boaz understands that this beautiful young woman is virtuous and righteous.  She could have used that to her advantage to entice someone or get something from a man, but instead she submits to Naomi and does what is right and the Jewish custom of redemption calls for her to do… Ask!
Since God had assigned each family of each tribe a section of land, this land was extremely important (and still is) to Israel. In order to make sure it stayed in the family, the kinsman redeemer law was instituted. If a man died and left a widow and no sons, his nearest relative would be given the opportunity to buy his land and marry his widow so that she could have sons to carry on the deceased’s name. This relative would be obligated, at his own expense, to buy back the property and give it back to the relative who had sold it. If the nearest relative refused, then the next closest kin would take on the role of the redeemer.
The kinsman-redeemer couldn’t make the decision to redeem on his own. He had to be asked by the widow to buy back her husband’s land. He must be a blood relative and able/willing to redeem. 
Jesus took on flesh and dwelt among us so He could relate to us.  He is our redemption. 

·         We have to ask to be redeemed

Even with all that Ruth did and learned, from clinging to Naomi to submitting to her wisdom, learning about God, to living in the Promised Land, she would have missed redemption if she had not have asked. 

·         Have you asked?

In closing,
Have you surrendered to God’s Sovereignty? 
Have you looked at what God is doing to and through you in spite of your circumstances?
Is your bitterness causing others to stumble?
Is someone else’s bitterness causing you to only kiss God? 

Have you asked Jesus to redeem you?