Sunday, February 15, 2015

Grace, Covenant & Love


The Bible is a love story. It is a book authored by God and filled with great and tragic stories of grace, covenant and love.

·        Adam and Eve
·        Isaac and Rebekah – Genesis 24
·        Jacob and Rachael
·        Rahab and Salmon
·        David and Bathsheba
·        David and Abigail
·        David and Jonathan
·        Samson and Delilah
·        King Solomon and his Beautiful Dark Skinned Woman
·        Amnon and Tamar
·        Hosea and Gomer
·        Esther and the King
·        Balaam and his money
·        Jezebel and her control
·        Absalom and himself
·        Joseph and Mary
·        Jesus and the Church

This morning we are going to observe love in various expressions as we follow the life of a good woman whose name is Ruth. Before we turn to the book which bears her name, let’s read a few verses from Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 3
1  To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
8  A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.
11 ¶  He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.
12  I know that nothing is better for man than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives,
13  and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor — it is the gift of God.

Ruth’s love for Naomi is representative of the last day’s love of the Church for the Children of Israel. The parallel is seen in the spiritual reflections of the natural facts surrounding this great love story and its conclusions. It is easy to imagine Naomi as representative of the Jewish people having lost their God and without heir; and Ruth as a reflection of the New Testament Church, having no right to grace but yet embraced by Naomi’s Redeemer Kinsman, bringing salvation to the whole house and plan of God. This story is an amazing revelation of grace, covenant and love.

·        Grace is unmerited favor and ability
o   Unearned
o   Undeserved
·        Covenant is a binding pledge
o   Unilateral Covenant and Bilateral Covenant
o   Unconditional and Conditional Covenants
·        Love is the unselfish giving of yourself to another
o   At times the opposite of love is hatred
o   At other times the opposite of love is indifference
o   But most times the opposite of love is selfishness

When these three elements are in place, whether the aim is friendship, family relationships or marriage – a love story is in the making.

Ruth was a fortunate woman to have presumably known the love of a spouse in her youth. What an adventure it must have been to have been chosen by one of the sons of Naomi. After such a tragedy which left her a widow and without father in law or brother in law and as yet no child after 10 years of marriage – it must have seemed like her life was doomed. In fact those were the very words of her mother in law: “afflicted by God”.

It is evident from Ruth’s life that she lived an honorable life in respect to her covenant and demonstrated an unselfish giving of herself to that covenant.

Ruth was also fortunate to have experienced a new and renewed love later in life at a time when others would have counted her out. The grace of her life, her ability to make covenant and give herself unselfishly opened that door for her. Boaz, like Christ in our lives, was her redeemer.

However, even though Ruth experienced the grace, the covenant and the love of spousal relationships and lived as an example to many who have met with tragic circumstances and yet rebounded to not only survive but to also thrive in life, she had another relationship and perhaps another purpose bigger and more powerfully impacting than either of her two marriages. Ruth was a woman chosen by God and used by God I believe because of her willingness and her demonstration of grace, covenant and love.

As I catch us up on the story which occurred during the time of the Judges, perhaps 1150 to 1200 years BC, turn with me to the Book of Ruth, Chapter 1. We will read there in a moment.

(The Bible account of the grace, covenant and love of God from Ruth:)

Ruth 1
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."


·        God’s grace is sufficient for you
o   both favor and ability to do and be whatever you need to do and be
·        We have a covenant with God
o   both unilateral and bilateral
o   both unconditional and conditional
·        God loves so much that He gave His Only Son for you
o   Through Jesus you can know the grace, the covenant and the love of God.

o   Let me tell you how to know Him …