Sunday, May 1, 2011

Has Been Blessed with Healing & Restoration by the God of Ruth. FINAL DIGGING DEEPER BLOG SERIES

Have you ever had a relationship that drained you, that burned you out and that caused such damage to your heart that it would take years to work through and even longer from which to heal? Have you ever gone through such devastating events in your life that you felt spent, empty and wasted? You couldn’t possibly trust another person. Have you ever felt like you have been beaten up by the world, and you are just at the end of yourself…you can’t go on any further? Been there, done that. What I want to tell you as I sit here with tears running down my face is that our God is the Restorer, Iatros –Physician, Yahweh Rophe – the God who Heals. He is El Roi, the God who sees you. Our God is Ga-al, Lytron – THE REDEEMER! He is constantly at work restoring, rebuilding and healing, and sometimes it comes when we least expect it and in the most unexpected ways. We have hope because He is in control, and as we dig into the last chapter of Ruth, we will see how Naomi is restored and healed. We will find how God fills her up. We will see how God blesses Ruth for her humility, submission and obedience. We read how an honorable man makes it into the lineage of the most honorable of all. What a great way to end this book.

We are winding up our “Digging Deeper” lessons this week. Utilizing the skills we learned in order to dig deeper into God’s Word to get the meat, we have been going through the book of Ruth. Now, we are coming to the conclusion of Ruth 4. I hope you’ve enjoyed “Digging Deeper” with me. I have learned so much. Let’s see what we can get out of Ruth 4.

First of all at the end of Ruth 3, Boaz has a task at hand. He is a man on a mission. A young woman who is someone he can redeem wants him to marry her. Now what man in his right mind wouldn’t be struttin’ around like a proud rooster! Naomi told Ruth that Boaz will be so determined to settle the matter that it would be handled THAT day, and she was right.

Boaz goes to the gate where business is conducted and sees the first family redeemer. He calls him aside and then pulls in 10 elders to witness the conversation. This way the first family redeemer cannot come back on Boaz saying, “He stole my rights to buy this land and take Ruth as a wife.” Boaz lays out the most desirable information first…Elimelech’s land. Well of course he wants it! Boaz then says there is more. Their version of the Price Is Right – “By buying the land from Naomi, you’ve also won a nnnneeeewwwww wife!” Except in this instance, for the first redeemer it wasn’t like winning a new car. The first redeemer in front of the 10 elders says, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.” (vs 6) There could be any number of reasons why family redeemer number one didn’t take Ruth and the land:

1. He was selfish. He knew the baby and the land really wouldn’t belong to him or his children. He knew the baby she would have would be considered Elimelech’s heir and entitled to the land.

2. He may have already been married and didn’t want to have to deal with the fall-out with his other wives and children.

3. He may have seen the financial burden associated with redeeming the land and name

Regardless of his reasoning, HE MISSED OUT. He was willing to tarnish his name, become known as the “Family of the Unsandaled” (Dt 25:10), than take on a new wife and land. Not Boaz. He announced in front of the ten elders and the rest of the town that he would marry Ruth and buy the land. Boaz was a man of integrity – Oh that we would have more men like Boaz today! Then the elders gave blessing to Boaz – “May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel” (vs 11). What do you remember about Rachel and Leah? This would be a great time to chase a rabbit to see exactly what these men were talking about…look in Genesis 29:25-30 and Genesis 35:16-18. The blessing continues and another comparison is made, “May your house become like the house of Perez, the son Tamar bore to Judah because of the offspring the Lord will give you by this woman.” Once again, here is another opportunity to dig deeper. Check out Genesis 38.

Then what happens? What happens is Boaz and Ruth have a baby shortly after becoming married. They were able to conceive right after their wedding…something Ruth wasn’t able to do with her first husband to whom she was married for several years.

So, what did we learn about Ruth? For me, I learned the following:

1. God can change anyone if they are willing. Ruth seized and embraced the Naomi’s God.

2. God will discipline those He loves. He will allow us to run to the end our rope where we are empty, and there is nothing left of ourselves. Then the harvest begins (End of chapter 1). When we are empty and can do nothing more, God says, “Good. Let’s get started.”

3. Our reputations go before us, and our character and reputation stand for us in our absence. Boaz and his field hand talked about Ruth before he had even met her. What does your reputation and character say about you? Do they say you are a gossip or are a critical person, back biter? Do they say you are a hard worker, a provider?

4. God places godly women in our lives to give us instruction, wisdom and guidance. Are you willing to humble yourself and accept their instruction, or does your pride stand in the way? Pride is not a sign of intelligence by the way.

5. God is in control and is our provider. He led Ruth to Boaz’s field knowing Boaz was generous.

6. God is a restorer – what God takes away, He replaces with something much better. The women told Naomi that Ruth was better than SEVEN sons. He gave Ruth a godly husband in Boaz.

7. God chose a woman who initially came from a people of unbelievers who were wicked to father a child in the lineage of David and His only Son. God can truly use anyone.

8. God restored Naomi from being bitter and empty at the end of chapter 1 to being fulfilled and blessed by the end of chapter 4.

There are more things that I learned, but I’m interested in knowing what you learned.

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