Living God’s Way Reveals God’s Will

Our Vision: To be Gospel-Living, Disciple-Making, Community-Serving followers of Christ.

Our Values:Scripture / Prayer / Family / Generosity

Our Practices:Building Biblical Community / Forming Intentional Relationships / Prioritizing Active Involvement / Embracing Ongoing Transformation / Focusing on Multiplication / Fostering Collaboration / Pursuing Truth

We focus on these things, based on Scripture because we believe God has called us to live in these ways.

If we live the way God has called us to we will understand more clearly His will for us

Ruth 3

1 One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home for you, where you will be well provided for. 2 Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours…

  • Namoi looking to other’s interests…(Philippians 2:4)
  • She is looking to work within the circumstances God has created
  • God’s way is seeking Him where He has you & in the circumstances you are in

Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. 3 Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.”

  • Present your best self; it honors God, He made you!
  • Doing good things without a spotlight and without public witness (Performance)
  • Biblical principals of humility and honor.
  • Choosing tho align ourselves with others who have Christ Centered Priorities
  • Depending on God is God’s way of living (for us who follow Christ)

5 “I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered. 6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do. 7 When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down.

  • Ruth trusts Namoi & God taking advise; submit to one another: Ephesians 5:21
  • She could try to take control but she does what Namoi tells her to do

8 In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet! 9 “Who are you?” he asked. “I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.”

  • She references God’s way (the guardian redeemer) to see where He is
  • She asks him to accept the God-given role by making gesture (be her covering)

10 “The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. 11 And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character.

  • For Boaz, The Lord is the source of all blessings
  • He affirms Ruth’s way (God’s Way) of seeking provision / protection
  • He noticed she didn’t take the route most pleasurable to her thought of others
  • He uses the term ‘daughter’
  • They have shared values that come from good Theology

12 Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I. 13 Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer, good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it. Lie here until morning.”

  • Boaz will not cut corners, he wants to do it God’s way
  • Has Ruth stay for safety reasons
  • Boaz wants to redeem Ruth but is willing to trust God to give him the chance
  • If given the chance, he will do it. (as sure an oath as he could make)

14 So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, “No one must know that a woman came to the threshing floor.” 15 He also said, “Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out.” When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and placed the bundle on her. Then he went back to town.

  • She does what he says to do, following Namoi’s instructions
  • Everything was above board but Boaz is wise to eliminate wrong perceptions
  • He is concerned about Ruth reputation
  • He gives her a reason to be out this early, she just went and bought barley

16 When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “How did it go, my daughter?” Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her 17 and added, “He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, ‘Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’” 18 Then Naomi said, “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.”

  • Namoi knew what was at stake
  • Boaz is letting Namoi know, through Ruth, that he is looking to bless them both
  • Namoi knows it is a done deal, tells Ruth to wait (Wait on The Lord)
  • Tune in next week when…

Living God’s way involves Waiting & Acting:

Ruth & Boaz in some way ‘wait on The Lord’ to discover His Will

Boaz and Ruth act with intention when they see God move

Application Questions:

How can you help others figure out their way in this life using Biblical Principals?

How willing are you to humble yourself for others in ways that will not be noticed?

Boaz is a role model of God given integrity; how can you imitate him?

Where in your life should you wait? Where in your life should you act intentionally?

‘Being An Instrument of God’s Blessings’

Ruth 2:12-23

12 May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.” “I hope I continue to please you, sir,” she replied. “You have comforted me by speaking so kindly to me, even though I am not one of your workers.”

  • Boaz sees himself as an instrument of God’s blessings / refuge
  • Ruth sees herself as being blessed by God by pleasing Boaz
  • It’s a big deal what Boaz does for Ruth

14 At mealtime Boaz called to her, “Come over here, and help yourself to some food. You can dip your bread in the sour wine.” So she sat with his harvesters, and Boaz gave her some roasted grain to eat. She ate all she wanted and still had some left over.

  • Boaz had done plenty already, yet he extends the kindness…why?
  • It is another level of intimacy & acceptance inviting her share their meal
  • It may have been a while since Ruth ate all she wanted…

15 When Ruth went back to work again, Boaz ordered his young men, “Let her gather grain right among the sheaves without stopping her. 16 And pull out some heads of barley from the bundles and drop them on purpose for her. Let her pick them up, and don’t give her a hard time!”

  • This is beyond the normal ‘gleaning’ situation. Barley heads are the most valuable
  • Emphatically he commands them to go way beyond what is customary

17 So Ruth gathered barley there all day, and when she beat out the grain that evening, it filled an entire basket. 18 She carried it back into town and showed it to her mother-in-law. Ruth also gave her the roasted grain that was left over from her meal.

  • She is able to glean way more than most, but she is doing it to provide for Namoi
  • She didn’t have to share the roasted grain (somewhat of a delicacy)
  • What has made Ruth this selfless?

19 “Where did you gather all this grain today?” Naomi asked. “Where did you work? May the Lord bless the one who helped you!” So Ruth told her mother-in-law about the man in whose field she had worked. She said, “The man I worked with today is named Boaz.”

  • Namoi sees how much she gathered & asks God’s blessings on who helped her
  • She identifies Boaz as the source of her help

20 “May the Lord bless him!” Naomi told her daughter-in-law. “He is showing his kindness to us as well as to your dead husband. That man is one of our closest relatives, one of our family redeemers.”

  • Namoi sees the level of blessing
  • There was a system of people from the same ‘Tribe’ getting to keep property in the family line
  • The family redeemer had an obligation “to buy an object or person from indenture, slavery, or otherwise harsh circumstances.”
  • Another obligation of the family redeemer: “to marry his brother’s widow and father a male heir to inherit the estate.”
  • The family redeemer had an obligation to “redeem” (buy back) land that had been sold. Naomi and Elimelech had no doubt sold their land when they had moved to Moab, so now the family property was in other hands, and Naomi didn’t have the means to buy it back herself. She needed someone else to buy it back, so that it would remain in the clan. Did she have in mind that Boaz would be the one to buy it back?
  • The big Biblical principal this ‘Little Story’ shows is that God bought us all back from the eternal death sin brings. Jesus is our ‘Family Redeemer’

21 Then Ruth said, “What’s more, Boaz even told me to come back and stay with his harvesters until the entire harvest is completed.” 22 “Good!” Naomi exclaimed. “Do as he said, my daughter. Stay with his young women right through the whole harvest. You might be harassed in other fields, but you’ll be safe with him.”

  • Ruth relays that that Boaz had made this a long term arrangement
  • Namoi believes Ruth (being who she is) will continue to endear herself to Boaz
  • Namoi recognizes the protection being provides & has hope for bigger protection

23 So Ruth worked alongside the women in Boaz’s fields and gathered grain with them until the end of the barley harvest. Then she continued working with them through the wheat harvest in early summer. And all the while she lived with her mother-in-law.

  • There is a period where Ruth can see Boaz blessing her and she blessing Namoi
  • Namoi, Ruth & Boaz continue to ‘Grow where they are Planted’

There are good things we can get out of this passage, one it’s own

We can also start connecting the dots as to the whole book’s lessons and then how those fit into the entirety of Scripture…There is a picture that is starting to emerge…

Application Questions:

Boaz had a lifestyle that enabled him to bless others; specifically, how can you do that?

Where in your life can you be God’s instrument of physical and relational blessings?

What is taking up time in your life, keeping you from being a blessing to others?

Who has gone out of their way to bless you? What is the best way to appreciate that?

Obedience & Blessings

Ruth 1:19-2:12

19 So the two of them continued on their journey. When they came to Bethlehem, the entire town was excited by their arrival. “Is it really Naomi?” the women asked. 20 “Don’t call me Naomi,” she responded. “Instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the Lord has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me?”

  • Not a lot of coming and going in those days… little chance to see her again
  • Namoi means ‘Pleasant’… Mara means ‘Bitter’
  • Full: A husband and two sons…’of course I was pleasant then’
  • Empty: Loss of family is loss of everything
  • The level of anguish is know only to those who have experienced it
  • She is equating her earthly suffering with God’s displeasure / lack of blessing
  • “I cannot be ‘Pleasant’ if the Lord has sent this level of loss into my life.
  • She cannot see the big picture…she is thinking like one of Job’s ‘friends’

22 So Naomi returned from Moab, accompanied by her daughter-in-law Ruth, the young Moabite woman. They arrived in Bethlehem in late spring, at the beginning of the barley harvest. 1 Now there was a wealthy and influential man in Bethlehem named Boaz, who was a relative of Naomi’s husband, Elimelech.

  • These lines provide context & backdrop for the remainder of the story
  • There are no coincidences!
  • Right time of year, right industry, right role for Ruth
  • Traditional role of ‘foreigners’ as ‘Gleaners’

2 One day Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go out into the harvest fields to pick up the stalks of grain left behind by anyone who is kind enough to let me do it.” Naomi replied, “All right, my daughter, go ahead.” 3 So Ruth went out to gather grain behind the harvesters. And as it happened, she found herself working in a field that belonged to Boaz, the relative of her father-in-law, Elimelech.

  • Ruth asks permission to go work to be a vehicle of provision
  • She is aware of the command from God to let foreigners, widows & such ‘Glean’
  • Namoi gives the go ahead and look where Ruth ends up

4 While she was there, Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters. “The Lord be with you!” he said. “The Lord bless you!” the harvesters replied. 5 Then Boaz asked his foreman, “Who is that young woman over there? Who does she belong to?” 6 And the foreman replied, “She is the young woman from Moab who came back with Naomi. 7 She asked me this morning if she could gather grain behind the harvesters. She has been hard at work ever since, except for a few minutes’ rest in the shelter.”

  • This exchange tells us who Boaz is and how he runs his business: God honoring!
  • He know his business well enough to see there is a new person working
  • The foreman knew what Boaz would have wanted done…’Biblical Culture’
  • The foreman notices the work ethic and shares that with Boaz
  • What is Ruth’s motivation to work so hard?

8 Boaz went over and said to Ruth, “Listen, my daughter. Stay right here with us when you gather grain; don’t go to any other fields. Stay right behind the young women working in my field. 9 See which part of the field they are harvesting, and then follow them. I have warned the young men not to treat you roughly. And when you are thirsty, help yourself to the water they have drawn from the well.”

  • Boaz quickly sets up the environment for her, gives her clear expectations
  • He let’s her know she is an ‘official part of the operation’
  • He let’s her know she will be taken care of
  • Does Ruth ‘earn’ these blessings by obedience to God’s ways?

10 Ruth fell at his feet and thanked him warmly. “What have I done to deserve such kindness?” she asked. “I am only a foreigner.” 11“Yes, I know,” Boaz replied. “But I also know about everything you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband. I have heard how you left your father and mother and your own land to live here among complete strangers. 12 May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.”

  • Ruth responds in humility, she expresses that she not expecting such treatment
  • Ruth’s reputation proceeds her: The kind of person she is has been noticed
  • Boaz affirms her attitude and actions and asks God to bless / reward her
  • Is she doing what she is doing to be rewarded by God? Is it an expectation?

Application Questions:

When bad things happen in your life what do you consider the cause of them to be?

What motivates you to do things for others and how much of that do you do?

What is the relationship between our obedience & God’s sovereignty in being blessed?

How important to you is having a reputation for helping others? What drives that?

How has God used His people to clearly bless you when you were pursuing His will?

The Puzzle

The place Ruth has in the Cannon of Scripture is often overlooked. Ruth is analogous to pieces in a puzzle as a story and as to it’s role in Biblical literature. It is part of a bigger picture that emerges as more pieces are put in place. We can’t always understand what God is doing… But with The Scripture & His Spirit was can understand what He has DONE. His purposes become clear when we wait for the whole puzzle to be completed

RUTH 1:1-19

1.In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. 2 The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.

  • Bethlehem means: ‘house of bread’…they fled the house of bread!
  • The term used is ‘sojourn’ which means to go & return
  • Going to Moab is odd, no always friendly relations with Israel
  • Sons names mean: ‘sickly’ and ‘wasting’
  • Elimelek was a man of some standing, the title ‘Ephrathite’

3 Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, 5 both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.

  • Is this judgement? The picture is unclear at this point… (incomplete puzzle)
  • A childless widow is ultra low status & a dangerous position to be in (3 of them)

6 When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. 7 With her two daughters-in-law 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.

  • Naomi sees the end of the famine in terms of God’s provision
  • The desire is to seek God’s provision by returning to Bethlehem

8 Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. 9 May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”

  • It is Naomi’s concern for her daughters-in-law that she wants them to stay
  • The selfish move would have been to compel then to come with
  • Naomi recognizes their kindness & asks God honor it (it comes true for Ruth)
  • Marriage symbolizes ‘Shalom’ / Rest

Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud 10 and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.” 11 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands?

  • Both say we will go with you, but for Orpah it was merely a gesture
  • Namoi points out the apparent foolishness of coming with her
  • It is all based on getting remarried and the chances Namoi can provide

12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— 13 would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”

  • Namoi says: ‘Don’t count on me, God seems to have turned against me.’
  • She is not seeing the whole picture of what God is doing
  • She, like you and me is always seeing a partial picture…

14 At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye,but Ruth clung to her. 15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”

  • More weeping, they get how bad a situation it is
  • Orpah bails… Ruth clings…
  • Namoi to Ruth; ‘Make the safer choice like Orpah’

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

  • Ruth displays unwavering loyalty
  • Where does this loyalty come from?
  • She is making a statement of ‘surrender’ to Namoi’s God (Yahweh)
  • Why does she invoke ‘The Lord’
  • By faith Ruth trusts God in adversity
  • Namoi does too, but with some bitterness

19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem…

Application Questions:

What things that have happened in your life cause confusion about God?

Have you ever gone out on a limb because you were seeking God? Why?

Have you seen much loyalty in the Christian community? Why?

How do you respond to adversity in your life? Are they healthy responses?