I am excited about this Sunday’s lesson during children’s church. Last week we learned about Gideon, God’s brave warrior. Gideon was actually a coward, like everyone else around him, until God intervened and taught him to be a faithful warrior.
In the story of Ruth, we see tragedy leading to fear and then fear leading to trust in the Lord. God intervenes once again and teaches Ruth to be brave, just like He did with Gideon.
I. Tragedy strikes Ruth
Ruth was not born into the family of God. She was born a pagan. The only reason that Ruth even knows about God is because of her mother-in-law and her husband. Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, is forced to flee Israel because of severe famine. She and her entire family move to Moab. While there, her sons marry women from Moab. One of those women is Ruth. Ruth is introduced to the one true God by her marriage to Naomi’s son. The reason that they even met is because of tragedy. There was no food to eat in their homeland so Noami and her family had to leave all that they knew to live in a strange land just so that they could survive. While living in Moab, Noami’s husband dies and her two sons die. The story goes from bad to worse. Now Naomi is a stranger in a strange land and she is a childless widow. All she has left are her two daughters-in-law. One of the daughters-in-law decides to go back to her people. Naomi decides to return to Israel and trust in the Lord. Ruth now has a choice, will she turn back to her old way of life, or, will she return to Israel with Naomi and trust in the Lord as well? How do you respond when tragedy strikes? Does it draw you nearer to God or push you away from Him? We have an example in one of the daughters-in-law of a person who runs away from God because of tragedy. Can you relate? Tragedy is never desired but it is used by God as a test, to prove to you if your faith is genuine or not, based on the way that you respond. Let’s see what we can learn from Ruth’s response.
II. Ruth chooses to follow God
Ruth understood who her only hope was. She chose God because she had learned from her mother-in-law about who God is. She could not go back to her futile gods who were not even real. Her eyes had been opened to the truth of the One, True God and there was no turning back. She chose to follow God. It is neat to see how God used tragedy to introduce Ruth to Himself and then He used tragedy, once again, to demonstrate to Ruth that her faith was genuine. The other sister-in-law had the same opportunity but in the midst of tragedy, her faith was proven false. She turned her back on God and went back to her old, futile way of life with her dead, useless gods. Ruth chose to leave all that she knew and follow God, even though she did not know what would happen and how she would survive, she chose to trust in God. What about you, what happens to your faith when it is squeezed and put to the test? Does it prove genuine or lacking? Do you practice what you preach in the midst of difficult circumstances? How is God going to intervene and honor Ruth’s decision? Let’s find out.
III. God prepares a savior
In the land of Israel, long before tragedy ever strikes Ruth, God was preparing a savior for Ruth and Naomi. There is a man named Boaz, groomed by God to be Ruth’s savior and a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. Long before tragedy struck mankind by falling into the pit of sin, God had already prepared a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, to save the fallen world. Boaz learned to trust the Lord and have a personal relationship with Him from an early age. He was obedient to the Lord, sharing his faith with all around him. He was an example of working hard and being fair with all that he had. He knew the laws of God and lived by them. God blessed Boaz with the ability to save Ruth and Naomi and he did. Boaz had the ability to save Ruth and the desire to do so. He had to sacrifice in order to do it and he was willing to make that sacrifice. This is an exact picture of Jesus Christ. He was able to save us and He was willing to pay the price for our salvation. He sacrificed greatly in order for us to be saved. Our job is to be like Ruth and accept His offer, trusting in Him that He will do what He has promised.
IV. Ruth is redeemed
Not only is Ruth saved, she is also welcomed into the family of God. She did not have good beginnings but she has an awesome ending because of God’s great mercy and grace. She was born and raised without hope but God intervened on her behalf. She trusted in Him and as a result was saved and invited into the family of God. Not only that, she also falls into the genealogy of Christ. She was able to take part in God’s awesome plan of bringing the Savior of the world to this earth. Her story is very similar to Rahab’s story. She was born a pagan but was adopted into the family of God. She is also part of the genealogy of Jesus Christ. God is all about saving and redeeming those who are hopeless. He gives us a new purpose in life, to take part in His plan for all of humanity. Have you been saved and given a new purpose in life? Are you like Ruth, ready to trust in the Lord day by day, confident that your faith will stand, especially in the midst of tragedy?
May the Lord help us learn to trust Him the way that Ruth did, leading us to salvation, redemption, and a new purpose in life.