RUTH : FROM BROKENNESS TO BLESSEDNESS
Ruth 4:13-17 (NKJV)
Descendants of Boaz and Ruth
13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. 14 Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel! 15 And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.” 16 Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him. 17 Also the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “There is a son born to Naomi.” And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
W. Herschel Ford tells this story: “Many years ago a young preacher in England pitched his tent in an area where there was no church. Each night he preached the gospel there. Among the converts was a boy whose mother was dead and whose father was a saloon-keeper. After the boy’s conversion he pleaded with his father to attend the services with him, but his father cursed him and told him to forget it.
“On Saturday night the boy said, ‘Please pray for my daddy. I want so much for him to be saved.’ On Monday someone told this man that his son had requested prayer for him, and when the boy came home from school, his father said, ‘If you want to be a Christian, go ahead, but leave my name out of it.’
“The next Saturday night the boy’s heart was breaking for his father, so he again asked for prayer for his father. Again on Monday someone told the father, hoping that this would touch and convict him. When the boy came in from school, the man beat him until the boy’s blood stained his shirt. Then the man threw a bucket of water on him and kicked him, and then went to the saloon. The boy stumbled to his knees, climbed into bed and sobbed.
“That night the father, feeling sorry for the way he had treated the boy, slipped into the boy’s room and found him with tears still coursing down his cheeks. The father fell onto his knees and said, ‘Son, I’m sorry for what I did. I will never do it again. Son, are you really a Christian?’
“The boy replied, ‘Yes, Daddy.’
“‘Can you pray, son?’ the father asked.
“‘Yes, sir,’ replied the boy, ‘I have learned to pray a little.’
“‘After all I’ve done to you, can you pray for me?’
“‘Yes,’ said the boy. They got down onto their knees, and the boy prayed, ‘Dear Lord, save my daddy. I want him to be a Christian.’
“The man began to sob, then said, ‘Son, tell me how to become a Christian.’ The boy explained repentance and faith. The father said, ‘I’ll do that right now. I am sorry for all my sins. I’m trusting Christ with all my heart.’
“The next morning the father put on his best suit. He said, ‘I want you to take me to that preacher.’ They told the preacher their story, and soon the man was again confessing his faith in Christ. Then they went down to the saloon. There the man took an ax and demolished the bar and broke every bottle of whiskey in the house.
“Handing the keys of the building to the preacher, the man said, ‘It’s all yours now. Use it in any way you please.’ Today that building houses a church, and the former saloonkeeper became an officer in that church.
“Why did it all happen? Because the man had been born again and Christ had changed his life.”
Nothing in life has the power to make so profound a change as that which Jesus Christ can make. This truth is vividly portrayed in this little book of RUTH.
In these 4 short chapters, Ruth is shown moving from Brokenness to Blessedness. In her story, however, something far more wonderful and blessed is in view. In this book, we see Christ’s power to change lives and His power to transport us from the brokenness of sin to the blessedness of His salvation.
This morning, my prayer is that the Lord will speak to your heart about your relationship with Him. If you are unsaved, please allow God to show you what He can do for you. If you are saved this morning, be sure you are where the Lord wants you to be and rejoice in what He has done for you.
Now, let’s look at Ruth: From Brokenness To Blessedness.
I. 1:1-22 RUTH: THE DESTITUTE WIDOW
A. v.1-5 Her Pain – (Ill. The trials of this little family.) Ruth’s life at this point pictures the live that is lived apart from the will of God. (Ill. Pro. 13:13)
Ill. Ruth had many strikes against her:
1. She was a Gentile.
2. She was a stranger from the covenants of Israel.
3. She was lost in sin.
What a picture of the person outside of Jesus Christ! They too are lost in sin, separated from God and doomed to an eternity in Hell – Eph. 2:12; Rom. 3:23; Rom. 6:23.
Ill. Following the terrible Mexico City earthquake of 1985, live satellite coverage carried the news of Mexico’s anguish to a watching world. A pastor was sitting in front of his television set stunned by the extent of the damage. Mountains of broken concrete filled the screen. Rescue workers dug frantically. Fires raged. Smoke and dust filled the air. Then suddenly in the lower left-hand corner of the screen appeared the words “Courtesy: SIN.” The letters S-I-N actually stood for Spanish International Network, but for a moment it meant something different to that pastor. It reminded him that in some way all trouble, pain, and suffering can be traced back to the problem of sin. That’s not to say that God judged Mexico City with an earthquake. We don’t know that. But if sin directly or indirectly caused such a tragedy, or even the more disastrous quake described by John in Revelation 6:12, it deserves to be treated with contempt, not courtesy.
B. v. 6-18 Her Pledge – (Ill. Naomi is a picture of the backslidden Christian. She gives her daughters-in-law some very poor advice. She actually pleads with them to remain in their homeland and with their false gods – v. 15. Ill. Never take advice from a backslider! His advice is always flawed!)
(Ill. This is THE pivotal point in the life of Ruth. She makes a conscious decision to follow the God of Naomi!)
(Ill. God calls all men to come unto Him – John 1:9; Rev. 22:17. Yet, only a conscious decision to receive Christ into one’s heart and life results in eternal salvation, (Ill. Acts 16:31) Have YOU made that decision?
C. v. 19-22 Her Poverty – Left with no husband and no means of support, Naomi and Ruth are left financially bankrupt.
(Ill. This is a further portrait of the sinner apart from God. The lost person is totally bankrupt spiritually. He has no access to God, no ground from which to ask anything from the Lord. He can produce no good – Isa. 64:6. He needs someone to stand between himself and God – (Ill. The Daysman – Job 9:33.) Ill. Jesus is the only mediator – 2 Tim. 2:5.
II. 2:1-23 RUTH: THE DESPARATE WORKER
A. v. 1-3 Her Providence – (Ill. In order to feed herself and Naomi, Ruth goes off to glean in the fields – Lev. 19:9-10; Deut. 24:19-21)
(Ill. Verse 3 – Ruth’s coming into the field of Boaz was no coincidence! It is an example of the amazing providence of Almighty God. May I remind you that God is in control of every area of life – Psa. 37:23. There is no such thing as a coincidence in the economy of God!)
(Ill. All of our lives are tributes to the wonderful providence of God. Pause to remember what He did to bring you to Jesus!
B. v. 4-9b Her Protection – (Ill. v. 5 – Ruth caught the eye of Boaz and he was very interested in her. Ill. Jesus Christ is interested in every one of us! He desires to bring us into a wonderful, personal relationship with Himself.)
(Ill. v. 9 – Boaz made sure that nobody bothered or hindered Ruth as she gleaned. Ill. How Jesus keeps us along life’s way so that we might be brought into that special relationship with Him. Ill. Where have you lived until this day?)
C. v. 9c-20 Her Provision – Notice how Boaz met the needs in Ruth’s life.
1. v. 9 He Quenched Her Thirst – He made sure she had access to the water supply! (Ill. Jesus has all the resources needed to satisfy the soul of man!)
2. v. 14 He Fed Her Hunger – Boaz made sure that Ruth was eating at his table. (Ill. Jesus takes a man from feeding upon the refuse of the world and He sits us at His table – Ill. Luke 15:11-24.) (Ill. Compare where you were to where He has placed you today! Ill. Mephibosheth – 2 Sam. 9:1-13!)
3. v. 15-20 He Filled Her Basket – (Ill. “Handfuls of Purpose” – Boaz instructed the reapers to pull some ears off the sheaves and drop them for Ruth. She left that day with far more than she bargained for – Ill. Ephah – About 1 weeks rations.)
(Ill. Every person who meets Jesus gets their basket filled to overflowing! We always get more than we expect or deserve – Luke 6:38; 1 Cor. 2:9; Rom. 8:17!)
D. v. 21-23 Her Persistence – Ruth stayed close by the man who was blessing her life. (Ill. There is a lesson right here for every Christian who will heed the message of God! We have no business gleaning in another’s field! (Ill. Jer. 2:5, 13, 19) Has God been less than adequate in your life? If the truth were told, God has blessed you above measure and you have no excuse for straying so far away from Him!) (Ill. Some of God’s people need to come home today!)
III. 3:1-18 RUTH: THE DESIGNING WOMAN
A. v. 1-5 The Plan – (Ill. Naomi concocts a plan whereby Ruth is brought closer to Boaz.) Ill. This ought to be our heart’s desire! To get just as close to Jesus as is humanly possible! Are you as close as you should be? Are you at least as close as you used to be? I’ll guarantee you that you are as close as you want to be!
B. v. 6-9 The Performance – (Ill. Ruth proceeds to carry out Naomi’s plan. In doing so, she placed herself perfectly for a deeper fuller relationship with Boaz. In observing Ruth’s actions, the Christian can learn how to get closer to the Lord.
1. v. 3 She Was Washed – To be in a right relationship with Jesus, we must be washed from our sins – Rev. 1:5; 1 Cor. 6:9-11. We must also strive to maintain that cleanliness that will guarantee continued fellowship.
2. v. 3 She Was Anointed – This is a picture of being filled with the Spirit. If we sincerely desire to be as close to Jesus as is possible, then we must walk in His Spirit, Eph. 5:18.
3. v. 3 She Was Clothed – This speaks of the robe of righteousness that declares our righteous standing before the Lord.
4. v. 8 She Was At His Feet – A picture of humility and submission. For Jesus to stand tall in our lives, we must be willing to place ourselves at His feet – (Ill. John the Baptist – John 3:30.) (Ill. Matt. 23:12; 1 Pet. 5:6) I must get very little so that He can be very large!
5. v. 9 She Was Covered – (Ill. Her social standing, her past sins and idolatry, her birth as a Gentile, were all covered by Boaz!) This is a picture of God’s perfect, eternal salvation. All my past with it’s scars and failures is forever gone, taken away by the Blood of the Lamb and the all-covering Grace of God!
C. v. 10-18 The Pay Off – The plan worked and Boaz agreed to be the redeemer for Ruth and Naomi.
(Ill. Her love for Him was evident!) Thank God, Jesus was willing to come and pay our redemption price before we ever even gave Him the first thought, much less ever loved Him – Rev. 13:8, 1 John 4:19. By the way, He still loves sinners today! He even loves you!
IV. 4:1-22 RUTH: THE DELIVERED WIFE
A. v. 1-8 The Proposition – (Ill. The Law of the Kinsman Redeemer) Boaz did it all by the book. Ill. The little stinger in verse 5 to persuade the other man to step out.
(Ill. Everything Jesus did, He did by the book! He fulfilled all the Law and paid the price for sin and He did it legally!)
B. v. 9-13 The Purchase – (Ill. Boaz was willing to pay any price because of his love for Ruth.) (Ill. Jesus and the great price He paid to redeem the souls of fallen men – Phil. 2:5-8)
(Now, all those who trust Him are redeemed from sin and become part of the Bride of Jesus! Ultimately, headed to an eternal home in Heaven! Ill. All the many, many benefits of the saved!)
C. v. 14-22 The Profit – Ruth, the Gentile, became the great-grandmother of King David, v. 17-22, and an ancestor of the Lord Jesus Christ, Matt. 1:5.
(Ill. What a difference Jesus makes! He puts His treasure into our trash, 2 Cor. 4:7, and changes every aspect of our lives, 2 Cor. 5:17! Jesus Christ is in the delivery business – Ill. Mark 5:1-20, especially v. 15!)
I can’t think of anything better than being saved by grace! Having been on the outside looking in, it sure does feel good to be on the inside looking up! Regardless of where you are today, Jesus Christ can do in your life, and much more, what Boaz did for Ruth. He can redeem you, bring you close to Himself and bless you beyond your wildest dreams. All He is waiting on is you! Will you come to Him today? He wants you!
Amen! Praise the Lord!