Dec 15 2019 Ruth - How to Know if You are Trusting in God or Something Else
21st December 2019
Thank You for forgiving our sin and taking our judgment on You and not on us. You love us – and we are your beloved children. It is all because of what You have done for us.
We are finishing Ruth – picking up where we left off last week:
Ruth 4: 12 Through the offspring the LORD gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah." 13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Then he went to her, and the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.
Tamar is the perfect example of what we were talking about last week – Levirate Marriage – where if a man dies, his brother would marry his wife – and would provide for her.
Tamar was a foreigner, like Ruth – and Judah’s first son, Er, had married Tamar – and he died – then the second son, Onan, married her – and he did a bad thing and he died (you can look it up in Genesis 38 – and the third son was too young – so Judah told her that she could marry his youngest son when he grows up… (He probably didn’t want any more of his sons to die from this woman!) But when the son grows up, Judah does not give his son! Tamar hears about this.
Judah has to go to Tamar’s hometown for business, and Tamar hears of it and makes a plan…
She dresses up like a harlot and covers her face and stands on a corner, and when Judah comes by, and they engage in conversation, and if this were a movie, they would head into the house and the lights would go out, and when the lights come back on, they are coming back out of the house. As it is, Judah had left his wallet at home – so he gave Tamar his staff and signet ring as collateral for what he owes her – then he goes off and does his business.
A number of months pass, and Judah hears that Tamar is pregnant – Judah does not know who the woman was - and he is furious, because Tamar is supposed to be ‘saved’ for his youngest son, whom he is refusing to give to her!
So Judah goes to her hometown to have her judged and basically put to death – and he calls her out and says to her – bring the man out who is responsible – and she comes out with a staff and a ring – and says, the man responsible is the owner of these! (Judah!)
That child is Perez…
12 Through the offspring the LORD gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah." 13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Then he went to her, and the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.
When they say may your family be like that of Perez – it is a high compliment to Ruth. Those who settled in Bethlehem were all from the family of Perez – He is the patriarch of all of this and his mother is Tamar. For both Tamar and Ruth – it ends well, they both have sons.
14 The women said to Naomi: "Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15 He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth."
Last week – at the ends, we saw that the elders blessed Boaz – and now, in these verses, the women of the community give a blessing, not to Ruth, but to Naomi – but it is about Ruth. There is this change of attitude – when Naomi and Ruth came to Bethlehem originally, they ignored Ruth – but they say - your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons – that is one of the highest compliments that can be given. The women of this community have been transformed by Ruth!
In the beginning of v. 14: "Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer.” What these women understood – although God never engages in this book, people talk about God, but what we see – This has been God all along – who has done all of this – and we need to understand for ourselves – our tendency is to trust in our plans, strategies and schemes – We have a tendency to trust in our own personal performance – our gifts, intellect, if we have any of that, and our personal resources “Boy, if we have enough resources to throw at this problem, we could get it solved.”
Or we trust in people – Powerful people, friends, family members… but throughout the Bible, there is warning after warning of trusting in other things and not God. Serious warning because that is our tendency. We’d rather trust in something we can hold onto, than in God, whom we can’t see, at least with our eyes.
As we go through this process of discernment about joining these two churches, it is crucial that we trust in God and not in anything else. All of us. If God is not in it, it will not work – it will fail, in one way or another.
Let me give a couple of indications to you – to know if you are trusting in God or something else.
Ask yourself – What is your prayer life like? I don’t mean – are you praying through your lists all the time? But what I mean -are you in regular, continual communication with God – pausing to be in the presence of the One who is always present with us. Is it your habit to look up – Like the psalmist – to You we lift up our eyes… like the eyes of a maid to her mistress or a child to a parent – we look up until You are gracious to us. When we talk about a prayer life – that is what we mean, looking up to God.
Every aspect – looking to God.
Second: What are your REST levels like? Our rest levels vs. our striving levels? For me, my striving levels are high - constant striving! How easy is it for you to “Cease striving and know that I am God”? That is an indication of your trust in God.
What are your anxiety and fear levels like? If these are high, it is an indication that you are not trusting.
Finally – what is your patience like? Throughout the Bible we see this phrase – Wait for the Lord. Wait on the Lord…
God tends to like for us to wait on Him. That is God’s character – there is something about it that is good for us to wait for Him.
Those are just some things to consider – we all struggle with those things at times, and God wants us to learn that we can trust Him – that is how we lower our anxiety levels and raise our rest and trust.
16 Then Naomi took the child, laid him in her lap and cared for him. 17 The women living there said, "Naomi has a son." And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
This is a hyperlink verse – some really cool things here – There are these images throughout the Bible –
Two little phrases – Naomi has a son – Primarily it is used in Genesis – like, when one of the Patriarchs is born – Judah, Joseph – one other time – Isaiah 9:2 – to quote Handel’s Messiah – Unto us, a child is born – unto us, a son is given!
What is happening here – and this is going to connect with Isaiah – and we’ll see that the Messiah comes through Obed.
The other connection – Obed – the name means this – The Servant.
If you are unfamiliar with that phrase, going to the Book of Isaiah – there is this talk of The Servant – and in Chapter 53 – it describes Jesus – the Messiah – describing all that He would do and it describes the cross – hundreds of years before it happened.
Jesus is the Son that is given – the ultimate servant.
18 This, then, is the family line of Perez: Perez was the father of Hezron, 19 Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab, 20 Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, 21 Salmon the father of Boaz, Boaz the father of Obed, 22 Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David.
Jesus is the Son of David – and it leads us all the way through – and what we see here – Ruth’s DNA abides in Jesus. Cindy and I had 23 and Me done – it was a blast! They update it all the time – I was tyring to show it up here – but what was amazing – all the different places we are from.
My mom is like 86% Italian – and they are from Sicily and they KNOW that – down to the regions of Italy.
I have some SouthEast Asian in me!
Matthew 1 –
Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar…
Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. 6 Jesse was the father of David the king. David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah.
Four women – Tamar – Foreigner – Rahab – Foreigner – Ruth – Foreigner – Bathsheba – Foreigner.
Four foreign women who did not have good reputations. Tamar – we know her story – Rahab, the Harlot – Ruth – the Moabite – Bathsheba – the bathing on the roof – and ther eis great debate about whether she had any choice in that or not – But Matthew is showing – God’s purpose is to bless ALL THE NATIONS – none to be excluded.
Ruth ends with a statement of incredible HOPE – because it leads to the Messiah – and the power of a few people to transform the attitudes – prejudice – exclusion – lack of grace – of people.
When we learn to cooperate – By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. And when we do this – the world can be transformed. Ruth, the Moabite, transforms all of history. Just a woman living in Moab transforms the entirety of history through her life.
Let’s pray: Lord, thank You for this time – help us, through this story – to see the hope we have in Jesus. As we celebrate Christmas – next Sunday doing a big Christmas service – focusing on your birth – may it stir us to see that we are called to be a blessing to our world.