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UNFAILING LOVE - IN EVERY SEASON, LOOK TO JESUS

The Book of Ruth (between time of the Judges and Kings). Beautiful account of God’s UNFAILING LOVE – how God is able to transform our lives and lives of those around us.

Great encouragement here – for whatever you are going through.

Story starts with great tragedy. Then see the blessing of God poured out – almost like a trickle, then more and more and MORE!

His unfailing love – great care for the small details of our lives – beyond that which we could ever imagine.

What does that love look like? That love He expresses, He calls us to walk in also, by the power of His Spirit.

1. UNFAILING LOVE …. IS LOYAL AND FAITHFUL. COMFORTS IN GRIEF

Ruth 1:1 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.

Ruth 1:3 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.

Ruth 1:15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.” 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.”

Ruth 1:18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. 19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?” 20 “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them.

“Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. Ruth 1:21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” 22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.

Can see here that:

 

 

· Ruth – cut ties with her past. Went to God. Picture of coming to Jesus. Deserves our all.

· Ruth – loyal and faithful. Comforts Naomi in her loss. LIKE JESUS:

· Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.

· I am with you always, even until the end of the age.

· A friend closer than a brother.

 

· Naomi – God gives her (and us) permission to grieve and feel the pain. But it’s healthy to not dwell in that place; to move forward.

Naomi = pleasant. Mara = bitter.

· In suffering, ask the right question - God, how do you want me to respond to this?

· He wants to move us from a place of wrestling with Him to resting in Him.

· Keys to apply: be a devoted and loyal friend; allow suffering friends to grieve, be a support; sufferers - grieve but don’t stay there (look to God).

· In every circumstance, recognise the blessing of friends and support. CONNECT GROUPS.

 

2. UNFAILING LOVE… IS KIND AND OUTWARD-FOCUSSED.

Ruth 2:1 Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, a man of standing from the clan of Elimelek, whose name was Boaz. 2 And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.” Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” 3 So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out!!!!, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek.

Ruth 2:5 Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, “Who does that young woman belong to?” 6 The overseer replied, “She is the Moabite who came back from Moab with Naomi. 7 She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.’ She came into the field and has remained here from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter.” 8 So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. 9 Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.”

GOD WORKING BEHIND THE SCENES IN RUTH’S LIFE (AND OURS).

NO COINCIDENCES!

God brought Ruth into Naomi’s life – then Boaz into the lives of the two women. His great care!

Kinsman-redeemer. Legal term for one who has the obligation to redeem a relative in serious

difficulty.

The account says that Ruth went out looking for work and “as it turned out” the field belonged

to Boaz, a kinsman-redeemer. 2:3

JESUS IS OUR KINSMAN-REDEEMER. Became one of us, redeemed us by his blood.

 

 

OUTWARD FOCUS

· Boaz noticed Ruth. Cared for his workers. Be a caring boss.

· Ruth a Moabite – not most popular with Jews, but Ruth quickly building a positive reputation for HER HEART AND WORK ETHIC. Be diligent. Be a faithful worker.

Application: Be outward focussed. All are valuable to God. We were outsiders once.

God loves outsiders - migrants, people new to Geraldton. So do we. Dubai, South Africa, England? Doesn’t matter where your from. You have a place in God’s House!

Jesus was the ultimate example of being outward focussed! Mission and his ministry! MATT 10:8. FREELY RECEIVED, FREELY GIVE.

Think back to when you first got saved – someone looked outside of themselves, saw you and loved you enough to bring you in to God’s family. TESTIMONY. I mocked Christians at university. From the outside I looked together. Inside, I was broken and burdened. Just like so many people you and I encounter every day. Two years later I humbled myself asked Jesus to be Lord of my life. Doesn’t matter who you are, what your background is, God has a place for you in his family.

Love about this church – its outward focus. Let’s not lose that.

Who are the outsiders in your life? How can you love them and lead them to Jesus?

Big churches – everyone’s a stranger until you make the decision to step out and show interest in their lives. Connect groups – about being outward focussed. Hospitality. Caring for each other.

PHILIPPIANS 2: 4 Look not only to their own interests, but to others.

BOAZ, RUTH AND NAOMI WERE KIND.

One of the most common phrases used to describe God … LOVING KINDNESS! ROMANS 2:4 GOD’S KINDNESS THAT LEADS US TO REPENTANCE.

THIS WHOLE BOOK OVERFLOWS WITH KINDNESS AND GOODNESS OF GOD.

Kindness – SEES and ACTS TO LIFT BURDENS.

· Ruth saw Naomi was alone and without support. Determined she would not leave her, even if it cost her personally.

· Boaz saw Ruth was a selfless woman doing it tough. Spoke and acted kindly toward her.

· Naomi loved and embraced Ruth.

· Jesus saw that you and I were lost in our sin. Entered humanity, lived the perfect life, died in our place and rose to life so we could have LIFE IN HIM. God sees our everyday struggles and has great care and compassion for us in them. Wants to walk with us through them. Does anyone see my suffering? God sees – and he deeply loves you.

Titus 3:4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.

Philippians 2:5-6. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus, who being in very name God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, by taking the very nature of a servant,

If we would make it our continual prayer – Lord, make me alert to every opportunity to care and show kindness. Help me lift burdens, not add to burdens.

 

 

3. UNFAILING LOVE …. ATTRACTS THE FAVOUR OF GOD AND MAN

 

 

Ruth 2:10 At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?” 11 Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband

— how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. 12 May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”

THE MARRIAGE OF BOAZ AND RUTH

Ruth 4:9 Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelek, Kilion and Mahlon. 10 I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown. Today you are witnesses!” HERITAGE!

Ruth 4:11 Then the elders and all the people at the gate said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the family of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. 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.” BLESSING

 

 

GOD REWARDS FAITHFULNESS.

· Ruth was faithful to Naomi (and God) – even at personal cost.

· She trusted in God’s care.

· Boaz saw it, community saw it – and God saw it.

· Boaz spoke blessing and reward. No fanfare, but faithfulness is seen.

Q: What God calling me to today? How can I show my faithfulness to Him, my household and His people?

Faithfulness is built line by line, precept upon precept. Whoever is faithful in little, God will entrust with more.

God came through for Naomi, Ruth and Boaz – and he will come through for you. There was struggle, there was waiting, but God was faithful.

Naomi’s family line continued.

Naomi’s journey = from pleasant – to bitter – to blessed!!

Faith in God keeps us in a safe place, where we walk in peace and joy, not rocked by circumstances or outward appearances. (Eg James. Double minded man, unstable in all his ways).

 

 

4. UNFAILING LOVE … PREPARES FOR THE COMING KING

Ruth 4:13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14 The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-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.”

Ruth 4:16 Then Naomi took the child in her arms 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.

There is a bigger picture we don’t see, but God sees! Praise God. RAHAB the prostitute… was Boaz’s mother!

Boaz and Ruth’s son Obed …. King David’s grandfather. Boaz and Ruth … from their family line… came KING JESUS!

You may not see the full impact of your faithfulness (as an individual, in your family, we as a church) in your lifetime, but God does. Trust he is doing something bigger than we can see or imagine, as we do our part.

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