by Steve DuPlessie
So maybe you’ve noticed that your story is a lot like Ruth’s story [from the OT book of Ruth – listen again to the 11/04/18 sermon here]. We too are poor, spiritually for sure, maybe financially too. And we wear the mourning clothes of death.
She had buried her husband. What have you buried? Maybe your dreams. Maybe your aspirations, your desires. Maybe someone you love. We’re out of options.
But our “Boaz” has noticed us. Just as Boaz covered Ruth, our kinsman-redeemer, Jesus Christ, has come to us. He spotted us in our deep need and he covered us. Just as Boaz protected Ruth from certain doom, our Jesus protects us from eternal separation from God in a place called Hell. Just as Boaz was able to meet all of Ruth’s needs, your Jesus is all that you need. Just as Boaz took Naomi and Ruth from bitterness to joy, your Jesus can do the same for you.
See, your Jesus is your Kinsman-redeemer. He spotted you out in the field, picking at the edges for the leftover scraps of life, and he chose to take you in and made you his own. “When we were utterly helpless, while we were sill sinner, Christ came at just the right time, and died for us.” He resolved to love you as no one has ever loved you. So he paid the full price required for your redemption when he died on the cross in your place. He redeemed you.
You might feel like you’ve been left behind in life, like you’re starving, living in famine; like you’re alone physically or emotionally or spiritually; maybe feeling like youre’ caught in a helpless or hopeless situation, and you’re getting bitter. But God sees you as a chosen, loved prize worth giving heaven’s best to purchase your redemption. And he wants to cover you, not with a coat, but he covers you with himself.
Max Lucado tells the story about a flight, some years ago from Orlando to Atlanta, carrying mainly businessmen. Briefcases, designer suits, and newspapers. With exception it was a working flight – but that exception was notable; there was a young mom with her four-year old daughter in the middle of all those businessmen. While the men were digging out and setting up their computers, that mom was digging out and setting up crayons and a coloring book. Everyone settled back for what was an uneventful flight.
But just few moments into the flight they realized it was not going to be an uneventful flight. The plane tilted to the left, then to the right. Jerked back and forth. Bounced up and down. The pilot announced a hydraulic system was failing. They dumped fuel as the pilots struggled to get the plane under control. Passengers were told to prepare for a rough landing back in Orlando. Fear swept through the cabin.
Panic set in with solid businessmen turning white in fear, losing their composure. Some crying out in fear. But the one person who was calm was the mother of the little girl. One businessman remembered hearing her calm reassuring voice. He turned and saw that mom talk to her little girl, talking gently with her, saying, “I love you. I love you so much. Do you know that I love you?” “Yes mommy!” “No matter what happens, I’m here with you and I love you always.”
And that mom reached over, unbuckled the little girl’s lap belt. And then taking her daughter up onto her lap, she re-buckled her in her own seat belt and held her close in her arms as they prepared to crash. But the landing gear actually came down just in time, and they landed safely that day. Of all the passengers on the plane, that little girl wasn’t afraid because her mother wrapped her up in love to protect her.
The love of your Father in heaven…
That’s the kind of love our heavenly Father has for you. The kind of love that engraves your name on the palm of his hand: your name, written in red. The kind of love that gives heaven’s best to redeem you; nothing less than Jesus, God’s one and only Son to die so you can be forgiven and live.
God does this. God enters the dusty Bethlehem’s of our lives. And he brings hope where there’s no hope. He brings joy to replace bitterness. Believe this. Believe this. Just receive it down deep in the part of your life that has never felt loved before. Maybe it’s time for you to throw off your mourning clothes and come to your Kinsman-Redeemer who will find you and cover you with his love.
So there is a plan…
At the end of the book of Ruth closes with a remarkable detail. The last verses of the life story of Ruth show us the reversal of how the story began. We see a kind of a family portrait, with Boaz and Ruth posing with their brand new baby boy.
What began with bitterness and death ends with birth and joy! Boaz wanted to name the little guy Bo Jr. But Ruth preferred Obed, so Obed it was. And Obed grew up, got married and had a son named Jesse. And Jesse and his wife had a baby boy named David, the second most famous king to be born in Bethlehem.
And you know the most famous king to ever be born in Bethlehem, right? Jesus, the Christ, your Kinsman-Redeemer. Now here’s the thing. This is so cool. The genealogy list in Matthew chapter 1 lists all the ancestors in the family tree from Abraham to Jesus.
And right in the middle of that long list of men is this woman, Ruth. How did that happen? How did a foreigner, a poor immigrant, a lonely widow, from a pagan, idol worshipping nation, have a role in bringing Jesus, our Redeemer, into the world? Ok, so maybe God has an Upper Story that’s He’s working in out in our Lower Story, a grand, eternal plan to redeem the lost and lonely, the helpless and hopeless, turn death to new birth, turn bitterness to joy… you think?