The Choices of Life

Living Under Grace

Living Under Grace, “Ruth” Series – Part 5, Ruth 2:1-23


TEXT: Ruth 2:1-23

Now Naomi had a relative of her husband's, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. 2 And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, "Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor." And she said to her, "Go, my daughter." 3 So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech. 4 And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem. And he said to the reapers, "The LORD be with you!" And they answered, "The LORD bless you." 5 Then Boaz said to his young man who was in charge of the reapers, "Whose young woman is this?" 6 And the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, "She is the young Moabite woman, who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. 7 She said, 'Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers.' So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest." 8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, "Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. 9 Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn." 10 Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, "Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?" 11 But Boaz answered her, "All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. 12 The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!" 13 Then she said, "I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants." 14 And at mealtime Boaz said to her, "Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine." So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over. 15 When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, "Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16 And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her." 17 So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. 18 And she took it up and went into the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also brought out and gave her what food she had left over after being satisfied. 19 And her mother-in-law said to her, "Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you." So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, "The man's name with whom I worked today is Boaz." 20 And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, "May he be blessed by the LORD, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!" Naomi also said to her, "The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers." 21 And Ruth the Moabite said, "Besides, he said to me, 'You shall keep close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.'" 22 And Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, "It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, lest in another field you be assaulted." 23 So she kept close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests. And she lived with her mother-in-law.

Living Under Providence

Living Under Providence, “Ruth” Series – Part 4, Ruth 2:1-23


TEXT: Ruth 2:1-23

Now Naomi had a relative of her husband's, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. 2 And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, "Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor." And she said to her, "Go, my daughter." 3 So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech. 4 And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem. And he said to the reapers, "The LORD be with you!" And they answered, "The LORD bless you." 5 Then Boaz said to his young man who was in charge of the reapers, "Whose young woman is this?" 6 And the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, "She is the young Moabite woman, who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. 7 She said, 'Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers.' So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest." 8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, "Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. 9 Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn." 10 Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, "Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?" 11 But Boaz answered her, "All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. 12 The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!" 13 Then she said, "I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants." 14 And at mealtime Boaz said to her, "Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine." So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over. 15 When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, "Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16 And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her." 17 So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. 18 And she took it up and went into the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also brought out and gave her what food she had left over after being satisfied. 19 And her mother-in-law said to her, "Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you." So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, "The man's name with whom I worked today is Boaz." 20 And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, "May he be blessed by the LORD, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!" Naomi also said to her, "The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers." 21 And Ruth the Moabite said, "Besides, he said to me, 'You shall keep close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.'" 22 And Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, "It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, lest in another field you be assaulted." 23 So she kept close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests. And she lived with her mother-in-law.

The Choices of Life – Part 3

The Choices of Life, “Ruth” Series – Part 3, Ruth 1:1-22

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SERMON OUTLINE:
“The Choices of Life - Part 3”
TEXT: Ruth 1:1-22

Every main character in Ruth Chapter 1 had a significant choice to make, choices we all face in life.

-Elimelech (a picture of the cultural Christian) made a sensible choice. It nearly detroyed his family.
-Naomi (a picture of the backslidden believer returning to God) made a bitter coice.
-Ruth (a Gentile Moabite girl) made a committed choice to Naomi and her God. This set in motion a chain of events, which pushed the redemptive plan of God forward.

There is a wrong conclusion to draw from this.

-”See choices really matter. It’s all on you. So make the right choice or else you will screw up your life.”
-That is not the message of Ruth.

Rather, here is the message of Ruth.

-Even if you make wrong choices and end up in very dark places, God is still sovereignly at work to fulfill His redemptive purpose in your life and in the world.
-We see this truth beautifully illustrated in Naomi’s life, but especially Ruth’s life.

If this is the message of Ruth, then it leads to an important question: “was Ruth’s decision to radically commit herself to Naomi and her God, was that decision Ruth’s choice or God’s choice?”

-By “Ruth’s choice” we mean, Ruth’s decision was completely hers to make.  No one forced her to make it against her will. And she was responsible for the consequences of her choice.
-By “God’s choice” we mean, God was the one working in Ruth to make that choice. God is the one who used her choice to sovereignly produce the exact outcome he wanted.
- So was Ruth’s decision to commit herself to Naomi and her God, was that Ruth’s choice or God’s choice?
- Answer: BOTH.

RUTH’S CHOICE

-Her choice was a total commitment
-Her choice was a fearless commitment
-Her choice was a disregarded commitment
-Her choice was really hers.
-It set in motion the chain of God’s blessings in the rest of the book.
-She deserves the credit.
-So choices matter. It matters whether we choose like Orpah or like Ruth.
-But who can be like Ruth consistely or when everything is on the line?
-Thankfully there’s more the text tells us.

GOD’S CHOICE

-The text points to more going on than Ruth simply making an awesome choice out of the strength of her own character.
- There are several clues pointing to God behind Ruth’s choice.

1.Her radical commitment to Naomi and her God was unexpected and unexplainable. It makes the reader wonder, where is this coming from?

2.The text took pains to contrast Ruth’s choice with Orpah’s choice. This too is unexplainable considering both women seemed to have the same ethnicity, same cultural background, were married into the same family, and had the same affection for Naomi.

3. The final verse of the chapter (v.22) subtly points to a divine setup for the redemption of Ruth and Naomi.

-The conclusion is there was more going on in Ruth’s choice than just Ruth. It was God sovereignly working through her choice to produce the exact outcome he wanted.
-Therefore, it was also God’s choice.

OUR CHOICES

-How does the Bible’s teaching that Ruth’s choice was really hers and really God’s, how does that help us when we face choices?
-Well, look at the unbiblical alternatives. Both of these are found in the world.

1. My choices don’t really matter because fate controls my life. What’s meant to be will happen no matter what I choose to do. This perspective will make a person very jaded or careless. They will be unmotivated to choose well and live well. They will diminsh their responsibility over their choices.

2. Or, my choices are totally and completely on me. I am the only one behind my choices. I am the only one responsbile for all of the consequences and outcomes coming from my choces. This perspective will make a person constantly anxious, stressed, and filled with regret. If someone really believed in this, they would become paralyzed. What if I pick the wrong school, the wrong job, the wrong career, the wrong spouse? What if I already picked the wrong ones? This is the dominant view in our culture.

-Both are highly impractical ways to live. And ultimately self-defeating.
-These views are on the polar ends of a spectrum.
-We are all on this spectrum, usually closer to one end or the other.

CONCLUSION

-Thankfully, the Bible teaches that all the choices in a believer’s life are both completely ours and completely God’s.
-So we make every choice in life as wisely as we can. We take full responsibility for them and their consequences.
-But we also make every choice knowing a sovereign, all-good, all-knowing, all-powerful God is at work in my life. And we can rest assured God will ultimately bring the exact outcome He wants through every twist and turn.

But how do we know God will do this with our choices?

-Ruth points to Christ.
-In the text we are more like Naomi than Ruth.
-In the same way, God sent Ruth to Naomi to make a commitment to her unto death; God also sent His son to make a commitment to us unto death.
-And now for those who are in Christ, “all things work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose.” Amen.

 

The Choices of Life – Part 2

The Choices of Life, “Ruth” Series – Part 2, Ruth 1:1-22

“In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. 2 The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. 3 But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, 5 and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband. 6 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the LORD had visited his people and given them food. 7 So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. 8 But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, Go, return each of you to her mother's house. May the LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. 9 The LORD grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!" Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. 10 And they said to her,No, we will return with you to your people. 11 But Naomi said, Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? 12 Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, 13 would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the LORD has gone out against me. 14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. 15 And she said See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law. 16 But Ruth said, Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you. 18 And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more. 19 So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, Is this Naomi? 20 She said to them, Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the LORD has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me? 22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in- law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.”

- Ruth 1:1-22