What If Your Mother s Day Isn t a Hallmark Movie? The Book of Ruth. Dr. Steve Horn. May 14, 2017

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1 What If Yur Mther s Day Isn t a Hallmark Mvie? The Bk f Ruth Dr. Steve Hrn May 14, 2017 Text Intrductin: The bk f Judges and 1 Samuel is separated by Ruth, which gives an accunt f a bright spt fr Israel in the days f the judges. Ruth pints t the thelgical truth that Gd is still svereign and in cntrl, even in the darkest days f rebellin and sin. The Bk f Ruth is als ne f the mst beautiful stries in the Bible, but it is in the beginning a very difficult stry. The first five verses spell that ut fr us. Text: During the time f the judges, there was a famine in the land. A man left Bethlehem in Judah with his wife and tw sns t live in the land f Mab fr a while. 2 The man s name was Elimelech, and his wife s name was Nami. The names f his tw sns were Mahln and Chilin. They were Ephrathites frm Bethlehem in Judah. They entered the land f Mab and settled there. 3 Nami s husband Elimelech died, and she was left with her tw sns. 4 Her sns tk Mabite wmen as their wives: ne was named Orpah and the secnd was named Ruth. After they lived in Mab abut 10 years, 5 bth Mahln and Chilin als died, and Nami was left withut her tw children and withut her husband. Intrductin: Sme f ur dearest friends ever in ministry were Tm and Nan Hudsn. They lved us and we lved them. In ur newly-wed and n children days f ministry, they were mre like grandparents t us. I culdn t help but think again f Nan in preparatin fr this mrning. While I was her pastr, she greeted me ne Mther s Day mrning with her eagerness t hear my Mther s Day message. Nan had nt lked at the bulletin yet, because I was nt planning t preach a message in any way assciated with Mther s Day. I srt f panicked as I tld her I was cntinuing ur series n Revelatin r smething like that. I will never frget the lk n her face. The truth is that Mther s Day fr many is a hard day. Maybe it is a hard day fr yu tday. Sner r later, Mther s Day will be hard fr yu. Yu might find yurself asking, What if my Mther s Day is nt a Hallmark mvie? Have yu ever wanted t ask that questin abut yur family? What happened? I can hear smene saying, He was 10 years ld and everything was fine. He lved t cme t church. He did well in schl. But smething happened? Or, smene might say, I dn t knw what happened? We used t lve each ther. We had a happy marriage. I thught everything was fine, but he says he desn t lve me anymre. What happened t my family? Sner r later yu might have t ask that questin. Nami had every right t ask that questin. Ruth culd t fr that matter. After a cuple f names and places in verses 1-3, verses 4 and 5 kind f have a staccat-like feel filled with a series f events that culd simply be labeled, Bad News. The Stry: A Tragedy The Bible tells us that at sme pint in this time f the judges, there was a famine in the land f Prmise. (Ruth 1:1). Living in Bethlehem (a twn that means by the way, the huse f bread), there was a man by

2 the name f Elimelech (Gd is my King) and his wife, Nami (Sweet One). They had tw sns Mahln and Chilin. By the way, Mahln means sickly and Chilin means frail. Can t yu see it? It s a rather sad tale. Hell, my name is Gd is my King and this is my wife, Sweet One. We are frm the Huse f Bread, but we left there, because there was a famine in the land, and we were abut t starve t death. Meet ur tw kids, Sickly and Frail. The ld line, If it weren t fr bad luck, I d have n luck at all cmes t mind. We might laugh, but believe me they weren t laughing. It culd be that their mve t the land f Mab was specifically tied t Elimelech s dubts abut Gd. Mab was a place knwn fr great sin against Gd. This family went t the land f Mab, utside f the land f Prmise, back acrss the Jrdan River and n the ther side f the Dead Sea. Nt lng after being there, Elimelech died. The sns married wmen frm the land f Mab ne named Orpah and ne named Ruth. Nt lng after that and befre any children were brn, Mahln and Chilin died. N Hallmark mvie, I assure yu. S, what d yu d if yur Mther s Day is n Hallmark mvie? Let s see several things in the text tday. Expect a life filled with Challenges. Jhn Piper nted, The life f the gdly is nt a straight line t glry. Jesus said, I have tld yu these things s that in Me yu may have peace. Yu will have suffering in this wrld. Be curageus I have cnquered the wrld. (Jhn 16:33) There is a lt happening in Ruth 1:1, and it gives us sme pieces f the puzzle f the challenges f life. This was the time f the judges. There was a famine. They decided t g t Mab. These three phrases give us the surce f life s challenges. Cultural Surces The last verse f Judges gives us a gd summary f the phrase, During the time f the judges. Judges 21:25 cncludes the bk with a recurring theme f the whle bk. In thse days there was n king in Israel; everyne did whatever he wanted. Earlier in the bk, in Judges 2:10-12, we get this summary: That whle generatin was als gathered t their ancestrs (after Jshua is the reference pint). After them anther generatin rse up wh did nt knw the Lrd r the wrks He had dne fr Israel. The Israelites did what was evil in the Lrd s sight. They wrshipped the Baals and abandned the Lrd, the Gd f their fathers, wh had brught them ut f Egypt. They went after ther gds frm the surrunding peples and bwed dwn t them. Part f the challenges that yur family faces is because f the cultural surces abut us. Natural Frces Then, there are natural frces. We have had them. They are indiscriminate and beynd ur cntrl, but can and will cntrl us if we let them. Persnal Chices

3 And, smetimes ur challenges are ur wn ding, like mving t Mab. Mab had its beginning in Genesis 19. There is n mre hrrific reading in the Bible than Genesis 19. Sdm is destryed leaving nly Lt and his tw virgin daughters. Fearing that they will nt have anybdy t marry, have children with, and receive their inheritance by, Lt s daughters get him drunk, have relatins with him, and have children by him. One f thse sns is named Mab. The peple f Mab never gt ver this srdid beginning. The peple f Mab were ntrius fr their debauchery and immrality. Our wn chices cause sme f ur challenges. Engage in Christ-Hnring Relatinships. Nami decided that it wuld be best t leave the land f Mab. She had heard that the famine had ended, s she prepared t g back t Bethlehem. After starting n the jurney, Nami said t her tw daughters-in-law, Lk, yu g back hme. Yu dn t have t cme with me. I dn t have any mre sns t ffer yu. Orpah did return, but Ruth respnded with a beautiful rebuttal t her mther-in-law s kind ffer: 16 But Ruth replied: D nt persuade me t leave yu r g back and nt fllw yu. Fr wherever yu g, I will g, and wherever yu live, I will live; yur peple will be my peple, and yur Gd will be my Gd. 17 Where yu die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lrd d this t me, and even mre, if anything but death separates yu and me. And, that s hw Nami and Ruth arrived back in Bethlehem. We als learn in the text that Nami and Ruth arrive in Bethlehem right at the time f the barley harvest. Needing t prvide fr the tw f them, Ruth ges ff t a field t gather grain. Her plan is t g behind the hired harvesters and pick up what they leave behind. It s happens that she chses the field f a man named Baz, wh just s happens t be a relative n her deceased father-in-law s side. Having already heard f Ruth s lyalty t her mther-in-law, Baz sees t it that n ne bthers her and that she picks up plenty f grain. When Ruth returns hme that night, Nami is amazed at the amunt f fd she has been able t cllect. She wants t knw hw this happened. Ruth tells her abut Baz. Nami says, Baz! He is a clse relative. In fact, he is ne f ur family s kinsman-redeemers. Nw, we dn t knw what that term means, but in this ancient setting, a kinsman-redeemer was f great imprtance. Accrding t the law that Mses had received frm Gd, a kinsman-redeemer culd be called n t d any r all f three things.

4 1. T redeem prperty and/r relatives In Israel, all prperty was a family pssessin. If prperty had t be sld, the kinsman-redeemer was called n t buy back the prperty fr the family. 2. T prvide an heir thrugh marriage If a man died withut an heir, it was the brther s duty t marry the widw fr the purpses f prviding an heir. 3. T avenge the unlawful death f a family member. 1 This is where the lve stry evlves. (OK, maybe it des becme a little bit like a Hallmark mvie, but better, actually) Baz fulfills this rle as the kinsman-redeemer bth ut f bligatin, but als ut f desire. All f this is as cmes as a result f a decisin by Ruth t engage in Gdly relatinships. See, when life gets challenging fr us, I am afraid that ne f ur reactins is t shut dwn and shut peple ut f ur lives. In reality, we shuld be ding just the ppsite. Eliminate the Cnclusin that there is n hpe. This beautiful lve stry almst gt derailed by Nami s hpelessness. We see that hpelessness in 1:11-14 and then again in 1: Nami had lst everything, but the greatest thing she had lst was her hpe. Hpelessness is the enemy f faith. When I think abut hpe I always think abut a stry abut the little by playing Little League baseball. He is ut in the field when his father arrives late fr the game. Thrugh the fence his father asks, What s the scre? 18-0! says the little by, We re lsing. Trying t ffer cmfrt his dad says, I m srry, sn. With the hpe nly a Little Leaguer culd have, he answers back, Dn t wrry, Dad, we haven t even gt up t bat yet! Nw that s hpe. Billy Graham nce said, The greatest need in ur wrld tday is the need fr hpe. We thrive n hpe, we rejice in hpe, we witness in hpe, knwing that experience wrks hpe. Happy is he... whse hpe is in the Lrd his Gd (Psalm 146:5). There is hpe fr the future. It is centered in the Persn f Jesus Christ wh died fr ur sins and rse frm the grave and is alive nw. I have staked all that I am r ever hpe t be n Him. At yet anther ccasin, Graham said, Faith pints us beynd ur prblems t the hpe we have in Christ. Exercise faith in all Circumstances. Everything Ruth des, she des by faith. We exercise faith by faith. We exercise faith when we dn t necessarily have a lt f faith. Be Eager fr Gd t have the Climactic Wrd. The stry f Ruth ends with the annuncement f the marriage f Ruth and Baz and the annuncement f the birth f their sn Obed. 1 Adam. T. Barr, Explring the Stry: A Reference Cmpanin, Zndervan Press, 56.

5 All f a sudden we realize that all alng smething far greater has been in the ffing than we culd imagine. Gd was nt nly pltting fr the tempral blessing f a few Jews in Bethlehem. He was preparing fr the cming f the greatest king that Israel wuld have, David. And the name f David carries with it the hpe f the Messiah, the new age, peace, righteusness, freedm frm pain and crying and grief and guilt. This simple little stry pens ut like a stream int a great river f hpe. (Jhn Piper, The Best is Yet t Cme, nline sermn dated, July 22, 1984) Listen, I dn t knw what yu are ging thrugh tday. I dn t knw if tday is like a Hallmark mvie fr yu r like a Hrrr mvie fr yu, but I d knw and believe by faith that Gd is always at wrk. One f the ways that He is at wrk is that He is drawing yu t Himself. Until we prfess ur faith in Him, He is drawing us, smetimes thrugh tragedy and smetimes thrugh triumph, smetimes thrugh pain and smetimes in pleasure. Once we are saved, He cntinues t be at wrk in ur lives t sanctify us t make us mre hly t make us mre like Him. Let Him d that. Trust Him t d that in yur life and the lives f thse yu lve.

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