Advent Week 1 – My Redeemer Lives: A Painful Providence – 12-3-17
INTRO: Holiday season is often a time of…. Pain / Suffering / Grief / Loneliness
PROVIDENCE: “To provide” – God directs all things toward His purpose—God is preserving and governing all things
RUTH – MY REDEEMER LIVES
Advent – the Coming of Jesus… Through RUTH, we can be reminded… a baby is coming through Ruth’s suffering that will lead to Jesus Christ Who will redeem the world!
We all can relate to Ruth and Naomi, to their loss, their pain… and we can be reminded of the hope and the joy that comes from Jesus alone!
During Advent, let us celebrate the birth of our Savior and boldly declare to everyone – My Redeemer Lives!
SUFFERING OF RUTH
Ruth 1:13… The Lord’s hand turned against me
Ruth 1:20-21….. the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty….. the LORD has opposed me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?
Was she really full?
YOU HAVE NO FULLNESS APART FROM GOD
Elimelech name means “My God is King,” yet they didn’t live like He is King. Left Bethlehem (“House of Bread”) during famine.
Matthew 2:6 – And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah: because out of you will come a leader who will shepherd My people Israel.” [HCSB]
Ephesians 3:19– May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. [NLT]
Colossians 1:17– He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. [NIV]
Hebrews 1:3– And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. [NASB]
YOU ARE NEVER OUTSIDE OF THE CARE OF GOD
Matthew 10:29– Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. [NIV]
Proverbs 19:21– Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. [ESV]
Ephesians 1:11– In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose ofHim who works all things according to the counsel of His will [ESV]
YOUR “BAD” IS USED FOR GOOD
Acts 4:27-28– For, in fact, in this city both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, assembled together against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place. [HCSB]
We see that most evil act of all – killing Jesus on the Cross – is most loving act of God
Romans 8:28– And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. [ESV]
YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO RETURN TO GOD
Ruth and Naomi respond to the painful providence by seeking refuge in God
Acts 17:26-28– From one man He created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him–though He is not far from any one of us. For in Him we live and move and exist.As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ [NLT]
Jesus will meet you where you are!
C.S. Lewis (Problem of Pain) said, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
Only through pain in Christ will pain have purpose
Psalm 119:25– My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to Your word! [ESV]
Psalm 63:8– My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me. [ESV]
Romans 11:36– For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen. [NIV]
The Bible often talks about the right hand of God, and yet we don’t read much about His left hand. Many may question this lack of left-handed mentions. It is important to recognize that the right hand was considered the strong hand. It represented strength as we see in Isaiah 41:10, my life verse. But there is something else about the right hand.
The right hand, the place to the right of a person, is a place of honor. The New Living Translation translates the verse from 1 Peter as “the place of honor next to God.” This is the place that people wanted to be. Remember James and John’s mother wanting one of her children sitting in that privileged spot. Consider Who is at the right hand of God. Remember, as Stephen looked up before he was stoned to death, he saw Jesus at the right hand of God. To Him be all the honor, glory, and praise. He gets the highest honor. He is the highest, above all!
Today, as you read your Bible and reflect on His Word, look at where you find His right hand referenced in the Bible. Cling to those promises. Cling to Him Who has made those promises. Remember it is His right hand that upholds you.
“A Psalm of David. The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’” – Psalm 110:1 [ESV]
“My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.” – Psalm 63:8 [NASB]
“Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority.” – 1 Peter 3:22 [NLT]
Are You Ready for Solid Food?
[[Read Hebrews 5:11 – 6:4]]
“You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.” – Hebrews 5:12 [NLT]
Hebrews 6:1-4 Breakdown:
- Basic Foundation
- Basic Instruction
- Holy Spirit
- God’s Grace
- “And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.” (6:3 NLT)
- God’s Grace allows for Spiritual Maturity
You aren’t meant to stay a child living on milk.
What keeps you a Milk Drinker?
- Laziness (v. 11) – Where is the passion / desire?
- Lack of Influence (v.12) – Ought to be teaching but need retaught
- Dull Discernment (vs. 13-14) – Unable to discern good and evil
From Milk to Solid Food…
- Drink Milk – “Pure Spiritual Milk” (1 Peter 2:2) – The Gospel
- Swallow & Digest Milk – Milk produces renewed mind
- Practice, Practice, Practice
- Satisfaction Promotes Discernment
Psalm 63:1, 8
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water… my soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me. [ESV]
The other morning a dear friend told me about an encounter she had wearing a FearNot Ministries t-shirt. While she was at a local store, someone saw her wearing the shirt and revealed that she was struggling. Because of the struggles she was facing, she just that morning turned to the Bible. She read a verse that told her not to fear—that God was with her. When my friend walked into that store, the FearNot immediately caught her eyes and she remembered what God’s Word promised her that morning.
God’s Word has so many promises, more promises than I can list in a short devotion. When we live our life knowing and trusting in these promises—knowing and trusting God and His Word—life is very different. You cannot recognize God at work, you cannot know God, unless you know His Word. It is so very important to open up your Bible and read. Don’t stop reading. Every day read. Then when you are going through struggles, when you are facing a difficult time in your life, when you are not sure which way to go—you will have His Word written on your heart.
The other day three beautiful girls came over with these hearts they made during church service. The heart displayed a verse that spoke of writing God’s Word on your heart. I asked the girls, “How can you write God’s Word on your heart?” The answer is easy – read God’s Word. Read God’s Word. Delight in His Word. Cherish His Word. Eat His Word. Chew upon it. Take it in. Treasure it. Store it up. Embrace it.
“You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.”
-Psalm 63:1-8 [NIV]