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]
When you look at the relationship between Leah and Rachel, on the surface you may feel bad for Leah because you read of Jacob’s great love for Rachel. Read Genesis 29. Rachel was younger, “had a lovely figure and was beautiful,” while Leah “had weak eyes” (v. 17 NIV). Plainly put, “Jacob was in love with Rachel” (v. 18 NIV).
Despite her love of Jacob, Rachel sacrificially remains silent so that Jacob would marry her sister Leah first. It was not a custom to have the younger child marry off before the eldest. Though Leah was “not loved” by Jacob as she desired, God soon blesses her with Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah. Note, Judah is the line that leads to Jesus.
These two sisters certainly had their moments, and more children followed to form the twelve tribes of Israel; Leah bore six of the twelve. Though Leah lacked the love of Jacob that she desired, God provided her a huge family and wealth. She is mentioned in Ruth 4, along with her sister, as building the house of Israel. Eventually she would be buried beside the man she adored, in the cave with Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah (see Genesis 49:29-33). God was with her and her children. She was loved by Him. She was not for lack. God loves you too. Today, rest in His love. You, too, are not for lack.
“When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, He enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless.” Genesis 29:31 [NIV]
“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” – Psalm 127:3 [NASB]
“He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is!” – Deuteronomy 32:4 [NLT]
When I was getting myself ready, my dog Max was awaiting outside the door for me. I find it interesting that he will deprive himself of the air conditioning to wait in the hot hallway for me to finish. This loyalty shown by Max is the same loyalty we see when we look at Ruth or David. Consider how Ruth was not only loyal to Naomi, but how she also accepted God as her God, and she walked in faith despite the situation. Consider how David was anointed to be king, and yet he spent so much time running from King Saul, hiding and away from his homeland before he even became king as he was promised.
We are called to be loyal and obedient to God. This is a command that we are to follow when times are good or bad. Even when we are in the middle of a storm in life and everything is looking dim, we are to walk forward in faith, with obedience, with loyalty. The first part of the Book of Ruth notes Ruth’s faithfulness to God; the second part shows us how God is faithful to Ruth as well.
God is faithful. God is still moving in our lives today. Today may be the toughest day of your life, but remember you are not alone and God is not finished yet.