Ruth

Old Hope

Pastor Jerry Gillis - July 18, 2021

Community Group Study Notes

  1. Have someone in your group provide a 2-minute summary of Sunday’s teaching.  

  1. How did the story from the book of Ruth bring you hope? Be specific.  

  1. Why is it important that we understand the costliness of our redemption? In what ways does that understanding change us for the better? 

  1. In light of Sunday’s message and our conversation today, how will you apply this “old hope” to your current life circumstances and obey what God is teaching you?  


Abide


Sermon Transcript

I'm so glad to see everyone this morning, whether you're here gathered with us at the CrossPoint Campus, or you are at our Cheektowaga Campus or our Lockport Campus or our Niagara Falls Campus, or watching us online. Thank you so much for being here for, man, it's just exciting in a growing way, more and more seeing more and more people back, people of God worshiping together. There's nothing like the worship of God together as the people of God. So yeah, thank the Lord for that. Now some of you may be familiar with the actress and comedian, Amy Schumer. You may or may not have watched any of her stuff and she may be, you may have different thoughts about her. She was born in New York City and when she was growing up, it was really interesting when I saw her story. She was growing up at the age of nine, her dad contracted multiple sclerosis. And as a result, the business that he had was not able to continue. And as a family, they went bankrupt and they lost virtually everything as a family. And it was really interesting because a part of what they lost as a family, when they went bankrupt, was a family farm that they had. And so now, a number of years later, her dad is still living and he is in a nursing home being cared for. And what Amy has done now with all that she has received, being famous and wealthy and all of those things, she ended up just a few Christmases ago, buying back their family farm and giving it to her dad as a Christmas present. I thought that was really remarkable when I read about it because it was not only a great Christmas present, but it enabled them to keep the family farm back in the family. And I thought that to be really a remarkable story. The truth is, is that when I read that story, I couldn't help but think about the reality of the themes of the Bible. Because when we begin to read the scripture, the theme of buying back, is something that is all over the context of the scripture itself, specifically in the Old Testament. The word that is used for the idea of buying something back in the scripture, is the word redeem. And so when a family or a person is faced with ruin, it is great in the Old Testament to have someone in the family known as a redeemer, someone who can actually buy back what was lost. This idea really brings us to a story that is going to give us, I think, old hope when we look at it; here in the context of the Old Testament. And it's a story from a book that was written after the events that are described in the book; but the truth is, is they all are, right? Like all of the books that we read about are about, are written about after the events that actually occurred. And this book that we'll be looking in is no different. Now, the timeframe of the book that we're looking at in the Old Testament, is in the period of Israel's life, where it was ruled, Israel was ruled by judges. Now you may remember this period to some degree, it was a dark and a chaotic time in the life of Israel. Because in fact, when you get to the end of the book of Judges, right? Right after the book of Joshua comes the book of Judges. And when you get to the end of the book of Judges, the very last line in the book of Judges is telling, here's what it says in Judges 21:25, the very last line it says; "In those days, Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit." Yeah, that means it is a dark and a chaotic time in the life of Israel because they are not ruled, so to speak; there are judges in the land, but they are doing what they see fit. And that is going every different direction you can imagine. So the book that we are picking up in, is a book that's called or titled Ruth, after one of the main characters. And as this book opens up, it tells us exactly when the occurrence of these events were happening in Ruth chapter one beginning in verse one. It says, "In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man's name was Elimelech, and his wife's name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there. Now Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. And after they had lived there about 10 years, both Mahlon and Kiloan also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband." Now this is really a startling opening set of verses in the book of Ruth. I mean, you've got five verses here that describe quite a lot in what was going on in this story. It begins by telling us it was during the time of judges and that there was a famine in the land. And specifically, that famine was effecting a town called Bethlehem, where Elimelech was from. Now, the irony of that, if you were reading this and you understood something about these things, you would understand that there's an irony in this because the name Bethlehem means house of bread. Bet, which means house in Hebrew, which means bread, it means house of bread, Bethlehem. And here, what we find in the opening verses, is that there is no bread in the house of bread. Now, if I were a preacher and I had a mind to, I might pause right there and begin to talk about what we're seeing in American Christianity. That there are signs on the outside of churches that are declaring that they are houses of bread, but inside, they are not preaching the fullness of the gospel; but instead, are just preaching like seven ways to have a better Monday or some other self-help silliness that doesn't save. And as a result, there is no bread in the house of bread. That people come in and they seem to want to be able to smell something cooking, but instead, they have the scraps of yesteryear that are lying in the pews and in the carpet. There's nothing to eat in the house of bread. But I'm not going to do that today. We could talk about that, but that's not really a part of what I'm talking about today. There was a famine in the land and there was no bread in the house of bread in Bethlehem. And as a result, Elimelech, took his wife, Naomi, and they went to the country, had to flee to the country of Moab. Now what's interesting is this, is that, in these five verses that we read to open the book of Ruth, we see Naomi's life go from relative stability, yeah, there was a famine, but her family, her husband, and they went to Moab and then their family grew, right? She went from relative stability to having to deal with struggle in the loss of her husband, to really dealing with ruin; because now her sons had died. And it is just her and the two daughters in-law that she has. So Naomi is destitute and helpless and hopeless. And think about what her daughters in-law are facing. They are double victimized. Because not only are they widowed, but they are also foreigners to the family. These are Moabite women, living in a Jewish family. This is a very difficult position for Naomi and for her family to be in. Eventually, after some time she hears about, in chapter one, she hears that there is now some food available and the famine is subsiding in Bethlehem and so she decides to return. And as she does, she takes with her her daughters in-law and they head out from Moab and they are making their way to Judah where Bethlehem is located. But while they're going, she turns to her daughters in-laws and says, "You need to turn back and you need to go back. You need to go back to Moab because this whole thing is hopeless. I mean, do you think that I'm gonna, maybe I find another husband, but I doubt at this point." But maybe, right? "And what have you? You're not even actually sort of related to me at this point because my sons who married you, they're dead. And now what are you gonna do to stay in my family? Are you gonna wait to see if I get married, and I don't even know if I can bear children anymore. And if I did get married and had children, are you gonna wait for those sons to grow up so that you can marry them and still remain in my family? Like this is hopeless. You need to just go back to where you came from." And so Orpah, cried. They both, they're all crying, right? I mean, it's a cry fest; Naomi and Ruth and Orpah, they're all crying. Orpah gives her a kiss and she turns, and she goes back to Moab. But not Ruth. In fact listen to the beautiful words that Ruth says in Ruth chapter 1:16-17. Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go, I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me." What beautiful words that Ruth is sharing now with her mother-in-law, Naomi. I find it interesting when I read this by the way, and this is not what I'm gonna be preaching today, but this passage is enlightening to me. I find it interesting that, when tragedy hits, oftentimes our responses are the same as these three women. The way that they process hardship and the way that they process tragedy. One, Orpah, she just goes back to where she came from. That happens when a lot of people face tragedy. Instead of pressing in, they actually move away; and they say, "I'm gonna go back to what I was used to. This isn't what I want." And they'll move away. Or maybe the response is like Naomi, Naomi got embittered, right? She just ended up being bitter about the whole thing. This is hopeless and those kinds of things. But then there's the response of Ruth. In the middle of tragedy, in the middle of hardship, she pressed into God and she pressed into God's people. You see, you've got a choice oftentimes, when it comes to tragedy and hardship, you can check out, you can get bitter or you can press in. That's what these women were doing as they processed tragedy during this time. Naomi's friends, when they arrived in Bethlehem, started saying, "Wow, it's Naomi." And she's got a woman with her, which was Ruth, right? "And Naomi is that you? You've been gone for some time. It's so good to see you." And Naomi says, "Don't call me Naomi. That word, Naomi, means pleasant." She said, "Call me Mara." M-A-R-A, which means bitter. So she even told her friends like this is not going well for me, the Lord's face is against me. And so this is what she experienced when she came into Bethlehem. And at the end of chapter one what we realize, is that she was coming into Bethlehem at the time of the barley harvest. Now, when we go into chapter two in the book of Ruth, you find Ruth doing what Ruth does, working. What she did is, she decided she was going out into the fields to try and work in the hopes that, the field that she would end up in, would honor both the teaching of Leviticus 19, and Deuteronomy 24; which God instructed the Israelites who owned land to leave some around the margins so that the poor, and the foreigner, and the widowed, would be able to come through and be able to pick up a little bit for themselves to take care of themselves. So she went out in a field that she didn't know, and she decided to do that. Hoping that whoever owned the field would embrace the idea of Leviticus 19 and Deuteronomy 24. And that there would be something out there for her. And she did. And as she was out there, the owner of the field showed up and his name was Boaz. Boaz was actually related to Elimelech, Naomi's husband that had died, and as a result related to Naomi. And Boaz asked, "Who's this woman out in the field?" And they tell her, "This is Ruth and she's connected to Naomi." And Boaz does what a noble man should do. Boaz says, "Let her do what she's doing." And by the way, he instructed every single one of the men on his property; "You do not touch her. You do not lay a hand on her." By the way, godly men, you should be doing the same.


You should be doing the same. These are sisters, these are family, they are not to be mistreated or abused or taken advantage of. As a noble godly man, you say to the other men, "You take care of them. You show them honor, you be good to them." So Boaz does all of those things. And in fact, he also allows her to be fed; so much so that she's able to take some home to Naomi. But she's blown away when she hears about this kindness, because she meets Boaz and she's blown away by his kindness. Notice what she says in chapter two verse 10; "At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. And she asked Boaz, 'Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me a foreigner?' Boaz replied, 'I've been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband; how you left your father and mother and your homeland, and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel under whose wings you have come to take refuge." You see, Boaz recognized that this was under God's wings that she had come to take refuge. And that Boaz, was going to be a helpful part of that. So Ruth ended up for the rest of the harvest season, just gathering and being able to provide for her and her mother-in-law, Naomi. When we open chapter three, and again, this is a very short book. When we open chapter three, Naomi gives Ruth some instructions that you and I would go, "Huh, this is interesting. Where's this story going?" Naomi says to Ruth, "I want you to go down to the threshing floor and I want you to do it secretly." Now, the threshing floor was this flat piece of ground, right? It had to be flat. Because what they did is they took all of the barley and the grain that they had harvested, and then they started, they pounded it, right? They stomped it, they pounded it. Sometimes they would have the oxen and the cattle walk over it, because what it did is, it separated out the grain from the chaff. And then they would take a winnowing fork and they would do this with the winnowing fork. And what would happen is, is that they were usually in a place where it was kind of windy, where they would do this. The grain, because it was heavy in the head, would fall to the ground, but the chaff would blow away. And so the threshing floor was the place where they kind of finally got to finish the harvest and were able to put all of this into a place where it would go out and be sold and be able to take care of people. So women were not allowed on the threshing floor. And so Naomi says to Ruth, "I want you to secretly go to the threshing floor. And when Boaz is asleep, I want you to crawl up and lay at his feet." Huh, story's getting interesting? Here's what happens, "In the middle of the night, something startled Boaz. He turned and there was a woman lying at his feet. 'Who are you?' He asked. 'I'm your servant Ruth,' she said. 'Spread the corner of your garment over me since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.' 'The Lord bless you my daughter,' he replied. 'This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier. You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. And now my daughter, don't be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. Although it's true that I'm a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I. Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer, good; let Him redeem you. But if He's not willing, as surely as the Lord lives, I will do it. Lie here until morning." Then he tells her, "But sneak out before anybody sees you," right? He tells her that a little bit later. What's interesting about this, is that what Ruth did when she went up and laid at his feet, it was honorable in that culture. This wasn't a woman being overly forward or promiscuous, that was not what this was. She was being honorable in what she did. And Boaz also responded honorably to her as well. And in chapter four, Boaz does what he says. He immediately goes, and he talks to this unnamed relative who's closer in kin to Naomi's family. And asked him if he wants to redeem the land and all of that. And the man says, "Absolutely." He wanted the land. But then he found out that Ruth was a part of the deal. Because the responsibility was not just to buy back the land, it was also to take Ruth as his wife, to have a son with her so that there was an heir. Which meant that that might not stay in this man's family, it would stay in this family. And I think he began to recognize the cost benefit analysis here; and said, "No, I'm not gonna do it." So Boaz in front of all the elders said, "Well, I'm going to." And they made it official. Back in those days, what you did is you took your sandals off and you traded sandals with somebody, and that's what made it official. That's like signing a contract, it's all that. So he did all of that. Boaz married Ruth, and he became the guardian-redeemer or the kinsmen-redeemer of that entire family. It's a beautiful story, isn't it? The whole story, I just summarized it for you. It's an absolutely beautiful story. So if you're saying, "Well, yeah, it's a story of love," well, it is for sure, right? It's a story of Boaz love that he showed to his family, to Naomi, to Ruth; no doubt about that. Maybe even more so, it's a story of how Ruth showed her love to her mother-in-law, Naomi. But more than a story of love, I can tell you what this story is, it's a story of redemption. That's what this book is about. So Jerry, how do you really know that? How can you say that? So matter of factly, well, the Hebrew word for redeem, redeemer, or redemption, in this small four-chapter book, is used 23 times. That should be hint enough as to what this book is actually about. This book is about redeeming, redemption and redeemers. And so when we look at that, what we realize is that, redemption is full of hope. It's full of hope for those who most desperately need it. And it's coming from those who are capable of doing the redeeming. Remember this was based on Old Testament law in terms of how you bought back and were able to bring life back to family that you have. So redemption brings hope. That's why I came back to this story in Ruth, because the idea of redemption actually brings hope. And you might say, "Well, okay, well, how does redemption bring hope?" Let me tell you, there's a handful of things that I would mention to you. The first is this, redemption is bigger than we imagined. You see the reason that redemption brings hope is because it's bigger than we imagined. Now, when we look at the book of Ruth, we can figure that out, but it doesn't pop out to us as clearly as it might. There was this magician that was on Britain's Got Talent, not America's Got Talent, but Britain's Got Talent. And I can't remember his name, I think he was actually Canadian, but showed up there to Britain's Got Talent, 'cause you can do that, you can show up anywhere you want. And he did this incredible magic routine. Where he had nothing in his hands and he was just kinda doing whatever like, and then boom, there's a dove. And I was like, "What?" Like guy is just kinda doing his thing, like, hey, what's going on? And there's a dove. And then he puts the dove in a cage. And then he comes back over and people are like, "What was that?" And then he does it again, there's another dove. And I was, I mean, this thing has like 120 million views on YouTube. And he puts the dove in the cage and then he's just kinda minding his business, and then, poof, there's another dove. And I'm going, "Where are the doves coming from?" Like that's why it's a good magic trick, right? And he does like, it's like four doves or five doves or something like that, right? And they just all keep popping out, like out of his hand. I'm going, "Where are the doves?" And then he puts them in this cage. And then after popping out these doves out of his bare hands like somehow, he covers the cage and the cage isn't that small cage, it's like this big. And he covers the cage and then, poof, he pulls off the cover and there's a woman that stands up. I'm like, "What is happening?" just doing stuff, things just keep coming at you. The first move was awesome, I was like, "Dude, he just made a dove out of his hand, that was crazy." And then they just kept coming. That's kind of like our story today. Our story today, you think you kinda know like the gig, you kinda go, "Oh, boom, there's the Redeemer right there." Boaz! And you're right, right? Boaz is the guardian-redeemer. You read it and you say, "Hey, where's the redeemer in the story?" And you say, "It's Boaz." Yeah, dove number one. But somehow as you keep reading this, doves just keep popping out of the text. In fact, I would suggest to you, that there are actually five doves plus one in this text. In fact, let me see if I can point them out to you. The first one, is the unnamed relative of Boaz. His job is actually to be the guardian-redeemer of the family. That was actually his job. We already know Boaz is the first, right? But this unnamed relative was closer in his relationship to Naomi and Elimelech. He was the one that was in line to be the guardian-redeemer. But he evaluated what was going on and maybe wanted the benefit of the redemption of the land, but failed to count the cost when it came to Ruth and Naomi, and having to take care of them and having to provide an heir through Naomi. Realizing that this was gonna cost him money, he kind of punched out. He was supposed to be a guardian-redeemer for the family, but he did not do that. So there's Boaz, there's an unnamed relative, and then a third one when you begin to pay attention, is Ruth herself. You see because what Ruth ends up doing is providing for Naomi, a child, that becomes for that family now a guardian-redeemer. The fourth would be the child that they had. His name was Obed. In fact, when you read in the text and in Ruth chapter four, you actually see the idea that both Ruth and her son, are both redeemers in some way, because what they're doing is they're buying back Naomi's life. Listen to what it says in Ruth chapter four, it says: "So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. And when he made love to her, the Lord enabled her to conceive and she gave birth to a son. And the women said to Naomi, "Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel. He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age for your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth." You see right in that text there, you see both Ruth and Obed, the son that are basically called out as if they are redeemers themselves. And you say, "'Okay, Jerry, didn't you say five plus one? That's four: Boaz, unnamed relative, Ruth, their son Obed, who else?" We have to get all the way to the end and read the genealogy at the end of Ruth, to find the last one or the fifth one. Here's what it says in the genealogy. It says, "This then is the family line of Perez. Perez was the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahon, Nashon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz; Boaz the father of Obed, Obed the father of Jesse; and Jesse the father of David."

Ah, now we start to see where the writer of this book is trying to get us, Because we now are introduced to this key figure called David, who would ultimately be a redeemer of sorts for the people of Israel. And the interesting thing about this, is when you get to this genealogy, it is a 10 person genealogy. Now, the reason that I bring that up is because there's only two other times in the Old Testament that we have a 10 person genealogy. Now just as a side note here, when you read genealogies in the Old Testament, they don't always have to go literally, kind of father to son, it doesn't have to go that way. Sometimes they skip generations, and just recognize that they're in the same line and they do that for a particular purpose. So you don't have to get all tied up. If you go, "Wait a minute. Well, that wasn't his mom, that was his great grandmother. Don't worry about that." They weren't worried about that, that's just what they did and how they built genealogies. But there was a 10 person genealogy for Noah. There was a 10 person genealogy for Abraham, and there's a 10 person genealogy for David. Why is that? Because what God is doing in each of these genealogies is that there is a new era beginning. Is it something brand new? God is acknowledging and establishing His covenant faithfulness when He says of Noah, "These things will never be again. And this will be a new way of living." With Abraham, "This is what I'm going to do as of covenantly faithful God on your behalf." And now we see a 10 person genealogy ending with David to remind us of the covenant faithfulness of God. It's the sign of a new day. And what this does, when we get to the end of the book of Ruth, reading with New Testament eyes, is it puts us into the larger flow of the grand narrative of scripture. It actually brings us into the big picture, right? So that's five that we've named in Ruth; that all appear in Ruth. Boaz, the unnamed relative; Ruth, Obed, David, but where's the plus one? Well, the plus one, if you look at the beginning and the end, or the bookends of the redeemers that I mentioned, Boaz and David, you start to figure it out. Because the plus one, you need to look no further than the hometown of Boaz and the hometown of David, Bethlehem. You see, sin had wreaked havoc in the world that we were living in, and the people of God were facing extraordinary ruin in the age to come. And as they faced that ruin, the difficult reality was this, is that the nation had been corrupted and individuals had been corrupted. So this nation Israel was not demonstrating the glory of God to the world. And so God acts in a way that Israel was incapable of, and God sends His Son, born to you this day in the City of David, is a savior, and His name is Christ the Lord. You see, my friends at long last, there was now bread in the house of bread.

You remember the words that Jesus actually said about himself in John six, "Jesus declared; 'I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. Very truly, I tell you the one who believes has eternal life. I'm the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness yet they died, but here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." You see my friends when we begin to read the book of Ruth and we recognize that redemption is the thing, and what we start to realize very quickly, is that this redemption is bigger than we imagined. Because just what we're reading in Ruth, we seem to think that we've only seen one dove, when in actuality, there's a bunch of doves and then, poof, there's a man who stands as the Son of God, who is there for the redemption of the world. Redemption is bigger than we imagined. But what we also learned that gives us great hope is this, is that redemption is better than we imagined. It's not just bigger than we imagined, it's actually better than we imagined. You see when we get to the very end of the book of Ruth, and we see this genealogy that ends with David, when we read this with New Testament eyes, it should draw our attention somewhere. For instance, to the opening lines of the very first gospel in the New Testament. Because that too, is a genealogy. Listen to what it says in Matthew chapter one; "This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham." Remember He got a 10 person genealogy as well. "Salmon, the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of king David." This is a part of Matthew chapter one. And when we begin to read this, we start to recognize that redemption is better than we imagined; because apparently, people who were really not qualified for redemption could be redeemed. People who had no standing, did you check out what it said about who Boaz's mom was? Rahab. Just to check in with you, if you don't know the Old Testament, let me give you her occupation, prostitute. That was her occupation. This was in the line of Boaz, regardless of whether it was his mom or his grandmother, or great-grandmother, that doesn't, that's immaterial, right? In the line of Boaz, what you have is you have Rahab. And what about people like Naomi and Ruth? Naomi, she was destitute. She was helpless, she was hopeless. She was ruined by tragedy. What about Ruth? Well, when we read about Ruth, you know the first thing that we find out about Ruth is? She's a foreigner. She's a Moabite. Do you know how Moabites got started? Let me read to you in Genesis how Moabites got started. "So both of Lot's daughters became pregnant by their father. The older daughter had a son and she named him Moab, he is the father of the Moabites of today." The Moabites started from an incestuous relationship. And do you know who the Moabites were? The Moabites were the people, if you read Numbers chapter 22, 23 and 24; who tried to put a curse on Israel when Israel was entering the promised land. Do you know who the Moabites were? The Moabites were the people that in Deuteronomy chapter 24, God said, "They should not be allowed in the assembly of Israel and be able to gather for worship;" Deuteronomy 23. That they should not be able to gather for worship. This was who the Moabites were. So you've got these kinds of people. Rahab, Naomi, Ruth. I was having a conversation just this last week. My wife and I were with a friend of ours, who is a professional musician, wonderfully gifted, wonderfully talented. Recently had been on Jimmy Fallon and played there. And song blew up to number one, album to number one, anyway. He's a family friend. And we were talking with him and I was talking to him about my favorite song of his, it's song called "Rosalyn." And Idi loves that song too. And we were just sitting there and we were eating together and talking. And Idi says to him, "Is there a "Rosalyn?" Like I'm just interested about, because the song is about this woman, Rosalyn, who's been beat up by life. Who's really looking for hope and redemption. That's what the song is about. And it's hauntingly beautiful. And so Idi wants to know, is there a Rosalyn? And he looked right back at her and he said, "It's interesting that you asked me that." Because he said, "On an interview that I was on, a radio interview, the interviewer started out that way and said point blank; 'Who's Rosalyn?" And he said, "I thought for just a moment, and this is how I responded; we're all Rosalyn." Hey friends, we're all Naomi. Every single one of us, we have been devastated by life. We've been hurt, we've been crushed by loss. We've been abandoned by a loved one. We've been left without hope. We're all Naomi. And we're all Ruth. We're all spiritual foreigners, we're all helpless. We all have backgrounds that aren't deserving. That's exactly how Paul describes us by the way when we read what he describes us as an Ephesians two. He says, "Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called uncircumcised by those who call themselves the circumcision, which has done in the body by human hands; remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, you were excluded from citizenship in Israel, foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world." We're all Ruth. But thank God, we have a redeemer. And that redeemer gives us purpose and life. Listen to what Paul said in Galatians chapter three, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written; 'cursed is everyone who hung on a pole.' He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the spirit." You see whatever our background or whatever our histories, or however undeserving we are, thank God that we have a redeemer who's willing to make it new and to give us life and to give us a purpose. So I've already told you a couple of reasons for hope. Let me give you a third one real quick. Not only is redemption bigger than we imagined and better than we imagined, but it's more costly than we imagined. When we read this passage in the book of Ruth, we realize that redemption has a cost because Boaz paid a high price for what he did. It cost him to be able to redeem the land, and more so, it cost him to be able to redeem Ruth and Naomi. This was going to be an enterprise, Boaz had already taken this to account. This was going to be an enterprise where Boaz was not going to make money on this deal, Boaz would be poorer as a result. But do you know what he didn't do? He didn't shutter in fear about the cost, he paid the price. And do you know that this picture of Boaz gives us a beautiful snapshot of who the Lord Jesus is as our kinsmen-redeemer, as the one who is closely related to us, who didn't set aside and evaluate the cost and go, "Ah, I think that the cost benefit analysis is not really good." But instead said, "If I've got to become poorer so that they become rich in me, I will gladly pay the cost. And I will do it at the expense of my own life." That the cost is not silver and gold, but the cost is His very blood. Listen to what Paul said in Ephesians. He says, "In Jesus we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us." Listen to what he says in Ephesians two; "But now in Christ Jesus you once who were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ." And listen to what Peter says in 1st Peter one; "You know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect." You see, what we get in the extraordinary high price of the blood of Jesus, we get more than we imagined with this costly redemption. You see what He did is He bought back for us, our lives for eternity; through His blood, through His death and resurrection. He bought back for us, a family, because we are now adopted into His. He bought back for us, the ability to have our sins forgiven and washed away. He bought back for us as a people that we now are a bride that are wed to Him. Think about it this way, we came up and we laid down at His feet and He spread the corner of His garment over us and said yes to us as a people. He bought us back. And as a result of buying us back, He gave us access to the throne room. He bought back our inheritance where we will now share eternity with Him and we will rule and reign alongside of Him. He bought back our freedom because we were slaves to sin, but He purchased us for Himself and bought back our freedom. He bought back in fact, all the things that have harmed us. He has bought back and taken upon Himself every hurt, every crushing defeat, every word from the enemy that battered our souls; every loss, every slanderous and malicious word that's been spoken over our lives and spoken into our lives. He bought back every tear, He bought back every longing that we have. And all of the olds from His purchase, all of the oldest going to be gone, and He will make all things new. In fact, He even buys back our physical bodies. Because they will be transformed into His glorious resurrection body when He returns. His redemption is bigger than we imagined, it is better than we imagined, and it is more costly than we could ever imagine. But it assures us of a positive answer to the question that Tolkin put in the mouth of Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the rings when he asked this, "Will everything sad come untrue?" And we, because of who Jesus is, can answer emphatically, yes, it will. Why? Because we are a redeemed people that are bought back through the death and resurrection of our great kinsmen-redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ.

So that's the great invitation to us, is that, the grand narrative is very much like Ruth in microcosm. It's a story of love, no doubt about it. Just like the story of the grand story of everything is a story of love. That God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever would believe in Him, would not perish but experience eternal life. But the story of Ruth is not just a story of love, it's also a story of what love produced and that is redemption. And that's the great story that we all are in, this great story of God that He's loved us so much has meant that as a result that He's redeemed us, He's bought us back. That if we will just by faith, turn from trusting in ourselves or trusting in our sin and put our faith in Jesus Christ and what He's done on a cross, what He's done in rising from a grave, what He's done in buying us back, what He's done in spreading His garment over us to cover us and to bring us back into His family; that we too can be redeemed. We can be bought back. It is so great to be a redeemed people because all of us are in a state where we are helpless and hopeless and foreigners. But God in His great love for us has reached out to us and is our kinsmen-redeemer, our guardian-redeemer. And He offers His nail pierced hands for us to respond in faith to Him. 


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