"Do not just hear the Word of God and think hearing is enough. DO what it says!" James 1:22

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lesson 13, Servants of God

Ruth 1

Our Wrap Up from Mrs. Gettelfinger...

What “life lessons” have you learned from the book of Ruth? Do you see a lesson on friendship? How about loyalty? Is there possibly a lesson on finding joy in spite of difficulties? What about a lesson in workmanship and dedication? Perhaps you see a lesson in romance?

I wish we had time to talk about all the life lessons God has packed for us in the Book of Ruth. For now, let’s focus on loyalty and redemption.

I googled “reasons for loyalty” as I put my Wrap Up together and found four very interesting aspects of loyalty. People are loyal for Psychological reasons. This means “it just makes sense” for them to be loyal. For example, if everyone goes to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving, it’s because it makes sense. Everyone knows how to get to Grandma’s. We’ve been meeting at Grandma’s for years. Grandma is getting older and it just doesn’t make sense for her to travel. So let’s all go to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving. People are loyal for Economic reasons. I do most of my grocery shopping at a particular store because I know I will save money there. You could say I am loyal to that particular store. People are loyal for Functional reasons. If the weather is below freezing outside, we will all be wearing coats to CBS. We are loyal to wear our coats in the winter time because it is functional. And lastly, people are loyal for Mutual Agreement reasons. Your dad goes to work because he made an agreement with his employer to work in return for a paycheck. Your dad is loyal to his job. When I accepted the position of being a CBS leader, I made an agreement with the Lord to study His Word like I’ve never studied before. I want to remain loyal to studying His word because I made an agreement with Him.

Here’s what is interesting about Ruth’s loyalty to Naomi... it does not fit in with any of the four aspects for loyalty I just mentioned. Psychologically (remember, that’s when something just makes sense,) it made more sense for Ruth to return to her family and her homeland. She was more likely to find a husband amongst her own people who would know her and care for her. Economically, Ruth chose to go to a land where there was little hope of her finding much food if any. Functionally, Ruth had no way to function within a society that was most likely going to shun her for being a foreigner. And what mutual agreement had Ruth made with Naomi... none. The mutual agreement Ruth made with Naomi’s son had no meaning with his death. Yet Ruth remained loyal. She stayed with Naomi even though she had nothing to gain and even more to lose. I know each of you love God. Are you loyal because it just makes sense to be loyal to the one true God? Or can you even understand the kind of loyalty Ruth showed when it made no sense at all to be loyal?

Sometimes God doesn’t make sense. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” Hebrews 11:1. That verse doesn’t make much sense if you really think about it. How can we be sure of something we can’t even see?! Yet God doesn’t tell us everything will make sense when we trust Him. He tells us His plan is the only one which makes sense when we have nothing else to trust. “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ Jeremiah 29:11. God’s loyalty to us doesn’t make sense. Even after we put our trust in Him, we still sin against Him. Yet He remains ever faithful... LOYAL.

Many Old Testament heroes show us a picture of Jesus and His redemption. Boaz is one of these heroes. Ancient Israelite law stated that if a man became poor and had to sell his land, it was the responsibility of the poor man’s relative to “redeem” the land or purchase it back for the poor man. Boaz eventually did this for Naomi through his marriage to Ruth. Boaz cared for Ruth even though she was not an Israelite woman. Jesus saves us even though we are not God’s chosen people. Boaz lifted Ruth from her poverty and through his care for her, she was rewarded for her loyalty. Jesus lifts us from our sins and through His love for us, we are rewarded with eternal life.

Ruth made a change that sets an example for all believers today. Ruth believed in the one true God. She left her home, her family, and her friends. And she never returned. She left her old life and took on a new one. Have you been redeemed by Jesus? Are you as loyal to Jesus as Ruth was to the one true God? “when you heard about Christ and were taught about the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught to stop living the way you’ve always lived because it really is bad for you. You were taught to be made new in how you think and behave.” Ephesians 4:21-23.