One way, Jesus, You’re the only One that I could live for!
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
- Isaiah 6:8
Thank you! Between being a Youth Pastor, Assistant Pastor, and Senior Pastor, it has been 22 years!
In the Old Testament:
- In Genesis, He is the Creator God.
- In Exodus, He is the Redeemer.
- In Leviticus, He is your sanctification.
- In Numbers, He is your guide.
- In Deuteronomy, He is your teacher.
- In Joshua, He is the mighty conqueror.
- In Judges, He gives victory over enemies.
- In Ruth, He is your kinsman, your lover, your redeemer.
- In I Samuel, He is the root of Jesse.
- In 2 Samuel, He is the Son of David.
- In 1 Kings and 2 Kings, He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
- In 1st and 2nd Chronicles, He is your intercessor and High Priest.
- In Ezra, He is your temple, your house of worship.
- In Nehemiah, He is your mighty wall, protecting you from your enemies.
- In Esther, He stands in the gap to deliver you from your enemies.
- In Job, He is the arbitrator who not only understands your struggles, but has the power to do something about them.
- In Psalms, He is your song–and your reason to sing.
- In Proverbs, He is your wisdom, helping you make sense of life and live it successfully.
- In Ecclesiastes, He is your purpose, delivering you from vanity..
- In the Song of Solomon, He is your lover, your Rose of Sharon.
- In Isaiah, He is the mighty counselor, the prince of peace, the everlasting father, and more. He’s everything you need.
- In Jeremiah, He is your balm of Gilead, the soothing salve for your sin-sick soul.
- In Lamentations, He is the ever-faithful one upon whom you can depend.
- In Ezekiel, He is your wheel in the middle of a wheel–the one who assures that dry, dead bones will come alive again.
- In Daniel, He is the ancient of days, the ever- lasting God who never runs out of time.
- In Hosea, He is your faithful lover, always beckoning you to come back–even when you have abandoned Him.
- In Joel, He is your refuge, keeping you safe in times of trouble.
- In Amos, He is the husbandman, the one you can depend on to stay by your side.
- In Obadiah, He is Lord of the Kingdom.
- In Jonah, He is your salvation, bringing you back within His will.
- In Micah, He is judge of the nation.
- In Nahum, He is the jealous God.
- In Habakkuk, He is the Holy One.
- In Zephaniah, He is the witness.
- In Haggai, He overthrows the enemies.
- In Zechariah, He is Lord of Hosts.
- In Malachi, He is the messenger of the covenant.In the New Testament:
- In Matthew, He is king of the Jews.
- In Mark, He is the servant.
- In Luke, He is the Son of Man, feeling what you feel.
- In John, He is the Son of God.
- In Acts, He is Savior of the world.
- In Romans, He is the righteousness of God.
- In I Corinthians, He is the rock that followed Israel.
- In II Corinthians, He the triumphant one, giving victory.
- In Galatians, He is your liberty; He sets you free.
- In Ephesians, He is head of the Church.
- In Philippians, He is your joy.
- In Colossians, He is your completeness.
- In I Thessalonians, He is your hope.
- In II Thessalonians, He is your glory.
- In I Timothy, He is your faith.
- In II Timothy, He is your stability.
- In Titus He is your reason for serving.
- In Philemon, He is your benefactor.
- In Hebrews, He is your perfection.
- In James, He is the power behind your faith.
- In I Peter, He is your example.
- In II Peter, He is your purity.
- In I John, He is your life.
- In II John, He is your pattern.
- In III John, He is your motivation.
- In Jude, He is the foundation of your faith.
- In Revelation, He is your coming King.
For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. - 2 Corinthians 7:10
Text: Ruth 1:1-5 In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and 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, his wife’s name 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. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.
The book of Ruth is a story of tremendous loss, total loyalty, and abundant restora-tion. In verse 1 the scripture sets the stage for this story by telling us that there is a famine in the land. Because of this famine We have a family that chooses to leave the Promised Land and travel to Moab in hopes of finding sustenance.
Here we see the reason why need restoration in the first place. Instead of trusting God to provide they went their own way and sought fulfillment in the world. Elimelech left the land of promise. He left the inheritance that God gave him and went back out to find provision among the heathen. Instead of trusting God he took matters into his own hands.
Jeremiah 17:5 This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.”
God has the perfect plan for our lives and the perfect solution for every situation we encounter. People get into trouble when we take matters into our own hands and go our own ways rather than seek the Lords counsel and take matters into our own hands.
Jeremiah 29:11 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.
What seems right may be wrong.
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
Common sense doesn’t always apply when it comes to serving God. Sometimes God will ask us to go against our common sense because he wants us to have to trust him.
Isaiah 55:8+9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
The name Naomi means pleasant, sweet, and delightful. That’s what God desires for His people. The only catch is that you have to willing to trust Him and obey Him. Bad things happen when we take matters into our own hands. What happened?
So Naomi’s husbands moves the family from the land of their inheritance back out into world. Not too long after that he dies and then her 2 sons died as well. To say that Naomi was distraught would be an understatement. She was so angry and devastated that she wanted to change her name.
Ruth 1:20+21 “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”
The name Mara in Hebrew means “Bitter”. So here we have this bitter woman who is angry at God because her life has been totally destroyed because of her husband’s unbelief. But God had a plan to restore the things that she had lost and this is how He did it.
We serve a God of restoration.
Joel 2:25 Then I will restore and make up to you for the years That the swarming locust has eaten, The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust, My great army which I sent among you.
If we want restoration than we must be willing to return.
Ruth 1:6, 22 When she heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, Naomi and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabites, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.
In order for restoration to come we first have to return. God wants to make up for all that sin has stolen from us. Whether it be our sin, or as a result of someone else’s sins. God wants you to get it all back and more, but we first have to return. What does that mean?
The word restore can be translated a couple of different ways in the Hebrew. One of the ways that it can be translated is from the Hebrew word “Shoob” which means “to return, to turn back.” It is also the Hebrew word for “Repent”.
Psalm 51:10-12 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence; and take not your holy spirit from me. Restore (Shoob) to me the joy of your salvation; and uphold me with your free spirit.
We must repent to be restored. We must turn away from our sins that brought us to where we are. Repentance is always followed by restoration.
2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble them-selves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways;(repent) then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (Restore)
We all have sins that we struggle with. We must repent and break free from the ones that wreak havoc in our lives.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
We also need to repent of the sins that have been committed against us. You may ask, “Why would we have to repent of someone else’s sin?”
Because the sins committed against us produces a mentality and a way of thinking that hinders us just as much as our own sins do. Those who have been abused, mistreated, neglected or put down have developed a pattern of thinking in line with the sins committed against them. Our minds are like computers. We have all been programmed to think a certain way. To react to situations and people a certain way. That way of thinking has been warped by sin. We need to repent of the way of thinking that someone elses sin has produced.
2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Romans 8:6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit (not by any person or a church) is life and peace.
In the New Testament repent takes on a different emphasis. In the New testament the word repent comes from the Greek word Mentaneo which means “To think differently afterward”.
Matthew 4:17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
Turning away from our sin or the mentality that sin has created and returning to the mind of Christ is the first step towards restoration. How do we know this? We know this because of where God brought them.
Ruth 1:22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabites, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.
Bethlehem means “The House of Bread”. God always knows where he wants to lead us. In a time of great famine God led them to the House of Bread.
Matthew 6:8 Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Repentance will lead you back under Christ’s covering.
Ruth :7-11 When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. In the middle of the night something startled the man, and he turned and discovered a woman lying at his feet. “Who are you?” he asked. “I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the hem of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer.” “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.
Boaz was Hebrew of great stature in Bethlehem and was known as a Kinsmen Redeemer. A kinsmen redeemer is a person who is willing and able to pay the debt of a relative who is unable to pay. In that way Boaz is a type or symbol of Jesus Christ. When we repent of sin or turn away from the stinking thinking that sin creates God returns us to live under Christ’s covering.
Boaz covered Ruth with his tallit. We remember the tallit from the story of the woman with the issue of blood. What does the tallit represent?
The tallit was the most important piece of clothing used by orthodox Jewish men. Along the edges were tassels called tzitzits. What does the tallit mean in this story? It symbolizes three things in First Century Judaism:
1) IT IS A SYMBOL OF STATUS. (We are children of the King of Kings). The blue was a rare color. Only the more affluent could afford it. The more blue the higher the status.
2) IT IS A SYMBOL OF AUTHORITY. (Jesus has given us spiritual authority) “When David cut off a corner of Saul’s cloak or tallit in 1 Samuel 24:4, it symbolized the shift of authority taking place from Saul to David
3) IT IS A SYMBOL OF HOLINESS. (We are made holy because His blood has washed us clean) The tallit was worn to remind the men of Israel of the Law or God’s Word. The tallit became a symbol of personal holiness accomplished through personal obedience.
We were always meant to abide under Christ’s covering. It’s when we wander out from underneath that covering that bad things happen. We need to return there and learn what it means to abide there.
John 15:4-11 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches: He that stays in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you. Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you: continue you in my love. If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s command-ments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken to you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
What can we learn from this passage?
When Boaz placed Ruth under his Tallit it also signified his intention to take Ruth as his wife. In the same way Christ has taken us as his bride. Finally, God restored Naomi and blessed her above and beyond what she had before.
Ruth 4:13-15 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Then he went to her, and the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will restore 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.”
Not only did God restore her, but made her great-grand mother to a king.
Ruth 4:16+17 Then Naomi took the child, laid him in her lap and cared for him. The women living there said, “Naomi has a son.” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
God desires to restore and make up for the things that sin has stolen from us. Let us take the steps that are necessary fo Him to do that in all of our lives.
Hosea 6:1-3 “Come, let us return to the Lord. We have been torn to pieces but he will heal us; We have been injured but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the spring rains that water the earth.”
Matthew 5:44-45 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
If Christ can forgive us, then surely we can forgive others.
At a very difficult and dark period in Thomas Merton’s life he penned this prayer that has been a great help to so many people:
O Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going,
I do not see the road ahead of me,
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
And that fact that I think
I am following Your will
Does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe
That the desire to please You
Does in fact please You.
And I hope I have that desire
In all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything
Apart from that desire to please You.
And I know that if I do this
You will lead me by the right road,
Though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust You always
Though I may seem to be lost
And in the shadow of death.
I will not fear,
For You are ever with me,
And You will never leave me
To make my journey alone.