This four part study of the book of Ruth was preached at Trinity Bible Church in Richardson Texas in 2012.
The book of Ruth is a timeless drama of God's faithfulness in a time of loss and how He uses His people to restore one another. Naomi and her family fled to the country of Moab to escape a famine in their hometown of Bethlehem, but the land that was to be a place of refuge became a graveyard. Death robbed Naomi of her family. Broken and ruined, she returned home but did not go back alone. Her ever faithful daughter-in-law, Ruth, returned with her to face an uncertain future. But the God of Israel had not abandoned them. He brought one of their kinsman, the noble Boaz, into their lives and began unfolding a grand plan of restoration. God demonstrated His loyal love, and in turn the three of them demonstrated loyal love to one another. Their simple faithfulness led to events that changed the world.
This week we walk with Naomi as she experiences the terrible loss of her husband and sons. By the end of the first chapter of the Book of Ruth, the situation seems hopeless. Naomi, by her own admission, is “empty.” Like her, we will experience times of suffering that lead to emptiness. Disappointment is guaranteed in this life. What can we learn from Naomi’s example as we deal with our own disappointments?
When we left Ruth and Naomi last week, they were in the midst of ruin. This week we begin to see a glimmer of hope through a series of apparent coincidences. But the invisible hand of God's Providence is at work. In the same way, God continues to be at work in our lives, though it may not be readily apparent to us. Not only is he at work in us, but he works through us.
In act three, Ruth is sent on an unusual "mission" by her mother-in-law. The goal is to provide for Ruth's future welfare, but had these actions involved people of lesser character, the results would have been disastrous. This week we observe godly character in action; a character driven by loyal love.
In the final act, Ruth is restored as a wife and Naomi becomes a mother again. Though they have still lost their loved ones, they find comfort and consolation in the new people the Lord gives them. But though they don't know it, their story doesn't end here. Their demonstration of faithfulness impacts generations. The faithfulness of two ordinary women played a key role in God's extraordinary plan.