#4 (THE "BOOK OF RUTH" SERIES)
TEXT: Ruth 4:1-22
INTRO: What do you do when you have done all you can do and all that is left now is to wait on God to see what will happen? YOU PRAY and WAIT! In a society that always believes there is something we should be doing we must learn that there is a time to trust God in prayer and believe and sometimes this is all we can do – and then just wait in faith!
When we do pray, we must believe in our hearts that God will intervene; this is the only way to have peace while waiting for a miracle! This is exactly where Ruth found herself at this point, she had practiced love, prayed a great deal, done everything she could, and now she waited and believed!
Some people pray, but don't really believe! These should G0 together!
ILLUS: HERB MILLER WROTE IN “CONNECTING WITH GOD” A STORY ABOUT A CHURCH IN A SMALL TOWN THAT HAD CALLED ITS ENTIRE PEOPLE TOGETHER TO PRAY AGAINST A NEW NIGHTCLUB THAT HAD OPENED THERE. THAT NIGHT DURING THE PRAYER MEETING A LIGHTNING BOLT STRUCK THE NIGHTCLUB AND BURNED IT DOWN. THE OWNER OF THE NIGHTCLUB HEARD ABOUT THE PRAYER MEETING AND TOOK THE CHURCH TO COURT TO SUE THEM CLAIMING THEY WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LOSS AND THE FIRE! THE CHURCH DENIED ANY RESPONSIBILITY HOWEVER. DURING THE HEARING IN COURT, BOTH SIDES PLEADED THEIR CASE, THE OWNER BLAMING THE CHRISTIANS AND THEIR PRAYERS, AND THE CHURCH DENYING RESPONSIBILITY. THE JUDGE FINALLY SPOKE AND SAID THIS: “IT SEEMS WHEREVER THE GUILT MAY LIE THE NIGHTCLUB OWNER BELIEVES IN PRAYER WHILE THE CHURCH DOESN'T!” -- Source Unknown
Ruth believed God and was waiting … the Lord will not disappoint her or Naomi whom she had ministered to so faithfully.
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that faithfulness and faith brings us to rejoicing! God sees and hears the prayers of an effectual righteous man/woman, and He answers!
I. WAITING FOR THE MIRACLE! 4:1-4
A. Trust! 4:1-4a
1. Ruth is at home with Naomi just waiting for the miracle they had hoped and prayed for, there was nothing more to do at this point!
a. When we have reached the limit of what we can do, God is faithful to His faithful servants!
b. Ruth could relax knowing she had done all she could and that God can do what she can’t do!
c. Naomi’s confidence was also shown in her statement to Ruth, "Wait my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today." 3:18
2. Boaz is also trusting God, but he is also clever in how he presents his case:
a. He does things by the book, according to all the laws of the land in his day!
b. His respect for authority will be honored by the Lord.
c. He takes no shortcuts to get what he wants; he desires to do every thing right!
3. While Ruth had trusted in God she also had nudged Boaz toward what she was praying for, her actions were consistent with her prayers!
a. Sometimes we need a good nudge!
b. Commitment requires at times a little nudge, but not compromise!
ILLUS: ONCE THERE WAS A GREAT KINGDOM, AND THE KING HAD A BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER WHOM EVERY MAN IN THE KINGDOM WANTED TO MARRY. THE KING DIDN'T THINK ANY OF THE SUITORS WERE GOOD ENOUGH, SO HE DEVISED A TEST THAT HE BELIEVED WOULD MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR ANY MAN TO GET HIS DAUGHTER'S HAND IN MARRIAGE. THE TEST WOULD INVOLVE HAVING TO SWIM ACROSS A POND FILLED WITH HUNGRY ALLIGATORS. ALL THE MEN WERE CALLED OUT AND THE CHALLENGE GIVEN, NO ONE MOVED FOR A SECOND, THEN SUDDENLY THERE WAS A SPLASH AND EVERYONE WATCHED AS A YOUNG MAN SWAM FEVERISHLY VEERING ALL OVER THE PLACE TRYING TO AVOID THE ALLIGATORS! ONE ALLIGATOR SNAPPED AT HIS HAND JUST MISSING IT, ANOTHER WENT FOR HIS LEG, AND AGAIN AS HE SWAM FEVERISHLY FOR THE OTHER SIDE HE JUST MISSED GETTING HIS LEG BIT OFF. ANOTHER CAME AT HIS HEAD AND JUST MISSED. FINALLY, EXHAUSTED BUT UNINJURED HE EMERGED FROM THE OTHER SIDE. THE KING RAN OVER TO HIM AND PRAISED THE YOUNG MAN'S COURAGE AND FAITH AND SAID TO HIM, "SUCH A BRAVE MAN, TO YOU GOES THE HAND OF MY DAUGHTER AND HALF MY KINGDOM!" THE MAN ANSWERED, "THAT'S FINE AND GOOD, BUT FIRST I HAVE A QUESTION, WHO PUSHED ME IN!?" STANDING ON THE SHORE LINE WHERE HE HAD STARTED FROM STOOD A SMILING PRINCESS! -- Source Unknown
4. Ruth was waiting expectantly, so was Naomi, and so was Boaz!
a. Boaz was trusting God would honor his doing things the right way!
b. Boaz does find the closer “kinsman-redeemer” and makes the offer for him to redeem first – this was the right thing!
5. Boaz mentions only the land though.
a. Perhaps since this was a legal arrangement that would involve the payment of money Ruth is not mentioned since she was not technically for sale!
b. She could only be "acquired" and not bought!
6. The sale of the land would allow for income for Naomi who was poor, but property sold was suppose to stay in the family if possible, so eventually on the year of Jubilee (every 50 years) all land reverted back to the original owners anyway.
7. The stage was set and everyone was trusting God!
B. Tragedy!? 4:4b
1. For a second, things look bad!
a. The other redeemer says he is willing to purchase the land!
b. This would mean Boaz is out of the picture!
2. This is the "death of a vision" principle!
a. It may at first appear that even God had failed to come through!
b. This is often a test of our faith – the vision seems to die, then what will we do, will our faith still endure!?
3. So often this happens with us when we pray and believe, even when we have done all the right things it sometimes looks like failure and no answer, or at least not the one we had prayed for!
a. Would Boaz give up and walk away!?
b. What do we do in such circumstances!?
II. WATCHING THE MIRACLE! 4:5-12
A. Turnaround! 4:5-10
1. Just when it all seemed lost Boaz brings up another important issue along with the land: Ruth!
a. Not only would the man have to pay for the land but he would have to take Ruth as his wife and raise up a son with her to give the land back to her son’s family some day as well as financially taking care of her and Naomi the mother in law!
b. This put a whole new dimension to the decision … buying the land was one thing, but getting two women and having to have kids to inherit the land he just bought – that was another whole issue!
(1. This would mean not only buying the land but someday giving it up to a son that would not technically be his, thus he would be paying for something he couldn't keep later.
(2. Also, for many years this would mean a financial responsibility to Ruth, Naomi and the new heir that would not have even carry his name!
2. There was no option in doing all this if he bought the land, the whole thing came as a package!
3. While the land looked good to him all he saw in Ruth was the loss of dollar signs!
a. He did not see Ruth as desirable or valuable; she was only a liability to him!
b. He only lived to gain for himself, how different Boaz saw things!
ILLUS: A GEM DEALER WAS STROLLING DOWN THE AISLES AT THE TUCSON GEM AND MINERAL SHOW WHEN HE NOTICED A BLUE-VIOLET STONE THE SIZE AND SHAPE OF A POTATO. HE LOOKED IT OVER, THEN, AS CALMLY AS POSSIBLE ASKED THE VENDOR, "YOU WANT $15 FOR THIS?" THE SELLER REALIZING THE ROCK WASN'T AS PRETTY AS OTHERS IN THE BIN LOWERED THE PRICE TO $10. THE MAN TOOK IT. THE STONE HAS SINCE BEEN CERTIFIED AS A 1,095 CARAT NATURAL STAR SAPPHIRE, ABOUT 800 CARATS LARGER THAN THE LARGEST STONE OF ITS KIND! IT WAS APPRAISED AT $2.28 MILLION!! IT TOOK A LOVER OF STONES TO RECOGNIZE THE SAPPHIRE'S WORTH, THE OTHER GUY ONLY SAW AN UGLY DULL STONE! -- Source Unknown
4. Boaz knew the value of Ruth, to him she would not be a financial drain but a blessing!
5. As Boaz watched, the miracle came around! What he almost lost he now finds, simply because he and his faith persevered!
6. Just when things seemed to be lost God broke through and answered!
B. Testimony 4:11-12
1. Notice the testimony given here by the witnesses, they all concur that this is God's blessing and they affirm the decision by Boaz to take not only the land but Ruth as well!
a. Their statement here about Ruth being blessed like Rachael and Leah puts Ruth fully into the house of Israel now; no longer will she be called the "Moabitess!"
b. This indicated her full acceptance with the Jews, by both faith and action she belonged to God’s people!
c. “Perez” mentioned here was a descendant of Boaz's (see I Ch. 2:5,18,50 ff.) He was considered the progenitor of the Bethlehemites! And we all know who was later born in Bethlehem! “…May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem.” 4:11b
2. Their testimony would seal the blessing of God in the minds of all the people!
a. The miracle is witnessed by all, and testified to by all!
b. For years to come this would give special meaning to Ruth and her children in that town!
c. The deeds of faith come to fruition and bless others as well!
ILLUS: FEW PEOPLE KNOW THE STORY OF GEORGE MCCLUSKEY. WHEN HE STARTED HIS FAMILY HE DECIDED TO INVEST ONE HOUR A DAY IN PRAYER, BECAUSE HE WANTED HIS KIDS TO FOLLOW CHRIST. AFTER A TIME HE EXPANDED HIS PRAYERS TO INCLUDE HIS GRANDCHILDREN AND GREAT GRANDCHILDREN. EVERY DAY BETWEEN 11 A.M. AND NOON, HE PRAYED FOR THE NEXT 3 GENERATIONS. AS THE YEARS WENT BY HIS 2 DAUGHTERS COMMITTED THEIR LIVES TO CHRIST AND MARRIED MEN WHO WENT INTO FULL TIME MINISTRY. THE 2 COUPLES PRODUCED 4 GIRLS AND ONE BOY. EACH OF THE GIRLS MARRIED MINISTERS TOO, AND THE BOY BECAME A PASTOR. THE FIRST TWO CHILDREN BORN TO THIS GENERATION WERE BOTH BOYS. UPON GRADUATION FROM HIGH SCHOOL THE TWO COUSINS CHOSE THE SAME COLLEGE AND BECAME ROOMMATES DURING THEIR SOPHOMORE YEAR, ONE BOY DECIDED TO GO INTO THE MINISTRY, BUT THE OTHER DIDN'T ... HE DID FEEL PRESSURE BUT HE INSTEAD CHOSE TO PURSUE HIS INTEREST IN PSYCHOLOGY ... HE EARNED HIS DOCTORATE AND WROTE MANY BOOKS THAT BECAME BEST SELLERS. HE STARTED A RADIO PROGRAM HEARD ON MORE THAN A 1,000 STATIONS EACH DAY. THE MAN'S NAME, JAMES DOBSON! DID THE PRAYERS OF A MAN 3 GENERATIONS AGO PAY OFF!? WE HAVE ALL WATCHED THE MIRACLE! -- Source Unknown
3. There would be many people telling this story for generations to come, they all have been witnesses of answered prayer for Naomi, Ruth and Boaz!
4. When there is a real miracle you don't have to just confess it ... you will notice it and see it, and so will everyone else!
III. WONDER OVER THE MIRACLE 4:13-22
A. Triumph! 4:13-15
1. Now the rejoicing part!
a. Everyone is happy; God has blessed Boaz, Ruth, and Naomi!
b. And from this offspring will come a blessing to the Nation of Israel in a great king named David, and eventually a blessing to the entire world through Jesus!
2. They all shared in the rejoicing for they all shared in doing what was right and having faith in God!
3. This is the great triumph of faith, which others get to join in the triumph with us!!
ILLUS: AT THE END OF WW II THE DOCUMENTS OF SURRENDER TOOK PLACE ON THE USS MISSOURI. IT WAS TO BE SIGNED BY THE JAPANESE REPRESENTATIVES AND THOSE DESIGNATED FROM THE ALLIES. GENERAL DOUGLAS MACARTHUR WAS THE LAST TO SIGN ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES, BUT WHEN HE SIGNED IT HE WROTE ONLY "DOUGLAS." THEN HE PASSED THE PEN TO GENERAL WAINWRIGHT WHO SIGNED AN ADDITIONAL "MAC" RIGHT AFTER THE NAME OF "DOUGLAS." MACARTHUR THEN PASSED THE PEN TO GENERAL PERCIVAL WHO SIGNED THE FINAL PART, "ARTHUR" TO THE "MAC" PART. THIS UNUSUAL ACT WAS MACARTHUR'S WAY OF HONORING TWO OF HIS COLLEAGUES WHO HAD SUFFERED SEVERE PERSECUTI0N IN JAPANESE PRISON CAMPS. THEY HAD PERSISTED IN BATTLE AND ALTHOUGH THEY DIDN'T PUT THEIR OWN NAME ON THE DOCUMENT, MACARTHUR WANTED THESE MEN TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS MOMENT OF TRIUMPH! THEIR FAITH HAD BEEN REWARDED THOUGH THEY USED HIS NAME! NOW THEY ALL SHARED IN THE GLORY! -- Source Unknown
4. Ruth's faith and diligence had brought triumph to many, not just herself!
a. Their faith in her and her God had allowed them all to rejoice now!
b. The whole town of Bethlehem wondered over all this marvelous work by God on behalf of Ruth!
c. Our faith does touch other people's lives!
5. Ruth is praised as a woman who was worth more than 7 sons!! A powerful statement since 7 sons was considered God’s perfect favor; notice Job had 7 sons as evidence of God’s favor on him. Job 1:2
a. This is quite a statement for that time when sons were considered more valuable than daughters!
b. 7 sons were supposed to be the most perfect Jewish family, yet Ruth was considered even better than this!
c. This was a long way for a Moabitess to come!
d. She had come all this way by faith, the same way we get to "rejoicing!"
6. Ruth's faith restored so much for so many!
a. It restored joy to a bitter old lady named Naomi.
b. It restored her own life.
c. It restored the life of Boaz.
d. It restored hope for Israel, the great king David comes from this union!
e. It restored an example of godliness at the time of the judges when sin abounded even in Israel, when men "did that which was right in their own eyes." Boaz and Ruth demonstrated that it was possible to live righteously in a time when so many did only what was right in their own eyes.
f. It restored confidence that God is concerned about His people!
7. Rejoicing was the result of 4 stages:
a. Renouncing the past
b. Requesting help
c. Reaping from faithfulness
d. Rejoicing in victory!
B. Treasure! 4:16-22
1. The book ends the same way it began, with the focus on Naomi!
a. Ruth becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son who they name “Obed.”
b. Naomi becomes nursemaid for Obed, he is raised by Naomi like a son, and in fact is called her son by the other women in the village, somewhat unusual for that time, but she would not have someone else care for him when he was the gift from God that restored her joy and her husband's name in Israel!
c. Obed was to be a treasure in many ways!
(1. He was the grandfather to David, Israel's greatest king!
(2. He was the ancestor to Jesus, the only Savior of the world!
d. From great crisis and loss came renewed hope and answer to faith and faithfulness.
2. Ruth had proved herself a SERVANT and so her son is name “OBED” … which in Hebrew means, "SERVANT!"
a. What a treasure!
b. This begins a long line of godly men, ultimately resulting in Jesus' birth!
3. Who could have ever guessed that a Moabitess widow's faith and faithfulness could bless so many … and ultimately change the whole world!
4. Have you pulled in the treasures of God by faith!?
ILLUS: COLUMNIST L.M. BOYD RECENTLY DESCRIBED THE GOOD FORTUNE OF A MAN NAMED JACK WURM. IN 1949 MR. WURM WAS BROKE AND JOBLESS AND AS HE WAS WALKING ALONG THE BEACH ONE DAY IN SAN FRANCISCO HE CAME ACROSS A BOTTLE WITH A PIECE OF PAPER IN IT. AS HE READ THE NOTE HE DISCOVERED THAT IT WAS THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF DAISY SINGER ALEXANDER, HEIR TO THE SINGER SEWING MACHINE FORTUNE. THE NOTE READ, "TO AVOID CONFUSION I LEAVE MY ENTIRE ESTATE TO THE LUCKY PERSON WHO FINDS THIS BOTTLE AND TO MY ATTORNEY, BARRY COHEN, SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE." ACCORDING TO BOYD, THE COURTS ACCEPTED THE THEORY THAT THE HEIRESS HAD WRITTEN THE NOTE 12 YEARS EARLIER AND HAD THROWN THE BOTTLE INTO THE THAMES RIVER IN LONDON, FROM WHERE IT HAD DRIFTED ACROSS THE OCEANS TO THE FEET OF A PENNILESS AND JOBLESS JACK WURM. HIS CHANCE DISCOVERY NETTED HIM OVER 6 MILLION DOLLARS IN CASH AND SINGER STOCK. WHAT IF HE HAD THROWN IT ALL AWAY NOT BELIEVING IT TO BE REAL!? BELIEVE AND REJOICE! -- Source Unknown
5. Have you known the joy of believing faith … and behaving faith … and thus the benefits of faith?
CONCLUSION: The triumph of faith is found in Ruth. She follows the 4 stages of faith and realizes the triumph of faith, rejoicing:
(1. Renouncing old life.
(2. Requesting help.
(3. Reaping from service.
(4. Rejoicing in God's power!
To rejoice we must pass through the other stages first, and when we do rejoicing is here to stay!