Each week we webcast Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, morning public worship at 11a, and p.m. singing and sermon at 2:30p (sermon at 3:30)

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

2019.11.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ruth 1:18-22

Questions from the Scripture text: What does Naomi see about Ruth in Ruth 1:18? What does she stop doing? What do the two of them do now (Ruth 1:19)? How far do they go? How much of the city was excited? Why? What do the women ask? What does Naomi tell them not to do in Ruth 1:20? What does she tell them to call her? Why? What is her memory of the condition in which they had left (Ruth 1:21)? What is her evaluation of her current condition? How many times does she name the One whom she sees behind her misery in Ruth 1:20-21? In the summary in Ruth 1:22, what additional data do we learn about the timing of their arrival?
Believers need to keep the certainty of the gospel of Christ front and center, so that we will see that the Lord is determined to do us good. Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to do her good, and so she went along with it. If only she was able to see the same with respect to the Lord!

Instead, she has opposite-vision. She says, “I went out full.” Did she really? Her family were fleeing starvation when she went out. Things were so bad that they were going to go live among the idolatrous Moabites! When we do not see God’s perfect and constant goodness through the lens of the gospel of Christ, how easily we can re-paint the past in beautiful colors by comparison to the present against which we grumble.

And she says, “Yahweh has brought me home again empty.” Does she not have that same Lord about whom Ruth has learned from her? Is He not more to her than all others, as Ruth has learned that He is unto her? And, she has this believing and devoted daughter who is not only a source of earthly help, but is that kind of believing companion who is a great help to the soul.

Sadly, this failure to be sure of the goodness of the Lord that has promised the Savior turns Naomi’s good theology to her spiritual disadvantage. The very fact that she knows that God has ordained her trials is now reason (in her eyes) to decide that God is against her. “The Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me […] Yahweh has brought me home again empty […] Yahweh has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me.”

She is correct about who has ordained her circumstances, but because she is not holding onto Him with the certainty that He is constantly and eternally good to her in the promised Christ, she is employing this theology backwards. She ought to have been judging her circumstances by the certainty of God’s purposes toward her, but she is instead judging God’s purposes toward her by what she thinks of her circumstances.

Now, before we think too harshly of Naomi, let us admit that we do the same ourselves, and it is much more inexcusable. For, we do not have a prospective promise of Christ (which did, genuinely, leave her without excuse). No, we have the finished work of Christ. We have the knowledge that it was the beloved Son who was given for us. We have the certainty that He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all is, together with Him, freely giving us all things (Romans 8:32). This certainty about God’s intentions to us in Christ must govern how we see our circumstances; let us never allow our perception of the circumstances shape what we think of God’s intentions toward us!
Is the cross of Christ your great peace and assurance? If so, What current/past difficult circumstances in your life does the cross assure you are for your good?
Suggested Songs: ARP183 “Under His Wings” or TPH256 “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”

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