This message was preached by Gary Welsh at Word of Grace Church on January 31st, 2016. To listen/download the audio please click here.To listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here
Ruth as we see her from Ruth 1: 1-18 is a very different character. Unlike Samson, she is someone to model our lives over. she is full of honesty, faithfulness and integrity.
Proverbs 18:22- " He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord"
Ruth is living in difficult days, when there was a famine in the land. The Israelites were in the cycle of disobedience and conquest. God is doing what he said he would do. Deuteronomy 28:15 "However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you".
Most people in Africa don't irrigate and are totally dependent on the rain. The rain was the blessing for the Israelites for obedience. God blesses obedience and holiness. when they move to this other land, all the men die- the misery continues. Naomi is in a foreign land with foreign daughters-in-law. In Ruth 1:20 Naomi says, “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.” We can find ourselves in such a situation. It seems like there is no way out and our experience is to think- Where is God?
There are two things we need to remember:
1. Even if we are saying where is God, we need to know that he doesn't leave us. Naomi knows God has not left her. When we read the book of Job, we know right in the beginning what is happening. Job is not aware of the conversation between Satan and God. Satan accuses saying- no wonder he loves you. Naomi is in the same situation where she doesn't know why this is happening to her.\
2. the reality of God's discipline in our life- we believe in grace and all but God disciplines those he loves. that comes to shape us. It is not an Old Testament truth. God doesn't change. Israel won't be cut off. They are being disciplined.
In times of tragedy, we need to work out if it is God or the devil. We need to examine ourselves- are there things in our life that need to be changed? God brings it up to us.
Q. Are there things that God is saying to you to get in order?
He loves us and he will discipline us. we don't always know why- Job did not know.
There are times which require some tough decisions. Ruth makes a courageous decision and followed it through. Naomi is a bitter woman at this point and Ruth was prepared to stick with her. She has embraced new customs, faced new enemies. She was never going to return to her people. She trusted God. She decided to go after God who dealt with Naomi badly. Churches need to be filled with people like this. I think when we get to eternity, in the throne room of God, we will be surprised to see the people who are in the front.
Ruth was a wife- widow- wife. She faithfully served God on fire. we need people who make decisions and stick by them. Ruth marries Boaz and becomes David's great grandmother. She is part of Jesus' ancestry. Her courage leads to all these things. Ruth did not know either. She had no prophetic word about what was going to happen. We need people who serve through the good and bad times.
I hope you are not meeting attenders though it is important to meet like this. But do what Jesus wants us to do. We need to exercise a commitment to build the church. This is what Jesus is doing on this planet. We need to be added to the church.
There are tough times that people go through. Jesus promised us a fight and in that fight we will get hurt. We need to be radically committed to the local church.
Q. Are you reliable?- to be in Pune, to build the local church here even if this is as good as your life will ever get?
Life consists in more than wealth- at the end of life.
Q. Are you leading people to Jesus? That's the measure.
Q. Where are you investing?
You invest into where you are going. So all your belongings need to go into heaven. Let's give our lives for that which counts and not for that which burns.
Sometimes, church can seem inconsequential. But Jesus is not building better schools, hospitals, etc. He is building the church.
Q. Are you building the church?
You need radical commitment to do that, without even knowing what is going to happen. Let's live according to the Bible and be ready to make difficult decisions. Ruth is an example to us- ready to make godly decisions- to extend the kingdom.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.