January 3 Sermon Excerpt
Naomi knew God, but she strayed from Him. She made a few poor choices, but God never abandoned her and never stopped meeting her needs. In the midst of her grief and poor decisions, Naomi failed to recognize that Ruth was put in her life as a blessing. God used Ruth for His glory, but also for the benefit of Naomi. That’s love and that’s grace.
Maybe you’ve strayed from God. Maybe you feel like He doesn’t like you, let alone love you. Maybe you’ve made some bad decisions. Please hear me, Jesus has not abandoned you. Is life a challenge and a struggle at times? Yes, but that’s the result of the sin in your heart and in this world. That’s why we need Jesus, who conquered sin, death, and hell. All of that for His glory and for our benefit!
Alistair Begg one of my favorite preachers said this, “We mustn’t allow our circumstances and disappointments to become the excuse for the choices we make in life. God is greater than all of that, and He can bring beauty out of ashes. Our trials come, Augustine said, ‘to prove us and to improve us.’”
In a very real way, your circumstances and disappointments don’t matter… Some will say, “Well, that’s terribly insensitive.” Please hear me, I’m not minimizing your hurt, your pain, and struggle, but are they proving your faith in Jesus or improving your faith in Him? Maybe both?
Focus on your circumstances and disappointments and you’ll be terribly unhappy. You’ll become the grumpy old man down the street or the bitter woman who’s a recluse… Focus on Jesus and you will be filled with love, hope and joy!
Naomi and Ruth, needed a redeemer, they needed help in order to survive and thrive in life. I can’t imagine they we’re expecting someone like Boaz to step into their lives. I’d like to suggest something, all of us are searching for a redeemer, like Ruth and Naomi, to help us survive and thrive in life.
You may say, “Not me Darren, I’m fine to live on my own. I don’t need a redeemer.” My response, “Then why do we drink too much? Why are we so lonely and depressed? Why do we think money and power will solve all of our problems? Why do we expect our spouses to be our saviors? Why are we living trying to relive the ‘glory days’ of our youth?”
All of us are looking for a redeemer, but we’re searching in all the wrong places…
In many ways Boaz foreshadowed Jesus, he was a redeemer for these two women. Boaz rescued Naomi and Ruth from their earthly poverty. Jesus rescues us from our spiritual poverty (caring and loving us from now into eternity). All of us are bitter, lost and hungry without Jesus, but when He enters our lives hope, joy and change comes.
If you’re struggling with a hard heart think on God’s incredible blessing to you in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus lived the perfect life you could never live. He died on the cross to save you from your sins and to reconcile you to God. And if that wasn’t enough He rose from the grave so that you can experience life. The temptation in life is to doubt Jesus’ love and for us, but the what He has given us, is giving us, and will give us is all that we could ever ask for and imagine. Go to Jesus, your Redeemer!