We resumed gathering with our Connect Groups at church this past Sunday. What a blessing it is to re-connect with each other! I had the opportunity to teach through the book of Ruth. We found one big question the book answers: “Does God still care?” Did he care about Ruth and Naomi? Does he still care for you?
You may have found yourself feeling more like Naomi or Ruth over these past few months. Nothing seems to be going right. Physical health struggles, financial challenges, loneliness, relational conflicts. When is all the virus stuff going to end? The message of the Bible is that God is at work. God is at work, even when you can’t see how he’s working.
God Brings Affliction
Naomi and Ruth face a lot of life challenges. From famine, to losing family, then being unable to provide for their own basic needs. Ruth chapter one ends with bitter circumstances, or at least that’s how Naomi feels. But God’s Word does not say he keeps his people from trials and suffering. It actually says the opposite. God brings affliction in our lives to build character and ultimately display his glory. Read the book of Job. But God always cares for his own, and he is working for good for all who trust him, as he had done in the life of Joseph, and so many others before. Will you look to him, especially when life gets hard?
God Cares for You in Affliction
Ruth chapter two introduces “a worthy man” named Boaz. He’s a relative of Naomi in Bethlehem and, as there is no more famine, he has barley to harvest. The rest of the chapter tells the story of how Ruth goes to glean what’s left over from the harvesters, and how Boaz generously provides Ruth and Naomi the food they need. Then chapter three shows the faith and humility that shine through when we depend on God and not on ourselves. You may not be in the same exact situation as Ruth, but you are in need of God’s provision. One of your biggest needs is the need to recognize that you can’t make it on your own. That’s your need and my need, and that’s what Naomi and Ruth came to see as God provided for them through Boaz. God will provide for his people, and he often does that through his people providing for each other. How can you help provide for the needs of others around you?
God Came to Redeem through Affliction
God had established a provision in his law (Leviticus 25) of kinsman-redeemers, clearly seen in Ruth 4. Boaz redeems Ruth and provides for her needs and for Naomi, but God is the ultimate Provider. What they couldn’t fully understand was that God was providing much more than food and relationships. He was at work in the life of Naomi and Ruth and Boaz to provide the ultimate Redeemer.
Boaz and Ruth eventually had a son named Obed, who then had a son named Jesse, who became the father of King David. Of course, they could not see the whole story in the midst of the famine, and loss, and life’s bitter circumstances. But God was at work in and through them, and he is still at work today. Finally, the promised Son of David came to bear the sins of all the people of God, and to be the ultimate Kinsman-Redeemer for all who believe. His name is Jesus. He is alive today, and he is coming again. He has all authority and power, even over coronaviruses, and every trial you face. He calls you to trust him, as Ruth and Naomi did, and everyone who will ever be finally saved. God cares for you! Will you trust him today?