Ad Gloriam Dei

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corintians 10:31

"Let us pursue the things which make for peace and those by which one may edify another"- Romans 14:19

"As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." - Proverbs 27:17

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Need for a Redeemer (Ruth 1:1-7)

"Then Elimelech, Naomi'’s husband, died; and she was left, and her two sons... Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died; so the woman survived her two sons and her husband." (Ruth 1:3,5)

These are notes from this morning's sermon by Teddy Donnelly on Ruth 1:1-7. He is suspending his series on Jeremiah and doing a short series during the summer holidays due to all the absences.
  • The unbelieving German poet, Goethe, called the book of Ruth "the loveliest complete work on a small scale".
  • It may be a beautiful story, but is that all it is to believers?
  • It is a story about redemption and a redeemer.
  • It was no accident that the story mainly took place in Bethlehem, the birthplace of the ultimate Redeemer.
  • In Boaz, we see a picture of Christ the Redeemer; and in Naomi and Ruth, the redeemed.

1. The Sphere of Redemption

  • What strikes us, as we examine the book, is the ordinariness of the matter.
  • It isn't a book about kings, battles and great affairs of state.
  • God is high and exalted, but He is concerned about ordinary people and ordinary things.
  • He is even concerned for little sparrows, hence our reading from Matt. 10:24-33.
  • Christianity is not out of this world, as some people make it.
  • It is worked out in daily life and transforms daily life.

2. The Need for Redemption

  • Naomi lost her husband and her sons, but there was more to it than this loss, however severe it was.
  • We need to understand this book by putting ourselves into the historical and cultural context.

a) The Importance of Descendants

  • A man's name was continued through his sons in a way which is stronger than today.
  • The Levirate marriage existed to perpetuate the man's name and geneological lineage (Gen. 38; Deut. 25:5-10).
  • To have no children was almost to become extinct.
  • We shouldn't import the Old Testament emphasis on descendants into the New Testament era. Some people can be made to feel less because they have no physical descendants, but this shouldn't be the way.

b) The Importance of the Land

  • The land given at the entry into Promised Land was to be handed on from generation to generation
  • It could only be temporarily handed to others, because it came back at the Jubilee, which happened every 50 years.
  • There was no one to claim the land for Naomi.
  • We face a worse without a redeemer: our loss will be eternal and complete.

3. The Breadth of Redemption

  • The people were not to intermarry with the nations, especially the Moabites.
    • No descendant of a Moabite could enter the assembly, even to the tenth generation.
    • No alliance could be made with the Moabites (Deut. 23:3-6).
  • But who is at the centre of the book? A Moabitess!
  • Ruth became the great-grandmother of the great King David, and the direct blood ancestor of the greater King Jesus.
  • There are only 3 women who are listed in Jesus' genealogy:
    • Tamar, a woman who acted as a prostitute with her father-in-law, and probably a Canaanite.
    • Rahab, the Canaanite harlot.
    • Ruth, a heathen Moabitess.
  • God saves Naomis within the covenant community and brings in Ruths from outside (Eph 2:11-13).
  • Christ came to give us a name and a place in God's family.


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