September 29, 2011

Today you should read: Ruth 4:16-22

These passages reveal one overarching truth about God; His Hand is in the details and He works through even the smallest of occurrences in our lives.

Up to this point in the story we have learned that Naomi has experienced several untimely deaths in her family which is not an unusual occurrence for that period in time. So, all that is left for her and her daughter-in-law to do is to go back to their family and hope for the best. They return, completely discouraged and hopeless. Most people probably passed by them day after day without giving them a second thought and all the while, before their very eyes, God was orchestrating the coming of His Messiah!

Now, we are approaching the end of this story with Naomi holding her grandson, Obed, and everyone is taking notice. They still don’t fully understand what is happening but the writer sheds some light on it for us.

Obed grows up to be the father of Jesse. Jesse will grow up and become the father of King David. From David we will see several generations of children leading up to a young couple, pledged to be married, sitting outside of an inn some 2000 years ago giving birth to a little boy named Jesus who would “save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) God’s whole plan of saving the world and redeeming a people for Himself came through a series of small, seemingly insignificant occurrences.

So, here is the point. There are no small occurrences. There are no details that God overlooks and counts as insignificant..and we shouldn’t either. God wants to use us and calls us to be a part of His great plan to see this world saved and restored. This isn’t always being on a stage or talking to thousands of people about the gospel. This could be greeting someone who is hurting as they come into our church. It might be rocking a baby and telling them that God loves them. Or, it could even be putting out that one extra chair for a person who is searching for answers and has decided to give church and God a try. Don’t let the small things get past you. Don’t allow the “insignificance” of you service deter you from giving it all you have. So, when you put those chairs out, or welcome visitors, or serve refreshments, or rock a baby, or fold the Point, or whatever it may be, just imagine what God could do with your one small part in the grand scheme of His plan.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd


September 28, 2011

Today you should read: Ruth 4:1-15

How unbelievable is the foreshadowing of Christ in the book of Ruth? It’s almost overwhelming. This book is one of the clearest portrayals of the Church’s Redeemer that we later meet in the gospels.

At the end of chapter 3, we see that the desire to wed was there for both Boaz and Ruth. But now it was time for the rubber to meet the road. Would Boaz come through on his promise? Besides, there was another redeemer available for Ruth, thus he could be off the hook if he so desired. Boaz didn’t take the easy route. He pursued Ruth and he pursued this marriage. He wanted to be the redeemer, and he would take whatever avenue necessary to see it come to pass.

The other available redeemer decided that Ruth wasn’t worth squandering the rest of his inheritance over. In other words he was saying, “She isn’t worth my time or money.” Boaz knew the jewel that Ruth really was, and he leaped at the opportunity to call her wife! As we read in the text, this was no ordinary union. This was ordained of God and this was an enormous moment in redemption history. Even the women present that day knew it:

Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” Ruth 4:14-15

Through this blessed new marriage, the Messiah Jesus Christ would come. While Boaz was a great redeemer, he has nothing on Jesus. He only redeemed one, Jesus came redeem a Bride of people from every tribe, tongue, and nation.

While the parallels are really neat in this story, we shouldn’t look at them only as cutesy marriage clichés. They are much grander than that. While Ruth was worthy of pursuit, we weren’t. We (the Bride of Christ) were no jewel, not by any means. We were wretched enemies of God (Ephesians 2:1-3). In fact, we were such dark, awful, sin-driven people that we put our Redeemer on a cross. We drove nails through His hands and feet. We didn’t praise Him — we damned His name with both words and lifestyle.

He chose us anyway.

I pray today that we’re humbled that God pursued us even though He knew us. I pray that our only response to Him would be absolute devotion and worship. Blessings on your Wednesday CPC.

Posted by: Todd Thomas

September 27, 2011

Today you should read: Ruth 3

When I read chapter three, I’m inundated with the concepts of God’s providence and protection. God cares for His children! This brings me such peace – especially when I consider that He knows everything and is able to do whatever He wishes.

It makes me think of this passage:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34

Even though God’s providence and protection are an act of His grace and are controlled by His divine will, there are certain guidelines that make things work better for us.

OBEDIENCE – obedience brings God’s blessings, while disobedience brings God’s discipline.

TRUST – faith opens the door for God’s hand to move more fully in our lives.

PRAISE – giving Him the credit for what He brings about in your life moves God to action. (He already knows whether you will or won’t credit Him). This makes me think of an old sing I grew up singing:

Be not dismayed whate’er betide, God will take care of you;

Beneath His wings of love abide,
 God will take care of you.
God will take care of you,
 through every day,
O’er all the way;
 He will take care of you,
 God will take care of you.

God took care of Ruth, and He will take care of you. Trust Him.

Posted by: Tim Parsons

September 26, 2011

Today you should read: Ruth 2:1-23

The kindness of the Lord exceeds expectation!

I really love how the book of Ruth is written. Here we are in chapter 2; today, I will give a few insights from this chapter and then show what we can gain from them.

In chapter 1, we saw the deep love that Ruth had for Naomi, a love so deep that Ruth decides to make a binding vow to the Lord to be at Naomi’s side for the rest of their lives. That’s love!

In chapter 2, Ruth asks for permission to go gather grain in the field owned by Boaz and goes with Naomi’s blessing. When Boaz returns to the field, he notices Ruth and blesses her with the opportunity to continue her work. Ruth is taken back by the kindness of Boaz, but Boaz goes further and provides a meal for her, speaks kindly to her, and allows her unlimited access to his crops.

This story has some deep implications.

Today’s “Walk-Away”

For today’s application, I want to focus on verse 20. Naomi says, “May he be blessed by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead.” Whose kindness is she referring to? Is it the Lord’s or is it Boaz’s? I think the answer is both and that this wording is ambiguous for a reason. Throughout the rest of the story, Boaz embodies characteristics of the Lord, specifically His kindness.

As the ESV study Bible states that, “This kindness is clearly visible in verses 8-9 an 14-16, where Boaz goes beyond any legal requirements in his generosity towards to Ruth.” Do you see it? The kindness of the Lord is shown in these verses. His kindness to us goes well beyond any legal requirements or obligations. His kindness to Israel as a whole and His kindness to every believer in Christ goes beyond anything we could imagine. Do you realize that? God had no obligation to save us from our sin. He had no obligation to send Christ, to live daily with us, to “never leave us nor forsake us.” His love is generous and unprecedented.

This should give you comfort. If God chose, on His own initiative, to lavish on us His undeserved kindness, we can take heart! Our sin, our failures, and our mistakes don’t make Him love us any less nor do they nullify His kindness. If we are believers in Christ, He will love us and show us His kindness regardless of our shortcomings. So if you are feeling distant or disapproved of by the Lord because of a nagging sense of failure, take heart today and rest in the unconditional kindness of the Lord, which exceeds anything we deserve.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione