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Cornerstone Community Church

God Did It! Part 1

Intro:  Days everything goes wrong.  This Fall was a series of stomach punches for us.

Big Idea: We can trust God to work redemption for His people.

Context:  Israel was in a downward spiral of rebellion.  When things got tough, they’d cry out for help but soon return to sin.  Ruth reminded them God was at work even though all seemed dark, and would provide a Redeemer.

Scene 1: Hope dies when the flesh prevails (1-5).

-         Bethlehem => the ‘house of bread’ was empty.  No wheat, barley, almonds or grapes.

-         The famine was no accident.  God did it!  Rebellious Israel needed to repent (Dt. 28:15).

-         Elimelech- “My God is King” lived like he was king.  He didn’t repent.

-         It is easier to say Jesus is our king than to actually submit to Him (Jeremiah 42-3).

-         Affliction reveals what is really in our hearts.  He doesn’t repent & trust.  Ill. Smelting

-         The gap between God’s will & ours creates much of the stress we experience.

-         Elimelech takes his family’s safety & prosperity into his own hands!  Ill. Nearly quitting

-         They packed up what they could carry & traveled 50 miles to Moab.

-         Moab: an idolatrous, immoral & dangerous distant relative (Chemosh, Balaam, Eglon).

-         Elimelech dies without seeing how God the King will change Israel, and his family.

-         Mahlon- “Sick” died before he repented of the sin in his heart.

-         Chilion- “Pining or Failing” failed to return to God that he might live.

-         Human solutions often make our problems more complicated.  God did it!

-         A sojourn can change into a permanent home if we aren’t careful.

-         These 3 widows had no hope, no plan and no future.  Ill. No SSI, IRA or pension!

Transition: Apart from faith we rely on the flesh- our wisdom, strength & desires- & die!

Scene 2: Hope lives when faith prevails (6-18).

-         Hope arises for YWHW visited Bethlehem with mercy.  God did it!

-         Unlike Elimelech, Israel had cried out to God for relief & received His mercy.

-         Women talk & Naomi seeks to send them back for husbands- invoking God’s name.

-         Ruth sees herself as good as dead, unable to help them.

-         Her suffering is no accident- God did it!

-         Orpah- “Gazelle” runs back to her people & idolatry.  She chose what made sense.

-         Ruth- “Friendship” clings to Naomi & YHWH thru difficulty.  She humbles herself!

-         She chose the path of faith (1Peter 5).  Naomi doesn’t respond, period. 

-         Trusting Ruth experiences God’s power, authority & presence.  Ill. Abraham

Transition: Humbling ourselves under God’s hand by faith is the door to hope in affliction.

Scene 3: Faith trusts that God is Almighty & good (19-22).  No way to sneak into town!

-         Naomi- “My Delight” returns empty & bitter.  Ill. Family reunion ’99 or ‘00/ us now

-         Ruth is the elephant in the room no one mentions.  The Moabitess was persona no grata.

-         Naomi feels like the helpless victim of the Almighty.  Ill. Morgan, money & car

-         God is good, though we are often faithless.  God is at work to provide redemption.

-         He emptied Ruth & Naomi of their idols to fill them with His grace!

Conclusion: Trials will find us.  They don’t mean God has forgotten us or abandoned us.  In trials God invites us to see where we pursue our agenda by our strength.  When we are honest with ourselves, by faith in His power & goodness we can humble ourselves until He lifts us up.  Do you fight to get out, or entrust yourself into His care?  The answer matters more than the trial.

 

 

25 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.  Judges 21 (NIV)

 

12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.  Proverbs 14 (NIV)

 

7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.  Hebrews 12

 

 “God was no more king in Elimelech’s heart than he was in the hearts of his fellow countrymen.”  Iain Duguid

 

“The bottom line in our lives is rarely God’s will, as it is revealed in his Word, especially if it seems to cut directly across our best prospects for happiness and success.”  Iain Duguid

 

“When we fail to trust God we doubt His sovereignty and question His goodness.”  Jerry Bridges

 

32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Romans 8 (NIV)

 

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  1 Peter 5 (NIV)

 

“The circumstances in which we must trust God often appear irrational and inexplicable.”  Jerry Bridges

 

“God’s desire is to use our powerlessness to send us fleeing back to him.  Evil wants it to send us reeling to rely on ourselves with even greater intensity.”  Dan Allender

 

“Fortunately, God’s mission to rescue sinners is not limited by our flaws, failings and foibles.!”  Iain Duguid

 

“The subduing of our own passions is more excellent than to have the whole world subdued to our will.”  Thomas Boston

 

“Obeying God is worked out within well-defined boundaries of God’s revealed will.  Trusting God is worked out in an arena that has no boundaries.”  Jerry Bridges

 

 

 

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