God Loves to Rewrite History

God Loves to Rewrite History

David Stockton
February 3, 2019
Series: Ruth

The Presbyterians have a practice they do when they approach the word of God, which I think is really neat, giving reverence to the Scriptures. So we’re going to have a reader for the entire chapter, Ruth 1. Pauly will read the entire chapter to us, just to let us have the word of God wash over us. Then at the end, she will say, “This is the Word of the Lord,” and we’re all going to respond….. “Thanks be to God.” (Just checking. So there really aren’t any Presbyterians here.) So “This is the Word of the Lord,” and then we all respond, “Thanks be to God.” 

And again, we’re just giving special reverence and place to the Scriptures. So, Pauly, go ahead and read Ruth chapter 1 to us: 

In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.

Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.

Naomi and Ruth Return to Bethlehem

When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.

Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”

Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud 10 and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”

11 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? 12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— 13 would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”

14 At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.

15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”

20 “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty[d] has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”

22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning. 

This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Thank you, Pauly. Thank you very much. 

Ruth chapter 1, as she read, you can see that there is a lot of sorrow in this book. There is a lot of grieving and challenge. And what I want to do today is to unpack some of these things that are going on—some of the background that’s happening. Because the story of Ruth is a great redemption story. Most of you know what happens in the end. You know that God does a really, amazing, wonderful, thorough, deep, profound work in and through Naomi and Ruth and their lineage; including being in the last part of Ruth—I’m telling you now because it’s so sad today in chapter 1—the genealogy of David ends the book of Ruth. David was the great king of Israel. He was a great-grandson of Ruth, which is a totally miraculous thing when we know the context. So that’s what we’re going to work on today. We’re going to do some real Bible study. You guys ready for this? You hungry for some Bible? 

A lot of times in the Scripture, when you see a revival break out, it’s usually predicated by a time where people came back to God’s word, or discovered God’s word anew. So, in a lot of ways, a revival really begins with a “reBible.” And so we’re going to really work on doing some “reBible” today, if you’ll join me.

So, Ruth chapter 1, “In the days when the Judges ruled.” So the writer of Ruth, which I like to think is probably the prophet Samuel, he’s telling us that it was in the days when the Judges ruled. There was a famine in the land. There was a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, and they went to live in the country of Moab. So there’s some really, really important, key words going on there, and we’re going to unpack those so we can see the full riches of God’s redemption in the book of Ruth,

First of all, let’s look at the timeline of Scripture. This is the way that Scripture unfolds. This is God wanting to make himself known to his creation. At first, the message of who God is and what he is like came through the patriarchs. Obviously Adam would be one of the patriarchs, Adam and then on and on: you have Abraham, you have Noah, you have all these different patriarchs. And that’s the way that the message of God, the relationship with God was communicated to the world at that point.

And then, at some point, things changed. Now it’s not just a familial type situation the people of God are in. But now they are  beginning to form into a nation. The book of Exodus is where the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that are there was slaves in Egypt are being set free and they’re coming in. And God is saying, “Now I’m going to form you into an actual nation so that the whole world, all the other nations will know who I am through the way I relate to this one nation.

So we have the shift where you have these Judges or Deliverers. Moses was the first of the Judges or Deliverers. He brought about a great deliverance for God’s people and because of that he was set up as a Judge. And there he would try and help people understand what God wanted. They would bring their challenges to him and he would say, “This is what the Lord wants.”  And he would teach them the Ten Commandments and he would teach them the tabernacle, how to worship. And he would teach them the ways and the laws of God. And he was setting up a nation.

Then, after that, we have the time of the Kings and the Prophets. There were Prophets throughout, but this is when the Prophets and the Kings became the forefront of the leadership. Saul was the first King of Israel, then David, then Solomon. Then the monarchy was split between the north and south. So this takes us through the rest of the Old Testament. 

And then we have this new revelation that comes through Jesus Christ, God’s Son. And we have the New Testament that now is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ dwelling within us, revealing to us in the Church context who God is and what he wants. So that’s the timeline of Scripture. 

So Ruth is falling in the time of the Judges. Joshua, Judges, Ruth. Judges is basically the overarching context and Ruth is just a little pericope, a little story taking place during that season. And the writer, who obviously is writing in the time of the Kings because he’s making note of the genealogy of David. He knew about David, he knew about the greatness of David, so he’s writing back, telling us the story of something that happened prior because it was so remarkable to him, and to Israel’s history.

The second thing we need to know is that, not only was it in the time of the Judges, but there was a famine in the land. Here’s the time of Judges. Judges was a rough time in Israel’s history. A rough patch. A rough season. Israel would have this great deliverance like with Moses, like with Samson, and these guys, and they would turn to the Lord and everything would be good. But over time, their hearts would start to turn toward the gods of the nations surrounding them. They kind of got bored with God and they started to add other things to God.  And what would happen is, God would say, “Hey! If you’r going to want me and those other things, I’m not going to play that game.” The Bible says God is a jealous God. Just like a wife would not want to be one of many wives. It’s like, “If you want me to be your wife, that’s cool. But as soon as you want to add someone else, I’m out!” 

That was kind of the story of what was taking place in Israel. God said, “Ok, if that’s what you really want, I’m going to step back and you’re going to get what you want.” And that would lead the people into oppression and slavery and the cycle would continue. They would be following God. They would turn from God. They would fall into oppression. Then they would cry out to God because of the horrible oppression. God would once again come close, raise up a deliverer or a judge. It would go good for a while and then the cycle would continue. 

The last verse of Judges says “Everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” Freedom was defined as doing whatever you wanted. That was the situation. Everyone was just doing whatever they wanted—doing what was right in their own eyes. It was a horrible situation. But during that season, there was a famine in the land. Most likely the famine was part of the cycle. Israel had gone after other gods. God had basically kind of pulled his hand back for a season to let the people get what they really wanted. And they were experiencing what it was like to live without the presence of God. And what it ended up producing was hard times, challenging times. So there was famine in the land. It was probably another hard, grievous time. 

Naomi named her sons Mahlon and Killion. The name Mahlon means”sickly.”  What kind of mom names their kid sickly? Except potentially a mom who is extremely grieving about the desperate situation into which she’s giving birth to her children. There’s not enough food for her and her husband and now they have two sons. That’s how desperate and dark and challenging this family was—that a mom, a good mom, a good mom who knows God and believes in God—and we’ll see that throughout the story—decides that the names of her children should be “sickly” and “wasting away.”  Because her heart was that broken. That’s how severe this famine was. And it was probably due to the Israelite’s turning from God and being oppressed. 

So that’s another context. Judges. Famine. And now it says that the man was from Bethlehem. Bethlehem actually means “house of bread.” So you’ve got famine and the house of bread. At this point, Bethlehem is not known as the place where Jesus was born. There weren’t any Christmas songs yet at the time of Ruth. Bethlehem was first mentioned in Genesis 35. Let’s get a little perspective on the connotation of Bethlehem at this point. 

Genesis 35:16. This is talking about Isaac and his wife Rachel. 

16 Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. 17 And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t despair, for you have another son.” 18 As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son Ben-Oni. [which means “Son of My Trouble”].  But his father named him Benjamin.

 19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).   
20 Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s

So Bethlehem (which was originally Called Ephrath, but now was known as Bethlehem as their putting Scriptures together)  this place was basically known as a place of sorrow, a place of sadness, a place where Jacob’s beloved wife, Rachel, giving birth to his twelfth son, Benjamin, dies in childbirth. And his heart is broken and grieved. 

That’s the connotation. Again, there’s this sorrowful, sad situation that hangs over this town called Bethlehem, and there’s more to that that we’ll discuss in a little bit. 

Next up in the book of Ruth, that they’re from Bethlehem and they’re of the tribe of Judah. The lineage of Judah actually helps us with the Ephrathites, as well. Here’s Judah. They were born in Bethlehem in Judah, and later on it tells us that he was of the lineage of Judah. 

Ok. I don’t see any children in here. It’s about to get PG13 in here. So whatever you’ve got to do, do it. Okay?

Judah was one of the twelve sons of Jacob, one of the twelve tribes of Israel—a very significant person. Judah actually goes to live up in the Canaanite country and he ends up getting together with a woman named Bethshua, who was a Canaanite. And he had three sons with her. The first one was killed by God. The second was killed by God. The third one, we don’t really know that much of what happened. 

Turn with me to Genesis 38. We’re going to get a little context and a PG13 situation (this is more than PG13 probably):

38 At that time, Judah left his brothers and went down to stay with a man of Adullam named Hirah. There Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua. He married her and made love to her; she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, who was named Er. She conceived again and gave birth to a son and named him Onan. She gave birth to still another son and named him Shelah. It was at Kezib that she gave birth to him.

Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death.

Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to raise up offspring for your brother.” 

[Very bizarre practice there, but that’s what was going on.] 

But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother. 10 What he did was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death also.

11 Judah then said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Live as a widow in your father’s household until my son Shelah grows up.” For he thought, “He may die too, just like his brothers.” So Tamar went to live in her father’s household.

Now, I’m not going to read the rest. I’ll just paraphrase. Now we have Judah, and he’s got this Canaanite connection, with three sons. It’s not working out so well with that situation. But then Tamar was his daughter-in-law that he put together with Er and then tried to put together with Onan but that got a little weird. And then he was waiting for Shelah to grow up so he could put her together with Shelah. So that’s Tamar. 

Now, as time goes on, Shelah grows up and Judah doesn’t want Tamar to be with Shelah because it seems like everybody Tamar is with the Lord kills. So he’s like, “We’re not going to do this.” 

Tamar eventually realizes this is not going to happen, so she takes matters into her own hands. And Tamar says, “All right. Fine. You’re not going to give me Shelah.” Then what she decides to  do is to dress as a prostitute and go into a town where she knows Judah, her father-in-law will be staying, and she seduces him They lay together and she gets pregnant. And she’s smart enough to actually say, “For payment, I don’t want this or that. I want your seal and your staff.” And so she has his seal and staff until he can send the goats or whatever he’s sending to her. 

And when in Judah’s camp it’s found out that Tamar is pregnant, he decides she needs to be put to death because of impropriety. And so when he goes to execute her, what does she do? “What’s up sucka?” She pops out, “Seal and staff! Da da da da da da!” This lady knows what she’s doing. He’s like, “Oh, hello!? Could everybody just give me a minute here.” And they have a little chat. She ends up not being killed. And he actually, interestingly enough, says, “She was more righteous than I.” It’s like, yeah. Not quite sure if there’s anyone winning, but she’s probably beating you.

My point in all of this is the lineage here is not something great. It’s sordid and sorrowful at best—this line of Judah.

Then let’s go on to the next thing: Moab. It says they go, they leave because of the famine. They leave God’s country because of the famine and they go to the Moabite country. So let’s check out who the Moabites are.

Actually no. I want to finish one thing. This is for you that are super nerdy about this stuff. It’s awesome. 

If you follow along a little more, Tamar gives birth to Perez, Perez gives birth to Hezron. Hezron gives birth to these jokers: Ram (See? It’s a sign. Let’s go L.A.!) Ram with an asterisk (which is not about the Super Bowl). Jerahmeel and Caleb. So on Caleb’s side, he gives birth to all these people. And then his second wife is Ephrathon. So connotation, back to the sorrowful beginnings of Bethlehem, but also the sorrowful, sordid line of Judah, they’re Ephrathites. They are born of the second wife of this person with this sordid history. 

But then, on the other side you have Ram. Ram, who we don’t know yet, in Chapter 2 we’ll get introduced to Boaz. He comes from that other side over there. He comes from that other side over there. Spoiler alert: Boaz and Ruth like each other. All right. So that’s Judah. 

So we’ve got the days the Judges ruled. We’ve got famine in the land. We’ve got Bethlehem’s sad history. We’ve got the sordid lineage of Judah. And now we come to Moab. At least this one’s going to be good, right? No!

So Moab. Let’s turn to Genesis 19. I hope you’re having fun with this, because this is so interesting to me, and so awesome in the end. Genesis 19:30. Now we’re getting introduced to the first mention of Moab, where the Moabites come from. This is like PG99. Okay?

So Lot and his wife and his two daughters are in Sodom and Gomorrah. Right? They’re living there. And Sodom and Gomorrah is a very bad news place. Very ungodly. And God actually sends down fire and consumes it; but sends angels to pull Lot, his wife and his two daughters out right before the destruction happens. Then Lot’s wife looks back like she isn’t quite sure she wants to leave, and she turns to a pillar of salt (which is weird, but it’s in the Bible and we’ll watch the DVD in heaven or whatever). 

So that’s the situation. So Lot and everything he’s known, everything he’s had, including his wife, is gone. He’s there with his two daughters and it says: 

Genesis 19:30

30 Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave. 31 One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children—as is the custom all over the earth. 32 Let’s get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.”

33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

34 The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” 35 So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

36 So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. 37 The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today. 38 The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today.

A sad, sordid, sorrowful beginning to the Moabite people. And then I just want to read one more thing. This is super Old Testament, I know. And this is like other-worldly and confusing and I get all of that. And I would love to talk through all the details here, but I’m just trying to give you a picture of the reality of the challenges that are being expressed by the writer of Ruth: the dark, bleak beginnings of the book of Ruth.

So Numbers 25, if you want to turn there. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers. It’s just a couple of books over. Numbers 25 has another allusion to who the Moabites were and what their interaction with the people of Israel were leading up to this time of Ruth. 

Are you with me? I know this is a lot, but it’s going to be worth it.

 25 While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods. So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor [the Moabite god]

And the Lord’s anger burned against them.

The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the Lord, so that the Lord’s fierce anger may turn away from Israel.”

So the Lord’s anger was breaking out and we’ll see that. It was some sort of a thing that was afflicting people and causing death to the people. 

So Moses said to Israel’s judges, “Each of you must put to death those of your people who have yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor.”

Then an Israelite man brought into the camp a Midianite woman right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel while they were weeping at the entrance to the tent of meeting. When Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, took a spear in his hand and followed the Israelite into the tent. He drove the spear into both of them, right through the Israelite man and into the woman’s stomach. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped; but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000.

Again, so many details here that we need to unpack in lots of deep and profound ways. Some of it we don’t have full explanations for. It was a different time. We don’t know the full story. We’re just getting these pictures and this accounting. And the perspective of the people as they tried to figure out where God was in all of this and why stuff was happening. But basically, the relationship between the Israelites and the Moabites was a very negative, hurtful, hateful relationship. In the people of Israel’s eyes, the Moabites were actually a plague, that if they connected themselves at all, it would invoke the fury and wrath of God. 

And yet, here in this moment, we have this family in the time of the Judges where people were turning from the Lord. A time of famine, which probably represented a little bit of the way people were outside of the presence and favor of God. We’ve got this connection to Bethlehem, which at this point was a very sorrowful beginning and connotation. They’re from the lineage of Judah, which is just sordid and confusing and sorrowful all by itself. And then they go to live in the land of Moab, which was basically one of the greatest sell-outs you could do as an Israelite. And we don’t know why they did it. We don’t know what the reasoning was exactly. We don’t know if it was the right or wrong decision. All we know is that the situation was bleak beyond imagination. 

Elimelek’s name means “God is King,” and Naomi’s name means “pleasant, delightful.” And here they are in this completely horrific, broken situation. 

And when we read those, I know all of us giggled a little bit—probably because we all have a little junior high in us—as well as it’s just so bizarre and so crazy. But the truth is that all of us have at times felt like we were in a bleak situation. Some of us have even been through some of the stuff we read about, no doubt. It’s real. Some of us have very sordid and sorrowful beginnings and pasts.

And then you get to verse 3 and it says that Naomi was living in Moab and her husband dies, it sounds like pretty quick. And then after ten more years of living there, her two sons—her hope, her future—die. And she’s left with two Moabite daughters-in-law. So not only is her past so sordid and sorrowful, but now her present is just as sorrowful. It’s almost as if the line is continuing to go down.

And yet she hears that the favor of the Lord has come again to the people of Israel. It’s what it says there in verse 6:

When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them…

She decides to go back—to return. She hears about the favor of the Lord back in Israel and she decides that, no matter what, she needs to be in the favor of the Lord. Even though she says things like, “It’s the Lord that has done this to me…The Lord has given me bitterness…The Lord has afflicted me;” she still says, “My hope is in the Lord.” She had some pretty deep theology.

We know what was going on in the beginning here. And I’ve told you, alluded to, we know what’s going to happen in the end,  What happens in the end is that God redeems the time of the Judges by giving us a picture as to what he was doing in the midst of this horrible time in Israel’s history—this great redemption that was taking place in the Judges time. He erases the famine somehow. We don’t know the details or the specifics, but we know that in Moab, in the land that is outside of where God is, even there, people were hearing about the wondrous aid that the Lord has brought to the people of Israel. It must have been pretty unique and miraculous. He erases the famine. 

And then he plants the seeds of Bethlehem’s glory. All of us who know the Bible, we know that when you say the word Bethlehem at this point you say it with so much delight and joy. Because Bethlehem is not only the place where the first two kings of Israel were born, including the greatest king, David was born in Bethlehem, the great-grandson of Ruth and Boaz that we get to meet their story here. Not only that, but you continue down that line and Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World, God himself in the form of human flesh was born in Bethlehem. There will be no more sorrow in Bethlehem Ephrathah when the Lord is done with her. Even the town of Bethlehem has a great redemption story.

And then you go on. God plants a seed for the exaltation of Judah’s lineage. Judah’s lineage—so sordid and sad, so bizarre and bleak—and yet, if you continue down that line, all of a sudden you have Jesus. The Lion of the tribe of Judah is what he’s called in the Book of Revelation. 

God loves to rewrite history. The riches of our God are so much deeper than we could ever know. And not only that, but God also plants the seeds of Moab’s redemption. Moab? Illegitimate! Incestuous! Enemies of the people of God to the point where they couldn’t beat Israel miliatarily, so they decided to get all their women dressed up and send them into Israel to seduce them away from their God—and it worked. Moab? Moab, not only having a nice story, a nice part of the Scripture. Ruth is the only book of the Bible in the Old Testament that’s named someone that’s not an Israelite. It’s bizarre. It’s crazy.

Not only that, not only, “Oh, look. God does love the stranger. God does love people who are outside of here. We’ve got a nice little Hallmark, Chicken Soup for the Soul story about it.” No, but Ruth, who is a Moabitess, gets to know and experience the wonders and riches of the God of Israel in her own life, but she also becomes part of the most important family line to the people of Israel, and ultimately to the people of God. Because her great-grandson is the greatest king of Israel, King David. And her great- great- great- great- great- great- great- (I don’t even know how any greats) grandson is Jesus. She is in the Messianic line of Christ himself. 

Who is this God that would look back and see all the sordid, sad history, all the wrong that has been done, and take this one woman who decides on this one day—“Naomi, I want your people to be my people and your God to be my God. I’ve heard you talk about the favor of this God. I’ve heard you talk about this God of Israel. I’ve seen your life, and the way that you’ve loved me and my sister-in-law, the way that you grieved during the loss of your husband and your children. And whoever this God is that is your rock, that is the one in whom you put your trust—it’s so beautiful, it’s so powerful—I want that. I want that.”

And in just a moment’s decision, and then a life following in the footsteps of that decision, she gets to know the riches of God, the riches of his love. And what’s crazy is Ruth had no idea, by the time she died, the fullness of God’s love and riches that he was doing in her life. It’s like all those famous painters, once they die their stuff sells for millions of dollars. But for Ruth, she got to know and enjoy and experience the wonder and the beauty of God in her life, no doubt. And we’re going to read that story. But she had no idea, there’s no way she could have imagined the depths and the riches of redemption that was going to be done in her and through her for thousands and thousands of generations to come.

This is our God. And this is what God wants to do with you. He wants to lavish you with his unbelievable redeeming love. He can take everything sad and make it come untrue. That is the gospel. That is the power that Jesus Christ received as he died for us on a cross.

This is what I wrote in conclusion and I think it just kind of wraps it up for us:

This is our God, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Do you have hard times or heart breaks? God can re-write that. God can resurrect that. God can and is willing—he’s proven it over and over again—to redeem that. Make him your God. Make his people your people. Make your stuff his stuff, your time his time, your plan his plan, your burden his burden—and you will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. And you will be rewarded beyond what you could ever imagine in this life and in the life to come.

Once again we have before us a decision. Are you going to put everything you haven his hands? Are you going to trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways—good times and bad times—acknowledge him? Because the promise is that if you do, he will make your path straight. 

The Lord says, “I know the plans I have for you—Israel, Ruth, Living Streams people—they are plans to prosper you, to bring you a future, a hope beyond all that you could ask or imagine.” It may not be what you want, but there will be a time when you look back and you say, “That’s what I needed. I’m so glad that’s what I got.”

Ruth is in heaven rejoicing, enjoying the wonders and the riches of God. She got to see the full story, not in her life, she just got to see a chapter. We all have that choice today. Who are you going to make your God? You? Are you doing a good job of being God of your life? Your husband or wife? Your friends? Today would be a great day, if you haven’t made Jesus the Lord of your life and committed your life to him, today would be a great day to take that step. 

Or if you’ve been in Moab for a while and you’re hearing once again of the favors of the Lord in Israel. Today would be a good day to come back. It’s easy to remember because it’s Super Bowl Sunday. You could always be like, “Oh yeah, Super Bowl Sunday, that’s when I did it.” 

And because the day you say “yes” to Jesus is the day Jesus comes and begins to author and rewrite the history of your life.  


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7000 N Central Avenue ∙ Phoenix AZ 85020 ∙ 602-957-7500 ∙ https://www.livingstreams.org

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.