Under the Lord's Wing

The Story of Ruth

The Lord's provision for Ruth showed up through a series of seeming coincidences. It's often tempting to view the seeming random events of our lives as just that - rather than considering that they might be God's plan for meeting our needs or for enabling us to help others.

Blake HolmesJul 13, 2008
Ruth 2

In This Series (4)
A Faith Rewarded
Blake HolmesJul 27, 2008
Covered by Grace
Blake HolmesJul 21, 2008
Under the Lord's Wing
Blake HolmesJul 13, 2008
Faith in Times of Famine
Blake HolmesJul 6, 2008

Well, it is often difficult for us to live by faith given all that we see or experience. Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." A little later in that chapter, you read verse 6, that powerful statement, "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."

We are called to live by faith despite what we experience, despite what we see. It is difficult to do. Given images we see on the screen which speak of horror, disaster, poverty, abduction, and so many things which would suggest to us that God is not in control, that perhaps he is absent or worse, doesn't even care. We're called to live by faith, to hear the promptings of God's Spirit in our hearts, and continue to believe. All too often we're like doubting Thomas.

Do you remember his story? It's found in John, chapter 20. It's here after Jesus has been resurrected that you have this one follower of Jesus, this one person who says, "Hey, I'm not going to believe until I can see with my own eyes and touch him with my own hands. It's only then that I'm going to believe."

Thomas is not unlike you or me. What he sees on the screen, if he goes, "That's reality. All the atrocities, all the things I experience, that's my reality. I'm not going to live by faith until you prove it to me." We can relate to Thomas. It's there we pick it up in John, chapter 20, where Jesus says,

"Then He said to Thomas, 'Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.' Thomas answered and said to Him, 'My Lord and my God!' Jesus said to him, 'Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.'"

We are called to live by faith. Even though we can't put our hands in his hand or touch his side or touch his wound, we're called to live by faith. We pick up this morning in the book of Ruth. The reason why we're looking at Ruth is because Ruth is a woman of extraordinary faith. Last week we learned that trials reveal the nature of our faith.

Do you want to know the depth, strength, the breadth of your faith? Undergo trial. Live through an experience where everything in you is tempted to walk away. Everything in you is tempted to respond like a Thomas, "I'm not going to believe anymore unless I can touch." Not Ruth. Ruth is an incredible woman of faith.

We pick up here in Ruth, chapter 1, verse 22. Turn with me if you would. It's right behind the book of Judges in the Old Testament. We're going to look at 1:22 through the end of chapter 2. This chapter can be broken up into three scenes. I've titled the first one, "Ruth captures Boaz's attention."

Right now, we don't know who Boaz is. It's just a funny name, but he is going to have real significance in the story. Then in verses 8 through 16, "Ruth receives Boaz's favor." Then she goes and tells Naomi of his goodness. Ruth is a woman of great faith despite the circumstances around her.

I don't have time to review everything for you from chapter 1, but needless to say, here is a woman who is now a widow who is trying to care for her mother-in-law. She and her mother-in-law are alone. As a widow in ancient Israel at this time, it is a desperate situation. We pick it up here where Ruth captures Boaz's attention.

There are a couple of things before I read this to you I want you to take note of. That first one is I want you to notice when we read it, Ruth's initiative and her work ethic. Then all of a sudden, this little coincidence happens to take place. Look with me in verse 22. "So Naomi returned, and with her Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, who returned from the land of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest."

It was a time of plenty. We talked last week when it was a time of famine. Now there is a time of plenty. God has visited his people and his land. He has provided for them and there is a harvest. "Now Naomi had a kinsman of her husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz."

We only understand this as a reader, but don't read into the circumstance quite yet that they know or even understand the significance of who Boaz is. Verse 2, "And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, 'Please let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after one in whose sight I may find favor.' And she said to her, 'Go, my daughter.' So she departed and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers…"

Now we see here that Naomi, who is Ruth's mother-in-law… We're not sure of what she does, but we're certain of this, and that is Ruth's initiative and her work ethic. She doesn't sit back and feel sorry for herself. She doesn't sit there and question and wonder, but she moves forward and she knows she is responsible. She has to go find food.

If she just sits, no one is going to be there to care for her or her mother-in-law. She goes and says to Naomi, "I have to go and I have to go out. Even though I'm a foreigner, I'm going to go into this field and I have to go glean." We have to ask ourselves, "What does it mean to glean?" That's not something we're really familiar with in today's world.

Gleaning is the practice of gathering leftover crops after the harvest. It's a way in which God cared for the poor and less fortunate. The Mosaic law required that God's people care for the widows and the orphans by, "Don't gather all the crops and hoard them for yourself, but allow the poor and the less fortunate to follow behind you and to pick up what you have leftover and what you drop on the ground."

Leviticus 19, verses 9 through 10, says this. "Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the LORD your God." This is how I'm going to provide for the poor. Deuteronomy 24 says this.

"When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands." In order for Ruth, for Naomi to pick up food so they can eat. "Don't take all the food for yourself."

We have here that Ruth requests for permission to go and to glean from Naomi. Naomi goes, "Go!" Look what it says. What a coincidence. "…and she happened to come to the portion of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech." Just happens to come across this random field, and it just happens to be the field that belongs to one of her near or closest of kin, Naomi's closest of kin. Just a coincidence. We read on. It says.

"Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem and said to the reapers, 'May the LORD be with you.' And they said to him, 'May the LORD bless you.' Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, 'Whose young woman is this?' The servant in charge of the reapers replied, 'She is the young Moabite woman who returned with Naomi from the land of Moab.

And she said, "Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves." Thus she came and has remained from the morning until now; she has been sitting in the house for a little while.'" We see here that Ruth captures Boaz's attention. Here is this poor, destitute widow who arrives early in the morning and (we're going to learn later on) who works all day long working to provide for herself and her mother-in-law to get food, to glean from the crops that are leftover.

She happens to come along the field of this man named Boaz and he just happens to notice her. It's no coincidence, is it? You see, one of the points I want to make today, which is so important, is whenever you look through Scripture here (and time and time again I could show you) the Lord works through the seemingly ordinary moments of our day. It's not a coincidence.

The writer wants almost… if he could read it to you, he would say when reading that verse, "And she happened to come…" (Yeah, right! "Happened to come.") "…to this portion of the field." With all the land in the nation of Israel, here she just happens to come into the field of a man of great wealth and influence who just happens to be closest of kin to Naomi, although she doesn't realize it, and he just happens to take notice of her.

The Scriptures just scream that the Lord works through the seemingly ordinary moments of our day. Proverbs 16:9: "The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps." Proverbs 16:33 says, "The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD." Proverbs 21:1: "The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever He wishes."

The great passage in assurance of Scripture, Romans 8:28, affirms this truth. "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." There is this hand behind the ordinary, seemingly insignificant moments of our day, and he is at work. We know what Ruth doesn't know at this point: that he just so happened to miraculously provide a place for her to go and work. It's in Boaz's field.

We often make the mistake of crediting our circumstances to coincidence when we really should be thanking God for his provision. You see, we say it's a coincidence that things work out, that perhaps we got into the school we wanted to get into. It's a coincidence that we got the job we were looking for and hoping for all along or it's our good effort or our talent that we got the promotion.

In reality, my friends, Scripture says all good gifts come from the Lord above. We see things as a natural man sees, "Whoa, what a coincidence! Just so happens I met this guy and through a random conversation with him this job opened up. I was so fortunate. I was so lucky." Really? Really? It's not a coincidence. It's God's providential hand at work. Or we just boast in our own gifts, our own talents, our own strength of just how intelligent we are that we got that promotion.

Really? How about that it's God working in and through you and he is the one who blesses you and he is the one who is at work. It's no coincidence that Ruth, this widow, this Moabite who is in a foreign land who is desperately in need of help just happens to wander into a field of a man who could redeem her and care for her in a way which no other man can, and we'll get to that a little later.

Scripture speaks of this. It tells us in Joseph's story. Joseph, you remember Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? In the book of Genesis, Jacob has many sons. One of them is Joseph. Joseph is sold into slavery by his brothers. It's typical of big brothers, isn't it? I have two of them. They would've sold me into slavery. Do you know why? Because I was the favorite child. Coat of many colors, baby! They're still bitter.

But here we are, Joseph is sold into slavery and happens to be picked up by some folks who take him to Egypt away from God's people, away from the Promised Land. They take him into Egypt. It's there through the providential hand of God (I wish I could go through the whole story; I did a series on it several years ago) that he is raised up. He is now second in command.

The people back home, his brothers, are starving. So what happens? It's payback time! I love this story. As a little brother, I love it! Because guess who comes looking for help? Big brothers who sold him into slavery! Now they come, and they need help. Joseph, by God's providential hand, has been at work to raise him up to such a place of influence and power that when his brothers come, look at Joseph's response in Genesis 45, verses 5 through 9.

"Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.

Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, 'Thus says your son Joseph, "God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay."'

Yes, his brothers sold him into slavery. Yes, but see, Joseph recognizes that God was providentially at work through the ordinary moments of their day. It was not God's will for his brothers to mistreat him, but yet by God's providential will he is able to work in such a way that he is able to bring about and accomplish his plan and his purpose so that his people will be blessed, and he happened to use Joseph.

Now when we go forward through our day, it's hard to see it at work. It'd be hard for Ruth to see as she is dealing with famine, as she is dealing with spiritual apostasy in the land, as she is dealing with loneliness and sorrow from the loss of her husband, her brother-in-law, her father-in-law, and having to care for her mother-in-law.

It would be hard for her to see, "Oh, God is in this." But the writer of the book of Ruth, just like Joseph, is going to reveal to us God is in the seemingly insignificant details of our lives. We just have to look in the rearview mirror sometimes. There are things which are going to be blessed to see that, "Wow, it all kind of makes sense."

Then there are times in life you're going to look in that rearview mirror and you are still just going to go, "I may never know the answer to that. I may never know why 5-year-old little kids get cancer. I may never know. I may never know why… And list all the tragedies you saw in that video. I may never know or be able to explain it. I'm called to live by faith." And Ruth lives by faith. Look at verses 8 through 16. We see how Ruth receives Boaz's favor. Look and also note when we go through here, his explanation for why he cares for her. Verse 8:

"Then Boaz said to Ruth, 'Listen carefully, my daughter. Do not go to glean in another field; furthermore, do not go on from this one, but stay here with my maids. Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Indeed, I have commanded the servants not to touch you. When you are thirsty, go to the water jars and drink from what the servants draw.'

Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground and said to him, 'Why have I found favor in your sight that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?' Boaz replied to her, 'All that you have done for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband has been fully reported to me, and how you left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and came to a people that you did not previously know.

May the LORD reward your work, and your wages be full from the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge.' Then she said, 'I have found favor in your sight, my lord, for you have comforted me and indeed have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants.' At mealtime Boaz said to her, 'Come here, that you may eat of the bread and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar.'

So she sat beside the reapers; and he served her roasted grain, and she ate and was satisfied and had some left. When she rose to glean, Boaz commanded his servants, saying, 'Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not insult her. Also you shall purposely pull out for her some grain from the bundles and leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.'"

Look at the ways in which Boaz expresses favor toward Ruth. He invites her to stay in his field. He allows her to glean with his maids. He prohibits his servants from harassing her. On more than one occasion, we see through here that he is going to make provision for that to happen. Apparently, it was rough being a widow to follow behind like that. People would mock you.

He goes, "Hey, no one is going to touch you. No one is going to harass you." He gave her water to drink. He allowed her to eat at his table. He ensured that she had more than enough food to eat. Look at this extraordinary goodness, this kindness that this man shows. Boaz and Ruth, again they stand as a stark contrast against this backdrop, this dark backdrop in the days of Israel when everyone did what was right in his own eyes,as the book of Judges says.

Here you have these two people who just shine like diamonds because of their faith, their goodness, and their faithfulness. Boaz explained when Ruth goes, "Hey, why are you doing this? Why are you doing this?" He says, "I'm doing it because of your faithfulness. I'm doing it because of your sacrifice. I'm doing it because of your faith in the God of Israel. You see, I've heard about you, Ruth. Your reputation precedes you."

That just made me have to ask myself, "What do people think about me?" What do people think about you? When people say, "You know, I'm familiar with you. I know you. I've heard about your faith. I've heard about how you've trusted in the God of Israel. I've heard how you've trusted in who Jesus is and how you continue to respond in faithfulness despite the fact that it seems like the whole world around you betrays who he is. Your reputation precedes you. You are a woman of faith. You are a man of faith."

People talk about you at the water cooler. People talk about you in our community. People talk about you on our street, in our children's schools. You're a person of faith. "Oh, I've heard about you." What do people say? What do people say? See, the Lord works through the seemingly ordinary moments of our day. He does that so we might help others.

We read this story often from the perspective of Ruth. What I want to do is I want you to see it from the perspective of Boaz real quickly because Boaz could've easily just passed her by, right? We read earlier that he is a wealthy landowner. He could've just gone, "You know what? I'm CEO, man. Do you know what you are? You're just lowly to me. I don't need you. There's nothing you could do for me. I'm moving on about my day." Instead, he takes notice of her.

See, the Lord works through the seemingly ordinary moments of our day so that we might help others, so that we might be Boaz. Have you ever thought about that? Jesus tells this same story, doesn't he? This same principle in Luke, chapter 10, a passage we're all familiar with. Read it with me one more time in Luke 10, verses 30-37. Jesus replied to the man who asked, "Who is my neighbor?"

"A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance…" A seemingly ordinary moment of the day. "…a priest…" A religious leader, one who you would expect, of course, a religious leader. He is going to do something about this, right?

"…was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite…" Another religious leader, somebody who was revered in the community also. "…also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan…" One who was unlikely to help. "'…who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.

On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, "Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you." Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands?' And he said, 'The one who showed mercy toward him.' Then Jesus said to him, 'Go and do the same.'"

You see, there are seemingly insignificant random moments of our day that the Lord allows us to experience so that we might be a Boaz to somebody else, so that we might take notice of them. So that when we come across the widow, the orphan, the man who has been beaten and left for dead in a ditch, that we might respond. Don't just think of extreme cases of somebody who you literally see in the ditch, but think about the person who works in the cube beside you. Think about the person who sits beside you in school. Think about the neighbor who lives next door.

I know you're busy. We're busy. We have things to do. We fail to help because we're blind to the needs of those around us often, aren't we? I know I'm guilty of that. There are just times, gang, where I'm just about my own agenda; I'm about my own calendar, my own task and to-do list. I'm about getting things done. I'm just flat blind to the needs of those around me. It's not that I ignore them. I'm just too busy.

We fail to help sometimes because we don't have enough margin in our lives or we just assume someone else will come along. You can just hear the priest, right? "There's a Levite behind me. He's going to help this man, certainly." Then the Levite comes along, "I thought I saw somebody behind me. Surely that guy is going to help."

Boaz could've easily said, "You know, there are so many widows. There are so many people out there. I can't care for all of them. What can I do, right?" Instead he chooses to help. We're blind to the needs around us. We don't have enough margin in our lives. We assume sometimes other people are going to help or we just flat out underestimate the impact we can make. We underestimate the impact we can make.

Speaking from somebody who has been incredibly blessed by the hands of God's people over this past year as my son has battled cancer, let me just tell you something. For those of you who are wondering, "Man, what difference can I make?" if you're tempted to underestimate the impact you can make, let me tell you, you can make an incredible difference by doing two things.

One… You ready for this? It's very profound. Just show up. Just show up. I love this quote that was shared with me not too long ago by Henry Nouwen, who says, "When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand." Just show up.

Secondly, for those of you who are taking notes, write it down. Resist the urge to say something profound. Don't try to get God off the hook. Don't try to make God look good. Just show up and resist the urge of saying something profound. You don't need to share your story, just show up. Tell them you love them.

It continues the quote. It says, "The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing…that is a friend who cares." The Lord works through seemingly ordinary moments of our day so that we might help others. The story continues. Pick it up in verses 17 through 23.

"So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah [30 pounds] of barley. She took it up and went into the city, and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also took it out and gave Naomi what she had left after she was satisfied.

Her mother-in-law then said to her, 'Where did you glean today and where did you work? May he who took notice of you be blessed.' So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, 'The name of the man with whom I worked today is Boaz.'" Remember, Ruth has no idea the significance or that there is a connection between Boaz and Naomi's former husband.

"Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, 'May he be blessed of the LORD who has not withdrawn his kindness to the living and to the dead.' Again Naomi said to her, 'The man is our relative…'" Literally the Hebrew reads here, "The man is one of our redeemers." I'll explain to you next week the significance of this, how God cared for the widows through the close relatives of those who are deceased.

Here we see a ray of hope, that it is not just coincidence that she just happens to come across this field, but it is God providentially at work. As a reader, we read this and we go, "Man, could it be? She just happened to go across this field? Could it be that she gets across this field and this man happens to take notice of her?" Now we learn oh, this same man, he is a relative. He provides more than enough food, not just for Ruth but for Ruth's mother-in-law.

"Then Ruth the Moabitess said, 'Furthermore, he said to me, "You should stay close to my servants until they have finished all my harvest."' Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, 'It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his maids, so that others do not fall upon you in another field.'" It's risky business. "So she stayed close by the maids of Boaz in order to glean until the end of the barley harvest and the wheat harvest. And she lived with her mother-in-law."

Man, it wasn't just a day that Boaz provided for her; it was through the harvest. Day after day after day she was able to go to this same field and was well-cared for. Not only was Ruth cared for, but her mother-in-law as well, two people who were living in desperate times who had no idea what the day was going to bring.

Ruth, who goes out by faith to go glean in the field, now it's all of a sudden opened up to her that the Lord works through the seemingly ordinary moments of our day so that we might help others or receive the help we need. You see, the mistake we often make is we think God only works through the dramatic. We only give God credit for the stories that are fantastic and dramatic.

That's how we think, "It was God who must've done a work then." I will tell you it is God who is behind the hands of good doctors and surgeons, and it is God who is behind the hands of his people. You see, we look for miraculous healing and then we go, "Well it was God who did that." Or we know a doctor who does a great work and we go, "The doctors did that."

Friends, God works through the hands of a doctor, even those who don't know him. He is providentially at work. We look for a miraculous sign. Do you want to know the miraculous sign? There are some people in your Community Group who sit with you every week who have been telling you the same thing year after year. You're waiting for a thunderbolt, right? And lightening.

God is going, "Man, I put people in your life week after week. Hello! I'm providentially involved! I'm making a way! I'm trying to help you! Listen! Listen to my Book. Listen to my Spirit. Listen to my people. These seemingly ordinary, random occurrences in your life? I am at work so that you can help other people, but also so that I can help you if you just have the eyes to see."

In one of my darker days over this past year, and I've had many, I've wondered, "Where is God?" Seriously. I'm just like you. When I see the video, what I see casts doubt to what the Spirit sings within my heart, that he has the whole world in his hands. Sitting there on the tenth floor at Children's Medical Center caring for a 5-year-old with cancer, you bet I stayed up late at night going, "All right, Lord. I want the miraculous. I want the healing. I want the sign."

The Lord was just showing me exactly the truth I'm telling you today. Sometimes he works that way, and sometimes he doesn't, but it doesn't mean he is not there. See Ruth, by faith, continued to march on. By faith, I continue to believe. By faith, you're called to march on, whatever your circumstance may be today.

I penned, and on our blog, I just said, "Where is God? The Lord revealed to me he is living in his people. As I have been tempted to believe that the Lord is distant and unresponsive, I realize now more than ever that his people, many of you; have served as the Lord's hands, feet, and voice. When my mind has been clouded with doubt, you have restored my faith. When my heart has been hardened or burdened, you have restored my strength. God's people have loved us in such a way that I cannot possibly deny his presence or love. God in you has carried us."

My point is the same one Philip Yancey makes in his book Disappointment with God: Three Questions No One Asks Aloud. The church is Christ's body; therefore, if the church did it, God did it. Thus, the Lord's voice has resounded in my heart, "Blake, I'm right there in the hearts of all the people who have been caring for you all this time."

The Lord works through the seemingly ordinary moments of our day so that we might help others or receive the help we need. I told you my story, for those of you who have heard me speak the past several times. Each week my son has to go to the clinic and receive the chemotherapy and the care he needs. We used to go every week, sometimes more than once a week. Now we go about every other week.

I remember in those beginning days, just the sheer terror that I felt and the anxiety that we felt as a mom and a dad. Wake up at oh-dark-hundred, can't eat, and can't drink anything because he has to fast because of the sedation. We're nervous about what's going to happen at the clinic, and somebody, one of you, takes the time to go, "You know what? Through the seemingly ordinary moments of the day I can do something."

What probably to them seems like a pretty small sacrifice, they go and get a little backpack with my son's name on there, and there is a note when we open the door. It says, "Holmes family, Gage, know that we care. I know you have a hard day ahead. I pray that this little gift, this little toy that you find just helps to lighten your load, and you can expect to find one every week you open this door."

You know, I pray God miraculously takes that cancer away, and I have many times. Just because he hasn't right now doesn't mean he is not right there caring for us. There's a little backpack with a toy there. Do you know what? Every week it sits on our steps. Somebody just goes, "You know what? I have the margin. I'm going to make this sacrifice. I can be Boaz. I can show up every week for this little boy and I can lighten his load."

Man! You know, probably somebody in here right now. I know who you are. I know you think it's insignificant. Not to us. You can do that. Through the seemingly ordinary moments of your day, man, there is somebody who needs a backpack. There are people who are putting backpacks on your door. It's not a coincidence. It's the hand of God at work if you have eyes to see. Let's pray.

Lord in heaven, we need more backpacks. We need more reminders of your work in our hearts and in our lives. Oftentimes, Lord, we don't want to live by faith because we're out in this field and it's hot. We're gleaning the leftovers. We grow bitter, and we just need to see that there is one who is orchestrating these seemingly random events in our lives, that there is just complete control.

I pray for my friends here that we would not lose hope, but we would be like a roof. That we'd live by faith, that we'd leave our lands to go to a foreign land and that we would look to find shelter underneath your wing, and our reputation would precede us. I pray, Lord, that we'd be like Boaz and quit thinking of only ourselves. We'd make margin in our lives.

We'd quit making excuses for how busy we are, we'd be a giving people, and we'd be your hands and your feet. Thank you, Lord, that you don't just appear Lord through the miraculous, the fantastic, but you appear through the very ordinary, the routine, and the mundane things of life. May we be a part of that this week, I pray in Christ's name, amen.

About 'The Story of Ruth'

She was a homeless foreigner, a childless widow and a pauper. By all accounts her story should have faded into obscurity thousands of years ago. Yet this short, rarely studied book of the Old Testament paints an unforgettable picture of the grace, reward, redemption and hope we can find in the Lord. It's a story of perseverance in the face of despair, joy in the midst of mourning, provision in a time of want, and restoration when hope seems futile. <br />&nbsp;<br />But the story of Ruth recounts not only the tale of one woman's remarkable faith. It also foretells the much greater story of God's plan of salvation through His Son, which we are living out still today. If you find yourself in need of hope or peace, this study of Ruth's journey will encourage you to rest in the provision of Christ and the assurance that His grace is sufficient for all our needs.