Today, we are concluding our message series on the book of Ruth called Rescued. Our message today is entitled “Part of the Plan.” We’re going to see how God’s plan for the lives of Naomi, Ruth and Boaz was part of a much bigger plan for the nation of Israel, and indeed for the world.
So, to better understand the book of Ruth, let’s look to answer the question What is God’s plan for mankind? God has always existed, He is eternal, He is infinite, one God in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This eternal God chose to create the universe, including planet earth with His Word. Into the space-time continuum of the earth, God created finite man.
Genesis 1:26 (ESV) Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
God created man to live in a relationship with Him that would last forever. God created man with the capacity for eternal life, life in time with no end. However, man, Adam, disobeyed God and sinned, thereby losing eternal life and becoming subject to death.
Romans 5:12 (ESV) Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—
So, how could God’s plan of eternal life for mankind be fulfilled? During the period of the Old Testament, people of faith looked into the future for a Messiah who would provide forgiveness of sins. Naomi, Ruth and Boaz looked forward to the coming Messiah, the coming Redeemer, who would redeem them from their sins and set them free with eternal life. Their lives were part of God’s plan that would bring the Messiah, as we’ll see today. The Messiah, the people of the faith in the Old Testament were looking for, was Jesus.
John 3:16 (ESV) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Those who believe in Jesus have their sins forgiven. They will no longer perish in hell for eternity apart from God, but will have eternal life with God forever. Eternal life is life forever with God, time without end. What about us? Jesus’ first coming was in the past. What is our role in God’s plan? The next and ultimate phase in God’s plan for mankind is the second coming of Jesus Christ. When Jesus comes again, all sin and evil will be dealt with and consigned to hell. In the Lord’s prayer, we pray …
Matthew 6:10 (ESV) Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
When Jesus comes again, that prayer will be completely fulfilled. At that second coming, there will be a new heavens and a new earth. In those new heavens and earth, heaven will merge with earth. All sin and evil and unbelievers will be removed from God’s kingdom. The righteous believers will have eternal life and live with God forever throughout eternity. As believers, you and I are part of God’s plan to bring Jesus back to this earth. So, our lives have eternal consequences. One day, we will see all believers of all time in eternity. We will see Naomi, Ruth and Boaz and celebrate each of our parts in God’s great plan. So, let’s return to chapter 4 of Ruth to see how the story concludes.
In the book of Ruth so far, we have seen how Naomi, Ruth and Boaz have been following God’s plan. As they have been faithful to God and one another, they have shown God’s love. The book concludes by showing the blessing that God brought into their lives.
Ruth 4:13 (ESV) So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son.
You’ll recall that Ruth had been married to Naomi’s son for ten years before he died, yet they had no children. Here, we see that God supernaturally allowed Ruth to conceive and her first child was a son. Even though she now was older and Boaz was older still. That son would be a great blessing to Boaz, Ruth and Naomi, as well as others, as we’ll see.
Ruth 4:14-16 (ESV) 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.” Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse.
At the beginning of our story, Naomi had returned from Moab after losing her husband and both sons. She was bitter and empty of every blessing. But now, all has changed and God has blessed Naomi through the birth of Ruth and Boaz’ son. The women of Bethlehem praise God for giving a redeemer to Naomi in the form of the boy. The women praise God that this boy would restore the life of Naomi to fullness and care for her in her old age, as she had no husband. The women praise God for the love of Ruth towards Naomi, who has entrusted the care of her son to her mother-in-law. God had blessed Naomi far beyond what she could have imagined just a year ago.
Ruth 4:17 (ESV) And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
The new baby boy was named Obed. Even though the true mother was Ruth, this grandchild was jokingly said to be the son of Naomi, by the women of the town. Finally, we see in verse 17 that Obed was not just any baby, but Obed would be the father of Jesse, who would be the father of King David. So, Obed was the grandfather of the greatest king of Israel of all time, King David. The same David who wrote the Psalms and ruled over the united kingdom of Israel. So, not only was this son, Obed, a blessing to Naomi, Ruth and Boaz. In coming generations, he and his offspring would be a blessing to the entire nation of Israel.
The essence of sin is following our own plans rather than God’s plans for our lives. Even as believers, we tend to simply look for blessing on our own lives. Yet, the story of Ruth teaches us that when we follow God’s plan, the blessing comes not only to our own lives. The blessing comes to our families, to our children and their children. The blessing impacts our cities and our nation. In fact, the blessing ultimately impacts eternity. So, your life is very, very significant. Your choices in life have great importance. Just as right choices to follow God’s plan bring blessing, wrong choices have the opposite negative effects. Wrong choices or sin, impacts families, children, generations and society. Let’s ask God to help us make the right choices in following His plan. Let’s see how the godly choices in the story of Ruth had long-term impact.
Old Testament believers looked forward to the coming of the Messiah, whom we know is Jesus. The amazing twist that we read about at the end of Ruth is that Boaz was the grandfather of King David, the greatest King in Israel’s history.
Matthew 1:1 (ESV) The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
The very first verse in the New Testament shows us that Jesus Christ came from the line of David, whose grandfather was Boaz. You can read the whole genealogy in Matthew chapter 1. God was working sovereignly behind the scenes in the story of Ruth to bring about his purposes through Jesus Christ. Without Ruth’s conversion from a Moabite idol worshipper to a true believer in the Lord, there would have been no David and no line of believers to Jesus Christ. In the genealogy in Matthew 1, we see that …
Let’s focus on comments on the four women in Jesus’ genealogy. The first of the women is Tamar, who was also mentioned in the book of Ruth. Tamar had two husbands who both died under God’s judgement. Her father-in-law Judah refused to offer his son to her marriage as required by the law. So Tamar used trickery to become pregnant via Judah and bore twins, one of whom was Perez, in Jesus’ genealogy.
Rahab was a pagan prostitute in the fortress of Jericho who hid the Israeli spies because of her belief in the one true God. Her life was spared in the destruction of Jericho and she is listed in Matthew as being the mother of Boaz.
Of course, Ruth was a Moabite idol worshipper who became a believer in the Lord and was blessed with a son from Boaz.
Finally, Bathsheba was the woman that King David committed adultery with and attempted to cover it up by murdering her husband. Bathsheba’s second child with King David was Solomon, who is in the genealogy of Jesus.
All these women would probably be written off by many people as having no significance, no worth. Yet God used them as they followed His plan.
So, what’s the take home lesson for us today? No matter what your past has been, God wants to use you for incredible things. God wants to use you to change your world. The children of the women in Jesus’ genealogy may have been ashamed of their mother’s past, yet God used them as well. No matter what your past or family was like, God has a wonderful plan for your life. God’s plan is not just to bless you, although you will be blessed. God’s plan is to bless other people through you. That’s why He blesses you, so that you can be a blessing to others. So, the obedience of unlikely people brought the Messiah, Jesus.
We began this message by looking at God’s grand plan for mankind. The fulfillment of God’s plan will be believers having eternal life living with God forever in a renewed heaven and earth. This final part of God’s plan will only happen when Jesus returns to this earth, as He promised to do. So, what is God waiting for? Why has it been over 2000 years and Jesus hasn’t returned again?
2 Peter 3:9 (ESV) The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
God is not slow, He has made a promise that Jesus will return and He will. The reason that Jesus has not returned yet is that God is patiently waiting for more people to repent and put their faith in Jesus. God’s family of children is not yet complete. If Jesus was to return prematurely, than some who would have repented will perish and not become part of God’s family. At some point in time and history, God’s family will be complete, the last person will have repented and Jesus will return. So, what is our role in the return of Jesus?
2 Peter 3:11-12 (ESV) Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!
The return of Christ will be a cataclysmic event that ends history as we know it. Christ’s return will bring with it judgement and a complete transformation of the universe as all sin and evil is removed. What is our part in all of this? Since we know the end of the story, we ought to live out God’s plan for our lives in holiness and godliness. We are to be waiting for Jesus’ return and hastening that day. So, these incredible verses tell us that you and I can do something to bring Jesus’ return closer in time. What can we do to hasten Jesus’ return? Let’s remember why Jesus hasn’t returned yet. He is waiting for more people to be saved. So, logically, we hasten Jesus’ return by witnessing and seeing more people saved.
What you and I do in this life has an eternal impact. Each one of us only has so many years and days allotted to us by God. God has a plan for every day of your life. As you seek Him to discover and live out that plan, wonderful things happen. God never intended church to be simply entertainment. Church is intended to equip and motivate you to help bring Jesus back again. Who are you praying for to be saved? How are you spreading God’s truth to those you know? Who are you working to invite to hear God’s truth? As we work together as witnesses, we are part of God’s grand plan.
The book of Ruth is a very encouraging book, showing God at work behind the difficulties of life. In the book, God shows us people who are living out His love to others in their lives. God doesn’t hide His plan from them but guides them every step along the way. God wants to guide you as well in His plan for your life. God wants to guide our church family to reach more people for Jesus.