Monday, August 8, 2016

Ruth 3: The God of Love is Our Redeemer and Shelter + Saturday, August 6, 2016

"Whither Thou Goest (Ruth and Naomi)" by Sandy Freckleton Gagon

Liturgy for Saturday, August 6, 2016 Service | Book of Ruth Sermon Series Part 5

From Famine to Feast | Ruth 3 | The God of Love is Our Redeemer and Shelter Key Quotes

Benjamin Franklin was a brilliant man who also favored drinking and women regularly. He was an interesting paradox, a man who was friends with the great preacher George Whitfield and bought a building for him to preach in, yet as far as we know, never became a follower of Jesus and part of His Church. One society he was a part of though was the Infidels Club in Paris, a group of philosophers in his day and age who hated the Bible. Instead they searched for and discussed masterpieces of literature and art. One day Ben Franklin announced he had found an ancient manuscript worthy of their attention. “We must hear it!” they exclaimed. Franklin read them The Book of Ruth, changing the names of the characters and the location so no one would recognize it as from the Bible. When he finished, the Infidels exclaimed “We have never heard anything like it!” and “It is one of the most touching stories we have ever heard!” Imagine what it was like for him to tell them it was from the book they ridiculed and disapproved of the most.

What an audacious plan! To an outside observer there is no difference what Ruth is doing and what a prostitute might do. As one scholar said, “What is one to think of a woman who bathes, puts on perfume, and then in the dark of night goes out to the field where the man is sleeping and uncover his legs?” If she is discovered it won’t look good. What could go wrong? Just about everything. Naomi tells Ruth to go to the threshing floor, uncover Boaz’s feet, and lie down. He will know what to do. In Hebrew:

+ feet can be a euphemism for the male sexual organ;
+ lie down is another metaphor for sex;
+ threshing floors were forbidden and hidden places for such activity
+ know is another metaphor for sex

Ruth is a Moabite; Boaz is an Israelite. She is a woman propositioning a man; a servant asking a landowner; a poor person entreating a wealthy one; a young woman approaching a middle-aged man. And yet Boaz blessed Ruth when he first met her, observing she had sought shelter under the wings of God; now Ruth asks Boaz to be those wings. She is asking him to answer is own prayer of blessing for her. Through Boaz, God is covering Ruth under his wings. God works through Naomi’s risky plan, Ruth’s audacious obedience, and Boaz’s redeeming love. There is no hint of passivity in the three main characters. God’s sovereignty doesn’t freeze them; it gives them the courage to be daring. + Paul E Miller, ALoving Life, also Chapter 7: The Bottom Line from Dean R. Ulrich’s From Famine to Fullness

Another story of strange actions and danger – Joan of Arc’s rescue of Orleans. She said that she would crown the Dauphin in Rheims, Paris would come back to its true king, and the Duke of Orleans who was currently captive in the Tower of London, would return home. In order for these events to take place, as a teenage girl, she would have to travel 350 miles across much of which was enemy territory and lead an army even though she had no military training. All because she, an illiterate farm girl, said God told her to. She also astonished the rough men she eventually led by telling them they could not swear, must confess their sins, their could not be any “immoral men” in the camp, and there would also be priests in the army who were assembled to sing hymns morning and evening. Eric Metaxas says that she was “strong and vulnerable, bold and humble all at once.” One of my favorite moments was when she asked when on trial before her death if “she was in a state of grace.” If she answered yes, she would have been charged with heresy because the church of the time taught you can’t have certainty about that, and if she answered no, then she would be considered guilty. She replied, “If I am not, may God put me there; and if I am, may God so keep me.” According to a witness, her interrogators were astonished. + from Eric Metaxas, 7 Women and the Secret to Their Greatness

Scripture is a vast tapestry of God’s creating, saving, and blessing ways in the world. The great names and stories can be intimidating. We may begin to think “Surely there is no way that I can have any significant part on such a stage.” But the story of the widowed, impoverished, alien Ruth is proof to the contrary. She is the inconsequential outsider whose life turns out to be essential for telling the complete story of God’s ways among us. The outsider Ruth was not born into the faith and felt no natural part of it – like many of us. But she came to find herself gathered into the story and given a quiet and obscure part that proved critical to the way everything turned out. + Eugene Peterson, The Message Study Bible

Eucharist | Thanking God for Communion with Christ and His Church

Come People of the Risen King

By Stuart Townend
2007 A.D.
Come, people of the Risen King,
Who delight to bring Him praise.
Come, all and tune your hearts to sing
To the Morning Star of grace.
From the shifting shadows of the earth
We will lift our eyes to Him,
Where steady arms of mercy reach
To gather children in.

Rejoice! Rejoice! 
Let every tongue rejoice!
One heart, one voice,
O Church of Christ, rejoice!

Come, those whose joy is morning sun
And those weeping through the night.
Come, those who tell of battles won,
And those struggling in the fight.
For His perfect love will never change,
And His mercies never cease,
But follow us through all our days
With the certain hope of peace.

(Repeat Chorus)

Come, young and old from every land,
Men and women of the faith.
Come, those with full or empty hands,
Find the riches of His grace.
Over all the world, His people sing,
Shore to shore we hear them call
The Truth that cries through every age;
"Our God is all in all!"

(Repeat Chorus)

The Rock Won't Move
By Vertical Church Band
2013 A.D.

When the ground 
Beneath my feet gives way,
And I hear the sound
Of crashing waves,
All my world is
Washing out to sea.

I'm hidden safe in the
God who never moves,
Holding fast to the
Promise of the truth
That You are holding
Tighter still to me.

The Rock won't move and
His word is strong,
The Rock won't move and
His love can't be undone!
The Rock won't move and
His word is strong,
The Rock won't move and
His love can't be undone,
The Rock of our Salvation!

My hope is in the 
Promise of Your blood,
My support within the
Raging flood,
Even in the tempest,
I can sing!

I'm hidden safe in the
God who never moves,
Holding fast to the
Promise of Your truth
That You are holding
Tighter still to me!

(Chorus repeat)

Woah, Woah, Woah,
The Rock of our salvation!

On Christ the 
Solid Rock we stand,
All other ground
Is sinking sand,
The Rock won't move,
The Rock won't move!

When darkness seems to
Hide His face,
We rest on His unchanging grace,
The Rock won't move,
The Rock won't move!

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock." + Jesus (Matthew 7:24-25)

Our World Belongs to God 
Q&A 18, 2008 A.D.

Q. How does God respond to us
in our brokenness, sin, and need?

A. While justly angry,
God does not turn away
from our world bent on destruction
but turns to face us in His love.
With patience and tender care,
God set out as Jesus
on the long road of redemption
to reclaim the lost as His people
and the world as His Kingdom.

For God’s response to our sin, 
see Genesis 3:9-15, John 3:16,
and Luke 1:68-75; for the aim to restore
His Kingdom, see Revelation 11:15.

Jesus’ Prayer for His Disciples

Matthew 6:9-13

Our Father in heaven, May Your name be kept holy.
May Your Kingdom come.
May Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread
And forgive us our sins
As we have forgiven those
Who sin against us.
And don’t let us
Yield to temptation,
But rescue us
From the evil one.
(For Yours is the Kingdom,
The power and the glory forever. Amen.)

The Feast

By City Hymns
Original by William Gadsby
1838 A.D.

With wondering eyes, Lord we admire 

The feast prepared by grace;
Come, Lord, and set our souls on fire,
And fill each heart with peace.
These emblems of Your precious love,
By faith may we receive.
And with a solemn pleasure prove,
We in Your name believe.

We eat this bread,

We drink this wine,
Come give Yourself to us.
We know You’re here,
That’s why we’ve come,
To feast on You with love.

No goodness of our own we bring; 

We’re sinners vile and base;
Christ is our all;
Of Christ we sing,
And long to see His face.
O may we each with heart and tongue
Sing, “Worthy is the Lamb!”;
To Him alone the praise belongs,
And we’ll adore His name. 

(Repeat Chorus)

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me. … He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. + Revelation 3:20, 22

Yes Lord, Yes | In My Weakness Gospel Medley
By Shirley Caesar and
Stephanie Robinson
2007 A.D., 1994 A.D.

I’ll say yes, Lord, yes
To Your will and to Your way!
I’ll say yes, Lord, yes
I will trust You and obey!
When Your Spirit speaks to me
With my whole heart I’ll agree,
And my answer will be 
Yes Lord, yes!

In my weakness
You my God are strong.
In my trials, You are my song.
I fall on my knees, I can’t go on,
But in my weakness,
You my God are strong.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. + Proverbs 3:5-6

Jesus said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. + 2 Corinthians 12:9

By Anonymous
1811 A.D.

What wondrous love is this,
O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this,
O my soul!
What wondrous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse
For my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse
For my soul.

When I was sinking down, 
Sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down,
Sinking down,
When I was sinking down
Beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown
For my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown
for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb, 
We will sing, we will sing;
To God and to the Lamb
We will sing.
To God and to the Lamb
Who is the great “I Am”;
While millions join the theme,
We will sing, we will sing;
While millions join the theme,
We will sing.

Oh how high, oh how wide 
Oh how deep is Your love!
Oh my soul, set on fire
By Your wondrous love for us!

And when from death we're free, 
We'll sing on, we’ll sing on;
And when from death we're free,
We’ll sing on.
And when from death we're free,
We’ll sing and joyful be,
And through eternity we’ll sing on,
We’ll sing on,
And through eternity we’ll sing on.

(Repeat Bridge)


May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. + 2 Corinthians 13:14

Next post: Ruth 4: Finale: The God of Love's Redemption Goes Beyond What We Ask for or Imagine + Saturday, August 20, 2016

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