Kicking off the Courage Series, pastor David brings an inspiring message based on the incredible story of Ruth. This sermon explores many lessons from the book of Ruth including the importance of responding to others in difficulty with kindness, trusting God in all circumstances, and unwavering obedience to Jesus.
My name is Dave one of the pastors here and it's a privilege to bring God's word to you this morning we're kicking off our church-wide integrated study today which we've titled courage living for God in difficult times we're going to be looking at the lives of some Biblical characters and look a little bit at how they lived and how they journeyed with God and see what lessons we can walk we can learn from from their lives in our own walk with uh with Jesus there's study booklets available from the info desk on the way out this morning if you haven't already got one you can also get those from your EFG leaders if you're part of an EFG group as well and some of you may have already distributed those already but if you want one we've got plenty check out the info desk and we'll be able to hook you up with one of those if you've got your Bible there I invite you to open up to the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament as we look at our first Bible character in the series this morning so we look at the story of Ruth and this was uh the the study that has been prepared in our booklet has been put together by Julie Thomas now she's not here this morning but she's done a great job and I'm sure as she goes throughout the week and gets stuck into the daily readings and as you sit together with your EFG group or in your own home as you do that if you're not a part of an EFG that you will be blessed as you look into God's word and the life of Ruth there there's a number of different writers across our church have all contributed to this and yeah we look forward to Growing together in this series as we all do that as a church family together so I've been up to Ruth and uh we're going to get stuck in but before we do let's pray Heavenly Father as we open your word together this morning and seek to hear your voice in this story of Ruth Lord would you help us to listen to what it is that you would say to us today as we reflect on the courage of Ruth in spite of the difficult times in which she faced Lord might we see something that we would apply to our own walk with you that we might be courageous and effective Disciples of Jesus I pray that the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts together this morning might be acceptable in your sight O Lord our Rock and Our Redeemer amen Ruth is a tremendous story though it begins as a rather tragic story of loss difficulty and trial ultimately it's a story of redemption it's God's story as much as it is Ruth's story even though God has only mentioned a couple of times in the text it's a short story it's only four chapters long it's one of the only two books in the Bible to be named after a woman it's the only book in the Old Testament to be named after somebody who wasn't Jewish and this little story tells a story of an ordinary family focused in on three main characters living in in rural Israel around 1100 BC have a look at the first few verses there of Ruth chapter one we read this in the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab he and his wife and his two sons the name of the man was elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi and the names of his two sons were melon and Chilean they were aphrodites from Bethlehem in Judah they went into the country of Moab and remained there but elimelech the husband of Naomi died and she was left with her two sons these took moabite wives the name of one was oppa the name of the other Ruth they lived there about 10 years and both melon and Chilean died so that the woman was left without her sons and her husband right at the beginning of this story of Ruth we see that Ruth lived in what was described as difficult times it takes place in the time of the judges when the judges ruled in verse 1. some uh say that Ruth is the last installment in the Book of Judges it it follows after that in the order of the Old Testament and it was still in that time period we read in the final verse of Judges chapter 21 verse 25. that in those days there was no king in Israel everyone did what was right in his own eyes this was a a period in the history of God's people that was characterized by rebellion and immorality it was a a dark and difficult time in the history of God's people the time in which Ruth lived but note that an enormity of the loss that befalls Ruth and her family Israel had no king there was a famine in the land Naomi's husband dies in verse 3. and then Ruth and oppa's husbands die in in verse 5. Naomi has got no children no heirs to continue on the the family name and neither do does she have any grandchildren because Ruth and Oppa are without husbands or children as well it's a pretty tragic beginning to this story but even in these trying and difficult times which are we see lives that are characterized by kindness and courage have a look at verses 6 to 14 there see if you can't spot some of the the kindness and courage coming out in in the story then she that's Naomi arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab for she'd heard that in the fields she'd heard in the fields of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and had given them food so she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah but Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law go return each of you to her mother's house may the Lord deal kindly with you as you've dealt with the dead and with me the Lord grant that you may find rest each of you in the house of her husband then she kissed them and they lift up lifted up their voices and wept and they said to her no we will return with you to our people but Naomi said turn back my daughters why will you go with me have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands turn back my daughters go your way for I'm too old to have a husband if if I should say I have hope even if I should have a husband this night and should bear Sons would you therefore wait till they were grown would you therefore refrain from marrying no my daughters for it is exceedingly bitter for me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me so then they lifted up their voices and they wept again and Oppa kissed her mother-in-law but Ruth clung to her notice Naomi's kindness first to her daughters in law in those verses we just read there in verses eight to nine she knew that in returning to Israel and heading back to to Bethlehem it was going to be a tough time all round for for the three of them but especially for Ruth and for Oppa Naomi had no Sons or or or or husband to support her she wasn't sure at this point how she was going to support herself in that culture let alone support her two daughters-in-law on top of all that Ruth and Oppa being moabite women without husbands or children they were disadvantaged in every way that mattered in this culture being a foreigner or an outsider in Bethlehem was hard enough but the fact that they were moabites added to their difficulties the moabites were the descendants of Sodom they were bitter enemies of Israel they were a people who worshiped idols and false gods and they practiced human sacrifice they were a people who had sent Balaam to prophesy against them they were the ones who first seduced the sons of Israel into worshiping false gods heading back to to Bethlehem into Israel with Naomi would have faced ridicule hatred and Scorn it would have been really tough possibly they might have even lived in fear of assault when they were traveling from place to place as foreign widows not to mention like Naomi they were childless powerless and poor Naomi shows this kindness to her daughters-in-law as she prays for them and releases them to return home to the Safety and Security of their families rather than risk their lives by throwing in with her and returning with her to Bethlehem noticing verses 14 to 19 we'll see an even greater kindness shown by Ruth have a look at verses 14 to 19. oppa kissed her mother-in-law but Ruth clung to her she said see your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and two her Gods return after your sister-in-law but Ruth said do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you for where you go I will go and where you Lodge I will Lodge your people shall be my people and your God my God where you die I will die and there I will be buried may the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death Parts me from you Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her so she said no more so the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem Naomi insists go back Ruth go back with oppa but Ruth remained most of us don't know enough about near Eastern culture or the traditional societies back then to get the full impact of what's Happening Here naomini is saying to Oppa and Ruth don't immigrate with me at least in Moab where you've got a a family and wealth you'll be safe if you come with me you'll have nothing it's huge the Ruth shows great kindness and courage as she chooses to remain with Naomi notice Ruth's resolve in verse 14 and again in verses 16 and 17 as she clings to Naomi as she says no I'm going to go with you where you go I'll go where you Lodge our lodge your people are going to be my people your God my God usually when an immigrant leaves their country and goes to another one they do so in the hope of a better life and yet Ruth kindly and courageously said I'm going to come with you Naomi even though you're saying I can expect a worse life Ruth courageously chose to go with Naomi while expecting it to be difficult harder potentially worse off than if she stayed why how is it that she can be so courageous I think the answer lies in verse 17. Ruth said to Naomi may the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death Parts me from you notice in in the Bible there in in the text Ruth uses God's covenant name notice how the Lord is in all caps there whenever we see the the Lord in all caps like that in the Old Testament it's referring to the Covenant name of God that the name that God revealed to Moses in the burning bush it's a a personal name as opposed to the generic name for God that we see elsewhere in the Old Testament Elohim this is Ruth referring to God by his personal name Yahweh his Covenant name and whenever we see uh God's covenant name his personal name in in our English Bible we'll see it in all caps like that it's a love name for God the name for those who know God intimately and personally it's not the name for those who saw God as far off Yahweh is the name for those who love God who are his family and this is the name that Ruth uses essentially you might think Ruth is making what me we might equate to a baptismal vow she's publicly declaring that she believes in the Living God and that she loves him and so I think because of that her decision is clear but still hard it took courage because Ruth knew that if she stayed in Moab where it was comfortable if she stayed where she had a family and a name where maybe she had suitors in the prospect of another husband that her that if she stayed in this place of safety and comfort with foreign gods her faith in the one true God in Yahweh would likely die she had to be with the people of God that's what she was saying to Ruth and yet she knew that if she goes where her faith will grow if she goes to the people of Israel her status in society will go down to nothing so Ruth makes this hard choice to do the right thing for her relationship with God and we see that this meant doing the right thing with Naomi as well later in in chapter 4 verse 15 we'll see that at the end of the story the women of Bethlehem remark how much now Ruth loved Naomi and it's because of this love that Ruth had for Naomi for her mother-in-law that despite these difficult circumstances they faced she was willing to go back with her and care for probably imagine the thought process that was going on for Ruth as she waited all up if they both go to Israel there's a chance that Naomi won't die if she stays home Naomi will probably die we know she's too old to work she's got no husband or kids to support her in a society in a culture where men had all the power and the legal status and the protections Naomi had no land because they'd sold it 10 years earlier when they left for Moab she didn't have the funds to redeem it to buy it back if Naomi is going to have a life if she's ever going to have her life back Ruth would have to throw hers away if Naomi was going to have land a name and Heir a future Ruth essentially had to give up all the things that she has her own name her own father her own wealth her own family what we see in the courageous kindness of Ruth is that she impoverishes herself so that Naomi eventually can become rich we see that at the end of the story Ruth essentially is one who suffers outside the gate she becomes an alien and a stranger in Israel she leaves the familiar she becomes like a suffering servant so that Naomi can be restored Ruth makes this hard choice to do the right thing for her relationship with God and her relationship with Naomi and they arrive in Bethlehem in time for this barley Harvest and then we get into chapters two and three and uh we're not going to read it all today uh in the interest of time I'd encourage you to read it throughout the week in chapters two and and in chapter 3 verses 15 to 17 what we see is God's kindness towards Naomi and Ruth in providing for them the very real need they had for food to be supplied for what happens is Ruth asks Naomi if she can go out and work in the fields to gather some grain for their food in in chapter two and in this culture there's no Centrelink there's no welfare office no government support for those who are needy and yet God had given instructions to his people in the law that some of the Harvest was to be left for the poor to pick up or to to glean after someone else had had cut the grain gleaning was just picking up the the stuff that was left over that fell along the way and in several places in in God's law we see that there's provision the Harvesters are supposed to leave some for the poor for instance in Leviticus 23 verse 22 God said when you harvest the crops of your land don't harvest the grain along the edges of your field don't pick up what the Harvesters drop leave it for the poor and the foreigners living among you I am the Lord your God and again it's his Covenant name his personal name there Naomi gives Ruth her blessing and says yep go go go off and and glean in the field and Ruth finds herself gleaning in this field that belonged to Boaz a relative of Naomi's and in chapter 2 verse 5 have a look at that notice that Boaz notices Ruth in the field he asked the guy who's in charge of the Reapers the young man who was his Foreman I guess and he says to in verse 5 there whose young woman is this the servant who is in charge of the Reapers answered she's the young moabite woman who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab she said please let me glean and gather among the sheaths after the reapis so she came and she's continued from early morning until now except for a short rest notice Boaz kindness and generosity towards Ruth look at verses 8 to 9 of chapter two Boaz says to Ruth he gets a to the side he says now listen my daughter do not go to glean in another field or leave this one but keep close to my young women let your eyes be on the field they are reaping and go after them have I not charged the young men not to touch you and when you're thirsty go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn ohaz is seemingly concerned for Ruth's safety not just because he was a good businessman he was worried about workplace health and safety on the farm no I think he was uh knew the risk that Ruth was taking by being a foreigner and a moabite out in the fields Ruth faced the very real danger of being assaulted because she was a foreigner a mobile and so he says to her stick close to my young women rest assured I've told my my male workers to leave you alone you'll be protected while you're here have a look down at verses 14 to 16 of chapter 2. when it was Meal Time Boaz said to her come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine and so she sat beside the reapus and he passed to her roasted grain she ate until she was satisfied and she had some left over when she Rose to glean Boaz instructed his young men saying let her glean even among the sheaves and do not reproach her also pull out some from the bundles and leave for her for her and leave it for her to glean and do not rebuke her Boaz is abundantly generous he goes Way Beyond what is required by the law certainly we see him being obedient to to God's law but he went far above it Ruth continues she gleans until evening and we're told in verse 17 she takes home an IFA of Bali it's like a 22 liter bucket full of barley she gets home and Naomi's like where did you work today it's not gleaning this is something else this is this is this is more and so Ruth fills her in and lets Naomi know that it was Boaz and a verse 20 of chapter 2 Naomi is excited she recognizes God's hand at work in the kindness that's been shown to Ruth by Boaz Naomi recognizes God's provision she says may he be blessed by the Lord whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the Dead God's kindness to us has come through this man Boaz it's on display through the Abundant generosity of Boaz towards Ruth and Naomi as he provided food for them please remember Naomi's trials weren't just about where they were going to get a meal it extended to her Destiny her her family uh being threatened she was alone without husband or children without grandchildren and in this culture in this Society Naomi would would always be threatened and with ruin or destitution just around the corner she's too old to remarry she's too old to have kids and so chapter three we see Naomi begin to hatch this plan for Ruth to find a husband have a look at the beginning of Ruth chapter 3 verses one to four there Naomi her mother-in-law said to her my daughter should I not seek rest for you that it may be well with you is not Boaz our relative with whom whose young women you were see his winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor wash therefore and anoint yourself put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor but don't make yourself known to the man until he's finished eating and drinking when he lies down observe the place where he lies and then go and uncover his feet and lie down and he'll tell you what to do Ruth says to Nami all that you say I'll do it she goes off to the threshing floor having changed out of her grieving Widow was closed she puts on her nice clothes and she waits as Naomi had instructed for Boaz to eat and drink and he merrily is dozing off going to sleep at the end of a heap of grain we're told and Ruth quietly uncovers his feet and lies down look at verses 8 to 18 of chapter 3. at midnight the man was startled and turned over and behold a woman laid his feet he said who are you and she answered I'm Ruth your servant spread your wings over your servant for you are a redeemer and he said may you be blessed by the Lord my daughter you've made this last kindness greater than the first in that you've not gone after the young men whether poor or Rich now my daughter do not fear I will do all that you ask for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman and now it is true that I am a redeemer and yet there's a redeemer nearer than I remain tonight and in the morning if he will redeem you good let him do it but if he's not willing to redeem you then as the Lord lives I will redeem you lie down until the morning so she laid his feet until the morning but arose before one could recognize another and he said let it not be known that a woman came to the threshing floor he said bring the Garment that you're wearing and hold it out she held it and measured out six measures of barley and put it on her she went into the city she came to her mother-in-law and said how did you fear my daughter she told her all that the man had done for us saying these six measures of Bali he gave to me for he said you must not go back empty-handed to your mother-in-law and she replied wait my daughter until you learn how the matter turns out for the man will not rest but will settle the matter today it's a bit weird we kind of read this whole business with Naomi setting up Boaz seeking to set up Ruth with Boaz and all of this business on the threshing floor with Ruth sneaking in and uncovering his feed and asking him to spread his wings or is your Bible might say His Garment over her um this might seem strange to us but I assure you this was perfectly normal and completely above board in the culture of that day there's nothing weird going on nothing underhanded going on here to understand it better we need to catch up with this idea of of the Redeemer this Kinsmen Redeemer your your Bible might say in another translation see in Jewish law you can read about it in Leviticus 25 or numbers 35 God had provided families a protection from being stuck in poverty this provision was this idea of the Kinsmen Redeemer someone who was a close relative would be able to restore property that the family members had to sell due to poverty if you remember when Joshua and the people of Israel came into the promised land it was divided up amongst all the families and God knew of the fallenness of humanity God knew the difficulties of life in a fallen world he he knew that poverty is real and people would fall into it and lose their land and so God had made two Provisions in the law for families to make it easy for them to get a second chance and to get their land back first provision was every 50 years in the Jubilee Year all the land would go back to the original families if some people had gotten richer if some people had gotten poorer in that time but it didn't matter everything goes back the way it was that descendants or The Heirs of those who'd lost the land would get it back they'd get another chance secondly before the 50 years is up if the family had fallen into poverty and had to sell their land it could be redeemed out of debt it could be ransomed or bought back but that could only be bought back by this Kinsmen Redeemer this whole idea of this Redeemer this kinsman redeemer was to make sure that no one became landless it was to guard against cycles of of poverty served as kind of like an inside the clan welfare system where the Redeemer agreed to accept and discharge the debts and obligations of the other family members so that their family could become free this is what Boaz was being asked to do as a close relative of Naomi's he could be the Kinsmen Redeemer for this family Boaz would have to buy the land perhaps clear an enormous debt but that's not all part of the goal of this Kinsmen Redeemer was to restore the family name to restore their status in The Wider family of God in the people of Israel but in this particular case in Naomi's case there were no kids so the Kinsmen Redeemer would have an obligation to marry the Widow and raise up children who would have the name of the Dead family not his own Boaz couldn't marry Naomi we know he was she was too old to continue the family line so in order to redeem the family he'd have to marry Ruth but there's the complication she's a moabite it's a huge deal Boaz is being asked to clear this family debt and marry a moabite and raise kids that would be Ruth and Naomi's ears it's huge Boaz doesn't blink he says yep I'll do it but first let me check with another relative who's closer he's got the first option he's the newer relative so he gets the first chance to be the kinsman redeemer if he will I'll let him if he won't I'll do it in the beginning of chapter four we see Boaz doing exactly as Naomi predicted he goes to the Town Gate he gets the elders he gets the other Redeemer there they hash it out the other Redeemer seems interested in taking on the the debt of the land but as soon as he finds out he's got to marry Ruth he's worried about his own inheritance and he's like too much I can't do it and so Boaz agrees he makes his intention clear in verse 9 of chapter four and in in doing so he ensures a future for Naomi as well look at the end of the story verses chapter 4 verse 13 to 17. Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife and he went into her the lord gave her conception and she bore a son the woman said to Naomi blessed be the Lord who has not left you this day without a redeemer may his name be renowned in Israel he shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourish Chef for your old age for your daughter-in-law who loves you who is more to you than seven sons has given birth to him Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse 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 Naomi and Ruth are redeemed Naomi's family line is restored it's interesting to see here that the son that's born to Ruth and Boaz would be the grandfather of David who we know was the king that Israel so desperately needed It's a Wonderful example of the sovereignty of God at work in the midst of difficult times it's a wonderful picture of the love that God displayed his care and concern for his people it's a tremendous story friends we need to ask ourselves the question so what it's more than a story it's God's word to us it's lessons in this story we need to apply to our own lives and we'll run through these quickly number one what's our heart attitude towards others in difficulty I think we see in Ruth's story many displays of human kindness courage and generosity but ultimately all of these are anchored in relationship with God with his word and with his people and so for those of us this morning who follow Jesus we know don't we that kindness courage and generosity should be our response towards others in difficulty we should encourage the care of our more vulnerable members like Naomi and Ruth and Boaz did I think we should pray for Jan and the Pastoral Care team as they seek to care for those across our church and in our community who are doing it tough or facing trials in their lives it's a fabulous pastoral care team that does great work behind the scenes pray for them I think we should pray for the relationships that we might have with those who are in need pray for us as a church that we'd be better at this that we'd become more obedient in this area better able to reflect God's character and caring for those who are poor and needy and vulnerable you know the Apostle Paul said in Galatians 5 22 that kindness is part of the fruit of the spirit that God brings to bear in the lives of those who are really his kids one writer said to put on kindness is to clothe ourselves with the very character of God himself we see that in the story of Ruth don't we as God shows immeasurable kindness to us in Jesus as Boaz stepped into that Kinsmen Redeemer role as he paid the debt for Naomi and Ruth as he secures their future we can't help but think of another greater Redeemer that we have Boaz didn't just pay off the debt he agreed to marry Ruth and in marrying her legally all that Boaz had became Ruth's the moment they were married Ruth was given a whole new life the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that he is Our Redeemer he canceled our debt the dead of our sin and when he died on that cross and the good news of the Gospel the hope for our future says that if we put our faith in him and what he accomplished on the cross he gives us a brand new life a redeemed life and we're restored again in right relationship to The God Who Made Us second question we ask is what is our heart towards God in difficulty back in chapter one Naomi was a little bitter she'd begun to doubt the goodness of God and perhaps lost sight of his loving kindness in the middle of her difficulty look at verses 19 to 21 of of Ruth chapter one she gets into town and she says don't call me Naomi anymore in verse 20 call me Mara Naomi meant meant sweet but Mara meant bitter she says call me Mara because the almighty has dealt very bitterly with me I went away full for the Lord has brought me back empty why call me Naomi when the Lord testified against me the almighty brought Calamity on me Naomi's eyes were fixed on her complaint fixed on the trouble and the difficulty in her life she was utterly without hope she'd lost economic hope as her husband died as her she had no children she was too old to work or remarry and no land she's also without spiritual or emotional hope because in that culture or Society she'd lost everything that would have given her meaning and status in that system she says I went away full but I came back empty how's your heart towards God and difficulty I wonder if you feel empty this morning surely we can at times relate to Naomi's Lament I know I can when the storms of life come when the Trials come it's easy to look at our problems and focus in on them and when we do that we easily get discouraged and find ourselves complaining we need to thank God that he's faithful to be working blessings in our lives even in the midst of our complaint so we see that in our text this morning despite Naomi's complaint God was at work behind the scenes and during their difficulty and despair we can and should trust God to work in all things both for our good and for his glory nothing is ever wasted in God's economy even the the difficulties and the trials that we face can be redeemed for Good by The Sovereign power of God I'm reminded of James chapter 1 verses 2 to 4 where he says dear brothers and sisters when Troubles of any kind come your way consider it an opportunity for great joy for you know that when your faith is tested your endurance has a chance to grow so let it grow for when your endurance is fully developed you'll be perfect and complete needing nothing what a great verse to memorize and meditate on in times of trial I need that I need to be reminded that difficulties and trials can become opportunities for joy and this certainly was the case in Naomi's life in in Ruth's life it's the case in so many a Christian's Life along the way I don't recall who said it but but someone once said Affliction is a good man's shining time and I think having journeyed with a bit of trial recently I can understand what they mean anyone could look calm when everything is going the way we want but let Affliction come and we quickly see what it is that we're serving have we been serving our good circumstances or have we been serving our loving Sovereign faithful unchanging Lord may God teach us this is individuals as families as a church to endure and trust him no matter what difficulty we face for a Time he works in all things for his good and for our and for for our good and for his glory there's a lesson also there in Ruth and Naomi's plans to see if Boaz would be a Kinsmen Redeemer they acknowledge that no doubt this was The Sovereign will of God to bring about his plans and purposes for their Redemption but Ruth and Naomi still had a plot to play Ruth had to ask Boaz she might not have thought to if Naomi hadn't prompted her and instructed her to and so I think there's a lesson there about the interplay between the sovereignty of God and our human effort sometimes we can be in danger of going too far either way can't we we can tend to rely solely on our own effort our human capacity when the going gets tough or we can go the other way and and sit and do nothing and wait for God to move or intercede in an attempt to to see the sovereignty of God become evident I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle we should rest in God's sovereignty while doing all that we can with what is given to us we see that in the story of Ruth lastly I think we asked the question what's our heart towards discipleship Ruth's resolve to remain with Naomi in chapter one we see something of her heart towards discipleship towards living a life that pleases God Ruth was willing to obey the commands of God to to love him and to love his people even when it was difficult Ruth didn't expect a good life she was prepared to forego a husband to forego children wealth status or privilege nothing but death would keep Ruth from doing what she thought she ought to do to honor God and to live for him she knew that the if the Lord is her Lord she can put no conditions on her obedience to him and I wonder friends if the same can be said of us I think sometimes we come to Jesus expecting a better life expecting for it to all be easy yet the story of Ruth the story of the Bible the story of the early church as we journeyed through acts it's often that following Jesus as his disciple means a difficult life it means dying to ourselves in order to live for him we should say as Ruth did I'm willing to obey you God even when life is difficult there's heaps there isn't there it's such a short story I pray that God has spoken to you this morning and don't just hear God's voice have the courage to walk in obedience to what it is that he's calling you to do in response let's pray father we thank you for your kindness courage and generosity that we see in Ruth's story may your Holy Spirit lead us to respond to the needs of those around about us in a way that reflects the immeasurable kindness you've shown to us in the gospel thank you for the hope that we have in Jesus for the new life that is ours through faith in him help us to be effective and obedient Disciples of Jesus despite the difficulties we may face may we have the courage to do what we ought as your people father would you help us to trust that you are at work in all things when we find it difficult to see you move may we rest in your sovereignty even as we utilize all the good gifts that you give have given to us help us this week as we seek to live for you in difficult times. Amen.