Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Joy of Providence

Devotion: Ruth 2:19-20

A couple weeks back we left the story of Ruth and Naomi as Ruth came home to Naomi after a day's work with more food than they could use in a week. It was worth pausing with Ruth to enjoy the day's work, but it is also worth our time to go on further with the women.
"And her mother-in-law said to her, 'Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.' So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, 'The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz.' And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, 'May he be blessed by the LORD, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!' Naomi also said to her, 'The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.' " -Ruth 2:19-20 ESV 
Naomi is simply amazed at the bounty Ruth has brought home. Naomi quickly jumps to the conclusion that a man must have taken notice of Ruth for her to have received so much. That is true, but it would be more true to note that it is God who had taken notice of the two women and intervened through Boaz to care for their needs. At any rate, the bounty is cause for celebration!
Naomi then turns to prayer for Boaz. God had provided for her and Ruth through Boaz and so she prays for blessing for Boaz to the Lord who is kind enough to not abandon the living or the dead. Naomi's prayer is one of the first indications in the Old Testament that the Lord's providential care for His people is not limited by death. God had not forsaken the two women, nor had God forsaken Naomi's dead husband and dead sons. He was still active in providential care for Naomi and through Boaz, there was a hope that a redemption could come to her family.
It is Naomi's last words that should turn the Christian to think of Christ Jesus. In Genesis 1:27 we are said to be created in the image of God. What is meant by this term, image of God, (usually given the Latin name, "imago Dei") is a hotly debated topic in theology. I attended a whole conference devoted to the topic at Wheaton College some years back. There, an Old Testament professor named Catherine McDowell, argued that at least one understanding of the image of God is that we are created to be kin to God. As kin (though not of the same kind) we are able to be redeemed out of our debt by the Lord according to the Law. Naomi's hope that Boaz, as kin to her, could be one of their redeemers should point us to the Christ.
The Son of God, who is kin to us already as the very Word by which we were created, is our great redeemer because of his becoming our kind in the incarnation in the human Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus is our ultimate redeemer because he is our kinsman and because his wealth of God's favor is boundless. It is out of the great wealth the he can grant to us through faith the grace of God. What's more, Jesus also pays our debt upon the cross, not only leading us to break even, but to an abundance of riches in his grace. This is pure joy for the believer that God has provided in such an over-flowing fashion.
I hope in the coming week, perhaps over a meal of turkey, you can thank your God for the joy of His providence in Christ Jesus. You can thank Him for redeeming you and invite others into the joy of His bounty.

News for You:

  • Interested in being a fellowship hour host?  Sign-ups are available through the month of December on the whiteboard in the Fellowship Hall.  See Dolores Edelman if you’re interested in signing up or have questions about how to be a host!
  • Manfisher is in need of heavy winter coats and gloves for their inventory.  If you, or someone you know, have any of these items set aside to donate, please bring them to the church office for pick-up.
  • The Salvation Army bell-ringing sign-up for Saturday, December 2nd is available at the Welcome Center.  The location will be inside the Safeway entrance.
  • The women’s brunch & cookie exchange is Saturday, December 9th at 9am. Ladies, please join us for food and fellowship with one another.  Sign-up sheet available at the Welcome Center.

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