I. When It Does Not Look So Good
It is amazing to me how God can take the most atrotious situation and bring good out of it.?We look at Paul, one of the great contributors to the New Testament record of scripture, and he was a leading persecutor?of the Church. Formerly Saul, God knocked him off his horse and blinded him with His light. Jesus changed his life from that day forward. Who would have banked on Saul being one of the founding apostles of the Church?
There is another story that is equally amazing. As we look in?the Book of Genesis we see Abram in his later years, age 99, given the promise of Isaac being born through Sarah. God gives the promise and changed Abram’s name to Abraham. As this change occurs in Abraham’s life there is some inside info?that God wants to share with?Abraham. God says, “Shall I hide form Abraham what I’m getting ready to do?”
“And the Lord said, ?Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him.”
God shows Abraham what is about to happen to?Sodom and Gomorrah. The negotiator is awakened within Abraham. He begins to?negotiate?with God for?His nephew Lot and family are in Sodom. Abraham’s bargaining does not spare the city, but does manage to spare Lot giving his family a chance for escape.
II. Angels and Intercession
The angels appear at Lot’s front door in Sodom. Lot’s welcomes them by bowing to the ground?- a?good way to respond to God’s messengers. Perversion is running rampant in the city. This being demonstrated through people wanting to take the angels to themselves for immoral purposes. Lot give them the alternative, his own daughters! ?He blows it here. Over and over the angels tell Lot to get his family and leave, four times to be exact before they can get him?moving.
“When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, ?Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.? And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside?the city.”
Abraham’s intercession was so powerful the angels said to Lot, “We cannot destroy the city until you leave”.?(Genesis 19:22)?Here is the amazing power of someone who has a voice?with God!?Finally after meandering around Lot gets yanked out by the angels, even begging the angels so they may go to?a different city rather than the mountains which?the angels commanded.?The result is Lot’s wife becomes a pillar of salt because she disobeys the angel’s instruction. It get’s worse. The daughters of Lot decide it is a good idea to have incest with their father to “preserve the lineage of the family”.
After reading this verse I thought to myself, “What good was?Abraham’s intercession!?”?All it did was create two more evil tribes, Ammon and Moab, from Lot’s own daughters. It was at that point that God reminded me of someone, Ruth the Moabitess.
III. Moabite to Israelite
Looking?in the Book of Ruth we see a woman by the name of Naomi?who looses her husband and outlives her two sons which?both married Moabite women. Namoi’s family had to move to Moab from Bethlehem because of the drought. It was in Moab that her sons married Moab women and then died. With Naomi’s husband gone it left her with two widowed Moabite women. Naomi then heard that God’ was providing bread for His people up in Bethlehem. ?Bethlehem was the best option?for Naomi at this time in her life. She was depressed, thinking God had forsaken her and did not want anyone around. ?She was doing her best to leave these widowed women behind. But the Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth followed her as she was leaving. Naomi did everything she could to get rid of them. Finally Orpah kisses and says, “Goodbye”, but Ruth clung to Naomi forsaking her false gods and claiming Naomi’s God as her own. ?Naomi gives in after Ruth’s sincere confession and covenant commitment accepting that she?will be coming along.
“Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother- in- law, but Ruth clung to her.?And she said, ?Look, your sister- in- law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister- in- law.?
“But Ruth said:
?Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”
Ruth sees beyond Naomi’s issues, depression, fears and rejection that she feels (even from God). ?She see’s the God of Naomi, being willing to assist and help her, coveting the spiritual inheritance?more than anything else.?Ruth travels to Bethlehem with Naomi. She finds Boaz who soon?redeems her?by?taking her as his wife removing her reproach?by purchasing all of Naomi’s inheritance from her deceased husband and sons.
IV. Sweetness From the Sour
When we read part of the “exciting genealogy” of Jesus Christ that probably most of us will?skip when reading our Bibles, we see that Ruth is in the lineage of Jesus. We also see that Boaz, who took her as his wife, was born of Rahab the harlot. If you remember Rahab, she was the one who saved the spies of Israel when Jericho was about to be?taken. Rahab also was grafted into the linage of Jesus as well. Through this we begin to see more clearly where Boaz was coming from. He had a heart of compassion for Ruth because his mother was grafted in to Israel as well. He saw Ruth’s?pure devotion to God, her desire to have Him as her only God. ?God?so honors Ruth?that?a book titled after her own name in the Bible! ?Someone who was formerly a?Moabite.?God takes the sour of Lot’s incident?and brings forth the sweetness of devotion in this woman named Ruth putting her in the lineage of His Son.?
Who would have thought that God would make something good come out of a tribe created through incest??But that is how amazing our God is! Why is this important? What challenges are you facing that seem impossible? Are you wondering how anything good come out of it? Looking for hope? If God can make something good come out of this story, He can make something good come out of your story as well.
“And Nathanael said to him, ?Can anything good come out of Nazareth?? Philip said to him, ?Come and see.”