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Mercy, Blessings, and Character (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
August 30, 2021 4:00 am

Mercy, Blessings, and Character (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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August 30, 2021 4:00 am

The book of Ruth tells the story of a widow whose dire circumstances influenced her choices and actions. But God is sovereign over everything—so why did her decisions matter? Find out when you study along with us on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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Welcome to Truth for Life. We are beginning a series titled lessons for life will be listing to messages originally delivered to college students. But the truth of Scripture applies to all of us regardless of our age or stage in life today. Alister reminds us that all of our days. All of our decisions are ultimately under God's providential care while the book of Ruth is where we are running many of you have honestly read ahead read more than the first at the bit of your hand for special credit for you to scan your card twice. Just kidding. Sorry you I don't know how these things work in the first that's what introduced the Boaz will come back to them later. Storyteller introduces in SOS to create in the mind of the reader? I wonder why. What introduced this character. I wonder if he's going to be significant in the future village life would have been a bias the harvesters would have been on their way. The air would've been filled with the smells and the sounds that were directly related to these things again. Those of you who have grown up in farming communities know what a difference is represented in the harvest time of year I grew up in Glasgow, which is a big city second city of the British Empire at that time and that two vacations a way up in the north of Scotland and sometimes on the September weekend I was there, right in time for what they called the tacky looking Kathy Hogan, which was potato vacate and I can still remember the scenes of the children who were discharged from school in order that they might write on the backs of these low trailers pulled in some cases by horses and in other cases by tractors on the whole community life was consumed with this one question.

It is time now for us to get the harvest in, so Ruth whether she conceived of it in her bed or whether it was the sounds of the day that started her to the thought. She said to Naomi, she said, I think I'm going to have a goal into the fields picking up leftover grain of all the things he might have said in the morning that may strike you as strange, but actually the Old Testament law provided for people like Ruth and Naomi God gave clear instructions and I leave you to consider this in your homework you can read it in Leviticus 19 and Deuteronomy 24, but he gave clear instructions at the harvester is not to read right into the corners of the field when the harvesters went through the one to go through and take it out of all of the perimeter of the field nor were they to go through a second time and sweep up what was left over.

The reason being that God had compassion for the poor and for the needy and therefore he left open to the poor and the needy, the opportunity of falling behind the harvesters and benefiting from the left over grain and so Ruth doesn't ask her mother-in-law what you have planned for me.

Now that I've come year to live in your place, nor does she ask Naomi to join her, but instead she determines that Naomi presumably because of her status in life because of our age should enjoy the rest spite of holding while Ruth, the younger woman goes out now to try and make provision for herself and for her mother-in-law there's nothing glorious in this. In contemporary terms, it would be like saying to your mother.

I think I'll go out today and spend the day collecting value minium cans. Sorry aluminum cans is a translation for your blood. I'm going to go and collect cans and when I connect enough of these and perhaps will have enough to get ourselves something to eat at night so while that is a sense in which the picture look back on from 3000 years may seem all that sounds like a nice idea.

You know, why don't we go out into the field and does have a little afternoon in the sunshine, picking up some bits and pieces of great is not like that at all.

It is subsistence living. But she's concerned not to provide only for herself but also for her mother-in-law and so she put herself in an environment that opens up possibilities for ostracism.

After all, she's a foreigner on by and large, people don't like foreigners. She put yourself in the place of physical harm, inasmuch as she is going to be in the company of all of these men. And here they may be inclined to take advantage offer, but she does so because of her desire to be useful accommodated in an earlier era from Scotland says young persons should be cheerfully willing to bear the teams and troubles for the sake of their aging parents.

I wanted to say that to you again young people should be carefully prepared to bear fatigues and troubles for the sake of their aging parents. A young woman cheerfully laboring for her aged parents is far happier than a fashionable lady spending in idleness and dissipation. The fruits of the industry of her ancestors as a kind of quaint statement, but what it means is this it is a tragic picture to see a woman walk through the mall in item S amassing more material possessions while neglecting her elderly parents or in the mail determines the same and one of the indications of a decaying culture is when a culture has more concern for his animals than it has for its elderly when young people are more interested in the pursuit of their own agenda than they are in caring for those given them birth who have nurtured them, who have provided for them and who have sustained them on their journey.

It's not the main point, but it is an important point in passing, and I hope you will remember it and not least of all my kids were listening to me speak. Please don't put me in one of those places. I'll try not to rule look after me there. Say what you mean you drill ready. Now Ruth is going out. Not on the basis of a rights.

She has few rights to rely upon. She's going to go out and rely upon favor. Let me go to the fields and pick up leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I found favor. Remember, Noah found favor. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord Jesus teaching is by our attitude and by her actions that everything that God gives any of us and every opportunity of obtaining what we need is in itself an undeserved mercy from the giver of every good and perfect gift. Everything that we enjoy of his provision. The fact that there is another sign of real fluid in our joints do not render is paralyzed with arthritis. The fact that there is enough fluid in our eyes to allow us to awaken to a new day and to look out on one another in the beauties of the day.

The fact that our digestive system works the fight and we been able to move ourselves here that we are ambulatory. Every good and perfect gift comes down from heaven and she says I'm going to go out into this day and I'm going to do my best, but I recognize that I'm not going to be able to walk into the community and say hey I'm Ruth what you have for me. I'm the more the tests do you do anything for aliens around here know she says I'm going to go out into the fields and I want to see if I can find favor in the eyes of someone until Naomi looking presumably upon her daughter-in-law with affection says to her nurse to be go ahead. My daughter and she must've watched her up the street committed out into the care of God saw her hair bouncing on her shoulders as she went. I like Ruth, don't you.

I really like Ruth he write up on the top of my people to like it the moment she's not sitting around waiting for a miraculous intervention initiate she's out looking for a job. I do sound very spiritual doesn't mean if he was really spiritual. Presumably she just be sitting somewhere, waiting for God to intervene know she's offered up, and she's down the road and she's going to find an opportunity to provide for herself and for her mother-in-law. She's hoping to find grace. She's hoping to find favor in somebody's eyes and her words and don't miss the ordinary things she applies common sense your heart of that this is a pleasant lack of common sense, not least of all in the Christian church, so she takes common sense and then she adds careful thought and then took careful thought.

She adds sensible action. Try it sometime. You'll be amazed what happens.

Common sense. Careful thought, followed by sensible action. She was ready to do what she could do and to leave in the care of God. What she was unable to make happen. She would have been delighted to discover Philippians 2 wooden she work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Sounds like something you're supposed to do for it is God who is at work in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. It is not that we simply sit and wait for the intervention of God. It is not that we run around leaving God behind, but it is that we get up and we do in the awareness that every benefit that we enjoy that every mountain recline that every word of cheer were able to offer is only by his grace, he prepared to seek the advice of those around her to pay attention to those who are the encouragers offer and the provision of God for as you see in this chapter is undramatic. It is certainly not miraculous and fight. From one perspective, it looks almost as if all they happen by accident. Indeed, the terminology suggests that it was an accident. As you see in just a moment because she goes out into a place that she doesn't know into a jumbled patchwork of fields and she just happens.

She just happens to go to the field that is owned by guess who the chap we were just introduced to in passing, in verse one, a fellow by the name of Boaz good looking a little phrase there in the middle of verse three as it turned out she found herself working in a field belonging to both. Why was she there haven't invited King James version says her hat was too light on the part of the field, belonging to Boaz. So what to Ruth was sheer coincidence, the result of an unplanned set of circumstances we understand. Looking out from the vantage point of history.

We understand that it was actually part of God's gracious provision for someone as written and said the misery or happiness of our lives is often derived from accidents that appear quite trivial is not my place now to get involved in this whole discussion with you. But the question of how we view the events of our lives, our falling out and the way in which we understand them. Under the providential care of God is something that we need to be very very careful in wrestling with God, who has the whole world in his hands is according to Ephesians 111 working all things out.

According to the purpose of his will, because for from him and to him and threw it in all things that God is not ultimately concerned about your comfort you not ultimately concerned about the comfort of Ruth and Naomi.

That was a byproduct. He is concerned that you would become all that he desires for you to be and that ultimately you would be conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. And that's why even the bad times can be good. That's why even the dark clouds are purposeful. That's why all of our days. We need to be going through them. As Ruth goes through them say okay is the hymn writer puts it forth in thy name or Lord, I go my daily labors to pursue the only be resolved to know in all I think and speak and do and in the common everyday coming and goings of our lives. We discover that God is there, said Kuyper. Dear Abram Kuyper that is who was the Prime Minister of Holland in his inaugural lecture of the Free University of Amsterdam, which was founded in 1880 Kuyper in that occasion pointed out to the gathered throng.

There is not an inch of the whole area of human existence, of which Christ the sovereign of all, does not cry.

It is mine, not an English that he doesn't cry. It is my to the one thing that you want to get from these things. And Ruth did you get nothing else is the fact that all of your existence, the good the bad the ugly, the mistakes and disappointments all the dreams. The schemes are all under the providential care of God.

Your tidings it in his hands all the days of your life is been written in his book before one of them came to be. You're not bouncing around like a cork on the ocean you're not being tossed around in the sea of chance you're not held in the grip of a blind determinism. You don't need to read your horoscope and find out how Sagittarius is doing this morning.

You don't need to be concerned about all these things because you're being trained in the school of God's providence and this undergirds you see this amazing story.

It is as we said, and outworking of Romans 828 Charles Simeon in 18th-century 1759, declares what is before us.

We know not whether we shall live or die, but this we know that all things are ordered and sure she providence is a big pillow on which to put your head at night happy pillow on which to put your head at night. Everything he goes on is ordered with unerring wisdom and unbounded love by DR God, who art love. Therefore, he prays Glenda's in all things to see you and through Jesus Christ our Lord. Some people misunderstand such a view of God's sovereign purpose as as some form of the blind determinism in the Bible, knows nothing of that determinism by which we would be viewed simply as pawns moved around on a divine chessboard or his puppets whose achievements are controlled by a divine puppeteer now there's a paradox in this leaves is wrestling with a juxtaposition of real choice and real responsibility that God's providence doesn't overwrite human decision and action. For example, look at the story look at the events Ruth's request is whose request roots. Naomi's encouragement is whose Naomi's Ruth's arbitrary choice of a field in which the work sheet regarding our work in this field is Ruth's choice. Boaz is three determination to harvest at this time and in this location is Boaz. I need to understand need to think it got ascending in the story of Joseph.

The animosity of Joseph's brothers towards Joseph, came from where from the animosity of their hearts. God is not the author of their evil, and yet by their own determined response to Joseph. They are setting forward. The purpose of God by having Joseph end up in Egypt so that out of Egypt may commonly deliver so that from that deliverer may come. He was the ultimate deliver, even Jesus Christ, God's providential care in the story of Ruth is elsewhere is expressed through the outworking of our free human choices are decisions and our responsibilities, especially when life appears as it must've done doing Naomi to be just a jumble of unconnected threats shall emit enough of that we you can go on now. All right, then we got that point you said fine I hope you do because is very important is I find as I move around and even in my own congregation. The people are buffeted from one side or the other thing that a view of the sovereign purpose of God is somehow or another you got a divine puppeteer is moving people around with nothing to do with any with you sit around and wait for them to move and pull the levers is not so others are running around as if the whole future depended upon that. If I don't do this and I don't do that I'll never get essence of it in Boston. I got trying to take care of everything.

There is crazy is the other group just in a different site.

What you need to read your Bible, read your Bible you be tremendously health, so she goes out and she works in the field belonging to Boaz and in the bar shows up merciful. What happens when the boss comes as were the bosses like we will work for bosses. Evidently I've had a number of bosses in my time you be surprised at all the jobs I have. I don't have enough time to tell you of all of them resemble I was there I was, once she's got her in. In a small supermarket in Yorkshire spent all day Saturday coming up big blocks of cheese.

It was a wonderful job demanded tremendous intelligence as you would understand and we had to do was slice it up and then you put it in a in a in the cling wrap and then you put the label on it argued what waited I did this with a friend of mine and then you put it in the put it on the hot pad there to stake their label with the weight and the price on it and then that seal the back of the thank and when you fill the tree of it you to get downstairs into the store and you put it in the put it in the thing and then you came back up and you did it again and again. Monday morning I came in Monday afternoon urgency after I finish school I came in and the boss was waiting for me and so I went over and he took me to the place where I put all the cheese from the Saturdays and Monday afternoon when I finish school and he began to turn them over and as he turned them over the cheese had a ready input in places started become toasted cheese because honestly we left on the little burner over long and so it started burn the back of the cheese so the Wednesday deal which should be white was looking will garner yellow tending towards orange more serve medium well well done and and the thing. The thing was a disaster. There is no question but it codifies half-price for the Monday afternoon. It just struck me as very funny and and so I just distributed liabilities and lack and that was that was it. Goodbye and that, thank you Tommy Gilliard get you called scapegoat lot in Guilford Street. I said okay so I left there 90 on dead meat because of Idaho neither fired and that's not good. So when towards and I regarding Woolworths, I got another job as stacking Easter eggs angry about a lot of other bosses but Boaz was a nice boss because he shows up and he says good morning everybody. The Lord be with you. May God's presence in his favor satisfy your souls is not a bed is not a bad month and very pliable to the group and may the Lord bless you hey is a great day as needed to wonderful day in the neighborhood used by Mr. Rogers. The are here at any time wearing a cardigan and he said the Lord be with you in the Lord bless you and you bless the Lord, in the end is just a wonderful time. Notice that it not taken the name of the Lord in vain and not profaning his name. The recognizing that God is in everything I need to move quickly here. But you can tell a lot about a person by their hellos and their goodbyes.

You tell a lot about yourself, about the way you say hello and goodbye. You want to be different be different in your hellos and be different in your goodbye Alastair back with a message titled mercy.

Blessings and character listing to Truth for Life.

Alastair will continue teaching from this passage tomorrow. If you listen regularly to Truth for Life. You have probably heard me talk about our mission pretty straightforward. Pretty simple. We teach the Bible with clarity and relevance. That's what were all about the Truth for Life.

We believe that Scripture is God's word is truth does not change. So whether you're a college student or a grandparent of a college student. The Bible has something to say to each one of us.

In addition to teaching from the Bible. We also carefully select books to help you grow in your faith effect. Tomorrow is the last day will be mentioning a book that deals with the subject that I think most of us find intriguing the subject of heaven. The book is titled heaven on earth, and it answers some of the common questions that so many of us have about the experience that is ahead for us this hundred page book from author Derek Thomas is packed full of rich Bible teaching to give us a clearer picture of heaven, and he assures us that eternity will never grow old.

If you'd like to learn more about what we can expect in the new heaven and the new earth.

Be sure to request your copy of the book heaven on earth. When you give a gift of any amount, simply visit our website Truth for for The image of the Truth for Life tomorrow. Alastair highlights how our random choices are wrapped up in God's unfolding goodness. Will we respond as Ruth did find out as we listen tomorrow about Lapine Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life where the Learning is for Living

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