walk in the word
For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7
You know, I swore that I would never do it. The fact is, I used to mock people who played “Peek-a-boo” with little babies. You know, you get something up in front of your eyes, then you pop out smiling and say, “Peek-a-boo!” How ridiculous is that? But I confess, I did it with all three of my kids. It’s because of how it made them smile and how it melted our hearts. Isn’t that right?
It’s a silly game, but I was reminded of it this week when I was studying the book of Ruth. I’m not implying in any way that God plays games, but I’m telling you, sometimes you’re going along, not even aware that God is doing anything at all and then, like a mighty river that was rushing underground, all of a sudden God bursts through the surface. And He’s like, “Peek-a-boo” and we’re like, “Whoa!” and “Wow!
We’re continuing on the broadcast this week in the series God at Work: Even When I’m Not Seeing It. As we looked at last week, we’re trying to break the human addiction to sight. What we’re hoping is that we as God’s people can grow to the place where, by faith, we know that God is at work even when we’re not seeing it.
This week, we’re gonna look at regular, everyday people in the book of Ruth. You may want to take a few minutes to review the facts of the story in God’s Word. If you remember, there’s four main characters. And one of them is you.
Let’s start with Orpah. Remember the sister who turned back?
#1 Are you Orpah? Here’s her life lesson: Don’t quit or you’ll miss the miracle. In the beginning of Ruth, we meet three heartbroken women who had lost their husbands: Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah. Now the daughters-in-law faced yet another separation. Should they leave Naomi or their homeland? This decision was not just geographical but also a matter of faith. Ruth told Naomi: “Your God shall be my God.” Orpah chose differently. She opted to return to her people and her gods (Ruth 1:14).
I wonder how many of you reading this are like Orpah. You have repeatedly heard the good news about Jesus Christ—that your sins can be forgiven if you repent and come to Him by faith—but you stop one step short of true conversion. Like Orpah, you have the information and the opportunity. I urge you; this could be your day to step toward the cross of Jesus Christ and have your life changed by a miracle.
#2 Are you Naomi?: Don’t let your feelings dictate your faith.Naomi really struggled. Humanly speaking, we look at her situation and feel compassion for her. It seemed as though the Lord had dealt bitterly with her. Looking ahead we know He had great things in store—but in the moment, she couldn’t see it. When she got back to Bethlehem, she re-introduced herself as “Mara (Sorrow), for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty” (Ruth 1:21). The good news is Naomi didn’t stay depressed. Later when Ruth comes home with good news, Naomi says, “May he be blessed by the Lord whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead” (Ruth 2:20). Do you see her humility? She realized that her attitude had been wrong. “I judged God harshly because I couldn’t see what He was doing. And now the clouds have opened and God is being faithful.”
Have you ridden that same rollercoaster? What’s God doing? What’s God doing? What’s God doing? Up and down, up and down. I had a Naomi day this week. I don’t have very many of them; but I had to come back to this lesson: Don’t let your feelings dictate your faith. God is working!
#3 Are you Boaz?: Choose the right; God blesses obedience. How easily this book could have been called “Boaz.” It’s his story too. Here was a wealthy, successful, and single man. Man, he could have been singing, “I love the night life. I love to boogie.” But instead, he chose to be a man of righteousness and integrity. Before Ruth came to town people probably told him, “Life is passing you by, Bo! Go out and get what you want!” To which he would have said, “No, no, I am trusting God.” Think of the temptations and pressures he must have faced. Yet he waited on God and kept his life pure.
Are you facing a temptation right now? Maybe this week you thought of doing something that would devastate your family. Listen, God help us to be men and women of integrity and to do what is right even when it’s hard. Keep doing what God has called you to do even when you’re not seeing God at work.
#4 Are you Ruth? Step out in faith; God will reward you. That’s the theme of Ruth’s life. The girl had an unstoppable, unquenchable faith even though she was a pretty new believer. But she knew what God was about and was determined to test and prove His faithfulness. It was a choice. So if you’re a Ruth, there’s some decision you’ve been putting off—some decision of faith. God wants you to step out and take some bold action. He’s like, “Go for it and trust Me! Put yourself in a position where you can see Me work. . . and I will.”
So who are you? Which one?
Have you stopped one step short of saving faith? Come to Him. Pray from your heart: “Lord, I know that I’m a sinner. I believe Jesus died to pay the penalty for my sins. I receive You into my life, Lord Jesus, November 2003.” He will forgive you this moment as you repent of your sin and turn to Him by faith. Don’t quit or you’ll miss the miracle.
Do you need to get off that feelings-over-faith rollercoaster? Emotions make good friends, but they’re lousy leaders. Don’t let your feelings dictate your faith.
Do you need to say “No” to temptation? Draw the line. Make the choice. Seal it up. “I’m not going there” or “I’m not doing that.” Make your decision by faith today. Choose the right; God blesses obedience.
Step out in faith. “I’m gonna do that hard thing that I never thought I could—by faith in God. I’m gonna go for it. God is faithful. I trust Him.” Step out in faith; God will reward you.
Whatever your need today, turn to God in faith. Break your addiction to trust God only when you can see Him at work. And don’t be so surprised when Peek-a-boo!—God comes through!
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