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Finding Grace in a Bethlehem Field (2 of 5)
The book of Ruth is a love story. It is the Christmas story ahead of time. It is a beautiful love story which results in the birth of a baby in Bethlehem.
I introduced the story of Ruth for you last Sunday morning in the first chapter. In that chapter we have the account of a man named Elimelech and his wife Naomi who leave Bethlehem because there is a famine in the land. They go into Moab, and there, their two sons marry Moabitess girls. Then their sons die, and now bitter Naomi returns with Ruth the Moabitess woman.
At this point in the story, at the end of the first chapter, there is no man named Boaz in the picture. He appears on the stage in the second chapter. We are told that he is a mighty man, that he is a man of wealth, that he is a man who is in the family of Elimelech, and he is qualified and capable to be a kinsman redeemer.
In the first chapter Ruth does not even know he exists. She doesn't know his name. She knows nothing about Boaz at all. It is in the second chapter that Boaz steps upon the stage of scripture. He is the most eligible bachelor in Bethlehem.
Ruth, of course, is an outcast. She has expressed her desire to be a part of the family of God. She put it in the first chapter verse 16 this way, ''Thy people shall be my people, and thy God, my God.'' She said this to Naomi.
She wanted to be a part of the family of God but she understands that in order to be a part of the family of God someone is going to have to extend grace to her. The law excludes Ruth. The law keeps her out. In fact we are told in the book of Deuteronomy that if you were a Moabite you were excluded from the temple down to the tenth generation. Her only hope is for somebody to extend grace to her.
That is what the message of Christmas is all about as well. The message of Christmas is that you and I, though we are excluded by law, though our sin keeps us out, because of w ...
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