16th January 2019 – Sunday Devotion

pray-continually

Misfortunes and great plans of God in life

 

I have been reading the book of Ruth yesterday and today, a short but a heartwarming true story. In fact, this Sunday (Jan.13) I was going to select one of the most misunderstood passages in this book to preach about the most profound message of getting closer to the Lord. Unfortunately, the snow disrupted the plan, however, I turned the sermon into a devotion. After you read it, you may say even this snow event could be in the great plan of God for our lives. (Read the Book of Ruth as you are waiting out this snow event)

 

In the Book of Ruth, we read of a series of misfortunes that becomes important pieces in God’s big plan. God had a great plan for Ruth, but it was unknown to her during the time of trials.

 

Series on misfortunes in the great plan of God include events such as….

 

  1. The famine: Naomi leaves Israel with her husband and two sons because of severe famine. They settle in Moab; her sons get married to Moabite women.

 

In today world, famine could be interpreted as; being furloughed without a guarantee of salary (yes, I mean the federal workers), losing a business or a job or being unpaid or underpaid, draining your resources, etc. They are not pleasant experiences, but could those be part of a great plan of God? Yes, absolutely!

 

  1. Naomi’s relocation to Moab. Try relocating! It is not easy. Ruth’s people, Moabites were enemies of Israelites when Naomi relocated to Moab. This may be compared to living without a support system of a family and living among people who think low of you and don’t respect you. Could it be part of a great plan? Yes, absolutely!

 

  1. Naomi’s tragedy of losing all men of the family— (her husband and her two sons). Have you lost a loved one in your family? Losing a husband is tragic enough but losing both sons-the breadwinners of the family? that too far away from your family and friends? Then burying them in a strange place??

 

Talk to Parents who lost their sons and daughters of our armed forces in strange lands and buried in the deep sea, I am sure they could relate to Naomi’s tragedy—could it be a part of God’s great plan? Yes, Absolutely!

 

  1. Naomi’s return to Bethlehem. Two vulnerable widows reestablishing in life is not fun. Old Naomi having to live off her young daughter-in-law’s income is a difficult proposition. In today’s world there are growing number of vulnerable people like helpless women (perhaps even old widows) and children. Such people suffer abuse and neglect. Evil people take advantage of helpless ‘old Naomis’ of our times, like the scammers with robocalls; ‘Young Ruths’ are being taken for granted, abused and misused—just watch the news on TV. Could it be that God allows such sufferings to be in the grand plan of God? Yes, Absolutely.

 

Note: Scammer, abusers and misusers are evil people, when caught they will be punished by the Law.

 

  1. Gleaning through the field behind the reapers. Have you ever tried gleaning on a harvest field? Just for few minutes, not like Ruth gleaning from dawn to dusk? Probably not. We live in a country of plenty so an average American would never understand gleaning for living.

 

Here is an incident took that place in my life last week.  I saw a genuinely homeless man in DC standing in the cold on a street corner with a blank look on his face. I stopped by and handed him our Church’s $25 gift card, he couldn’t believe his own eyes, went away with a grateful heart. He was standing outside a grocery store and a line of restaurants. In the land of plenty when everything you want is just a few steps away, an old man was begging!! Go figure!! This man would understand what it means to glean behind the reapers!! Could genuinely begging to live be in the great plan of God? Yes, Absolutely!

 

Sometimes we think misfortunes are designed to get us down and somehow, we think God is not paying attention. Therefore, we get so worried, go overboard making plans to tackle our problems that don’t work. What happened in the life of Ruth?

 

Here is the statement of Ruth to the unknown plan of God.

Ruth 1:16–17 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go, I will go, and where 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. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” (ESV)

This statement turns the tide in Ruth’s life to experience the great plan of God.

 

  1. Ruth meeting Boaz. An unknown man but a rich redeemer. This is something like God making us see the light at the end of tunnel. This is when we would realize…. Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (ESV)

 

  1. Second marriage. An unlikely marriage of a homeless and a poor widow to a rancher. This is like a Cinderella story. Great plans of God can never be great plans without us experiencing Cinderella syndromes in our lives. When God is in it, what is impossible with man becomes possible with God.

 

  1. Becoming a Grandmother of the greatest King of Israel, David, and eventually paving the way for Jesus.

 

If someone told this to Ruth when she was married to Mahlon (Naomi’s son) and living in Moab, she would not have believed it in million years, because she was born in a family of lowly means, morally of incest origin, plus her dream would have been to settle down with her foreign husband and lead an ordinary family life. To think of becoming a royal family, becoming a grandmother to one of the great kings who was called a man of God’s own heart would have been ridiculously a farfetched imagination. Wouldn’t it be?  But not in the great plan of God.

 

The unknown great plan of God for our lives may include bumps along the way, but we should always make sure we are committed to the will of God like Ruth. This is the key to enjoy the great plan of God during misfortunes.

 

A devotion by Pastor Paul to CFC family

Jan 13, 2018

 

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