“Models of Love”
Dr. Derek W. H. Thomas
Let's open in prayer.
Our Father, we thank You for the certainty and the assurance of Your overruling providence in every aspect and every detail of our lives. And we pray this morning that we might be enabled to discern the signature of your providence at work just now. Help us, O Lord, as we study this passage together, that from it we might be enabled to discern those issues and those principles that are relevant for our own situations. Be pleased, O Lord, by Your Spirit, to illuminate this passage and cause us, we pray, to run in the way of Your commandments. Forgive us our sins, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Turn with me just now to the second chapter of Ruth. Let us read from the first verse:
“Now Naomi had a relative on her husband's side from the clan of Elimelech, a man of standing, whose name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, ‘Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.’ Naomi said to her, ‘Go ahead, my daughter.’
“So she went out and began to glean in the fields behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech. Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, ‘The Lord be with you.’ ‘The Lord bless you,’ they called back. Boaz asked the foreman of his harvesters, ‘Whose young woman is that?’ The foreman replied, ‘She is the Moabitess who came back from Moab with Naomi. She said, ‘Please, let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.’ She went into the field and has worked steadily from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter.’
“So Boaz said to Ruth, ‘My daughter, listen to me. Do not go and glean in another field, and don't go away from here. Stay here with my servant girls. Watch the field where the men are harvesting and follow along after the girls. I have told the men not to touch you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.’ At this she bowed down with her face to the ground. She exclaimed, ‘Why have I found such favor in your eyes, that you notice me, a foreigner?’ Boaz replied, ‘I've been told all about you, what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, how you left your father and mother and your homeland, and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.’
“’May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord,’ she said. ‘You have given me comfort and have spoken kindly to your servant, though I do not have the standing of one of your servant girls.’
“At mealtime Boaz said to her, ‘Come over here, have some bread, and dip it in the wine vinegar.’ When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted, and had some left over. As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, ‘Even if she gathers among the sheaves, don't embarrass her; rather, pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don't rebuke her.’
“So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah. She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had left over after she had eaten enough. Her mother-in-law asked her, ‘Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.’ And Ruth told her mother-in-law about the one at whose place she had been working. ‘The name of the man I worked with is Boaz,’ she said. ‘The Lord bless him,’ Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. ‘He has not stopped showing His kindness to the living and the dead.’ She added, ‘That man is our close relative. He is one of our kinsman redeemers. Then Ruth the Moabitess said, ‘He even said to me, ‘Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.’ Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, ‘It will be good for you, my daughter, to go back, to go with his girls, lest in someone else's field you might be harmed.’ So Ruth stayed close to the servant girls of Boaz to glean until the barley and the wheat harvest were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law.”
So far, God's holy and inerrant word.
You can, of course, hear Naomi's little brain spinning in the story! Following Naomi's return to Bethlehem with Ruth her daughter-in-law, things were not necessarily going to be easy for her. It wasn't easy being a widow in ancient Israel, and amidst all of the problems and difficulties was the especial difficulty for Ruth, a Moabitess. And as we begin this second chapter, it is that difficulty that first of all emerges for our consideration.
How was Naomi and how was Ruth…how were they going to survive? How were they going to make a living for themselves? And we are introduced to certain Old Testament laws, certain Old Testament practices — laws of gleaning that are in fact part of the provision that God had made for the poor and for the widow; and, as it turns out, part of the provision that He had made in the unfolding of His greater redemptive plan, namely, the coming of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, into this world. But I don't want to jump ahead too much.
You know the story, of course, so it's more difficult to tell it sort of ‘with bated breath’ as to what's happening next. But imagine for a moment that you don't know the Book of Ruth, and you don't know the story, and you don't know how it's going to end. And imagine that you’re reading this for the very first time, and that you’re reading it without any idea how the story is going to unfold. How is Naomi, and how is Ruth…how are they going to survive? How are they going to make a go of it?
At the end of chapter one, we're introduced to the fact that when they arrived back in Bethlehem, it is barley harvest time. And if I can step away from the narrative just for a minute and suggest to you that what's taking place here is a kind of split-screen narrative…what I mean by that, the narrative is unfolding for us in two different levels. From one perspective, you can tell the story simply from the point of view of Naomi and Ruth, and from a ‘this-worldly’ point of view. And from a this-worldly point of view, it just ‘so happened’–as the NIV says in verse 3, “…as it turned out, she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz.” It was just…luck, if you want to use that word. You know we're not supposed to use that word! But that's what he's saying. It just so happened…it was a happenstance. But of course, you’re too good a Presbyterian to know that things are never just happenstance, are they? That behind what appears to be a happenstance, and behind what appears to be something that is fortuitous, there is actually the unfolding of the providence of God and the hand of God.
And you've all got stories — things that appear to be so insignificant when they happen, and yet they’re part of a jigsaw. Do you do jigsaws? You know one piece of a jigsaw may not appear to have any great significance; you don't even know where to put it, but you know that when you put all the pieces together it forms a picture — a wonderful scene of some kind.
And our lives are often like that, and the narrative as it unfolds here is being given to us on two different levels. There is the level, as it were, of this world — things as they happen to us, as they occur to us, as they occur to our sensibilities. But from another point of view, God is at work, and in a sense you can't bring these two together. You can't solve this puzzle.
You know how Paul says in Philippians 2 that extraordinary thing:
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that works in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”
You’re to work out your own salvation, but God is the One who works it out. And of course it's man's responsibility and God's sovereignty, and (if I can change the metaphor for a minute) they’re like two lines of a railway track. And you bring those tracks together and the train's going to derail, and you bring those lines apart and the train's going to derail, and they run in parallel to each other.
And in a sense, that's what's happening here. Bear in mind, the writer is saying to us, bear in mind that I'm telling this story, as it were, from the point of view of Ruth, and from the point of view of Naomi, because they had no idea how the story was going to end. They didn't know about chapter three, and they didn't know about chapter four. For all they knew, life was going to be difficult and tragic for the rest of their days. And sometimes, sometimes, in the lives of some of God's people that is the way it is. It's not always “they lived happily ever after,” is it? We know, don't we, this morning, that sometimes those are just fairy stories, that reality is sometimes very different.
But of course, let me just give a glimpse of the end here, because you know that the story is going to turn out differently, and you know that God is going to change the lives of these two in an extraordinary way, and God is going to use them in an extraordinary way. And I wonder this morning, are you in the position of Naomi, and you don't know this morning if life is ever going to be worth living again? I've met people like that. I don't think that I've ever been brought in my personal experience to that point. I've certainly had my low points, but I don't think I've ever come to the point where I wonder if life is worth living. But some of God's people are brought to that point. They’re brought to the very edge of the cliff. And I wonder, as I look down on you this morning [that's a metaphor, of course!] — but you know, in a group of this size, I wonder if there's someone here today for whom life is so bitter and life is so dark, and life is so tragic, that you wonder if you will ever know happiness ever again. And this is a story that reminds us…it's a biblical story, it's a story that actually happened…and Naomi was going to know happiness in a way that she could never imagine.
And God can change your life. I want to put that to you this morning, that God can change your life, and God can change your circumstances. I don't know how, and I'm not here to tell you how; I just know that He can. And that when you go to your knees today and you pour out your woes and you pour out your troubles, and you pour out your heart, and you pour out your frustration and your anger, and perhaps resentment, and you say, “Lord, will I ever, ever know the happiness I once knew, ever again?” and I'm saying to you, this God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that you ask or even think this morning. And I want you to race forward just for a moment and catch that picture of Naomi with her little grandson in her arms, right at the end of chapter four of Ruth. She's holding a little baby in her arms, and she says in verse 16 of chapter 4: “She took the child and laid him in her lap, and cared for him. And the women living there, these are the women who said, “Can this be Naomi?, the women living there said, “Naomi has a son,” a grandson, of course, but a son. And they named him Obed, and he was the father of Jesse, the father of David….” and you know, of course, the significance: that this little child was going to be in the genealogical table of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. That's the significance of the story, by the way. But I race ahead…
I want you just to see Naomi nursing this little child. And you know, I had suggested earlier this morning, if the writer…if this was a movie, you know, the director, having panned in close on the tears of Naomi as she bid her two daughters-in-law to go back, and panned in close to see the tears when her husband died and when she lost her two sons, now this same director would pan in close and there’d be tears of joy coming down the cheeks of Naomi as she nurses this little grandchild…and all of the redemptive historical significance of that, that she knew nothing about, of course.
But God had changed her life, and God can change your lives. God can remove those obstacles, and God can close a door on a bitter past and a terrible past, and give you joy again. And that's a wonderful thing to lay hold of this morning, that He can do that. I'm not saying that He will do that. I haven't got the authority to say that, because it may be that God has other purposes in mind for you as His child. But don't ever, ever, lose the hope that God can change our lives 180 degrees from what they were.
So, here's this story, and it's morning in Bethlehem; the sun has risen. And they’re beginning this life in Bethlehem, and Ruth says to Naomi ‘I'm going to glean today.’ It's part of one of the laws, the Levitical laws, one of the provisions that God had made in Israel…that when you harvested a field with your implement, you would leave a certain amount on the side of the field and in the corners of the field. You wouldn't go and thresh the entirety of the field, but you’d leave some of it for the poor, for those who had no means of provision for themselves. And it was very often the women, and it was very often the widows for whom this provision was most used.
And Ruth goes into a field. It's barley harvest time. You know…the hint has been given to us back in chapter one. The hint has also been given in verse 8 of chapter one, because in verse 8 of chapter one, a prayer had been made by Naomi — a prayer that has not as yet been answered. And you know, of course, from the point of the view of the narrator, that when you read this prayer and the prayer goes,
“Go back, each of you to your mother's home. May the Lord show kindness to you as you have shown to your dead and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”
Now, it's a very specific prayer, of course. You want to know, as you read this story, how is this going to be fulfilled? Is God going to answer this prayer? And as chapter two begins and Ruth goes out into the barley fields to glean, “as it turned out” as it turned out…it just so happened, that she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech.” And you know bells are going off in your head: “Oh, my! Is this really going to happen?”
And she gleans there, and Boaz shows an extraordinary amount of interest. He comes from the village, greets his harvesters, and notices her. “Whose young woman is that?” he says in verse 5. And in verse 6, the foreman replies, “She is the Moabitess who came back from Moab with Naomi.” And he then sets about in this extraordinary way to make more provision for her than the law actually required. And you know immediately as you read this story, it's like The People's Friend, you know. Blank faces, you don't know what I'm talking about. It's a sort of…it's a women's journal, you know, for Christian women…full of stories like this, romantic stories…forgive me! As you read this story, it's a romance, of course. Has all the elements of romance, has all the elements of an awakening of interest as Boaz sees in Ruth her character and her disposition, and certain qualities that are attractive to him. It's not a physical beauty that is immediately apparent, perhaps, but it's other things, as he asks questions and discerns things about her. And there is this attractiveness, and there is the blossoming and fruition of a romance…one of the most wonderful stories. It's a wonderful story, isn't it? Just in itself, it's a wonderful story.
And then he says something that is a key word. When he finally begins to speak to her, he says to her,
“May the Lord repay you [at verse 12] for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”
And earlier on, he has said to her…he has expressed his desire that the Lord bless her. He uses a word; it's the Hebrew word hesed. It's a covenant word. It's one of these great significant words in the Bible. And he wishes that Ruth know something of the lovingkindness of God. And you know by this conversation as it unfolds that there is something deeply spiritual, there is something deeply pious about this man.
On two or three occasions in this chapter, the writer has given us a hint — and that's all that we need, we don't need the details, we don't need all the sordid details — that harvest fields were sometimes unsafe places to be. There was a lot of drinking that went on in the hot, thirsty, work, of course, and it was summer. I don't need to spell out the details. It was a dangerous place to be for a young girl. Extraordinary…extraordinary that Naomi asked Ruth to do what she did in chapter three. I'm not going to speak on that this morning. It's extraordinary! But don't miss the significance of it. This was dangerous work, and her life and person and integrity were in danger here. So when the writer tells us about Boaz and we're introduced to Boaz, the writer wants us immediately to capture ‘there's something different about Boaz.’ He's not just like any other man, and his interests are not just like any other man. But he has a spirituality about him. He has a godliness about him, he has a piety about him, that marks him.
You know, now, if I were speaking to a group of young women…younger women… teenage girls, I would take this chapter as a lesson about courtship. What wonderful lessons there are here about courtship, about what it is that first interests Boaz in Ruth. What a lesson to young men, teenage young men, to high school young men, that that which he first of all discerned and asked about were the spiritual characteristics, and the characteristics of godliness and the characteristics of piety, and the characteristics of a discerning heart that come to the surface here. And if you've got teenage children, perhaps it's this chapter, Ruth 2, that they need to look at and study and learn from.
Is this prayer of Naomi's in chapter one, is it going to be fulfilled? Is it going to be answered? And evidently in chapter two it is. Oh, how it is going to be answered! And God is working out His purposes, and God is working out His plans through…notice how God works this out. What does Ruth do? She does her duty. What a horrible word. She does her duty.
You know what? Ruth doesn't come to Naomi and say to her, ‘You know, now that I've become a believer, give me a Bible lesson on guidance.’ You know that's what she would have done, if she had lived in our age. She’d be in a Bible study about guidance – “What am I supposed to do here?” She does her duty. She goes into the fields to glean. She needed bread, she needed food. Her mother-in-law needed food. She had bound herself to the provision of her mother-in-law. She needed to go out and get bread, and the law had given a means of doing that. She did her duty. And in the course of doing her day-to-day duty, God fulfills guidance for her.
And you know, sometimes it's not in the extraordinary things that we find the guidance of God. It's not in the bright lights and clashing symbols. It's in the still, small voice of going about our ordinary day-to-day humdrum work. “And it just so happens” a letter comes through the post. “It just so happens” that the telephone rings. “It just so happens” in the grocery story I bump into somebody. “It just so happens” that in my day-to-day obedience, doing my duty as a Christian woman, doing that which God has given me to do as a mother of my children, that God fulfills His plan, and God works out His purpose. And sometimes I think we fret too much looking for the extraordinary; don't we say it all the time about extraordinary things, ‘Oh, that was providential’ as though other things in life were not providential? When in actual fact, everything that happens to us…you know when you brushed your hair this morning and a hair came out of your head? They’re coming out of mine…I know that. Not a hair…not a hair of your head is not un-numbered by God. Isn't that extraordinary? Not a sparrow that falls…a lowly sparrow that they sold in Jerusalem for food for poor people…you know, little boys would go and collect them…horrible isn't it? Awful! Jesus says not a sparrow falls to the ground without My heavenly Father knowing all about it. He orders every detail of your lives.
What is it about Ruth and what is it about Boaz that comes to the surface here?
Let me first of all look at Ruth. And one of the characteristics, I think, of Ruth that is most attractive here is the meekness and gentleness of her spirit. The meekness and gentleness of her spirit. And it reminds me of something that Peter says in I Peter 3:3,4. “Your beauty,” he says, “should not come from outward adornment such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes” — not that Peter is saying that those things are wrong. Don't misunderstand Peter here. But he says that is not really your beauty. He says those things are beautiful, and they certainly help, but they’re not really your beauty:
“Instead, it should be that of your inner self; the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.”
Let's hear that again: “It should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.” And then he goes on in verse 5,
“…for this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.”
Isn't that lovely? Is Peter thinking here about Ruth, perhaps? About the beauty that shines forth from a meek and gentle spirit? It was without doubt the character of Ruth, and in all that transpires in this chapter, and in all of her response to Boaz when Boaz comes to her, there's something so beautiful about it; there's something so very attractive about her spirit and about her demeanor.
And as the narrative unfolds, and as Boaz discerns this character, he also discerns that that character is one that can so easily be abused, and that can so easily be taken advantage of. And you notice in the narrative how he made instruction to his harvesters that they be careful what they do, and that they be careful; he's told them in advance that she will come for water from the place where they drink and so on, and that they’re not to touch her, and they’re not to tell her or scold her in any way. He knows his men, and he knows what they’re capable of doing, and now they know that he knows. And in all of this, Boaz is sending out a signal: here is a very, very, special woman. Here's a woman of piety; here's a woman of integrity; here's a woman of uprightness; here's a young believer — and oh! how young she was! — and knew, perhaps, little…though more, perhaps, than we think of, through the testimony of her mother-in-law–but young, nevertheless. And Boaz is already sending out all of those signals of protection and love and care.
Isn't it beautiful the way he says about Ruth in verse 12, “…under whose wings you have come to take refuge”? I grew up on a farm, and we kept chickens. We kept them, of course, so as to have a provision of eggs rather than eat them. It was the eggs that we were more interested in. We kept 15 or 20 of them, and every year we would get these little chicks and we’d raise them in containers with paraffin lamps to keep them warm, and so on. And some of you are nodding, some of you are looking…outside of your experience, perhaps. But every now and then…we also had a cockerel, of course, and — not to go into all the finer points…but every now and then, these chickens would come broody, and I don't know whether you've ever witnessed a broody chicken, especially when the little chicks have just hatched from their eggs and so on, but they’re very, very protective. And they love to show them off, and so on; they’d bring them out in the yard and show everybody these little chicks, but as soon as they see anything or hear anything, they clucked, and all these little chicks would come running. And she holds out her wings, and she spreads them out, and all these little chicks would go and hide underneath her feathers, and she sits down and she protects them all. And a broody hen can be quite ferocious — they’re not to be toyed with. What a wonderful, wonderful, picture of God: that Ruth has found now refuge under the wings of God; that God is like a protective, like a broody hen, protecting His little ones. And Ruth has found this refuge, she has found this safety, she has found this provision.
When you find yourselves in a trial, or when you find yourselves experiencing something that threatens to tear you apart, then you remember that as a believer in Jesus Christ you are under the protection of the wings of Almighty God, and you can shelter — you can take shelter and you can take refuge — underneath His wings.
And the writer is using language here that was true of Ruth's relationship to God, and will become true of Ruth's relationship to Boaz, also. And as the narrative unfolds, similar language is used about Boaz's relationship to Ruth; that Boaz takes, as it were, sort of surrogate role of protection and responsibility for Ruth, as eventually they marry, of course.
What is it about Boaz that emerges here? How is the lovingkindness of God displayed in him?
Well, several things about Boaz are attractive; in verse 4, for example, his attitude toward the Lord, the God-centeredness of his life. He greets his harvesters. “The Lord be with you,” he says. These are the first words that we hear from Boaz, and they are words about his God, and they’re words about his Lord. You know, this is a man amongst his men. You know what men are when they get together…sure you do! And here he is with the boys, and his talk is of God, and his talk if of the Lord. That's the first thing you hear about Boaz, and immediately you know this is no ordinary man here. There's something special about this man. This man loves God, and he loves the Lord.
And some of you here this morning have husbands just like that, and they are a treasure and something for which to be so wonderfully thankful for. And perhaps some of you do not, and it is your burden, and it is the secret trial, perhaps, of your hearts this morning, and your prayer that God would conform him to be more like Boaz. And God hears prayers like that; and remember, God can change a situation, and He can change a life; and He can change something that looks at this point so unbelievably dark.
Notice his concern for the poor, his concern for others; how he makes provision for Ruth, whom he doesn't know as yet; and how lavish he is, and how generous he is. And although I think the writer wants us to discern that there's something of a romantic element beginning to grow already–I mean, you can't read this chapter and not realize that a spark has been given off in the course of this chapter, and you know that something is afoot! But the lavishness of his provision and the generosity…here's a man with a big heart. And here's a man who's not just a man of words. You know there are men, aren't there, and they talk about the Lord, but they've got a mean heart, and they have a mean spirit. But here's a man who talks about the Lord, and he has a big heart and a wonderful spirit.
Notice in verse 10…she bows down with her face to the ground to him, and she (this is Ruth) exclaims, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes, that you notice me, a foreigner?” And Boaz of course has noticed her. I think that's a …it's one of these literary things that I think we're meant to pick up from the writer — you know, “You realize what's going on here?” the writer is saying. “He's noticed her.”
And the question…I want to come back to the question we started with this morning in the second session: How is the prayer of Naomi going to be fulfilled? The prayer back in chapter one that Ruth would find a husband?
You remember when Ruth comes home that evening, she comes home after she has milled this barley and so on, she has what the NIV calls an ephah. That's about 30 pounds. That's a lot, you know, carrying two bags of flour in your grocery. This is 30 pounds worth of flour. This is a lot of flour. Can you imagine her? You know, she's coming home, and she's carrying this on her back or somehow or other, and she's–you know, ladies, you carry 30 pounds and you perspire. You don't do this in a dignified way! She drops this 30 pounds of flour, and Naomi, who's been sitting quietly at home all day, she says, “And where have you been today?” [As if she didn't know!] And, “My, what is this you've brought home today?” [As if she didn't know!] And, “Whose field was it again? Boaz? Oh,” she says, “he's a near kinsman of ours.”
You've got to know your Old Testament, but there was another law at work in the Old Testament; not only the law of gleaning, but the law of the kinsman redeemer: that if you were left as a widow, childless, under the old covenant administration the nearest kinsman would take you as his wife. Your husband's brother, perhaps, would take you as his wife to bear a seed for his dead brother. It was part of the provision of the Old Testament, part of that legislation which insured the coming of Jesus Christ according to God's plan. And you can hear now…you can hear the little wheels spinning in Naomi's little brain, and this godly, godly, woman says, “Oh! He's a near kinsman of ours!” [And she's been sitting at home plotting how she can bring these two together, all day! And we know that because of what happens in the next chapter, when she asks Ruth to go to him at night and curl up at his feet underneath the blanket. And this man wakes up in the middle of the night, and you know, there's something at his feet!] Extraordinary! It's just unbelievable what she asks him. I love Naomi…I love her…but I wouldn't trust her! She's a plotter and a schemer, and she can't wait for God's providence to come about. She has to take it into her own hands, and she has to do some meddling. That's another aspect of Naomi's character.
I have to bring all this to a close. How was the prayer answered?
The prayer was answered, of course, because God brought these two together, and God caused an attraction to be formed between the two of them; an attraction based on character more than looks; an attraction based upon their piety more than physical attraction. And there was something deeply, deeply, spiritual at work in the lives of these two, and eventually they get married, and they have a little son whom they call Obed.
And dear, dear, Naomi…scheming, plotting, Naomi…this godly, godly woman who…you know, we can understand and sympathize with her desire to plot and meddle…and things could have gone so horribly wrong. I mean things could have gone in chapter three so horribly, horribly, horribly wrong. But God was at work, and He was at work because Obed was going to be the father of Jesse, and Jesse was going to be the father of David, and David, as you and I know, was part of the physical genealogy of Jesus Himself.
So a part of the story of the coming of Jesus was the conversion of this heathen Moabitess in a land outside Judah, who was brought to faith through terrible, terrible circumstances, but it was all part of the unfolding plan and purpose of God.
Who knows, dear friend, this morning, in the trial that now faces you in your life, who knows but God Himself what purpose He has in mind for you? And maybe not for you, but for a future generation. May be that a trial through which you are passing today is because of something God wants to do in the life of someone else tomorrow, and God is saying are you willing to be that instrument for Him.
May God bless His word to us. Let's pray together.
Our Father, we thank You for Your word; how it penetrates into the deepest recesses of our hearts. And we pray that You would hide it in our hearts this morning, and help us, we pray, to run with perseverance the race You have set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
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