God’s Promise, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
The Lord our God, said to Abraham, in Genesis 12, verses 2 & 3; “And I will make you a great nation. And I will bless you, and make your name great, and so you will be a blessing. And in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Abraham was a very special person wasn’t he? God was so fond of Abraham, that He was going to create an entire nation, from the offspring of Abraham.
God reiterated His great promise to Abraham’s son, Isaac, in Genesis 26, verse 24. He said; “I am the God of your father Abraham; Do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants, for the sake of My servant Abraham.”
Then in Genesis 28, verses 13 thru 15, God said to Jacob, the son of Isaac; “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham, and the God of Isaac.” God spoke to Jacob during a dream that Jacob was having. And He said; “The land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your seed. Your seed shall also be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out to the west and to the east, and to the north and to the south. And in you, and in your seed, shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”
“And behold, I am with you, and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
A short time later, God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. And Israel became the father of 12 sons, who then became the heads of the 12 tribes of the nation of Israel. That’s why many times throughout the bible, the nation of Israel, is referred to as “the sons of Israel”. They were the sons, of Jacob.
God once referred to the nation of Israel, as “MY son”. When Moses was sent to Egypt, to free Israel from their slavery, Moses was instructed to say to Pharaoh; “Thus says the Lord; Israel is My son, My first born!” Exodus 4, verse 22
Israel was pretty important to God wasn’t it? God said in Exodus 19, verses 5 & 6; “Now then, IF you will indeed obey My voice, and keep My covenant, THEN you shall be My own possession among all the peoples; For all the earth is Mine! And you shall be to Me, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.” Never forget this fact; IF you obey Me, THEN you will be My people.
God’s Promise to Us
“All the earth is Mine”, God said. And from among all the nations of people, from all the earth, the sons of Israel, were chosen, to be God’s own possession. That’s quite an honor, isn’t it? All because of one man, Abraham! And the thing that needs to be impressed on OUR minds, is that WE as Christians, have received that same great honor, just like Israel received.
The apostle Peter said in 1 Peter 2, verses 9 & 10; “But YOU are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you, out of darkness, into His marvelous light.”
“For you once, were not a people, but now, you are the people of God! You had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy!”
And why do WE have this great privilege, this great honor? Well, it’s because of one man. Not Abraham, but Jesus Christ. Galatians 3:27 says; “For all of you who were baptized into Christ, have clothed yourself with Christ.” You’ve “put on Christ”. Verse 29 says; “And IF you belong to Christ, THEN you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” There’s that word IF again. IF you belong to Christ. In other words IF you’ve been baptized into Christ; “THEN are you Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”
“Once you were NOT a people, but NOW, you are the people of God! You had not received mercy, but NOW, you HAVE received mercy!”
Do you know why we’ve received mercy? It was Abraham that originally pleased God. It was through HIS bloodlines that the nation of Israel was brought into existence. But now, here we are, and because we’ve been willing to be baptized into Christ, we’re now considered Abraham’s offspring, and heirs according to promise.
Why should WE be “heirs according to promise”? It’s because of what Peter said, to the household of Cornelius, in Acts 10, verses 34 & 35; “I most certainly understand now, that God is no respector of persons, but in EVERY nation, the one who fears Him, and works righteousness, is acceptable to Him.”
With God, there’s no such thing as a “foreigner”? God is the God of the universe! Who could possibly be a “foreigner” to God?
The Story of Ruth
The last two weeks, we’ve been studying from the book of Ruth. Ruth wasn’t from the nation of Israel. In the eyes of those who were descended from the actual “blood” of Abraham, she was a foreigner. In her own words, she said; “Why have I found favor in your sight, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” Ruth 2, verse 10
Ruth spoke those words to Boaz, a close relative of her late husband. And do you remember how Boaz answered her? He said; “All that you have done for your mother-in-law, after the death of her husband, has been fully reported to me. And how you left your father and mother, and the land of your birth, and came to a people that you did not previously know.”
Remember why Ruth had done those things? It was because of her love for her mother-in-law Naomi. She told Naomi; “Where you go, I will go, and where you dwell, I will dwell. Your people shall be my people, and your God shall be MY God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried..” Ruth 1, verses 16 & 17
Boaz had taken notice of Ruth, because of what she had DONE! Ruth had done “righteousness”, hadn’t she? In loving Naomi, and in denying herself. And Ruth had determined that “your God shall be MY God”.
Now, WHO is acceptable to God? “..In every nation, the one who fears God, and works righteousness, is acceptable to Him.” God accepted Ruth, because of her righteousness. He blessed Ruth, because she accepted HIM, and did His will. But Ruth had no idea yet, of the extent, to which God would later accept and bless her.
So now, open your bibles, to the book of Ruth please. Last week, we read how Naomi had suggested that Boaz, being a close relative of Ruth’s late husband, could possibly “redeem” Ruth to be HIS wife. Remember chapter 3, verses 1 & 2.. “Then Naomi, her mother-in-law, said to her; My daughter, shall I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you? And now, is not Boaz, our kinsman..?”
As we mentioned last week, this was the law, in Israel; That if a man died without having a son to carry on his family name, then his closest of kin should have the right to “redeem” his widowed wife, to be HIS wife, and to raise up offspring for the deceased.
So Naomi instructed Ruth, concerning Boaz; “Behold, he winnows barley at the threshing floor tonight. Wash yourself therefore, and anoint yourself, and put on your best clothes, and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to him until he has finished eating and drinking. And it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies, and you shall go an uncover his feet, and lie down. (So, lie down at his feet, and show your subjection to him) Then he will tell you what you shall do. And she said to her; All that you say, I will do.” Chapter 3, verses 2 thru 5
So this plan of Naomi’s, was her way of suggesting to Boaz, that as a close relative, he might redeem Ruth, and take her as his wife. And Ruth humbly obeyed Naomi, and showed her subjection unto Boaz.
And here’s what happened that night. Beginning in verse 8, it says; “And it happened in the middle of the night, that the man was startled, and turned himself, and behold, a woman was lying at his feet. And he said; Who are you? And she answered; I am Ruth, your maid. So spread your covering over your maid, for you are a close relative. Then he said; May you be blessed of the Lord, my daughter. You have shown your last kindness to be better than the first, by not going after young men, whether poor or rich.”
Boaz knew Ruth’s original faithfulness to Naomi, and he knew how she had continued to be faithful to her, by working in the fields, and providing for both herself and for Naomi. She could have left Naomi, and gone out and sought a husband for herself, but instead, she stayed with her mother-in-law, and provided for her.
So Boaz said, beginning with verse 11; “And now my daughter, do not fear, I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence. And now it is true, I am a close relative, however, there is a relative even closer than I. Remain this night, and when morning comes, if he will redeem you, good; Let him redeem you. But if he does not wish to redeem you, then I will redeem you; As the Lord lives! Lie down until morning.”
The next morning Boaz packed up six measures of barley, to provide for both Ruth and Naomi, and he sent her home. Then ruth told Naomi all that had happened, and Naomi said; “Wait my daughter, until you know how the matter turns out; For the man will not rest until he has settled it today.” Verse 18.
Isn’t it refreshing, to deal with people you can trust? Remember how it says in 1 Corinthians 10, verse 10; “Now these things happened to them as an EXAMPLE; And they were written for our INSTRUCTION, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” That verse was specifically speaking about different things than we’re studying today, but doesn’t it apply just the same? Loyalty, trustworthiness, faithfulness.. Written, for our instruction.
So, Boaz was trustworthy. Here’s what it says in chapter 4, verses 1 thru 6; “Now Boaz went up to the gate (the gate of the city, that is) and sat down there, and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz spoke, was passing by. So he said; Turn aside friend, sit down here. And he turned aside and sat down. And he took ten men, of the elders of the city, and said; Sit down here. So THEY sat down.”
“Then he said to the closest relative; Naomi, who has come back from Moab, has to sell the piece of land which belonged to our brother Eli-me’-lek. So I thought to inform you saying; “Buy it”. Before those who are sitting, and before the elders of my people; If you will redeem it, redeem it. But if not, tell me, that I may know; For there is no one but you to redeem it, and I, am after you; I will redeem it.” (if you don’t)
“Then Boaz said; On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of the deceased, in order to raise up the name of the deceased, on his inheritance. And the closest relative said; I cannot redeem for myself, lest I jeopardize my own inheritance. Redeem it for yourself, you may have my right of redemption, for I cannot redeem it.”
Then Boaz said, in verses 9 & 10; “You are witnesses today, that I have bought from the hand of Naomi, all that belonged to Eli-me’-lek, and all that belonged to Kil-yone’ and Mah-lone’. (Those were the two sons that had died) Moreover, I have acquired Ruth, the Moabitess, the widow of Mah-lone’, to be my wife, in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance, so that the name of the deceased may not be cut off from his brothers, or from the gate of his birth place. You are witnesses today.”
Now listen to verses 13 thru 15; “So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife, and he went IN, to her. And the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. Then the women said to Naomi; (the women of the city) Blessed is the Lord who has not left you without a redeemer today. And may his name become famous in Israel. May he also be to you, a redeemer of life, and a sustainer of your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you, and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.”
Isn’t that a great story? And isn’t it amazing, how abundantly, God blessed both Ruth and Naomi? And Boaz! God blessed them all with His good gifts, and He blessed them with one another. Kind of like He’s blessed us here today, with one another. “Every good thing bestowed, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shadow of turning.” James 1:17
How consistent God is, in blessing the faithful! The story of Ruth, has got to be the ultimate example, of how “the one who fears God, and works righteousness, is acceptable to Him.”
Here’s an interesting little fact for you. This story has a lot to say about family names, and about lineage. You know how, Boaz, being an Israelite, was descended from Abraham, right? Well, do you know who Ruth was descended from? Ruth the Moabitess, was descended from Lot, the nephew of Abraham. Read Genesis 19:30 thru 38 and you’ll see.
So Ruth was a descendant of Lot, but do you know who was a descendant of Ruth? Ruth and Boaz had a son, and they named him Obed. And the last verse of the book of Ruth says; “And to Obed was born Jesse, and to Jesse, David.” That’s, KING David, the second king of Israel.
Ruth, the foreigner, became the great-grandmother of one of the greatest kings of Israel, that ever lived. I wonder if Ruth lived long enough, to see, her great-grandson David?
Did you know that there was another king, who was descended from Ruth, besides king David? A King, much greater than David. And not just the king of Israel, but the King of both heaven and earth. And His name is Jesus the Christ.
Do you think that God ever indicated to Ruth, that she would be in the lineage of the Savior of the world? I guess I would assume, that Ruth died, never knowing that fact. But can you imagine the joy she’ll feel when she learns it in haven? I wonder what kind of joy God has in store for us, in heaven?
Somewhere around 1200 BC, Ruth gave birth to a son, in Bethlehem. And then, 30 generations later, came Jesus Christ, descended from Ruth and Boaz, through king David, and born, in Bethlehem. And THAT story, is the greatest story ever told!
How Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. How He was God in the flesh. How he suffered, and was crucified. And how He shed His blood, and how He died, and was buried. And how He rose again from the dead on the third day. And how even today, He sits at the right hand of God, offering salvation to every person that lives. And that includes you and I.
None of us have already attained to eternal salvation. Even the apostle Paul declared; “Not that I have already attained it, or have already become perfected, but I press on, in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of, by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3, verse 12.
If you’re a Christian, you need to “press on”. You need to “continue faithful unto death”. Rev 2, verse 10
But what if you’re not a Christian? Just believing in Jesus, isn’t enough, to make you a Christian. Yes, you’ve got to believe. But then you need to repent of your sins, confess your faith in Christ, and be buried in baptism, in order to be forgiven of those sins. The bible says it explicitly, in Acts 22, verse 16; “And now, why do you wait? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.”
2 Corinthians 6, verse 2 says; “..Behold, NOW is the acceptable time. Behold, TODAY is the day of salvation.” What kind of guarantee, do you have for tomorrow? You may not get another chance tomorrow. But today, today you have the chance to be saved. And NOW, right now, you can be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins. And then you’ll never have to worry about tomorrow.