Posts Tagged ‘Boaz’

Coincidence or Providence?

March 7th, 2018

With God, life is not coincidental.

“Let grain from the bundles fall purposely for Ruth.” 

Ruth 2:16 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today ask, “coincidence or providence?”

Life rarely happens as you assume or expect. You may suppose that life will always reward you equitably for your efforts. And that is true to some degree, some of the time. But there are other times that the benefit you receive is not equal to the effort you expended. Occasionally, someone else gets the promotion that you thought would be yours, a reward which your efforts may have deserved. Bewildered, you are left to accept that it’s just not your turn or time for your dream to come true. That’s when you must affirm, “My times are in His hands.” Psalm 31:15 NKJV. Your life in Christ is providential not coincidental.

Read the four brief chapters of Ruth’s story of God’s provision and grace. Everything must have seemed wrong to Ruth when her husband died too young and far too soon. At the death of their husbands, Ruth and another daughter-in law lived with Naomi, their mother-in-law, in Moab. Naomi apparently had little left after the years of famine in Bethlehem, and then the untimely deaths of her husband and two sons while in Moab. What could Naomi do except return to Bethlehem, and Ruth chose to go with her.

Upon their return, what would they do? How would they live? As providence would have it, they returned in the season of harvest, but they had no fields to reap. They prepared themselves to live at the mercy of others’ kindness, but they soon found their needs unexpectedly supplied by God’s providence. As a kindness, widows and foreigners could glean what was leftover in the fields, but only after the reapers had gathered. What she brought home would be the meager result of her efforts. It wouldn’t be much, but it would be better than nothing.

But unknown to Ruth, God had other plans. Soon, she would bring home what God would provide for her through the generosity of Boaz. As the owner of the fields, Boaz ordered his workers to leave, “handfuls of purpose,” for Ruth and Naomi. Little did she know at the time what God had in store for her and Naomi, just as you cannot foresee the grace and blessing that God purposes for you, to give you something extra, even more than you could have earned on your own. Often through the favor of others, God will bless you in the most natural but extraordinary ways.

As God did for Ruth, He will place people in your path to help you have what God wants to give you. That is not random; that is God’s grace and providence. The Bible says, “Ruth found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz.” Ruth 2:3 NIV. She found herself in the field of Boaz – an opportunity neither coincidental nor merely fortuitous, but dictated by the sovereign providence of God. With God, life is never coincidental. Neither Ruth nor Boaz yet knew the significance of this, but God was directing her steps, and his. Her kindness to Naomi was reciprocated in Boaz’ kindness to her. Read Ruth 2:8-12 NIV. Ruth could never have foreseen the role that Boaz would play in her life. The Bible says the “steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.” Psalm 37:23 NKJV.

When you choose to trust and rest in the sovereign plans of an Almighty God, you will receive blessings, “given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, [blessings] will be poured into your lap.” Luke 6:38 NIV. Plan for the unforeseen. Boaz instructed the men harvesting his fields, “Let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her.” Ruth 2:16 NKJV. One translation describes the process as, “handfuls of purpose for her.” Ruth no longer gathered mere leftovers from the corners of the field; she gathered what was purposely, providentially, and generously left for her benefit and Naomi’s provision.

Yet there was even more that would bless generations after her; Ruth and Boaz married and would become parents in the lineage of kings, such as including two of the greatest kings of Judah, King David and King Solomon, and ultimately the lineage of the Savior. Whatever your present situation, rest in the sovereign love of a gracious, generous, faithful, and Almighty God and His unimagined grace will be poured out from Heaven with, “handfuls of purpose.”

Today I pray for you to discover that God’s handfuls are ample and abounding.

Christian Communications 2018-11o8

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April 19th, 2016

“My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory.” Philippians 4:19.

In the sovereign plans of Almighty God ample provision awaits.

Lauren and Cody, my comments for you today are about, “providence.”

Life does not always happen as you planned. You assume life will give you what you earn, and to a great degree that is true most of the time. But there will be other times when what you receive is disproportionate to the effort you gave. It’s not always your turn or the time for your expectations to be realized. In such a time, be steadfast, “I trust in You, O Lord. I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hands.” Psalm 31:15 NIV. Life will take some twists and turns that you will not have expected. But none are apart from God’s attention.

In the Old Testament, the story of Ruth recounts a remarkable instance of divine providence, “the foreseeing care and guidance of God.” It is my opinion that we often view as random occurrence what becomes truly providential. Because of a famine in Bethlehem, a Jewish couple, Elimelech and Naomi, with their two sons, moved to Moab. Read Ruth 1:1-3. Their misfortune is summarized in those few verses. Naomi’s husband died. Across ten years, her two sons married Moabite women. And then, her sons died.

Still, providentially, God was at work. “In the country of Moab, Naomi had heard that the Lord had visited His people by giving them bread.” Ruth 1:6 NKJV. Behind the scenes, God’s presence and providence are at work in your moments of disappointment, even despair. The best of life is not behind you because you experience reversals. God can reverse your reversals. Naomi and Ruth, “. . came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.” Ruth 1:22 NKJV. Harvest. God’s timing is impeccable – “the beginning of harvest.” Coincidence? I thing not. Divinely fortuitous? Definitely. God’s providence offers new beginnings for you.

After the years of famine in Bethlehem and the untimely family deaths while in Moab, Ruth and Naomi had nothing left.  They had come in the time of harvest, but they had no fields to reap. What would they do? How would they live? Are you asking questions like that? They accepted that they would be at the mercy of others’ kindness, but they did not yet realize their future was safely within God’s divine providence. After the reapers had harvested grain from the fields of Boaz, Ruth and others were allowed to glean what was left over, bringing home the meager result of their efforts. No longer leftovers, Ruth received what was providentially blessed by God and provided through Boaz’ generosity.

Ruth could not have foreseen the provision Boaz would release into her life. Boaz and Ruth soon married and a child was born, Obed, father of Jesse, father of David who would be, “a man after God’s heart,” and greatest king of Israel. Nor can you know all of the grace and blessing that God purposes for you – to give you something extra, providence beyond your efforts alone. “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NKJV. God can bless you in the most natural, everyday ways. God places people in your life through which He supplies your need. In the sovereign plans of Almighty God ample provision awaits.

My grandfather was a pastor. As a young boy, I was intrigued by a series of books in his study titled, “Handfuls of Purpose.” When I inquired, he opened his well-worn Bible and read me the story of Ruth, where this phrase is found. Boaz instructed the men harvesting grain from his fields, “Let fall some of the handfuls of purpose for her.” Ruth 2:16 KJV. What you might consider fortunate coincidence or the random kindness of others may just be the “handfuls of purpose” God intends for your life and happiness.

God’s provision is always, “handfuls of purpose.” He has the same for you; “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NIV. That is God’s wondrous providence. Our God is “Jehovah Jireh – the Lord who sees and provides.”

Today, I pray for you to know what comes from God’s hands will be enough, with extra.

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Coincidence or Providence?

October 14th, 2011

“Let me . . glean . . after him in whose sight I may find favor.” Ruth 2:2 NKJV

“Occurrences of divine providence benevolently intersect your path every day.”

My thoughts today ask, “coincidence or providence?”

Everyone has unexpected and unexplainable occurrences so obviously out of the ordinary course of events that they are noticeable as peculiar. Such a moment might make you say, “Hmm! How did that happen?” Your response is the recognition of a coincidence, “a concurrence of events with no apparent connection.” It’s stunning when one of such moments arise. Most people explain that as luck. The question for me is this: are there really such things as mere coincidences? Is life just chance occurrences?

Good things that happen without apparent source can only be explained as random coincidence or divine providence? I choose to believe the latter! I have heard many people describe my life-long friend, Kenny, as being “born under a lucky star.” For some it was the only way to explain the good fortune and unique success his life has enjoyed. That would discount his indiscouragable optimism, joyful personality, bold faith, and passion for God. He isn’t lucky; Kenny is blessed with God’s favor! Luck, if there is such a thing, is random; blessing, and there is such a thing, is purposeful.

I find this to be true: the more a person loves and serves God with joyful obedience, the more “random coincidences” seem to occur in their life. “He who earnestly seeks good finds favor.” Proverbs 11:27 NKJV. In my life and ministry, more than once I “just happened” to be where an invaluable opportunity presented itself; I “just happened” to have met the person who could best help me do what God was asking; I “just happened” to know someone who knew someone that I needed to know. Such occurrences of divine providence, small and large, benevolently intersect your path every day. Look closely, you will see God’s fingerprints.

The book of Ruth is a wonderful, historical account of God’s hand upon a young woman, Ruth, who had experienced a series of difficult circumstances – widowed while young and childless, moving from her childhood home in Moab to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law, and poverty. In a rural, agricultural society to be without land meant to be without a means for daily provision. She and Naomi were dependent upon the benevolence of others. “Let me go to the field and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor.” Read Ruth 1:22-2:11 NKJV. Ruth didn’t ignore realities; she wisely chose to rely on God’s favor. Ruth trusted God to direct her steps, finding unexpected provision and unanticipated posterity into the lineage of David and therefore into the bloodline of the Savior – all by God’s favor. Enjoy the rest of her story. Read Ruth 4:9-22 NKJV.

Favor opens doors you could not access. Favor provides opportunity you did not earn. Favor grants success beyond your skills. Others’ kindness to you is God’s benevolent favor toward you. “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor (chosen) rather than silver and gold.” Proverbs 22:1 NKJV. Let Jesus be your model; “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Luke 2:52 NIV. The good that comes your way is providence, not coincidence.

My prayer for you today is that you experience greater reward and satisfaction than effort alone provides.

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Having Enough

October 10th, 2011

“Who gathered a lot had nothing left over; who gathered little had enough.” Exodus 16:18 NLT

“Having enough is more about what God provides than about how much you gather.”

My thoughts today are about “having enough.”

Many people are nearly incurable worriers, and much of that worry is about having enough – enough money, enough strength, enough ability, enough time, just having enough. Enough is a tough thing to measure. When asked, “How much is enough?” many people would answer, “Just a little more!” But the irony of their answer is this: how much more does it take for you to finally feel secure that you have enough? Read 1 Timothy 6:4-12 NKJV. What God gives will be enough.

Until you know what enough for you is, you cannot possibly know how much you need for that to be true. More of the same is not an adequate description of the sufficiency God intends for you. The idea of sufficiency contrasts with the political and economic uncertainty nationally and globally. The stock market is volatile; a group du jour is protesting somewhere; unemployment remains stubbornly high; international alliances shift unpredictably; and fear for the future is pervasive. Why? Because too many people have had enough of not having enough.

There is quite an interesting description of Israel when Moses led them from the slavery of Egypt to the promised abundance of Canaan. The Bible says of that time, “Everyone had just enough.” Exodus 16:18 NLT. Everyone had enough. What would such a time and place be like? Is that idealistic, even unrealistic?

Listen to Moses’ description of that season of Israel’s history. “Israel went out and gathered this food (manna) – some getting more, and some getting less . . those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed . . the people gathered the food morning by morning, each family according to its need.” Exodus 16:17-22 NLT.

Here’s what I learn from this passage about God providing and your gathering: having enough is a divine partnership; you must work and gather, but ultimately you are dependent on God’s provident hand to supply. Enough is not so much about what you gather; though you must. Having enough is more about what God will provide; know that He will! There is no entitlement for those who can, but will not give the effort. The New Testament is pretty clear, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10 NIV.

Another thing I observe is: God provides enough for you to gather, but you do so “morning by morning.” Remember; Jesus taught you to pray, “Give us day by day our daily bread.” Luke 13:3 NKJV. That is not meant to provide an ample reserve for all the days that follow, or you could stop trusting God and depend on what you have instead of what God will provide. “And with all His abundant wealth through Christ Jesus, My God will supply all your needs.” Philippians 4:16 TEV.

As a young teen, I was intrigued by books on my grandfather’s bookshelf titled, “Handfuls of Purpose.” I later learned their title came from a phrase in Ruth’s story, which describes the heart and hand of our Father. Boaz, the kinsman redeemer of Ruth and her future, instructed his reapers to leave “handfuls of purpose” to generously provide for Ruth and Naomi. See Ruth 2:15-20 KJV.

My prayer for you today is that you experience God’s handfuls of purpose everyday in every area of life.

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