Reassurance: Scripture for your day from the Book of Ruth – 1:19b

When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”

This question – Can this be Naomi? – is not addressed by the women in Bethlehem to Naomi. It’s a rhetorical question they ask to each other.

They are surprised to see her.

They don’t expect it.

Naomi had left, now in God’s providence she returns. They didn’t see it coming.

We can’t guess what God will do, in God’s time and for His purposes. “For my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts greater than your thoughts”, says of the Lord, in Isaiah.

Reassurance: Scripture for your day from the Book of Ruth – 1:18-19

18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. 19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem.

Things come full circle for Naomi. She left Bethlehem with her husband and sons. Tragedy struck. Hardship. And now she is returning to Bethlehem. The only person with her is Ruth.

Ruth’s name means ‘friendship’. She represents God’s faithfulness to Naomi.

We can’t predict the future. How our lives will turn out. Naomi sure didn’t imagine returning home with only Ruth. But we can predict God’s faithfulness, and rely on Him. We can trust Him everyday, and on every path. God is faithful.

Reassurance: Scripture for your day from the Book of Ruth – 1:15-17

15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”

Ruth’s response defies logic. It shifts loyalties (Where you Go I will Go). It carries across national religion (Your God will be my God). It transcends racial boundaries (Your people will my people).

In fact, Ruth’s response of complete loyalty to Naomi foreshadows God’s faithfulness to us in Christ. He leaves heaven. Comes to earth. Transcends every boundary. His death on the cross is because of his loyalty to His Father’s will.

As Christians, the Holy Spirit works this faithfulness in us.

Blest be the tie that binds
  Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship our spirit finds
  Is like to that above.

Advent 2020: the prophets & the coming of Jesus

Malachi 2:15-3:5 – Jesus, His Refining Love

17 You have wearied the Lord with your words.

“How have we wearied him?” you ask.

By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and he is pleased with them” or “Where is the God of justice?”

 3:1 “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.

But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.

“So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty.

Isaiah 9: 2-7 – Jesus, the Wonderful Counsellor and Mighty God

Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—

The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
    and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
    as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
    when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
    you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
    the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
    and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
    will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.

Zephaniah 3:14-20 Jesus, his Protection and Delight

14 Sing, Daughter Zion;
    shout aloud, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
    Daughter Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has taken away your punishment,
    he has turned back your enemy.
The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;
    never again will you fear any harm.
16 On that day
    they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, Zion;
    do not let your hands hang limp.
17 The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

18 “I will remove from you
    all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals,
    which is a burden and reproach for you.
19 At that time I will deal
    with all who oppressed you.
I will rescue the lame;
    I will gather the exiles.
I will give them praise and honor
    in every land where they have suffered shame.
20 At that time I will gather you;
    at that time I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise
    among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes[a]
    before your very eyes,”
says the Lord.

Micah 2:1-5 – Jesus, our Shepherd and our Peace

[a]Marshal your troops now, city of troops,
    for a siege is laid against us.
They will strike Israel’s ruler
    on the cheek with a rod.

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    though you are small among the clans[b] of Judah,
out of you will come for me
    one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
    from ancient times.”

Therefore Israel will be abandoned
    until the time when she who is in labor bears a son,
and the rest of his brothers return
    to join the Israelites.

He will stand and shepherd his flock
    in the strength of the Lord,
    in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
    will reach to the ends of the earth.

And he will be our peace
    when the Assyrians invade our land
    and march through our fortresses.
We will raise against them seven shepherds,
    even eight commanders.

Children & Youth Lesson Sunday, November 8: John 11: 28-33

  1. Song of the Day, sing along with Pastor Greg: Alleluia – Praise Ye the Lord!
  2. Bible Reading & Video Lesson with Pastor Greg: John 11: 28-33
  3. Ask – What do we learn about ourselves in this Scripture? Answer in COMMENTS below
  4. Ask – What do we learn about God in this Scripture? Answer in COMMENTS below
  5. Bible Verse Colouring Sheet – John 11:33 – Email to greg@cpchamilton.ca and we’ll show it.

Reassurance: Scripture for your day from the Book of Ruth – 1:14

14 At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.”

Are we ever called to do the insensible? Orpah does the sensible thing. The safe thing. She takes Naomi’s offer and returns to Moab.

Ruth, on the other hand, does something outrageous. Instead of the safety of her parents’ household in Moab, she decides to stay with Naomi. To what end? Where to? For what future?

Ruth doesn’t just stay with Naomi, she ‘clings’ to her. That means deep loyalty or affection; a change in membership from one group to another. It’s the same word in Genesis 2:24, “For this reason, a man shall leave his mother and father and be united (cling to) his wife.”

Ruth’s loyalty foreshadows Christ’s. He leaves this safety of heaven. Comes down to be with a broken up world, and hurting people like us. Is that sensible? It is not. But it is sacrificial. Sometimes Christians are called more to the sacrificial than the sensible.

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Romans 11:33)

Reassurance: Scripture for your day from the Book of Ruth – 1: 10-13

10 they (the daughters-in-law said to her), “We will go back with you to your people.”

11 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? 12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— 13 would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”

It’s perhaps the darkest realization we can have. To think the Lord’s hand is against us. This is the climax point of Naomi’s back-and-forth with her daughters-in-law. She feels that to stay with her, they too will experience the bitterness, the loss and the pain, that she’s experienced.

And she sees her trials as the Lord’s hand against her. Like, Paul, ‘I was given a thorn in my flesh.’ (2 Cor. 12:7)

We know from Scripture that the Lord will allow trials to come (remember Job also), but only with the promise that He will never leave us with that ‘beyond which we can bear’ (1 Cor 10:13) and that He can, does and will work ‘all things for good’ (Genesis 50:22, Romans 8:28).

Naomi’s reached the bottom. And there she’ll find a life-changing assurance through Ruth, that points us to God’s incredible faithfulness in Jesus.

Reassurance: Scripture for your day from the Book of Ruth – 1: 9

“May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband. Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud.” 

Naomi blesses her daughters-in-law a second time – now with rest. May the Lord grant that each of you find rest.

Forsaking her own comfort, Naomi wishes rest for them.

How much would you say we are people at rest? In Hebrew, the word is menuchah. A place of permanence, comfort, quiet. It is often the phrase, ‘a resting place’.

The place of rest is a precious place. It can easily escape us. Our emotions are not at rest. Our bodies are rest-less. Our lives, especially in this pandemic, seem like they are limping from one day to the next.

The rest Naomi extends here points us to a deeper rest and a promise.

The good news is that we can truly have rest – at every level – in Christ. “Come to me all you who are weary”, said Jesus, “I and will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Reassurance: Scripture for your day from the Book of Ruth – 1: 8

Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me.”

Naomi blesses her daughters-in-law. She sends them back to their own homes, where they can have a future, and blesses them. This counter intuitive. In blessing and sending, Naomi is sending security and help away. She’ll now return home alone.

It’s a significant verse in Ruth. For the first time we hear the word, hesed. May the Lord deal kindly (hesed) with you.

The word means covenantal loyalty, kindness, goodness and love. It is one of two great theological foundations of this whole story.

In announcing the Lord’s hesed Naomi points us to the truth of Jesus Christ. In Him, we experience God’s ultimate kindness to us. One that never fails, no matter what we are facing.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great one with which he loved us…made us alive together with Christ…so that in the ages to come he might how the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:4-8)

Remember this promise today. It’s stronger than every other word you will hear along your way.