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SUNDAY 13 AUGUST 2017
The Old Testament is full of people - real people; whose lives are messy, their families dysfunctional and their obedience not always full or immediate, yet God used them. Our study of their lives is to bring perspective, hope and instruction to ours - to recognise that at times we are tempted to sanitise or selectively interact with their stories and in that way make them heroes. The reality is that their stories are powerful because they are human like us and face the same temptations and frailty that we do - yet God used them.
There are lots of Sunday School versions of Ruth, but today we ignore all of those and look at the significance of ending the book with geology of Perez.
At first glance the book of Ruth is about a jaded mother-in-law convincing her daughter-in-law to leave her own mother and father and hook up with Boaz. But if you fly a little higher, you see that the book of Ruth is also about Gods commitment to Abraham and his family.
The Moabites and the Isralites are reunited in Boaz and Ruth. God is commited to the restoration of all things, but sometimes that is played out through a period of pain, suffering and injustice.
A life without pain, suffering and injustice is not really what we find in the bible. It's our culture that says that life should be fair, it is advertising that tells us that life should be easy, its social media that tells us that we should always be happy, its NCEA that says everyone should pass. Its our school system that tells us that a successful life is a good education, a good job and a nice house.
Jesus’s death on the cross is not just the gift of forgiveness for your sins, or an invitation into eternal life. Its also an invitation into the pattern of being a living sacrifice, to accept and understand that we are experiencing this period of life so God can use it and us in the future.
Jesus dying on the cross is not just something that he did for us… it is him demonstrating for us how he wants us to live. If we want to be like Jesus, we need to trust that God will ALWAYS bring something good out of pain and suffering.