Dear Cornerstone brothers and sisters,
I pray you are knowing the peace of being in Christ this week. As we considered Jesus’ rejection by his hometown of Nazareth last week, may we always keep in mind the ultimate rejection that Christ experienced for his children on the cross. He was made sin for us that we might be declared righteous in him (2 Cor 5:21).
Here are few announcements of various things in the life of our church:
1. Ladies’ ‘Mugs and Muffins’ is scheduled for this Saturday at 9:00AM at the home of Nenita Tan. Their address is 1310 Welch St., Unit A, Houston, 77006. Bring your friends and neighbors. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Our Vos study group will meet next Wednesday at 7:00PM at the home of Matt Brueggeman. His address is 7402 Skylight Ln, Houston, 77095. We will finish up looking at chapter 1.
3. Please let me know ASAP if you are interested in the joint Spring retreat with Providence OPC. The dates are May 29-31 (but if you can only come on Fri night, that is fine too). We are going to Trinity Pines conference center on Lake Livingston.
Finally, this week’s devotion (attached) is a reflection from Ruth 2.
God bless and I look forward to worshipping with you this Lord’s Day!!
From the Pastor’s Desk
“Gleaning and Grace”
Ruth 2:2, “And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, ‘Let me go the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.’”
Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi are back in Bethlehem. They are both widows. They have no one to provide for them. In ancient near eastern culture, widows (along with orphans) were considered the most helpless individuals in society (Deut 10:18; Isaiah 1:17; James 1:27). What were Ruth and Naomi to do? How would they live? How would they eat? The answer is provided in 2:2, “And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, ‘Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.’” Ruth 2 is a chapter of gleaning and grace. In fact, the term ‘glean’ appears 12 times in this chapter (vv. 2, 3, 7, 8, 15 twice, 16, 17 twice, 18, 19, 23). Ruth gleans in a nearby field and God provides for and sustains his dear children.
There are three things I want us to note in this scene of Ruth’s gleaning in the field. First, we learn about the character of God. God is a God of compassion and mercy. His caring hand extends to the least and to the lowest in society. He is not an arbitrary deity who neglects the weak and only pours forth blessings on the strong. In the Mosaic law God had mandated that provisions be made for the poor. Lev 19:9-10, “When you reap the harvest of the land, you shall not reap your filed right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after you harvest … you shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God.” God’s compassion and care is manifest in such laws as this that call us to care for our neighbors. And Naomi and Ruth knew this truth – they knew of God’s provision for the least of these.
Second, we learn something about following the will of God. When Ruth and Naomi returned to Bethlehem, they had no idea how the Lord would work through them to further his redemptive plan (we will learn about this in Ruth 4). In other words, they did not know God’s ‘secret will’ for their lives. On the other hand, however, they did know that God had ‘willed’ that provision be made for the poor (see above on Lev 19:9-10). To put it simply, while they did not know God’s ‘secret will’, they did know God’s ‘revealed will’ for their lives (cf. Deut 29:29). And God’s revealed will was that they make use of the provisions God had provided for them. To summarize, Ruth did all that she knew to do (which was to glean in the nearby fields) – and all that she could do – and she did it with all her might – and she did it to the glory of God (to see her Christ-like character, simply read the rest of Ruth 2). And in so doing, she trusted in her Lord to make his paths known (Ps 25:4-5; Prov 3:5-6). What a world of practical truth there is for us in Ruth’s example. God has not revealed to us his secret will (“where will I be in 15 years” type questions), but he has shown us what he would have us to do … namely, live to his glory and grow in grace and holiness right where he has us.
And finally, in God’s gracious provision for Ruth and Naomi we see a faint picture of his ultimate provision for us in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. God has not simply provided us with our daily bread, but he has sent his Son as the bread of life and the living water (John 6:35; 4:13-14). Jesus is our ultimate provision – for in Him and Him alone is life and joy and peace!