AFL 2010 live blog: David Platt
David Platt is the lead pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala.
Ruth and Naomi came back from Moab with nothing. They had no family and no food.
Isn't it true that God often ordains sorrowful tragedy to set the stage for triumph?
Boaz is introduced. He is from the clan of Elimelech - Naomi's deceased husband - and Boaz is a worthy man with property. So, Boaz is a worthy man and he is able to provide.
God had set up a way in Israel for the poor to be provided for. The poor could glean in the field after the reapers.
Ruth went to glean and she came to the field of Boaz. The text conveys the idea of Ruth just happening to end up in Boaz's field. Just happening to be there.
Nothing happens by accident. Everything is by appointment. There is a God who is sovereign over detail of your life, a God who is always plotting for your good and His glory.
It just so happens that a hurricane (Hurricane Katrina) wiped out our house in 2005. It just so happens that I had more time to look on the Internet and explore the possibility of adoption. And it just so happens that we decide to adopt from this obscure country of Kazakhstan. And it just so happens that we adopt a son from Kazakhstan. God is sovereign over every detail of life and He works for the good of His people and for His glory.
Boaz notices Ruth. "Who does this woman belong to?" Boaz asks.
Ruth is a Moabite woman. Ruth belongs to no one. Isn't that a picture of adoption, spiritual and physical?
No one wanted our son. We went over to Kazakhstan and we went to the orphanage and they told us that no one wanted our son. It was one of those moments when we wanted to stand up and shout, "We want him!"
Boaz approached Ruth and told her to not glean in any other fields. He told her that he had charged his young men to not touch her. Boaz was providing for Ruth.
Platt recounted going to a local foster care office in Birmingham and asking them how many families they would need to care for all the children. They laughed. Platt asked again. They said 150 families. Platt went back to the Church at Brook Hills and preached on orphan care from James 1 (v. 27 in particular). As a result, 160 families signed up to serve as foster care families. As they began to start serving as foster care families, Platt was meeting again with the local foster care officials. One of the women there pulled him aside and asked him what he had told those people that caused them to come and serve through foster care. Platt told her that he did not tell them anything that caused them to come. He said they came because the God who loves people told them to come and reflect His love to people around them. To reflect His love for children to the children around them.
God has ordained His people to be a reflection of His care for His people.
What would happen if we unleashed the resources that God has entrusted to us, as churches and as individuals?
Boaz ate a meal with Ruth. Then Boaz told his men to make sure that she got plenty of food.
Ruth went home and took food to Naomi. Naomi asked, "Blessed are you. Where did you go to glean?" Ruth still doesn't know who Boaz is. The writer saves the name of Boaz for the last word of the sentence.
Naomi is amazed.
Naomi tells Ruth, "He is one of our redeemers." Key word in the whole book: redeemer.
In chapter 4, Boaz redeems Ruth. Boaz has the right, resources and resolve to redeem. This is a great parallel with adoption. You must gain the right to adopt, you must have the resources to do so and you must have the resolve to carry it out.
The text says that Boaz carried through on his resolve and he and Ruth were married. Ruth had a son, she who was barren.
The story began with two women in need of food, provision and family. The story ends with Naomi holding Ruth's son, with Ruth and Naomi provided for.
And this son is named Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David.
And that is where this story ratchets up to another level. The story of Ruth and Boaz is the story of God keeping His people alive, of God sustaining His people. Of God sustaining His people through a king, and not just king David.
Ruth is in the family line of Jesus. She is there not because she earned it or deserved it.
Brothers and sisters, we are Ruth. We have done nothing to earn or deserve the favor of God. We were wandering with nothing and God has pursued us. God has stooped to save you from harm. God has protected you and provided for you. God alone has the right to redeem us. God alone has the resources to save us. And He, praise God, has the resolve to redeem us. And Jesus has resolved to obey to the point of death. Jesus has taken a cross and taken my sin and your sin and taken it upon Himself to die in our place.
That is the Gospel. That Gospel is how God saves us and that Gospel should be the backdrop in our minds as we carry out physical adoption.