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The Thread of Life – Part 13 (Details of the Picture)
August 22, 2021

The Thread of Life – Part 13 (Details of the Picture)

August 22, 2021

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The Thread of Life – 31 Stories that point to Jesus

(Part 13)

Good morning & welcome to Jesus Church

  • So glad to be back after an awesome men’s retreat
    • Thank you to Pastor Rick… bringing that amazing word
    • Aren’t we grateful for Pastor Rick
  • Today we are jumping back into our series
    • I believe the entire Bible is God Breathed
    • Meaning the life giving breath of God covers evry page of Bible
  • Whether OT or NT… Genesis/Leviticus/The Gospels/Paul’s letters
    • God can and wants to speak to you from cover to cover
    • And while the cultural trend in church is to focus on NT stuff
    • We’ve spent the last 8 months in the OT
      • And we’ve seen life transforming truth in these scriptures

Two weeks ago we looked at Judges and the story of Gideon

  • Gideon has an immature dynamic in his relationship w/ God
    • His view of God: God is his Gennie in the bottle
    • So if I pout/cry or yell loud enough – God will accommodate me
  • And there are times in the story (By His Grace) that God does that
    • Gideon tests God… and God proves himself 3 different times
    • Gideon needs a sign and God meets him where he is (His Grace)
  • But God won’t allow him to stay in that type of relationship
    • Because God wants to grow us into healthy relationships
    • So even though God was ok with meeting Gideon where he was
      • He wasn’t ok with staying there with him

He stretches Gideons faith by making him fight multiple kingdoms

  • With only 300 men… So Gideon would move from
    • “God I trust you based on what you do” to…
    • “God I trust in you based on who you are”
  • There is something that happens when u walk w/ God thru the fire
    • And trust in him regardless of if you get burned
    • It changes you… deepens your relationship with God

TAG: So that was where we left off… pray and jump back in to scriptures

Today we are going to 1 of shortest books in the OT

Book of Ruth… very interesting book – Not many pay attention to it

  • Only 4 chapters… 2 or so pages… But it’s a profound story
    • To understand it: Need to play a game… up 4 games in church
  • I’m gonna show you a zoomed in picture – You guess what it is
    • Pic 1 – Pic 2 (Celery)… don’t let food genre trick you
    • Pic 3 – Pic 4 (Match box)…
    • Pic 5 – Pic 6 (Nickel)…
  • Why are we doing this – B/C it has everything to do with Ruth
    • Visually phycologist tell us our eyes lock in on to a photo
      • We have all of these details flooding our brains
      • But we need more than details… we need context
    • Before u see it as a nickel – Just scratches on a piece of metal
      • But when you zoom out… context makes it clear
      • You see eyes… nose (never see it the first way again)
    • The way our brains decipher mass amounts of detail
      • It has to flow through a context…
      • Its the bigger picture that gives the details meaning

And this really translates into how we live our everyday lives

  • B/C the way we interpret our day 2 day lives for the most part
    • We tend to live in the details… data… what happens to us
      • So you drive to church… late so stressed out
      • Then you get cut off on the freeway
      • Make it to church and put on a smile
      • Maybe go out to eat after church with a friend to catch up
  • What was the meaning of all of that… what’s the point?
    • And to find the meaning of any random event in my life
    • Is to ask the question of context: What is the bigger picture
      • That meal I had after church might seem insignificant
      • But if my connection was what friend desperately needed
      • Kept them from giving up on church… life… hope
        • You would say that event was significant
        • Because of the bigger picture
  • We live most of our lives immersed in these high zoomed details
    • Makes it hard 2 see big picture of what’s going on in our lives
    • B/C stuff happens all day long… Don’t see the point
    • We don’t get to know all reasons for why everything happens
      • Why is THAT PERSON in my life… I wish they were not!!!

But this is part of being a follower of Jesus

And we need to ask the question… what’s the larger picture

  • What do all these zoomed in details in my life fit into
    • Some I understand… some I don’t
    • Some I will… some I won’t
    • But regardless… What is the bigger picture that I’m a part of
  • And up to this point in our study of the Bible – Lots of big picture
    • Reading events and heros (Abraham/Noah/Moses)
    • And that’s fun to read and inspiring at times
    • But these events are really big picture…
      • A chosen people
      • Epic miracles
      • Larger than life leaders
  • It’s a great story… God’s salvation of the world
    • But we are about to read a story that gets into the details

And little book of Ruth shows up sorta randomly…

  • It’s about a bunch of no name people living in a small village
    • Shows us: Every single detail of lives are woven into His story
    • Every conversation… every choice… is significant
    • B/C u never know what circumstance will weave into His story

Leads us to Ruth – See lots of details (like our lives)

We see expressions of Joy/Disappointment/Anger/Fear/Uncertainty

  • It starts with this random story about a family that’s living life good
    • Starts with this husband and wife – Abemelec & Naomi
    • And at first… seems like an ideal scenario: Married with 2 sons
    • Naomi’s life is good – Husband and two boys
  • Then things starts to change… sever famine – Force to leave home


  • Imagine husband comes home from work… tell its been a hard day
    • But it seems like something more
    • He doesn’t seem to want to talk about it so you don’t either
    • And then a some point in the silence he tells u he was let go
  • And you say the right things… it will get better… won’t last
    • But things don’t get better
      • Loose your house, loose your car, drain your savings
      • Now your just worried about how to buy groceries
      • Your kids say their hungry and you don’t have an answer
    • And its not just you… everyone is struggling
      • And one day ur Husband says we have to move
      • If we don’t… we are going to die

This is what happens to Naomi and her husband

  • So they have 2 move… not far but not in the promised land (Moab)
    • And just leaving the promised land was devastating
    • That was part of who they were… it was their identity
    • Each family was given land that was passed on from gen 2 gen
      • And the people of Moab were descendants of Sodom
      • So these weren’t Godly people at all
  • And Naomi lost a lot… but at least she had husband, boys and God
    • Bible says she left feeling full
    • But they get to Moab and her husband get sick… and dies
      • So here she is – A widow in a pagan land with 2 boys
      • And her boys grow up & fall in love with 2 pagan women
  • They get married to Orpa and Ruth… and finally time to turn corner
    • But those weddings are closely followed by funerals
    • As both of Naomi’s boys die
    • Naomi is in a state of deep/dark grief

Ruth 1:20-21

Don’t call me Naomi, call me Mara because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me, the almighty has brought misfortune upon me.

Edgar Jackson

Grief is a silent knife like terror and sadness that comes 100 times a day. When you start to speak to someone who is no longer there. Grief is the emptiness that comes from eating alone after eating with another for so many years. Grief is teaching yourself to go to bed without saying goodnight to the 1 who has died. Grief is the helpless wishing that things were different when u know they are not & that they never will be again.

These are the details (zoomed in perspective) of Naomi’s life

  • For some of us, you know those details all too well
    • Loss… disappointment… despair
    • And none of us are exempt from these type of details
      • Last week: Gods promise isn’t 2 keep u from every storm
      • It’s to walk you through every storm… if you let him
  • This is how Naomi felt…
    • Like a broken vase – pieces scattered on the floor
    • Naomi decides to move home even though there’s a famine
      • Tells daughter-in-laws to stay in Moab and start over
        • Orpa agrees
        • Ruth won’t leave Naomi

Ruth 1:16-18

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. 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. When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.”

  • That’s a powerful little speech… I’ve heard it repeated
    • But people quote that a weddings to their spouse
    • Ruth is telling that to her mother-in-law
  • So Naomi realizes that she’s not gonna convince Ruth to stay

Ruth 1:22

So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.

  • And we start to get some clue on why this story is in the Bible
    • How the details fit into the big picture

So Naomi & Ruth go to home town of Bethlehem

And it’s a small town (less than 200) so this is big news

  • Naomi doesn’t want to be called “sweet” anymore…
    • She changes her name to Mara (bitter)
    • Because she’s angry at God
      • This isn’t how my story was supposed to go
      • God how could you let this happen
  • She’s looking at the nickel – She can’t understand what it is
    • And maybe that sounds all too familiar
    • That question “WHY GOD” rings in your ears… tip of the tongue

So here’s the question – what is story about

  • Is it about loss… seems like a pretty obvious answer
    • But does it have to be about loss?
    • Is there tons of loss… YES – But is that the point?
  • Radio Interview with Gerald Sitzer – Whitworth professor
    • Lost mom, wife and daughter in car accident
      • Talked about what it was like
      • Wrote a book called “A grace disguise”

Gerald Sitzer

The experience of loss does not need to be the defining moment of our story. The defining moment can be our response to the loss.

  • Saying: Story doesn’t have 2 be the loss… but our response to loss
    • We aren’t born picking out the role our lives play (example)
    • We do decided how to play the role we are given
  • And you reach a point… have to decide
    • Do I just believe these are scratches on a piece of metal
    • Or will I trust that if I could step back… I am part of something
      • Is my story going to be just about loss…
      • And no doubt… there’s no easy answer (for us or Naomi)

But the zoomed out story… the story we see

  • The Word that describes Naomi story isn’t loss – its redemption
    • And in chapter one of her story… that seems impossible
    • Some of you are in Ruth chapter 1
      • The details are debilitating
      • But there is still a chapter 2
  • Naomi thinks she is coming to her home back empty
    • She is so zoomed in on the details of her tragedy
      • So God has abandoned her
      • Life isn’t fair
      • Nothing seems to make sense

If u could zoom out.. God already redeeming the story

First with an unlikely friendship

  • God is really good at this… sends someone right when u need them
    • A lot of the time… if you’ve gone through this
    • Its not always the person you thought it would be
  • Who would think the widow of ur son would become your support
    • Later they say in Ruth 4:15 that Ruth is better than 7 sons
    • So in the tragedy of details… she has someone to walk with her
  • And its interesting b/c Naomi actually tries to push Ruth away
    • And its sad but that happens all the time
    • We push people away instead of hold them close

Story – Airplane story of first flight… trip to Peru

  • Sitting next to an older lady – I’m 22 at the time
    • And one thing I use to love is Turbulence
    • Take off and the lady next to me… just tell she is tense
    • Well she had never been on a plane before
  • And this wasn’t gonna be a great first flight to be on
    • Because we hit a really bad storm above central America
    • And the turbulence was crazy
  • And at one point we had a pretty big drop
    • She grabbed my arm – Sunk in her nails… (might have scars still)
      • Just need someone to tell her “It’s gonna be okay”
        • Understand what ur going thru…
        • I’ve been through this before…
        • And its normal that you feel this way…

And really that’s what the church is all about

  • God redeems the lost/hurting – By surrounding us w/ witnesses
    • Who can say: I’ve been there too… and the answer is Jesus
    • You might not see it… but he’s in the detail
      • Just need to get some perspective

Rev. 12:11

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…

  • Sometimes we just need someone who can say “It’s gonna be ok”
    • And then point them to Jesus

Second with undeserved kindness

Ruth 2:1

Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side (so not even her family… and probably a cousin – She wouldn’t know him well) his name was Boaz.

  • And Boaz technically has no obligation to Naomi at all…
    • Cultural if Naomi had a local daughter – would be obligation
    • B/C in promised land each family was given piece of property
      • If the son died… closest relative would redeem that land
      • Marry the son’s widow & have a descendent w/ the widow
      • Who could inherit the families property
  • Ruth not an Israelite… but Boaz plays role of redeemer anyways
    • Why? Well Boaz’ mother is Rehab…
    • Rehab was prostitute/foreigner in Jericho that helped the spies
      • Boaz knew what it was like to be a foreigner
      • Do you see how God is in the details
  • B/C the further along in the story you get… easier it is to zoom out
    • And that’s no different that in your story
    • It’s called trust… it’s called faith… it’s called belief

And then the story ends with this unpredictable twist

  • In the land of Bethlehem… it tells us who Ruth’s son is

Ruth 4:16-17

Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom and became a nurse to him. Also the neighbor women gave him a name, saying “There is a son born to Naomi.” And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.

  • This is the line and the genealogy of Jesus
    • This tragic story of hurt, tragedy & pain… more than it seemed
    • Because God is a redeemer
    • When you trust God – He will always redeem

Story of kid with pottery box for Christmas (Asked for a Playstation)

  • Kids sees the box… doesn’t even want to open it
    • There’s pottery pics on box – What more does he need to know
    • Mom just says open the box
    • Inside box was PS5 plus some games and an extra controller
      • Mom not trying to trick him…
      • Just couldn’t fit it all in one box
  • The details didn’t communicate the context
    • Sometimes we have to trust God and open the box
    • Before you get mad and stomp out of the room
      • Just open the box to see what’s inside
      • Because you can’t see the whole picture… But God can
      • And if he has you in the middle of something
        • There is a story being written that you might not see

Ruth is unique up to this point… no huge miracle from God

  • No burning bush… no red sea… sun standing still
    • But God is still at work (pretty significantly)
    • It’s not as obvious – but He there… he’s at work
  • And Naomi was given a really tough box
    • And maybe you can relate this morning
    • unemployed… divorced… widowed… unmet expectations
  • But that doesn’t have to be what you story is about
    • Give God a chance to work
    • Trust that the details aren’t all there is
    • And remember that God is IN HIS NATURE: A REDEEMER



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