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Hope and Belief
Series: The Greatest of These is Love: A Study of Ruth
Dr. Deborah Waterbury
This teaching download includes teaching notes, the teacher lesson outline and the participant workbook with a lesson outline and discussion questions.
Hope is a funny thing, isn’t it? When we get that glimmer of hope, like I mentioned at the end of our study last week, it’s like a fire is lit in us and we begin to plan and move.
Joni Earecksen Tada said,
“The best we can hope for in this life is a knothole peek at the shining realities ahead. Yet a glimpse is enough. It's enough to convince our hearts that whatever sufferings and sorrows currently assail us aren't worthy of comparison to that which waits over the horizon.”
On the other side of that, though, hopelessness seems to have the opposite effect. When hope leaves and we let hopelessness reign, that’s when we tend to sit idly by and do nothing. The “waiting” becomes everything, and we are left with immobility.
I think that’s exactly where Naomi was until the end of Chapter 1. She had lost hope, and consequently, she had become bitter.
However, then she got that glimmer we’ve talked about at the end of Chapter 2. She said in 2:20,
May he be blessed by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!
Chapter 2 is a chapter full of hope. We saw it, as the readers, in the very first verse. We saw how God was always at work behind the scenes for their good. We saw Him plotting for their glory. All the darkness of Chapter 1 was gone, and God had turned Naomi’s mourning into dancing!
The first week I quoted a couple of verses from “O God, We Trust in You.” The first part of the second verse fits well here:
“You fearful saints fresh courage take:
The clouds that you now dread
Are big with mercy and will break
In blessings on your head.”
The message is clear here. We are to seek refuge under the wings of our Redeemer, even when things aren’t going so well, because just at the right time, God will let you look out from His comfort and onto something fantastic.
John Piper called what Naomi and Ruth and Boaz do in this chapter “strategic righteousness.” He writes:
“By righteousness I mean a zeal for doing what is good and right—a zeal for doing what is appropriate when God is taken into account as sovereign and merciful. By strategic I mean that there is intention, purposefulness, planning. There is a passive righteousness, which simply avoids evil when it presents itself. But strategic righteousness takes the initiative and dr ...
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