Culture of We – Us – *Ruth 1:1-6
Culture – Naomi’s husband (Elimelech) leaves Bethlehem (House of Food) is now empty for Moab
Moab = constant conflict with Israel.
*King David defeats the Moabites – King Solomon marries non-Israelite woman – some from Moab – and it is his downfall – Isaiah says the Moabites will be brought down to the dung-pit – Amos talk about a fire that will consume them.
Kemosh –Ever been in a situation/circumstance they didn’t like or agree with–abortion
It’s a big deal marrying a Moabite-look at this picture of an incredible relationships of Naomi & the daughter-in-law’s – Ruth & Orpah
*Deuteronomy 23:3 “No Ammonite or Moabite shall be admitted to the assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none of their descendants shall be admitted to the assembly of the Lord. You shall never promote their welfare or their prosperity as long as you live.”
Naomi could have looked at Ruth & Orpah as outsiders who would keep her grandkids from being able to participate in Israelite assembly – to the 10thgeneration according to the law.
What would her family and everyone back home think of her son’s choice of a wife?
Instead of looking at who God allowed in her family, she refused to look at their actions or the identity that their world/culture placed on them and chose to love them anyway.
We have been talking about the Culture of We – God first – the most important relationship, but then Us – the family of God –
- *We don’t get to pick “Us”
Naomi didn’t pick her daughter in laws…You may have made the choice to make Good News your church family, but you didn’t pick everyone in this place here today to be part of your family – God chose and designed them uniquely and drew them to this place.
In-laws – siblings – spouse (maybe not the person you remember marrying)
You didn’t choose all the people in your small group, the kids in the class you teach on Weds night, the person you walked by in the hall, or even all the people sitting in the pew with you right now.
Like Naomi you may see yourself in a situation that you never expected and might even want to find a way out. Are you allowing God’s family “US” inside or are you keeping “US” at a distance?
God’s culture of US is not a Sunday morning “hello”. It’s allowing for disruption. It’s being willing to be vulnerable and letting others in. It’s supporting each other and truly doing life together.
Continue story of Ruth leaving for Bethlehem and both daughter in laws willing to follow.
Naomi was at a low place in her life – but she let these 2 daughter-in-law’s in.
Ruth & Orpah – let Naomi speak into their lives and receive from Naomi.
Naomi didn’t get this relationship with her daughter-in-law because she kept Ruth at arm’s length. They did life together and sacrificed for each other even when things were hard.
Too many times we make the mistake of thinking we shouldn’t connect with someone because they have done something that we disagree with or we make judgements based on behaviors that we don’t agree with or even by how someone looks.
Life gets messy. Love doesn’t condone bad behavior.
Have you been hurt by someone in church? Has someone said something before that now keeps you from developing relationships? When is the last time you had a conversation that when you ask “How are you doing” you actually wanted to know or didn’t let them just say “good – fine”?
If they really told you, would you even be willing to get in the mess? We can’t hide our secrets from each other. God’s culture of “US” is a support system. No judgement.
Do you see people around you that you just don’t understand or really can’t connect? How hard have you tried? Do you think there is anyone in this “US” that is here by mistake?
Are you willing to let someone know what’s going on and walk through it with you? 2008 – loss of business, house, cars – (my family, normal support dad was dying) still together because of allowing people in who could help-pray-cry-move on (move us in to new place)
We don’t get to pick “Us” but God has people all around that can pour into us and support us when we are down, and others that need our support.
- *“Us” is an action word
Us –is a pronoun used as an indirect or direct object in replacement of “we”
Us has to be used with a verb or action word. It is never a word that is the subject or noun it is always connected to the action.
Culture of Us is all about what is being done together and not alone.
Ruth has received this love from Naomi and now shows us what Koinania looks like in that the relationship is strong and she chooses to leave Moab and return to Israel with Naomi no matter what. – Naomi invites her in to a culture she isn’t accepted into…childless, no marriage, Israelite won’t accept Ruth.
*Ruth 1:16 “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 every so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.”
Gift of being present…be with you as you are going through this. – Palms up
If you want to see the hands of God…be his instrument.
What does the Culture of Us look like?
…..kids friends as teens…holidays…praying instead of just writing the word on social media
….being willing to say “yes” to Nathan and Ashley
It will disrupt your life. Either by you being open and letting someone know your hurts and what is going on in your life…or you being willing to let someone else’s mess in.
Ruth doesn’t just follow Naomi to Bethlehem, she does something about their circumstance. And it isn’t easy. She goes and asks permission from the person overseeing the harvesters if she glean – explain gleaning.
This is the “market place” the place you work in those days. It is a picture of the interaction of the boss and someone he notices is not like everyone else. What do people see in us when we are doing our job? Are we like everyone else? Do we do everything with excellence? Do we talk any differently? Are we respecting are boss?
How many internationals came here and felt disconnected? You felt overwhelmed.
So Ruth is out gleaning in the fields and Boaz notices. Boaz is the Boss. He owns the fields. He actually tells her to not go to any other field and stay with his servant girls for her safety after he hears about how she is taking care of Naomi, his relative. Boaz treats her with respect. Boaz is very kind to those in need. His actions in allowing women to glean is a great picture of the Culture of US outside the walls of the church. He does something about those around him to treat them with respect and let them into his everyday life.
What are you doing to towards the culture of US? Look around, who do you not know? Who did you greet just a little bit ago and simply say “hello” how about at work? Who did you see in the hall and have the same ole conversation – how are you doing – fine/good? Who did you text/comment, I’ll be praying for you, and it stopped there?
We all get caught up in our own worlds and are guilty of this, me included. Us is an action word…
- *There is Power in US
Ruth tells Naomi about Boaz and his actions. Naomi realizes that there is an Israelite law that Boaz could fulfill that would change everything and instructs Ruth to go to Boaz and place herself at his feet. He is their kinsman redeemer.
KR is responsible for restoring/delivering/rescues/redeeming the rights of their closest relative – slavery, property, widow…marry and the children carry the name of the deceased.
Boaz becomes a picture of Jesus in the NT – our redeemer. Jesus was willing to lay His life down for our need of forgiveness.
Boaz was willing to allow Ruth in and sacrifice all that he had to redeem her. This was huge. She carried the identity of a Moabite. Everyone knew what the law said about her. Yet Boaz let her into his world and his actions had incredible power!
There was a relative closer that was also a KR
His love was greater than her culture and condition. When we don’t let things hold us back God can do powerful things.
Story of my mom dying and the motorcycle – bills all paid – power in the actions of US.
The power of the culture of US in the story of Ruth is beautiful.
It was their actions together and each one being willing to do what they could do, that made an impact on eternity.
Naomi – picture of US that have been in God’s family for a while – both in broken points and not she is willing to take action to make US better.
Ruth – picture of someone that has just come into the family of US – her past is evident and behavior patterns reflect it – but she is willing to receive from Naomi – both when life is good, life is rough
Orpah – picture of someone unwilling to continue to receive from someone who has been in the family longer
Boaz – picture of US – not afraid of change – not letting what others think keep relationships at a distance – picture of Jesus redemption
Other Kinsman redeemer – picture of someone who is unwilling to change – misses the blessing
Obed – picture of the Power of US
Which person do you most relate to? Are you willing to let others in – pour into others – let God work through you and do something?
Together we can impact eternity.
There is Power in US – The power of us leads to Jesus
Some of us need to become vulnerable and let people in
Some of us need to pour into someone else
Some of us need the Kinsman Redeemer – Jesus to become part of our lives.