WHO IS IN YOUR FAMILY TREE? -3

WHO IS IN YOUR FAMILY TREE? – 3 by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

whose in your family treeFor the past two Sundays we met 2 “unusual characters” in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, women who had a questionable past. This morning, we meet the third woman who was at the rock bottom in every way but she too found grace in the sight of God and was grafted into the family tree of Jesus. The message – God has always been a God of grace, not just towards His chosen people but also to all people.

Matthew 1:1-6 1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: 2   Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. 3 Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. 4 Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. 5 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, 6 and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.

Overall Background: Four women, four questionable lives but one family tree, that of Jesus Christ. Why did Matthew do that? Why did he insert the names of women who had an embarrassing and questionable past? He wanted us to know that God is a God of grace. He is a God who loves to forgive and reconcile and restore and bless all who are willing to come to Him. He is the God of all peoples. He doesn’t play favorites but He loves to show His favor to any who want it!

So far we met Tamar – a Canaanite widow who tricked her father-in-law into sleeping with her. She had twins and one of them became the ancestor of Jesus. Then we met Rahab – a Canaanite prostitute who helped God’s people and after Jericho was destroyed, she also became part of the lineage of Jesus. In fact, she became the princess of Judah. Now we meet the third woman – Ruth, a woman who was at rock bottom and nadir of life in every way but she also found grace in the eyes of God.

Application: This morning, you may feel that you are at that rock bottom place in your life. I’m here to tell you that God is with you. He hasn’t forgotten you. He hasn’t abandoned you. In fact, He wants to bless you. Look to Him in complete faith and give it all to Him. He will not fail you. If you don’t know Jesus, then you are not just at a rock bottom place but you are headed to a bottomless pit. You need to be saved today.

3 things we will understand about Ruth:

 1. RUTH – ROCK BOTTOM GENEALOGICALLY

Ruth 1:1a   Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land.

Background: The time of the judges was a very difficult time in the life of the people of Israel. There was no king, there was no leader and everyone did what was right in his own eyes. So you can imagine the lawlessness, crime, and moral chaos all over the land. On top of that – there was a famine in the land.

Ruth 1:1b And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. Here we meet a family living 5 miles southwest of Jerusalem in the city of Bethlehem. Ironically, Bethlehem is literally “the place of food/bread” but it had no food. So the man (Elimelech) took his wife (Naomi) and their two sons and went 50 miles Southeast into Moabite country. This was no ordinary decision – moving to Moab was probably the last desperate resort of an Israelite.

Who were the Moabites? We meet them in Genesis 19. You remember how God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Because ofRuth Moab and Judah Abraham’s intervention, Lot and his wife and two daughters were allowed to escape Sodom. Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. Lot and his two daughters fled into the mountains where they had no prospect of finding any husbands. So they came up with a wicked scheme to get Lot drunk and have an incestuous relationship with him. The older one had a child and his name was Moab. This was the genesis of the Moabites. How tragic and embarassing!

For e.g. Many years ago I was talking to this young man who had been through prison and had a long record. He had couple of kids that he hadn’t seen in years. Then, he was looking for a job but he couldn’t get one because of his record. So one day I sat with him and very piously I began to tell him all things that he needed to straighten out in his life. Little did I expect what I was about to hear – He began by telling me that he wasn’t sure who his dad was. I said to him – “There are a lot of people who don’t know who their dad was but they made it anyways.” Then he said to me – “I’ve heard through family that it was my own grandfather who raped my mom. You know how that makes me feel. Why did God allow that?”

Folks – We live in a messed up world. Things like this are the product of sin in this world. God allowed it because of the free will of human beings.

So you can imagine how the Moabites felt about themselves. But, there’s more – the Moabites hated the people of Israel. Probably because Uncle Abraham’s descendants knew the real story of Lot’s descendants. When the people of Israel were in the wilderness, the Moabites refused to help them and actively tried to harass them. Several times they had invaded Israel. So what did God say about this? Deuteronomy 23:3, 6      3 “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the LORD forever…6 You shall not seek their peace nor their prosperity all your days forever.

Ruth 1:4 Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth.

Ruth’s family tree began with incest. Ruth’s ancestors hated the people of God. Ruth and her people were forbidden to come into the assembly of God.

Application: You cannot choose your past. Some of you born into situations that was out of your control. You can either waste your time looking back or you can like Paul say – Philippians 3:13 “…one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” You can only choose the present and the future.

2. RUTH – ROCK BOTTOM CIRCUMSTANTIALLY 

5 Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died…”

Background: Not sure why this happened – maybe some sickness – both the sons died and Ruth and Orpah were widowed. It was quite common in the ancient world where women survived men. There used to a large number of widows in many period in ancient times. Being a widow was a very tough situation. Unless you had a good family or a lot of money, it was over for you.

Since there was nothing left for Naomi in Moab and she had heard that things were better in Judah, she decided to head back. So in verse 8 Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each to her mother’s house. The LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. 9 The LORD grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.” And after many tears, Orpah went back but not Ruth. Listen to her famous words, sometimes read during weddings: Ruth 1:16 “…Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.”

Wow! What would cause a Moabite widow to say this to her mother-in-law who could not do anything for her?

People often say to me – “Times are tough. We don’t know what we’re going to do.” People have always lived in tough times. It’s called life. Job 14:1 “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” How you handle tough times makes the difference. Some people just run at the sight of trouble. They miss God’s purpose for their life. Other people just grit their teeth and bear trouble. They too miss God’s purpose for their life. Then there are those people who submit to God and His will in trouble. They are the ones who thrive because God works all things together for good.

For some reason, Ruth understood that principle, even though she was probably lost. By the way, that was her Pre-Cross, Old Testament Sinner’s Prayer. Can you find a better sinner’s prayer than this – For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.” We need to make that the Sinner’s Prayer but say it to Jesus not Naomi.

Application: How are you handling your circumstances? Are you running off like Orpah or are you submitting to God like Ruth?

3. RUTH – ROCK BOTTOM PROVIDENTIALLY

Background: Naomi and Ruth finally make it to Bethlehem. Naomi was probably thinking – “We left Bethlehem and moved to Moab. No wonder God punished me by taking my husband and my two sons. Now I have a Moabite daughter-in-law who won’t take no for an answer. I don’t know how these people will treat us.” She’s fearing the worst but listen to what happens – Ruth 1:19 “And it happened, when they had come to Bethlehem, that all the city was excited because of them; and the women said, ‘Is this Naomi?’”

God had already prepared the hearts of the people.

Ruth 2:1 There was a relative of Naomi’s husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz. 2 So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor.

God had already prepared a wealthy man in Elimelech’s family who could be a source of help.

Ruth 2:8   Then Boaz said to Ruth, “You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women. 9 Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.”

God had already prepared the heart of Boaz to be kind to Ruth.

Per Naomi’s advice, she approached Boaz and offers herself as a bride, not knowing what would happen. Ruth 3:10 Then he said, “Blessed are you of the LORD, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich.

Again, God had already prepared the heart of Boaz who received her advance gladly.

Ruth 4:9-10 9 And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, from the hand of Naomi. 10 Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife…

Once again by the providential hand of God, a widowed Moabite woman became the wife of the wealthiest man in town. What a picture of the grace of God!

Application: You can either spend your whole life crying over why you’ve had problems in your life or you can, like Ruth, leave behind your past and trust God with your future. He will take you from your rock bottom and raise you to sit in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Do you know Him?

 

WHEN WE HIT ROCK BOTTOM

WHEN WE HIT ROCK BOTTOM by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

Running From God  (1)We are in our new series on the Book of Jonah, called, “RUNNING FROM GOD” and this morning we are in Jonah 2 for our third message titled “WHEN WE HIT ROCK BOTTOM.” All of us at some point in our lives have reached that place where the only way to go is up. Maybe some of you are there this morning. Don’t lose hope. Desperation can be a life-changing experience.

Jonah 2:1-3 1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly. 2 And he said: “I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction, And He answered me. ‘Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice. 3 For You cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the floods surrounded me; All Your billows and Your waves passed over me. 4 Then I said, “I have been cast out of Your sight; Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’

Overall Background: Ask any child in Sunday School if they’ve heard the story of Jonah and the whale (big fish) and a smile will come across their face. We all know of the prophet Jonah whom God called to go to Nineveh and instead he ran in the opposite direction towards Tarshish. He got on a ship and went down to the lowest part, lay down, and was fast asleep. “God can’t find me here.” Really?!! God knows exactly where every person is every moment. Jeremiah 23:24 “Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?” says the LORD; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the LORD.

God knew where Jonah was and He sent a violent storm on the sea, so that the ship was about to broken up. Was God trying to punish him? Of course not! He doesn’t punish His children but he often disciplines them. Jonah knew that God was dealing with him so he told the sailors to pick him up and toss him into the raging sea and all will be well. Sure enough when they threw him overboard, the sea became calm. If that were the end, we would not be reading this book today. Listen to what came next. Jonah 1:17 “Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” Jonah 2 tells us what went on for those three days and three nights.In Jonah’s own words, he went down to hell. He went so low that he could see the roots of the mountains. In other words, he hit rock bottom.

Application: Let me ask you – have you hit rock bottom in your life? Are you rock bottom right now? How are you dealing with it? By the way, you don’t have to be in the belly of the fish to hit rock bottom. It can happen in the form of a personal tragedy, horrible accident, terrible sickness, relationship crisis, job loss, or financial problem.

This morning we will learn what to do when we hit rock bottom from Jonah 2.

1. ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR HELPLESSNESS.

3 “For You cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas,

For e.g. Think of the missing Malaysian plane. It is more than likely in the Indian Ocean. With all our technology and gadgets we cannot seem to find it.

Jonah is inside a big fish in the sea. Imagine how lost and helpless he is.

3 “For You cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the floods (Literally: river swirled about me) surrounded me;

The question in my mind is “Is Jonah in the Sea or in the River?” Sea is usually calm in the deep. So outside the fish it is calm but it is deep. Inside the fish it is like a river. Keep in mind that this fish is swimming. Verse 3again “All Your billows (breakers) and Your waves passed over me.” Jonah is not in some submarine taking a joy ride. He is being pounded left and right. Jonah is for the first time realizing how physically helpless and insignificant he is.

Some people trust in their bodily strength. Some people trust in their good looks. Some people trust in their connections. Some people trust in their wallets. When you are in the hospital room with your loved hooked up to all kinds of machines, that’s when you realize that you are not as big and tough as you thought. You would give everything you had to revert that situation but you can’t. I’m not suggesting that we need to act all helpless and weak. What I am saying is that we should acknowledge how small we are.

But it gets deeper – Verse 5 The waters surrounded me, even to my soul; Jonah is saying, “I felt like my soul was drowning.” What else? “The deep closed around me; Weeds were wrapped around my head.” At first reading, I want to laugh. I can picture Jonah with a bandana of reeds around his head. But what he is really saying is that he is choking.

Verse 6 I went down to the moorings (base) of the mountains; The earth with its bars closed behind me forever.” Jonah is inside the big fish, plus surrounded by water, plus jostled around. How can he see where he is?The language he is employing is more spiritual than physical. What Jonah is saying is that he no longer knows where he is. You may not believe me but there are people here this morning that are exactly in that spot. They may not be inside the belly of a fish but spiritually they feel empty and lifeless.

Application: Are you trusting in your physical strength, outside beauty, connections, wealth, or family? Are you willing to acknowledge your helplessness.It can all be taken from you in a millisecond. Sometimes you can even feel spiritually helpless. Daily in my prayer time I tell God that I am nothing more than a clod of earth.

2. AFFIRM GOD’S PROMISES. 

Jonah 2:1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly.

Background: Did you get that? Listen again – “Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God” = “El Yahweh Elohayaw.” So far it has only been Yahweh (Jehovah). It was all impersonal. Now he is in the belly of the fish. All the superficial is being stripped away and the prayer has become personal.It’s one thing to say, “The Lord is a Shepherd” but its quite another to say, “The Lord is My Shepherd.”

What’s more? Listen to verse 2 And he said: “I cried out to the LORD. This is no rote prayer. This is a real cry for help. I can’t help but think of Peter walking on water. As long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he was fine. “But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” (Mathew 14:30) The moment he focused on his circumstances he began to sink and he cried out = he screamed.

2 And he said: “I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction.

Let’s put Jonah on the stand. “Jonah you disobeyed God. What makes you think that God will hear your prayer?”

Jonah’s Answer: Because God said in Psalm 50:15 “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”

“But Jonah you really blew it.” I know but Psalm 103:9-14 says “…Nor will He keep His anger forever. 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father pities his children, So the LORD pities those who fear Him. 14    For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.

So Jonah claimed the promises of God and prayed. As he prayed, his faith began to rise.

Jonah 2:2b-3  2b “And He answered me. ‘Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice. 4 Then I said, “I have been cast out of Your sight;Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.” 6 Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD, my God. 7 “When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; And my prayer went up to You, Into Your holy temple.

Application: What promises are you holding on to? Throughout my life I’ve had many – “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” “All things work together for good to those who love God.” “My grace is sufficient for you for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

3. ACT ON YOUR COMMITMENTS.

9 But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.”

Many people make commitments to God when they are in the foxhole. If you will only get me out, I will serve you. God gets us out and we forget. Jonah kept his word. He wrote it down for us.

For e.g. Family in church back home that made a vow for their daughter to get healed and then forgot.

Application: Do you have an outstanding vow to the Lord? Do you have a pending commitment towards the Lord?

4. ALLOW GOD TO FINISH YOUR STORY

We know why Jonah asked the sailors to toss him into the sea. He knew that he had really blown his testimony with these guys. For him to stand before them and share the gospel was worthless. They wouldn’t listen. It was time to demonstrate the gospel. By the way, people are tired of our words. They want to see the gospel lived out in us. tweet this button

Jonah was acting out what Jesus would do one day. Jesus won’t be running from God. In fact, He is God Himself. He will come by “the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God” and human beings will take Him “by lawless hands” and crucify Him (Acts 2:23-24). That’s the only way God’s wrath against sin will be satisfied.

God says “Okay Jonah. You’re willing to let your life be a testimony to the death of Christ. I will make your life a testimony to the resurrection of Christ.

10 So the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

God can do the same for you. No matter how far you fall from God, the moment you turn and return to Him, your life becomes a living testimony. Isn’t that wonderful?!!

Do you know Jesus as your Savior?

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