Dear Liberty Church,
During the next few weeks, I imagine that there will be a whiplash effect on many of us. We may read encouraging reports of COVID-19 and this quarantine, that numbers are plateauing, that businesses can reopen, that vaccines are imminent, and then the very next day, we may read of possible spikes, of opening too soon, of second waves, etc…. This back and forth has the cumulative effect of being worse than just bad news by itself, giving hope, but dashing it when it arrives.
But hope is not sustained by the local good news; it is sustained by the eternal GOOD NEWS! This is vividly illustrated in the beautiful story of Ruth (which I was planning on going through in the AMEN study this summer, pre-coronavirus). Naomi tells Ruth and Orpah that she is all out of hope and that they should “turn back, my daughters, go your way.” Orpah does just that, but Ruth clings to Naomi, and thus, clings to her God.
The local news of Israel at that time, for Ruth and Naomi at least, was a bit of whiplash as well. Naomi and Ruth hear that there is finally food in Israel after a long famine (good news!), but when they get there, they have no means to procure food except to do what was allowed to foreigners: glean the edges of the barley harvest, a harvest that belonged to someone else. This put Ruth in a precarious position, even at risk of physical abuse from other workers (2:9).
The hope for Naomi and Ruth, however, did not come from gaining barley; it came from gaining a Redeemer! Boaz was the source of hope for these women. It is he who provided for and protected them. It is he, at great expense to himself, redeemed Ruth to be his own wife. Does this sound familiar?
When our quarantine finally lets up, and food is once again in abundance, and protection is once again provided in terms of physical health, our need for hope will not have gone away, for though these temporal needs may now be met, we still will have a greater one: the need for our souls to be right with God. And Boaz was merely a foreshadow of the Greater Boaz, the Redeemer who offered His own life at great cost to Himself, providing us with an eternal marriage, and protecting us from the scourge of sin and death. Do not misplace your hope, for when we do, we experience the whiplash of an undulating hope. Instead, place your hope squarely on the unchanging, eternal Christ, for in Him, we have truly found our Redeemer!
Yours in Christ,
We had a wonderful Zoom Sunday school class this past week, not only diving into the Word of God as taught by Dr. Derek Thomas, but also re-connecting with our fellow church members. By the request of many of you, the Zoom ‘classroom’ will be opening earlier at 9:15am this upcoming Sunday, to give you more time to talk to one another before class. Please consider joining us. The front page of our website will instruct you on how to participate.