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WHY IS WORK DIFFICULT ? (Vol 08) - ENEMIES MAKE WORK DIFFICULT – PART 5 - RUTH (2)

Sunday English Service - 22 OCT 17

Transcript

Please turn with me to the book of Ruth. As you know, we've been teaching on work for the last several weeks. First talked about 'Why Work?' the biblical reasons given for why we must work. And then we started talking about why work is difficult and we gave several reasons. And after giving these reasons I began to talk about how, in this fallen world, we may say a cursed world, how the blessing of God really helps us. The blessing is greater than curse. Just like light is greater than darkness, the blessing is greater than curse. In a cursed world, in a fallen world, where things are not perfect and things are not always right and good, we can still be overcomers, we can still have victory, we can still have success in this world. We are talking about that and I said I will use four illustrations from the Bible for that and we've been using them. We're in the fourth one right now. We talked about Joseph first who was taken into a foreign country as a slave. Very unfortunate circumstances. He had many enemies, they sold him, they threw him in jail and did everything to pull him down. Curse is a force that pulls us down. But blessing is a force that lifts us up. The airplanes fly every day in spite of the law of gravity working as you know. The law of gravity is never absent, it's always there but the law of gravity is overcome by another law called the law of lift. Which law is greater when that engine is turned on and the power is used? The airplane lifts with 3-400 people in it with all the stuff that is loaded into it. It still flies in the air. Unbelievable, incredible but it does happen. That is called the law of lift. The blessing is a kind of a law of lift.
Paul says, "The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." Sin and death is a law that's definitely at work in this world, that makes everything imperfect and everything difficult. But law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus is the power to overcome everything that sin does in our lives. That's what we've been talking about with these illustrations.
We talked about Joseph, how he lived in a foreign country under unfortunate circumstances. Everything was going against him but still he reached the zenith of that country's power and authority. He became like a Prime Minister of the country, the top most guy in authority, next only to the King.
Secondly, we talked about Daniel. Daniel's story is very similar. Living in a foreign country again under very difficult circumstances. Taken as a slave there and living under difficult circumstances. Laws were enacted just to nail him down and kill him. The Lord shut the lions' mouths, the Lord quenched the fire and its power to kill. He Himself presented Himself as the fourth man in the book of Daniel with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, there was Jesus Christ Himself present with them. There you go again. Everything is pulling them down. This world is a very difficult place. Everything is made difficult for God's people but yet there is a power that makes them excel and win and overcome these situations.
We talked about Nehemiah. Nehemiah was sent by the King of what was once Babylon but now it has become another kingdom. The King sent him and placed him there as the governor in Jerusalem. He's trying to build a wall amidst all kinds of opposition. They're trying to frame him, they're trying to nail him down and accuse him of all kinds of things. In spite of that, in a very short time he built the wall successfully and became a great man who accomplished so many things for God.
Now, we're talking about Ruth. Since last week, we began to talk about Ruth and I said this is a story of a wonderful woman. A woman that has been widowed and very unfortunate circumstances. Tragedy had hit her hard. Talk about the fall and the sin and the consequences. Everything came down on her at the same time. She was married in a family - Elimelech and his wife Naomi and their two sons. They all moved to Moab during a time of famine. They lived there and during the time, the two boys got married to Moabite women. All of a sudden, tragedy struck after a few years and Elimelech and the two boys died. All men died in that house, left with three women, alone, all by themselves. Naomi decides to return back and Ruth decides to return with her to Bethlehem, which is the native place of Naomi and Elimelech.
We talked about that story how when they returned, God was beginning to build their life again. They're putting their trust in God, looking to God as their source. God is one who's got His eyes on the poor and the needy and the widows and the orphans. He's looking out for them and He opens the doors and gives them favor in the eyes of this man named Boaz. She gets a job, she gets her needs met in an amazing way. God makes things happen. It actually mentions like that that the hand of God was in that situation. I believe that God's hand is upon our life and our situations even when we don't realize it. Sometimes people say, "Where is God? All kinds of bad things are happening to me. Everything seems to come down on me at the same time. Where is God?" I say, "He's right there. You can't see Him if you're trying to find God with these eyes, but He is right there." In the moment of your crisis, He is working for you more diligently.Night and day, He's at work for you, trying to get things done and bring everything together for your good. He's working everything out and that's what's happened in Ruth's and Naomi's story.
We talked about how she got a job and how God's favor was on her but today I want to talk about two things. First of all, we're talking about work, right? I'm going to talk about Boaz as a boss. I believe that Boaz is one of the best bosses in the world. If you want to be a boss, if you are in a position of power and authority, there's a lot to learn from this story. This is not just a story of two women. It is a story of three people: Boaz, Ruth, and Naomi. Boaz is a very major character in this story and lot to learn from his character. I want to go through Boaz today and show you how he was the best boss and what made him the best boss and what we can learn today about our work as people who are working in positions of power and authority. Then I'll talk secondly about how God is a God who has framed laws in the land of Israel keeping in mind the provision that should be made for the poor, the widows, and the orphans. God's laws prospered people, blessed people but God never forgets the people that are marginalized by so many circumstances in their lives - the widows, the orphans, and the foreigners. Everybody owned lands but these people had no such rights so, how would they feed themselves? Where would they plant a crop? Where would they raise a crop for themselves, for their food? Where will they look for their sustenance and supply? God took them into account and made provisions for them and I want to show you how God made provisions for the poor and the needy under His laws and how God works things out for them in their favor.
First, let's look at Boaz and how a wonderful boss he was. One of the things that is good about Boaz is his leadership style. His leadership style consisted of giving respect to the people that worked under him. Turn with me to chapter two of Ruth, chapter 2:4. Look at the way Boaz interacts with his fellow-workers or people that work under him. It says, Now behold Boaz came from Bethlehem and said to the reapers, "The Lord be with you." And they answered him, "The Lord bless you." Here's a man who's greeting the workers saying, "The Lord be with you" and the workers are greeting him back saying, "The Lord be with you". This shows what kind of interaction was going on between them. He was not just waving his hand at them or just saying, "Hey." He was saying, "May the Lord be with you" and they were saying, "May the Lord bless you." It looks like he was for them totally, that he was praying for them, believing for them, standing with them and they are totally for him, for his wellbeing, for his prosperity and for his success. He has gained their respect by giving them respect and being concerned about them.
Secondly, you see the respect in the second instance where he has made arrangements for even simple things like water, to provide water for them and he was sharing his food with them, particularly with Ruth, a foreign woman, a Moabite woman who's looked down upon and considered inferior to the Israelites by the Israelites. He calls her to eat with him and provides her food. He seems to eat with his workers and we also see that he actually slept with them in the field as they worked together during the harvest time. Boaz demonstrates an unusual character in those days. Those days the world was a different kind of world. The people who owned lands and who had wealth treated the people that did not have anything like they were nothing. You were almost like a slave. You just did your job and you were not even able to come near your boss if he's a very wealthy man. But in that kind of a world, look at Boaz. He interacts with people, he literally lives with the people, he eats with the people and interacts with people in a very close way because he believes that God has created man in His image and likeness and particularly, look at his interaction with this woman. That was a male dominated world. The Bible was written during male dominated times, even in the new testament times. Then the Bible tells us story of the 5,000 being fed by five loaves and two fish. We read that 5,000 were fed but the 5,000 are only men. The women were not considered even important enough to be counted. The children, totally neglected, they were not considered to be anything. So, the women and children were neglected in those days. It was just the practice, it was just the culture. It was a male dominated world.
Look at the Bible. The Bible does not teach male domination. Even though it was a male dominated world, it was written in those times. Look at how the Bible presents it in 1 Peter 3:7. It says, "Give honor due to the wife." "Give honor that is due to the wife," it says. You think this whole subject of giving honor to the wife came after the feminists came and started talking about and fighting for it. But long before the feminists even came, Peter, 2,000 years ago, wrote to the church saying, "Give honor that is due to the wife." Here is a Christian teacher, preacher, preaching in the church. He is not preaching male domination. He is preaching having in mind what the Bible says in Genesis 1 that in the beginning God created man and woman. He made them male and female and He made them in His image and likeness. He keeps that in mind. All other teaching is based on that. So, he says, "Give the honor that is due to your wife." The Bible is very up-to-date book even though it's written during those times where the culture had male domination but the Bible does not teach male domination. Boaz very much lived in such a time and look at how he interacts with the woman.
Let's look at chapter two. I want to point out several things there for you. In chapter 2:5, Boaz first takes a look at this woman. She's new to his field and he takes a look at her and he makes enquiry about her. It says, Then Boaz said to his servant, who was in charge of the reapers, "Whose young woman is this?" Verse 6 - So the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered and said, "It is the young Moabite woman who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. And she said, "Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves." This Moabite woman, Ruth, is making use of the provision of the law, God's law that said they must make provision for the widows and the orphans and so on. There is a gleaning law which I will read about later on. She's making use of that provision. She has told her mother-in-law, "I'll go and God will give me favor even though I am a foreigner. In your system there is a provision for the foreigner to go and glean and get some food. Maybe somebody will grant me the permission to glean and get some food for us." So, she goes and she asks permission from this guy, the supervisor and he says, "So, she came and had continued from morning until now, though she rested a little in the house." In verse 8, "Then Boaz said to Ruth, "You 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." Look at the way that Boaz addresses her after he learnt that this Moabite woman was coming with Naomi and that she has asked permission to glean in this field. He says, "You will listen, my daughter." Look at the way he addresses, "You will listen, my daughter." And he truly seems to have a concern about this woman. The way he addresses is remarkable. He says, "Listen, my daughter."
The point is this, God made man and woman in such a way that every man ought to think of any woman as his mother or his sister or his daughter. If everybody thought like that, I don't think there will be any problem, any issue in this world. If you looked at any woman and thought of her either as a mother or a daughter or a sister, no one woman will be afraid in this world. They can go out any time, day or night, they can work in any company, any situation, they can handle any problem if this was the fact in our society. But it is not because not all men are the same. There are a lot of good men but there are plenty of the other kind also. We hear a lot of complains about workplace sexual harassment and here is a situation like that. In this situation, Boaz is the boss and as the boss goes, the rest of them will go. If the boss is the kind of man that's a bad man who takes advantage of women, dominates women and treats them bad and harasses them then it is very likely others will be like that. But here is a man that is so concerned about her that he addresses her as 'daughter'.
Nowadays in India, things have changed and the daughters find their own husbands. They don't wait for the parents to arrange it like the old times. The young girls find. That's fine with me but you got to know how to find also. That's the problem. As long as you know how to find, there's no problem. I remember talking to one. I said, "Why do you like that boy?" She said, "I like the way he wears his pants." Another one said, "I like the way he drives his motorcycle. He looks so good in his motorcycle. That's why I like him." People like young people for so many reasons and some of them are so young and they're not thinking anything deep. They're just looking at the surface. Looking at the stylish boy, good looking boy or whatever they like about him outwardly and they like him because of that. Some of them even believe you can never find out what a boy is like, there is no way to find out what a boy is like. Well, one good way to find out what a boy is like, find out how he treats other women, you know what a boy is like. If he treats other women like a mother or a sister or a daughter, then he'll be good man. Better yet, find out how he treats his mother, find out how he treats his sister in his house, how they view the daughters in the house. If their attitude is the right kind of attitude, giving them equality, giving them respect, giving them honor that is due. If that is the kind of home that he comes from then most probably he'll be a very good guy because he knows how to treat a woman and you can give a girl to him. If you just looked at his outside, the way he combed his hair or the way he drove his bicycle...that's why some guys drive mad on the streets. They want to show some girl how well they can drive their motorcycles. If you're just looking just at that, you're going to have a lot of trouble in the days to come because you're looking at something outside, you're not looking what is there on the inside.
Here is a biblical clue. Here is a good man. He's an eligible bachelor. Anybody can give their daughter to this man, Boaz. He's a good man. He looks at this woman in the right way. He says, "My daughter." He's concerned about her safety. He says to her, listen to this, "Do not glean in another field, nor go from here," because he knows what other fields are like. He knows that there is some trouble there, he knows that there are some bad men there. "But stay close to my young women," he says. He says, "I can guarantee you safety here in my field." He's concerned about this woman's safety even though he doesn't know really who she is. Never met her, never known her, never befriended her. Now meeting her just for the first time and he's already concerned about this woman's safety.
Then Boaz said to Ruth, verse 8, "You listen my daughter, will you not? Do not go glean in another field nor go from here. But stay close by my young women. Let your eyes be on the field which they reap and go after them." In other words, he's saying, "Go after the men and women that are reaping in my field." Go after means go right behind them and when they drop something, when there is something that is left...they were told to reap in such a way that they leave the corners out for the orphans, for the widows, and for the foreigners. That is a law that God had given to the people of Israel. Don't just empty everything out. Leave something in the corners. Let the widows and the orphans and the foreigners reap those things for them. So, he says, "Go right behind them and whatever they leave, you can take." Look at this, "Let your eyes be on the field which they reap. Go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you?" He's already told the young men, "Hey, listen, don't touch her." 'Touch her' does not mean physically touch her or touch her in the bad way or something just physically. 'Touch her' means don't harass her, don't strike her, don't give any trouble to her, don't insult her, don't do any such thing. "And when you're thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from that the young men have drawn." She's allowed, as a foreigner, to go and drink along with his people. That is a privilege that he grants. He said, "Just feel comfortable. Feel free to go and have some water if you need some water."
Already you're looking at this man, who is so concerned about a woman who he has just met, he's concerned about her safety, addresses her as daughter and truly concerned about her welfare. Like I said, there's a lot of anti-sexual harassment issues nowadays in our country also and many companies and work places are coming up with policies, anti-sexual harassment policies. I believe the best anti-sexual harassment policy or the oldest anti-sexual harassment policy is found right here, in the book of Ruth. If you're looking for one, to draft one, this is a good place to go to. Look at this anti-sexual harassment policy. This is a good thing to follow. First of all, he said, "Don't bother this woman." Verse 9 he says, "Don't touch her." That means don't strike her, don't harass her, don't take advantage of her, don't mistreat her, treat her right. That's what it means. "Don't bother her," one translation says. That's number one item in the anti-sexual harassment policy.
Secondly, Ruth was to have equal access to water along with all other Israelites and even to the lunch table. You read in verse 14, she's welcomed to the lunch table. Look at verse 14, Now Boaz said to her at mealtime, "Come here and eat of the bread and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar." So, she sat beside the reapers and he passed parched grain to her and she ate and was satisfied and kept some back." Look at the words, come here and...he says, "Come here and eat of the bread and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar." People that write about this they say he says come here because she's distancing herself, because she feels inferior because she's a Moabite. She's a foreigner, she does not have all the same privileges as others so, she's distancing herself, keeping herself as far as possible, away. And he's inviting her, making her feel comfortable. He says, "Come over here, join with us. You are allowed to dip into the same sauce here and eat your bread." Notice his anti-sexual harassment policy is not just negative. In other words, it's not about don't do this and don't do that and so on. It is very positive in the sense that he is telling the workers to be helpful to her.
Read verse 14 and 15 in the same chapter. Verse 15, When she rose up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men saying, "Let her glean even among the sheaves and do not reproach her." Verse 16, listen to this, "And let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her. Leave it that she may glean and do not rebuke her." Look at all the words. He's already used the word 'bother' in verse 9. Some translations use the word 'bother'. "Do not touch her" or "Do not bother her" in general. Now he's using two more words. One is in verse 15 where he says, "Do not reproach her" that means insult her, don't mistreat her just because she is a foreigner. And in verse 16, "Do not rebuke her." "Don't shout at her, scold her," he says. And he says in 16, "When you reap, let grains from the bundles fall purposely for her." It's not just about don't do this and don't do that. It's about being helpful to her. Not only making her feel comfortable but going out of the way to help her get more than enough. He says, "Drop some as you reap so that she can easily pick it up." It's not just a negative policy, it's a positive policy. And also, the regular employees make sure that they do it for her. They assist her in that way. They do exactly as was told and the result was wonderful. They treated her so well that she went back with many gallons of wheat when she went back from work on the very first day itself. Naomi was surprised. She was very glad. She would bless the Lord and bless the man that made this possible for her. You will see that the way that Boaz behaved brought not only praise for him but glory to God. In the end you will read in chapter 4 that the entire town praised God for her, accepted her and there was a social harmony, real social harmony.
Nowadays, in our country we talk a lot about social harmony because there's all kinds of things that goes on and social harmony is a very big subject now. But look at here. Here is a man leading the way as a boss, as a man-in-charge, as a man in authority showing how to do things. Respecting this woman, giving her place, making her feel comfortable, helping her, being kind to her so that everybody follows him. He transforms the very culture of people that are working under him. I already talked about how we work in order to transform our culture. He literally transformed the culture of the people that were around him. Consider what kind of period he was living in. Verse 1 of chapter 1 says it was a period when judges ruled. That's why Ruth is right next to the Judges. The whole event happens, the whole story happens during the time of Judges. In the time when judges ruled, some writers say, some commentators say it is like saying it is like a short end for a corrupt society. When the Judges ruled, Israel was at its worst. In one place in Judges it says, "Everyman did what he wanted to do." That's a lawless land. Judges ruled but it looks like good things were not happening. Every man just did whatever he wanted to do. They lived as they liked. Again, and again they backslide and go away from God and do so many atrocities for which they are punished and they end up in trouble and lose everything and then again they repent and come back and again they do the same thing. It was a rebellious society just doing whatever they wish and Boaz lived in the midst of that society, a corrupt society. Yet, in the midst of that corrupt society, here was a successful business man. That impresses me.
In India, the one thing that I often here is, "If you are honest, you cannot succeed in this corrupt society." Christians say it again and again. Only corrupt people can succeed. I always say to them, "Stop saying that and blessing these corrupt fellows. You're everyday blessing the corrupt fellows. - They are the only ones that make it, they are the only ones that come up, they are the only ones that do well, they are the only ones that can build buildings and they are the only ones that can do anything." Why do you speak like that? We believe and that's what is happening many times. The corrupt fellows are doing well because we believe it and we give it up and we believe that we can't do it, that we cannot succeed in this world, that this world is not for us, it is not made for us to succeed. But you read the Bible my friend, from Genesis to Revelation. Everywhere it says, "In this world, God caused people to succeed." It's all stories of success. That's why we went to Joseph and Daniel and Nehemiah and Ruth. These stories are not here to show us, were not recorded to show us how we should be defeated. It is a story of success in the midst of difficulties and hardships that the world presents to us. This fallen world, this difficult world where everything is made difficult for God's people. How to succeed? Can we succeed? Is it possible if you live for God that you can be a success in your business, in your profession and so on? Can you come up? That's the question people ask and the Biblical answer is yes. By the grace of God, you can do it. When it happens...you got to believe for that. You cannot just give up and expect something to happen. You can't say, "I can't succeed because I am so holy" and then expect something to happen. You got to believe for it, take a stand, be like Daniel, be like Joseph, live for God in hostile circumstances, in difficult circumstances where everybody is trying to pull down. Do not compromise. Live for God and make your stand for God very clear. I'll tell you my friend you may go through some suffering for a little time but there'll be success following that, there'll be great success. The word 'success' itself has to do with how you have a problem and you succeeded, right? You can't have success without a problem. Some people say, "I like success brother, no problems." Well, how can you have success without a problem? The word success means that you had a problem that you overcame it, that you succeeded. God wants your success, God is interested in your success. You know why? Not just because He wants to give you success, that's one thing. God want to give you success, believe me. God wants you to succeed because you're precious in His sight. But more than that, His glory is involved. God receives all the glory. The more difficult the circumstance is and you succeed in that difficult circumstance, the more glory goes to God. So, the more difficult, more the glory. That is why when Jesus met that man blind from birth, remember in John 9? He said, "It's for the glory of God," because it's more difficult. He's never seen. His eyes were blind from birth, he has never seen. They say, "Oh so difficult." He said, "No, no. it's for the glory of God." The more difficult, the more glory. Standing at Lazarus' grave He said, "You'll see the glory of God if you believe." If you believe you'll see the glory of God. And I tell you, when you succeed God receives glory. You get all the benefits. I think that is a very good deal. You get all the goodies and God gets all the glory. You get all the benefits, God gets all the glory. Never take glory. Glory is God's. Give glory to God. It is He who caused you to succeed.
In the midst of this difficult world in which Boaz lived...here is a man that is distinctly different. He's not trying to live like the rest of the world. He's not trying to compromise and he's not trying to get along. He's not trying to be the same as the rest of the world. No, he's different. For some people, in India and elsewhere, their culture comes first and Bible only next. Have you ever seen people talk about this? They say, "In my native place, this is the way we do it." Well, we all have our native places but you must keep the native place second. The first is we do it according to the Bible, not according to our native place. That's fine, we all have our native places. Nothing wrong with that, you can't cancel that. You were born there, I was born there. You can't cancel that. But I am not going to stand up and say, "In my native place this is what we do. This is the way we behave, this is the way we do things." No. I'm going to say, "No, according to the Bible, this is the way we do and this is the way we operate."
Boaz is a wonderful testimony of how in his day there was misogyny. Women were considered not even important enough to be numbered in such a society. There was racism also. Moabites were considered inferior. In that kind of a society, he literally married a woman that came from Moab. This woman had trusted in the Lord and said to Naomi, "Your God shall be my God" and this man married her and made a family with her. That changed the whole cultural outlook of that place. And treated her like an equal in spite of the racism that was there. Treated her, at the workplace, as an equal and gave her all the privileges that belonged to the nationals of that country. In the midst of this great difficulty, you see Naomi and Ruth finding answers for their problems - finding food, finding sustenance, finding support, finding a man who will stand with them, protect them, safeguard them. Amazing. God has made all this provision.
Look at the laws of God that has to do with taking into account the poor, the needy, that is, the orphans and the widows and the foreigners. Let me just read two verses and quickly comment on that. Leviticus 19. You just need to know about the gleaning laws that God had given to the people of Israel. Leviticus 19: 9&10, "When you reap the harvest of your land," listen to this, very interesting, "you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest." In other words, don't empty everything out. Don't clean shave it. Don't reap it so that nothing is left out. He says, "And you shall not glean your vineyard nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and the stranger." Stranger is foreigner. "I am the Lord your God." This is a different kind of God. Some gods say, "You have everything. Don't give anything to a foreigner. Foreigner is a foreigner." But this God says even a foreigner must eat. Even a foreigner must be protected, safeguarded. Even a foreigner must prosper.
Look at Deuteronomy 24. Even more interesting there. Deuteronomy 24:19 onwards, "When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands." Look at how he puts it. "When you leave something that you've reaped, when you leave a stack of what you have reaped, don't go back to get it. Let it be there for the orphans and the widows and the foreigners", He says. And the reason He gives is so that the Lord will bless you in the work of your hands. And then he says, "When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over the boughs again. It shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow." You've shaken it and got all the olives out. Whatever is left out, don't go over it and completely empty it out. Leave it there, let the others have it. "When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not glean it afterward. It shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow." Look at how He mentions the stranger, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widows again and again. "And you shall remember that you were slave in the land of Egypt. Therefore, I command you to do this." Three motivations are given to these people, to the people of Israel when He have them this law in order to protect the interests of the foreigner, the orphan and the widow.
Three motivations. One He says, "So that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand." That is verse 19. Secondly, He says, "Remember your experience in Egypt." You were a slave and they oppressed you. They squeezed work from you. You worked night and day there. Don't make others work like that. Be kind to them. He says, "Don't be so cruel to them when it comes to work." You were a slave and you worked as a slave. You know what it is and you know how you hated it. You cried out and the Lord our God came down and delivered you. Remember that. When you oppress a man and he cries out, the Lord your God will come down against you because you're the oppressor now. "Don't do it," He says. Thirdly, it's a matter of obedience to the will of God because the last verse says, "I command you to do this." I command you to do this. This is my command, it's not an option. This is what you do. What is the command? Leave some stuff for the fatherless, the widow, and the orphan and the foreigners. What is the command? Be kind. Don't oppress them, don't treat them like a slave. Be kind in your workplace. Treat them like another human being made in the image and likeness of God. Treat men and women with respect. Give them honor that is due.
God is so kind. I am so amazed at our God. If this kind of law was not there, all the orphans and the widows...everybody owned land in Israel but the orphans and the widows and the foreigners did not. Where will they go for food? Where will they raise a crop for food? If it was not for this law, they would become beggars, they'll enter into slavery, prostitution and other forms of degradation. That's their only other option available. This law was given to protect them from all that evil, to keep them going, to provide their need so that they will have enough. Gleaning law it's called. It is not you monthly sending your support to them. No. It is not a law that promoted dependency of these people that they depended on you to give them some money every month. No. It is a law that helped them to maintain their skills. It is a law that helped them maintain their self-respect by doing some work. They have to go on, they have to reap, they have to glean for themselves. It is a law that made sure that they did not forget their work habits so that they can be productive later on when they enter into a field of work somewhere. It's a law that made them work like people made in the image and likeness of God. Man was made to work and people must be given the opportunity to work. You must open the door for them, make an opportunity for them, make it possible for them to work.
You may say, "Well, how do you apply this? We don't have a field, we don't have a vineyard. We don't have any kind of field where we can leave the corners without reaping for the foreigner, for the widow, and for the orphan. How do we apply this law?"
This week, something wonderful happened. I was sitting in the office, somebody came. They were talking to one of our office people and all of a sudden, this guy from our office came in and said, "He wants you see you. He knew that you were here. He wants to meet with you." I said, "Okay. Tell him to come in." He came in and he mentioned his name immediately...he mentioned his name and told me where he studied in school. I immediately remembered him because...this is the story, his story.
Many years ago, one of my uncles, my father's younger brother who was a teacher in Kalimpong which is in the Himalayas, in the Darjeeling area, was working in school as a teacher in a school run by some Australians. It is a school that specially helped kids that have no father, mother or kids that are very poor. It was a wonderful school. He'd come on holidays and spend time with us. He was walking around in Purasawalkam and went to Doveton corner, underneath that clock tower. Underneath that clock tower there is good-looking man and his wife and two children, were begging. My uncle was surprised that this guy is begging. What happened is the guy had gotten into drinking and ruined everything. They have come to the streets. They have to beg and eat and sleep under that clock tower. My uncle called up his school and told them about these two kids who were just six, seven years old I think and told them about that. They sent money to send them there. Meanwhile my uncle had gone there and my father bought the tickets for them and we were told to stay with the train until the train departed and took off because the guy is into drinking so much that he will get off the train and return the tickets and go back to drinking. I remember dropping them at the station, putting them in the train, and waiting until the train departed and then we came home. This guy was a little boy at that time begging in the street. My uncle was just a teacher. He couldn't give them much money or anything like that. But he knew in some way he can open the door of a good future for them. He could do something with just one phone call. He could do something if he just has a vision to do something. He called those people. In those days to make a call was so difficult because one whole day you have to sit by the phone and try to call. And when you called and talked, the whole street will hear you. "Hallo," that's the way you talked. So, it's pretty remarkable he talked with them. These kids went and studied school there. I don't know where the girl went to school. I think she went to a school in Calcutta. But the boy studied in school there, came out of the school, he wanted to go to college. The school itself was willing to pay for his college, for both of their college. The boy came here, to Tamil Nadu.
One of my other uncles was in a big job in university. He was a registrar. This uncle told that uncle, his brother and got him a seat in one of the finest colleges in Tamil Nadu where he did his B.Com. After he finished, my uncle told him, "Do an M.Com also." And got him admission to that also through my other uncle. They all worked together and got him educated up to M.Com. Now, he is the headmaster of an International school. He came to see me. I was so surprised and so happy to see him doing well. His children are looking wonderful and everything is fine.
What terrible circumstances that family found themselves in. Just a drinking problem got them into such a trouble. They had no food, no place to stay, nothing. But today, they are doing so well. I tell you I believe that God led my uncle to do that for them. Just like God worked in the heart of Boaz to help this woman, God led my uncle to do that. I tell you all of us will have many opportunities like that. To lift someone from the dust heaps of life and bring them up. You don't have to do so much, you don't have to give up anything. You don't really have to do much at all. God will show you some way where you can give them a break, where you can open up an opportunity for them, some door of opportunity for them that God can use that and elevate them to highest levels. The girl also studied and worked in one the biggest companies in India, a very good job. Now, she's in UK living there I was told.
What a wonderful story, unbelievable story. Just happened this week. This kind of thing must be happening every day. Every single day it should be happening. We should be lifting someone up all the time. God will lead us and guide us to give a helping hand to someone because God is the God of the fatherless, the widows and the foreigners.
I remember studying in foreign country. Some people were so nice to me. Not one weekend I spent by myself in the dormitory. I didn't have a place to go but they will think about it, these kids will think about it, they will book me far ahead. "Next free weekend you come to our house." I got to know a lot of people. Some of them helped me so much and were very kind to me which is what made me what I am today. One boy took me to his grandmother's place to spend the summer and that is where another man found me and made me a preacher. God makes the connections. I went there just to spend the summer because I didn't have a place to go. I went and spent the summer there in a farm and I met this man who was a very influential man there. He booked me in 40 places to preach and I had never preached in even one place and I never asked him if I could preach. By the time the summer was over, I had preached in 40 places and had become a full-time preacher by that time and I had only gone to Bible college one year. I started studying very hard to preach. First few times he started coming with me and I had only one sermon which I had already preached. By tomorrow I had to get another sermon. That's how I learned preaching because this guy was coming with me all the time. I quickly started studying night and day and started learning how to preach.
Look at how God connects things, how God is working in the background. God is concerned about our work. He was concerned about my ministry, my future, what I will do. God has given me some ability, some gifts that He wants me to use in a particular field and he wants to help me find that opportunity. He wants to lead me into the doors and guide me into these opportunities. God is at work. You got to believe that. Some people don't believe anything. They say, "Brother, I tried. Nothing is working out. I'm just going to wait till 2022, because then they say things will become better. Until then, I am going to sit on an easy chair and rock." No. God is working. God will make everything impossible possible. Ruth lived for God and Boaz lived for God. Naomi trusted in God. Naomi and Ruth were in hopeless condition, difficult conditions. God looked upon them, favored them, protected them. They have come under the shadow and the wings of God. He is protecting them now, supplying for them, doing everything for them. Do you know what happened in the end? It's a wonderful story. It's better than a Tamil movie.
The guy got married to Ruth. This guy was a very rich guy, owned a lot of land, a lot of properties, very rich fellow got married to Ruth. Amazing. And the more amazing thing is...let's read this and close. More amazing thing is, in chapter 4:13, you read this. "So, Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife and when he went into her, the Lord gave her conception and she bore a son." Bible scholars say the Lord gave her conception, that very idiom, that kind of expression is used only in this place. The Bible talks about conception and pregnancy so on in other places but the Lord gave her conception. It talks about the hand of God. God making it possible. You got to remember the background. This woman came from Moab. She already lived there with her husband for 10 years and didn't have a child. Maybe there was a problem, having a child. That is why this is mentioned like this. 'The Lord gave her conception.' The Lord will take you to the ultimate end. The Lord didn't leave after she got married and said, "Bye. Everything is fine here after..." No, He was with her. He is interested in her. He wants to make her fruitful, He wants to make her future beautiful. He wants to undo every damage and make things beautiful. He's a builder of the broken-down lives. He takes rubbish and makes it very beautiful. That's what God is. She bore a son. God assisted her. God made that possible. God's help. This is the second time in this book this is mentioned. The hand of God was there, that God did it. God Himself saw to it that she had a son.
Why is this so important? Because that son's name is Obed. He is the father of Jesse and Jesse is the father of David and in David's line only Jesus came. So, she became a grandmother of Jesus. God took a broken life, God took a life which experienced tremendous failure and all the effects of the fall and sin and all it has brought down upon men. She experienced death so many times in her house but God redeemed her. The great redeemer redeemed her from that, made her life beautiful and wonderful. Gave her a son, grandson, grandson and so on. And her great grandson became the greatest King that Israel ever had.
But that's not over, something more. Do you know who Boaz is? Boaz is the son of Rahab, the harlot that lived on the walls of Jericho. Remember? When the spies went in from the Israelites, she protected them. Therefore, when the whole Jericho and the people were destroyed, she was not destroyed. That woman married an Israelite and to her Boaz was born. We people in India we'll say, "Do you know the history, brother? That family is very bad. It's a very bad family. You don't know the history." But God says, "I will fix the history." We talk about people, "Oh, she's divorced. Oh, she's this, oh, she's that. Oh, she left her husband" all kinds of things as if they are thereafter useless, that they can't have anything. But God says, "I am in the business, specializing, taking useless persons and making them glorious persons for the glory of God." He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is your God and my God. If you put your trust in Him, He will do exactly what he did for Ruth who put her trust in Him. He will do it today, He will do it for you and it will be for His glory.

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