This devotional accompanies the sermon series “God is Love: Ruth and Our Kinsman Redeemer”

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (Titus 2:11-15)

Humanity has a very difficult time reconciling the idea of poverty.  Those of us who have been born into the privileged life of an American citizen, with food and shelter abundantly available even for our poorest, when we grumble and complain about our lack we can be pointed to those who live on less than $1 each day overseas and count ourselves lucky.  But is our case, even when we are not in material need, really better?  Our lives, even in abundance, are deeply entrenched in depression, doubt, anger, loneliness, and the kinds of pain and suffering we cannot fully put words to.  These are part of the universal “human condition.”  We suffer and groan under a debt that we do not understand and that we cannot pay.  We are the poorest of the poor, we only mask that and numb it with material things, temporary passions, and dim hope.  But real hope has come!  What now if we were to truly release our hearts into a full acceptance of God’s love for us and his purchase of us? Would it not make us the most loving of all people (1 Peter 1:18-23)?  If we can accept it, God will lavish his love on us in a way we could never fully comprehend but that we desperately need, for our Redeemer lives.

Dialogue Questions:

    • What do you make of the book of Ruth, is it merely a beautiful ancient love story or do you see the pattern of God’s saving plan for mankind?
    • The prophet Isaiah proclaimed God as the Redeemer, the one who would bear the iniquities of the world.  There are only three possible ways to take this: Do you see this as wishful thinking to a nation in bondage, an unfulfilled prophecy so that we should wait for another, or is it fulfilled in Christ?
    • How has the redeeming love of God freed us to love one another and those around us?

Things to Pray about:

    • Pray for the poor, especially those without access to the basic necessities of life (food, basic health care). Pray for generosity as we approach a season of giving in the US to bring aid overseas and here at home to those in need.