Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Always at work

At work.  Always at work. 

"Always at work" isn’t me.  I have a job and I believe I'm conscientious about it.  I do some parts better than other parts but I don’t work at it from dawn to dusk.  And when I'm not "at work" but working on things at other places, such as around the house, there are breaks and periods of distraction.  And each day has its times of recreation and relaxation.  "Always at work" doesn’t describe me.

"Always at work" doesn’t describe my wife either, and she is probably the most diligent and energetic person I've ever known. 

"Always at work" does apply to God, and sometimes we see this in the most surprising of places.  I have been preaching through the book of Ruth and last week we reached the final paragraph, where this is written in chapter 4, verses 18-22:

"Now these are the generations of Perez: Perez fathered Hezron, Hezron fathered Ram, Ram fathered Amminadab, Amminadab fathered Nahshon, Nahshon fathered Salmon, Salmon fathered Boaz, Boaz fathered Obed, Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered David."

It looks like a collection of names.  The heading in my Bible says that it is the genealogy of David.  It would be easy to read the names and think, "Nothing going on here.  Kind of a flat way to end the story."  And coming to that conclusion would be missing something.  Something powerful.

The story of Ruth takes place during the time of the judges.  The book of Judges comes right before Ruth and reading it we see the Hebrew people in trouble, over and over again.  God raises up judges to lead them, but the author of the book doesn’t shy away from showing the character flaws of the leaders.  And the flaws become increasingly obvious as the book progresses.  The closing words, Judges 21:25, say,

"In those days there was no king in Israel.  Everyone did what was right in his own eyes."

So Ruth takes place during this dark chapter of the history of God's people.  But God is not absent.  The ending of Ruth shows that God is at work, keeping a family line intact, a family that He has promised will one day produce the Savior of His people. 

The time of the judges was a dark time for the people of Israel, but God remained at work among them, for His purposes, and this is what we see in the closing verses of Ruth.

And He remains at work today.    

The closing verses of Ruth, and the time period in which it is set, remind us that whatever the world may look like from our point-of-view, that God is at work, always at work, for His purposes.  And His purposes are always better than our purposes and our desires.     

We sometimes wonder what God is up to, or if He is paying any attention to our world and the troubles in it, troubles that seem so obvious.  Some of those troubles are on the TV news, and some of them are within our hearts.

Whatever you may be going through right now, know that God is at work.  Seek Him, and you will find Him.  Seek to know the peace of His presence.  Seek to know His purposes in your time of trial. 

For God is at work.  He is always at work.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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