Today is your final lesson from the book of Ruth! January seemed to fly by, but hopefully your daily quiet time in God’s Word using the S.O.A.P method slowed down the rush of the day, and allowed you to soak in His words. At the bottom of this lesson you will see the new series for the month of February. :)
RUTH’S UNPREDICTABLE LIFE
So many unpredictable moments happened in Ruth’s lifetime. She was a pagan, but became a believer. She had a husband and a new life, but tragedy struck and he died. A life once secure, Ruth found herself picking up leftovers in a field.
One thing was consistent in Ruth’s life though. Her faith and devotion to God. Through her obedience Ruth found herself in the family line of Jesus the Messiah when she gave birth to her son, Obed.
Do you think Ruth had any idea what her devotion, faith, and obedience would lead to? Her obedience to God brought rich rewards – some she saw in her lifetime, but some she did not. She was able to give birth to a son and watch him grow, but she could not have known that through her very own family line would come the birth of the Messiah!
Here we are left with a lesson and a challenge:
Our devotion to God and our faithfulness to the responsibilities He has given us will bring reward.
REWARDS FOR FAITHFULNESS
Take a look at just a few scriptures on our rewards for faithfulness:
Don’t be misled–you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Galatians 6:7
For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 1 Corinthians 3:11-14
“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:12
“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.” Revelation 22:12
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14
Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 1 Corinthians 3:8
Too many of us cheat ourselves by trying to “take matters into our own hands” and get our rewards now. We overspend, overeat, get lazy, give up because we want our break now. We want to see the pay off for our hard work now. Instead of pressing on toward the goal which is in Christ, we pull towards us a goal we can reach in this lifetime.
STAY ON TRACK
It’s easy to start a new goal. We’re great at achieving our goals in the beginning. It’s much harder to stay consistent and remain devoted to our goals. Challenges hit, things get boring, we don’t see the benefit, and it’s harder than we thought…so we quit, or we keep going but just don’t “give it our all.”
Here’s what Ruth would tell us: keep going, stay devoted. Remain obedient and faithful to God through your words and actions. It will pay off. You will receive a great reward for your faithfulness. You will one day see with your eyes what you cannot see now.
JOE THE CONSTRUCTION WORKER
A man named Joe works in the construction business building houses. A lot of his clients get anxious when their house looks more like a war zone in the process of construction rather than the haven they had envisioned. Joe was building for a particular client a few years ago who was always angry. Nothing he did was ever right. This client yelled at Joe, called him names, and bullied him every day on the job. Inside Joe wanted to burst and yell back, but he had a family to provide for and a God to serve. He knew if he lost his temper he might lose the job, and worse, a good reputation in the business. As hard as it was to stay calm and collected, Joe didn’t say anything negative in response. He replied, “yes sir,” “I understand,” and “I’ll do my best to build you a great house.”
After several months the house was finally complete! The client was thrilled with the outcome, and with Joe’s hard work. At the time Joe wondered why God had allowed such a difficult project to come upon him, but he knew in his heart that he had responded in the right way. Several years past and Joe received a phone call from the same client. He was much more respectful and told Joe that he wanted to buy several lots, pay Joe to build several homes, and split the investment. One of the lots was in a premier neighborhood that would bring in much advertisement and free marketing to Joe’s business.
Joe reacted to a difficult situation based on what he believed was right – God’s way – responding in a gentle manner. Not paying back evil with evil, but evil with right. Joe stayed devoted to God and was obedient to God’s command to love others. Joe saw a rich reward – not immediately – but a few years later. He knows his eternal reward for his faithfulness must be even greater.
HOW TO STAY DEVOTED AND FAITHFUL TO YOUR DUTIES
What responsibilities has God given you? Marriage? Motherhood? Work? Money. Like Ruth, you have probably had your share of unpredictable moments. But you can choose to be like Ruth and Joe. You can keep consistent with your devotion to God and you can be sure you will receive a rich reward. Here’s a few ideas on how to stay devoted and faithful:
1. Respond to negativity with love, positive words and actions:
This is what Ruth did. Naomi became bitter after the loss of her husbands and sons, but Ruth responded to Naomi with great love. Joe responded to harsh words with kind words. They both saw a great reward due to their great devotion to God.
2. Keep your eye on the prize:
Money can get tight and it can get hard to pinch and save. Using credit is much easier, but this is not God’s will. Keep your eye on the rich rewards you’ll receive years down the road for your devotion to be a wise steward with you money. It will be much greater than anything money could by on now.
Dealing with toddler’s tantrums, spills, and diapers can seem daunting now, but keep your eye on the teenage years when your time spent correcting, guiding, and disciplining now will pay off.
3. Remember stories like Ruth and Joe:
It’s hard to imagine what could possibly be a reward for your devotion to a difficult situation or person now. Remembering rewards like Ruth or Joe received gives us hope for our own rewards. Think about devoted people to God that you know. What rewards have you witnessed from their devotion and faithfulness to God?
Keep Studying with the S.O.A.P method! These chapters go along with today’s lesson and will provide you with even more scripture and insight into what was discussed today.
What is S.O.A.P? It is a way to actively read scripture. The letters stand for:
S ~ Scripture (write down a scripture that particularly speaks to you during your chapter reading)
O ~ Observation (write down what you observe about this scripture)
A ~ Application (write down how you can apply today’s chapter reading to your daily life)
P ~ Prayer (write down a prayer)
Chapters to S.O.A.P this week:
Monday (today): 1 John 3
Tuesday: 2 Timothy 4
Wednesday: Luke 18
Thursday: Colossians 3
Friday: Romans 12
FEBRUARY BIBLE STUDY:
What better month to talk about love and marriage than February?? :)
Bible study will continue next Monday with the first of four lessons about the Strengths of a Wise Wife from the book of Proverbs. Proverbs is LOADED with wisdom on everything from parenting, finances, marriage and more. The Bible study you’ll be getting from this next series will contain 4 important components of what it means to be a wise wife.