Listen in on William Jessup University’s chapel series every Wednesday and Friday to hear speakers from across the globe, bringing messages from God’s word to our students, faculty, and staff.
Welcome, it’s Monday and I am starting our very last section of our abundant series, which is crazy that we’re at that point in the semester. If you recall the first few weeks of school, we talked about taking back what has been stolen, because the thief comes to steal. And then we talked about reviving what is dead because the thief? Yeah, the thief comes to kill. And now we’re talking about restoring what has been destroyed. Okay, when I hear those words of destruction and restoration, I have these immediate visceral reactions. I don’t know about you guys. But I’ll talk you through what I was thinking when I first heard that this is what I would be talking about. So when I think of the word destruction, the first image that comes to my mind is building a sandcastle on the beach, which sand is already gross. So that’s already an act of love. If I’m doing that with a younger sister, we’re building a sandcastle, and then the other punk sister comes in, kicks it, and it’s all destroyed hours of work, literal blood, sweat, and tears. destruction is intentional. Right? And destruction is active. Things don’t get destroyed by accident. And they don’t just Oh, it just happened. We’re not sure. destruction is an active process. No one describes like an eroding house like, Oh, it was destroyed. That’s just something that happens over time. destruction is intentional. And when I hear Oh, something of yours was destroyed, I feel attacked. I feel like oh, someone did something to me. And we can also destroy something for ourselves this form of self destruction, we can take something good and destroy it. So I want you to think about destruction you’ve experienced in your own life. Maybe it’s something physical, maybe it’s something internal, maybe it’s your family. Maybe it is a physical possession, like a home. We’ve all experienced destruction in one way or another. And then on the flip side, we have restoration. Now when I hear the word restore, I think of one of my favorite television channels. HGTV any other HGTV fans out there. That’s I’m talking about baby Come on. So I I love all HGTV you know, I like to really basic stuff. Some House Hunters, that’s a great napping TV show you turn it on you fall right asleep. Fantastic. And you don’t feel bad that you missed it. Is that my perfect kind of TV show? I obviously love fixer upper. I’m not insane, right? Give me some shiplap. And then I loved any Did anyone watch design star? Okay, that’s a retro one. We can talk about it later. It’s fantastic. So, anyway, HGTV. I’ve watched it since I was a child. And it has given me this intense dream, to own an old house and to fix it up. And it’s also given me what some would say are his unmerited confidence, because I think I could do this. Right now with no skill. I can, you know, hardly cut an apple without hurting myself. And yet, I think that I can renovate a house pretty much based on the skill level I have, maybe you feel the same way. But this idea of restoration as I was thinking it through restoration is actually a process. I think HGTV does restoration, a little dirty, honestly, because we just see the before and after you see that before the kind of man house 20 minutes and two commercial breaks later, it’s beautiful. It makes it seem like something being restored is a before and an after. When restoration actually describes the middle, the process of moving from point A to point B. So we say that God is going to restore us. That doesn’t mean you were broken. Now you’re perfect. It’s talking about all the stages in between, that restoration happens in stages happens in a process. And if a job is done, well, if you and I were restoring a house and we did a good job, it would take us a long time. If something is done well, it takes time. And so what I want to tell you tonight, and what I want to hopefully give you confidence in is that God will restore what has been destroyed. He promises that he will
Oh, thanks. Um, the thing that you and I have to grapple with is that it might take longer than we want it to. And that makes that restoration no less meaningful, or it doesn’t mean that it’s not happening. So I want to unpack that tonight. I would love to tell you a love story. Any love story fans out there. Both the Taylor Swift song and just as a genre. I love love stories. And it’s a love story from the Bible. So it’s extra spiritual, but it’s a good one you guys it gets a little spicy Not gonna lie. Many people, if they were telling you the story, and they were basic, they would tell you that it’s a love story between a guy named Boaz and a lady named Ruth. But that is not the case. It’s actually a love story between a faithful God and two people that have come out of this extreme pain. brokenness. And I want to tell it to you tonight. Is that cool? Okay, cool. It is four chapters, and we don’t have the time to unpack it. So I’m going to do all of your favorite thing I’m going to spark note for you. So you’re welcome. I just giving you a break from the spark noting you’re probably already doing for your other classes, and I’ll do it here. You’ll feel really familiar. Uh huh. Okay, so in the time of the judges in Israel, which means these are harsh dictators, this isn’t like a happy time to be alive. Things are pretty tense, we might relate to that a little bit, feeling like tensions are high, right. And there was a family that their region that they live in, in Israel goes into a famine. And so they’re like, we have to move. There’s no work, there’s no food. And so they move out. This is Israelite family, the parents and two sons, and they move out of Israel into a land called Moab, to find work and to find food. Now, they find more than that when they are in this region, the two sons marry, so things seem to be going pretty well all things considered. And then the dad dies, which is sad. And over the next 10 years, both the sons die, too. So you started with this family of four parents and two sons. And now all you have is the mom. And these two daughters in law from this foreign land, which was kind of a No, no, you weren’t supposed to marry someone, you were supposed to marry a foreigner because they bring foreign gods. And so this now these three women, in a time where women can’t go out and get a job, they can’t really work or provide for themselves. And they’re in this place where they feel stuck. And so the mom, Naomi says, I have to go back home. That’s the only place that I can be taken care of, at least I know people there and I’m not a foreigner there. And she tells her two daughters in law, Ruth and oppa. She says, You guys go remarry, like, find someone else carry on someone else’s family line, I have nothing to offer you. I can’t provide for you. And the one daughter in law, Oppa says Alright, peace, and she’s gone. Okay. And then Ruth says, I’m going to stay with you. I committed to your son to marry him. And he’s gone. But you’re still here, and you’re my family now. So I’m gonna go where you go. And I’ll stay where you stay, and your God will be my God, which is a big thing for her to say. And so these two women leave Moab and they go back to Bethlehem. Now I want to kind of tell you about the depth of pain they were feeling. Some people have described Naomi, the mom as the female job. If you remember, Hannah talked a few weeks ago about job and the destruction and the pain that he went through. This woman has experienced very similar things in this foreign land and her entire family dies. In Ruth 121. She says this as they’re going into Bethlehem. She says, I went away full. And the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me. Have you guys ever felt that way? God himself has turned his back on me. I have for sure. I think as recently as this summer, I was like, he’s gone. And don’t, don’t call me blessed. Don’t try to act like my life is good. I’m in this deep pain, this destruction. And she goes so far as to say I need a new name. I’m gonna call myself Mara now, which means bitter. This brokenness was so deep within her soul and her spirit, that she was like, This is who I am now. I think you and I do that too. In destruction, we say I cannot see a way out of this. This is who I am. I don’t know how I could ever change. I don’t know how this could ever get better. This is who I am. And yet, in the midst of that pain, I actually think she takes the first step towards restoration. Although these two women are going back to this place that Ruth has never been here, and Naomi hasn’t been here for years. They’re going back knowing that off to beg for food, they, Naomi will come back kind of as an exile and have to kind of apologize to everyone for leaving. And now I have this foreign daughter in law. And they’re in the midst of this deep pain. They’re also going back to a place of community.
And they’re trusting that the people around them are going to be a source of hope. And I want to tell you, I think this is the first step to restoration is being in a place where God can use people in your life. Because I think sometimes we think it’s just me and God, like this pain is too deep, and he’s gonna fix it and then I’ll let people in. But with these two women do is say we’re still in pain, and we’re still going to go be around people. We are still going to go and trust that God is going to use the people around us. And so that’s the first step of their restoration is trusting that God’s going to use people and he does. So Ruth They get there, they need food and Ruth’s younger, and she’s super loyal. And she’s just willing to do whatever she needs to do to help her mother in law out and they need to eat. So she goes out to glean in a field, which basically means she’s picking up the scraps of the wheat. So not super fun or glamorous, she’s not getting the pick of the crop. And just by coincidence, she ends up in the field of one of her mother in law’s distant relatives. She has no clue she has no idea these people, she is just so happens to end up in his field. And he sees how beautiful she is and how kind she is. And his he immediately has this favor for her and says, I’m gonna protect this woman. And so he tells the people that work for him, don’t touch her. Leave her alone, make sure she’s safe. And let her gather with the women from my house. Let her get a good portion of the crop. And so Ruth goes home. She’s like, guess what, Naomi? Guess what happened today tells her and Naomi jumps a little farther. I don’t know if any of your moms do this. You’ll be like, Oh, I have like a lab partner. They’re like, Oh, my gosh, you guys gonna get married? And you’re like, wow, I don’t think so. Well, that’s exactly what Naomi does. Here. She says, Okay, I know what to do. So you saw he let you get the wheat. So here’s the interview, warning, you know, put on your makeup make you look nice. And then tonight when he’s sleeping, go sleep at the foot of his bed. And then when he wakes up, he’ll know you want to marry him. Now, I just want to say from up here, I don’t think this is a good idea. And I don’t condone this behavior. I don’t recommend it. So please don’t go sleep at the foot of someone’s bed. If you’re trying to communicate that you’re into them. Okay. I just want to put that out there right now this happened in the Bible. That does not mean that you should do it. But Ruth does. She if I told you it gets spicy. So Ruth does it. She takes a big swing, she sneaks into Boaz, his house which is creepy, and sleeps at the foot of his bed. And he wakes up and he’s like, Hey, what’s going on here? And basically she says, My mother in law and I want you to redeem us. He’s this thing called a kinsman redeemer. And he was like, Yeah, okay, sounds good. And so Boaz marries Ruth, and they have a son. And by marrying her and bringing her into the family, he gets all of Naomi’s old property that they get that sold and so he can, they can have the money from that. And these women are now protected, they’re provided for, and then Bo, as his family wine is getting carried on.
And just by coincidence, Ruth is king, David’s grandmother. And King David, we know is part of Jesus’s family line. So this foreign woman who went through this deep pain, didn’t think that her life could get any worse probably is now in the bloodline of the Savior of the world, which is pretty crazy. I think it’s crazy. You guys don’t seem that impressed. But I thought was pretty crazy. Um, thank you. So you might have noticed a few times I said things happen. Just by coincidence, I was lying. It wasn’t just by coincidence. The beautiful thing about the book of Ruth, and I hope you all go read it, guys and girls, because it’s an incredible story is that God has barely mentioned. It doesn’t say and God made sure that Ruth went to bow as his field. And God gave Ruth favor in the eyes of Boaz. And God did this. And God did that. A couple times. Boaz will say praise God, essentially. And that’s pretty much it. And that’s how my life feels. Sometimes I’m like, I don’t I’m just doing normal people things. I don’t know, I’m not nothing crazy is happening to me. No bushes are starting to burn when I sit next to them. And I don’t hear a loud voice from the sky. I’m just doing normal life, I don’t know. And it’s kind of what Sierra talked about last week, if you were here, and you remember, she talked about this tapestry. And sometimes we get a peek at the other side. And that’s what this story is showing us is God is working in bigger ways than we can see. In the moment. Ruth and Naomi could not Naomi said, This is who I am. This brokenness is it for me. I’m never going to be anything else. I’m never going to experience anything else. This is who I am now. And yet God has this bigger perspective. His hand is moving in ways that she cannot see. This also wasn’t like a three day process. These women were grieving for a decade. And then she gets married. I mean, this is like a long process of restoration. It’s not like my husband’s dead. Two weeks later, I remarried. Everything worked out great for me. It was a process of restoration. And God us people and God worked throughout time. And restoration, as I already said, is a process not an event. Sometimes I and maybe you have an HDTV mind. Set with God, I recognize that something is broken, something is not working the way it should. Something is rotting in me. And so I’ll give God a tight 30 minutes, and two commercial breaks if needed. And then I want to see this be done. We can get this done right before and after. I can take maybe like a crazy good worship night, or maybe someone will pray over me, and then we’ll be done. Now, I’m not saying God can’t work that way. I’m just telling you, the Bible shows us live shows us the stories of the people around us show us he doesn’t usually he works in processes. And here’s the responses I think we have when God doesn’t fit our HGTV timeframe. One, I’m getting a new general contractor, this guy sucks. He’s not here. God’s never around. I don’t know. I mean, maybe I hired him, but maybe he just never came. And so I’m going to turn to other stuff, maybe stuff that’s not even necessarily bad. I’m really into this, you know, I’m going to get into this new podcast. And I think that that will get me on positive thinking. And if I just pretend that brokenness isn’t there, or maybe I’ll just get super busy. And I’ll be so preoccupied with my life, that I can’t recognize the pain within me. Or maybe I’m just gonna kind of ignore it for the rest of my life and shove it deep deep down and hope that no one ever sees it. Or next response, no one comes over to the house till it’s done.
It’s just me and God, none of you can come over, I’d prefer you didn’t know that I even had this old house, I’ll just, but you can’t come, I don’t want you to see it. I don’t want you to drive by it. God and I are going to lock ourselves in this house till it’s done. And I’m not going to let anyone in in any real way. Because I don’t want you to know what it looks like in here. option three Do you want to drive by because I just spent a ton of time painting outside the curb appeal is so good. Forget that I don’t have running water or electricity and the floorboards are rotting. And I have to give the house a new foundation. But I painted it. It looks so good. This nice Sage green color. It’s so nice to have these flower boxes. So you can come by and I’ll wave at you from the porch. Unfortunately, no, we can’t have dinner at my house because there’s nothing in there to see. But you can see the outside, you can see this painting facade that everything’s fine. And I’m so scared for you to see the inside of the house. Because it’s so bad. It’s so gross. And no one could live here. And I don’t want you to see that because I spent all this time on the outside. Do you see how pretty it is out here. Just stay out here. And then there’s this fourth response that I think really glorifies God and accepts this process instead of event mentality. Let’s build it together. I’m actually going to invite my friends over to rip up the dirty carpet. And my family is going to come over and demo the kitchen with me because these cabinets are disgusting, and the wood is rotting. And I’m going to sit with God in my unfinished house and recognize that he is here with me. And sometimes there’s delays sometimes my awesome marble countertops got delayed, and they won’t be here for another six weeks. And so I’m just going to sit with God and trust that the process is still happening. And I will let people into this house even though it’s not finished. Because they will help me finish it they I’m it’s gonna be way faster. When I asked them to help. I can’t grout a tile in the bathroom by myself in one day. But if I have my three friends come over, we can do it together. Sorry. There’s too many house metaphors. Some of your like, houses like Please stop. Sorry. I spent like an hour on Zillow a week. So I was made for this metaphor. restoration is a process of love and passion. No one restores the house they don’t like because they may they might restore a house they don’t like trusting that the end product will be something they love. No one restores something out of obligation. You don’t give all your time and your money and your energy to something that you’re like, No, I don’t, but I don’t really care about it. I don’t really like it. I don’t enjoy this process. It was so powerful to me to read this and work through this because I feel like I am a broken house in many ways. And I’m ready to be market ready, ready to sell looking great, all new fixtures inside. And it was so powerful for me to think about this restoration process is an act of love for God. He loves every single stage. He loves sitting on the bare floor with me that he’s not doing this out of obligation or to shiny me up because he’s embarrassed by how gross and broken down I am. It’s an act of love and have passion for him. It is also the fact that I feel flat that I feel empty that I feel ready for this to be over doesn’t negate the process. My feelings may Gods act is no less real. My feelings make what God is doing no less powerful. He’s still moving when I feel like he’s not. And the restoration is still going, even if I feel delayed, because he is the general contractor, if you will. Now, there’s a question I want to answer, are you and I get to see everything be restored. Some of you might be thinking there is some brokenness, in my life, in my heart, in my family, that I’ve been waiting to see be restored for a decade. And I don’t really like hearing this Alea like, Oh, just hold on, it takes time. How much time? I don’t know. And I wish I had a better answer for you. God promises you and I that he is going to restore everything. Everything. In Revelation 21 four, it says he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, for the former things that passed away. I can’t really even comprehend a world like that, to be honest with you. But so different from the life that I live the world that I live in. And God promises here, he’s going to restore everything. But like I said earlier tonight, it might take longer than you and I want it to. And there might be things that on this side of heaven, we never see restored the way we want them to.
And I’m not saying that as if that’s an easy thing to hear, or an easy thing to process. I’ve been wrestling with it, God, why would you give me destruction that you’re not going to heal? In my timetable? In my lifetime? I don’t know the answer to that. You and I were made for goodness, we were made to be in perfect relationship with God. We’re not perfect. The world we live in is not perfect. And so I think we were made to wrestle with these things. So I don’t say that to you as if it’s easy. But I want you to know, he does promise he’s going to restore things. He does promise that there is no brokenness, there’s no rotting house on any street corner that he doesn’t see, and that he’s not working on. So what should you do after too many house metaphors and talking about HGTV, I want you to lean into the fact that God is going to use people and your restoration process. There’s people that you might need to let in to the brokenness that you’re experiencing. You weren’t made to walk alone, you weren’t made to restore things alone. You weren’t made to live this life alone. And conversely, God is also going to use you and other people’s restoration, he’s gonna use you as someone to speak truth into them, he’s going to use you as someone to walk beside them. When the process gets lonely. You were made to walk with others in life, in the highs and the lows and in the really broken places. So if you have some brokenness that you need to let people into, I would encourage you to do that. And similarly, if someone comes to you and says, this is I don’t know what to do, this feels too broken. I don’t know if it’ll ever be restored. You were made to walk with them. And then I also want you to remember that restoration is a process that takes time. It’s easy, in a place like this to feel rushed. I came up here with some brokenness in my soul, feeling like, okay, 30 days, I’ll be away from that back home, and I will be good. I’ll just be around all these Jesus see people, and I’ll be in my classes, and maybe I’ll forget about it. Or maybe I’ll get some great perspective on it. And suddenly, it won’t hurt anymore. That hasn’t happened. I’m still wrestling with that pain. And yet, God has used people and times of stillness. And I know that I’m in the process of restoration. Even though I want to view my life as a before and after picture. I know that it’s steps and that I’m walking with him on that process. And so recognize that it takes time. Don’t feel rushed because the people around you see more Christian then you because they have the spiritual jargon or they seem like they’re doing great. restoration is a process that God walks through with each of us in his own time. Is that cool? Okay, I’m gonna pray for you guys. Lord, I just want to thank you for this group here tonight. And I want to thank you for your love and your consideration for us that you want to restore the broken things in us, no matter how long it takes. I thank you just that you will sit with us that you love every stage. You’re not rushing us. You’re not wishing we were somewhere else. That every stage is within your perfect plan. In your perfect timing, and God tonight, I pray that if there’s someone here that needs to talk to someone in their life, about the brokenness they’re experiencing, if there’s someone here that needs to have their heart soft to hear what their friend has to say about the brokenness they’re experiencing, I just pray that your Holy Spirit would move. And that people here tonight would be freed from things that they thought would bind them forever. I pray that they would feel just an overwhelming sense of your love, that you’re here with us in the broken parts. And in that process of restoration. God, you’re so good to us far more than we can ever understand or comprehend. I thank you that you’re always working that none of us are ever too far gone. I thank you for how much you love us. We love you, Jesus name Amen.