Beth Moore - I Love the Lord, Part 4
All right, now I want you to look at 116, verse 7 again. I told you this would be big to us. "Return to your rest, O, my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you". Would you go with me now to Ruth? You're gonna go to the book of Ruth. We're gonna to go deep into the Old Testament. And you're gonna find the book of Ruth, and you're gonna go to the first chapter. You'll find the first five books of the Bible. They're gonna be followed by Joshua and Judges. And then you are going to start running in to Ruth. I wish I had time to really tell their story, but I don't. It was a woman who was Jewish who had married a Moabite man, and they had moved to Moab. They had had several sons. Their sons had been married. They had great lives, as far as we can tell. And then all the men died somehow for some reason, and left them all widows.
And so, she's going back because the only hope she has of survival is to go back to her homeland and try to claim whatever little piece of property is still in her family back there. So, she's returning. Her name is Naomi. And so, she has two daughter-in-laws. She says bye to both of them. One goes, "I'm not leaving you. I'm going with you". They go, "No, you go I mean, can I have another son for you? I can't. You go, you go and see if you can remarry". Well, she just won't go. So, she goes with her. They return back. And so, you know, it's been years have gone by but when people see her they're like, "Wait, I know who that is. I know who that is".
And so, I want to pick up where it says that in 19, Ruth 1, verse 19. "The two of them came until they... or they traveled, rather, until they came to Bethlehem. When they entered Bethlehem, the whole town was excited about their arrival", it's not a very big town, "So, they", I mean, they recognize an outsider, "And the local women exclaimed; 'Can this be Naomi?' And she says to them, 'Do not call me Naomi. Call me Mara,' she answered, 'for the Almighty has made me very bitter.' And says, 'I went back full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has opposed me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?'"
I think it is so, so relevant in our subject matter to read out of the New Revised Version. I want you to hear it. "No longer call me Naomi, call me Mara". A word that means bitter. "For the Almighty has dealt bitterly with me. I went away for, but the Lord has brought me back empty". I want you to put those two beside one another. "The Lord has dealt bountifully with me, and the Lord has dealt bitterly with me". Because the juxtaposition of those two things is striking. He says out of nowhere, the next verse, I mean, he says it's the most, It's feels like it's almost out of place. It doesn't seem like it even fits. It just says in the very next verse, the very next verse in verse 22. "So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. Now they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest".
And he said that barley harvest is gonna become very, very important to what happens to them. But he said we know nothing. She's just going like, "Call me bitter, call me bitter". And then all of a sudden it just goes, "But they can run in time for the barley harvest". Yeah, it is a Word. It so struck me and I thought, I'm putting that right with my lesson because when life has been the most bitter to you, the goodness of God is right now. It's the season of the barley harvest right now. Just when you're thinking, "Everything bountiful that has ever happened to me is all in my past. Don't call me pleasant. Don't call me joyful. Don't call me anything but bitter". And God's up there going, "It's the season of the barley harvest".
This is when you look up and go, "Who are you that you come up with that, that you come up with that"? I want you to look at toward the end of chapter 4 of Ruth, chapter 4:13 through 17 of chapter 4. "Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. He slept with her, and the Lord granted conception to her, and she gave birth to a son. And the women said to Naomi, 'Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you without a family redeemer today. May his name be well known in Israel. He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age'". Somebody just, that's your Word right there. You're thinking all that the real fruitfulness is behind you. Are you kidding me? He's not gonna quit on you. Are you gonna quit on him? It could be that your greatest fruitfulness in your entire life is still ahead of you. Are you gonna quit, truly, truly?
Or do we go to the death serving the worthy Lord Jesus? "He'll renew your life and sustain you in your old age. Indeed, your daughter-in-law, who loves you it is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him. Naomi took the child, placed him on her lap, and became his nanny. And the neighbor women said, 'A son has been born to Naomi,' and they named him Obed. And he was the father of Jesse, the father of David". Her line would lead to the very Son of God and a throne that would never end. "Call me bitter," but it was just in time for the barley.
Oh, somebody needs to know it, hang on. The only difference was time. If you think the Lord has dealt bitterly with you, he can't do it. He can't do you wrong. He cannot do you're wrong. The Lord has no darkness in him. He cannot do you wrong. Wait a little longer, wait a little longer. And you will, and you do it by faith at your bitterest time say, "Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you, not bitterly". The devil's trying to tell me the Lord has dealt bitterly with me, but the truth is the Lord has dealt bountifully with me and I'm gonna see it. I'm gonna see it. I'm gonna jostle that thing on my knee. I'm going to, I'm going to. Oh, the fullness of the Lord.
Psalm 116 is a part of the Passover celebration every single year still in many, many Jewish homes and was for centuries, even thousands of years. Remember that we talked about Psalm 116 being part of the collection called the Egyptian Hallel, the Egyptian praise, praise to God that it was, those were recited over the course of the Passover meal. They had been commemorating the Passover since the year they left. A year later after they left the land of Egypt in their slavery were set free with the leadership of Moses in the desert. So, they've been doing it all this time, huge, biggest celebration of the year where they commemorate the whole story.
And I want to read 17 to 30 to you, 17 to 30 of Matthew 26. "On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and asked, 'Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?' So he says, 'Go into a city to a certain man, and tell him, "The teacher says my time is near; I'm celebrating the Passover at your place with my disciples".' So the disciples did his Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. When evening came, he was reclining at the table with the Twelve. While they were eating he said, 'Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.' Deeply distressed, each one of them began to say, 'Surely not I, Lord?' He said, 'The one who dipped his hand with me in the bowl, he will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for him if he had not been born.' Judas, his betrayer, replied, 'Surely not I, rabbi?' And he looks at him and says, 'You have said it.'" In verse 26, "As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, 'Take and eat it; this is my body.'"
They've been doing it the same way year after year after year after year, except here he goes off road because he is instituting the New Covenant. And then it says, "Then he took the cup, and after giving thanks, he gave it to them and said, 'Drink from it, all of you. For this is the blood of my covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. But I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink of it anew with you in my Father's Kingdom.' And after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives". I want you to keep every bit of this in mind. Here's what would happen, they would be at the table for Passover. It would be set a certain way, certain elements had to always be on it. And there's gonna be the telling of the whole story.
This happened in the middle of the Hebrew month of Nisan, that would be our late March or early April. They would tell the whole story of God delivering his people from Egypt. And I mean, this is some 3500 years old. And the Haggadah means the telling, the telling. And they would go through the whole Haggadah, the telling of the Exodus story at the table. And there would have been, on the table, if you'll picture it with me, a pitcher of wine. There would be wine glasses. There would be unleavened bread, but there would also be the food that would be on the traditional table of the Jewish Passover.
So, what was required was that there be lamb, that there be unleavened bread, that there be bitterness herbs. This was going to represent the bitterness of slavery, so that they could be used to tell the story. And there could be other dishes. There might be a lamb shank on the table. There might be fish on the table. There'd be, for we'd say to see today matzah ball soup, and so forth, and apple and nut mixture that was to represent the brickmaking of the servitude to the Egyptians. And what's so significant here is that they got the lamb on the table, but actually the lamb is at the table, the Lamb of God, who they were told, same guys, same guys, "The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world". So, they're sitting with the one that Paul would say later to Corinth, "He is the Passover Lamb". I mean, they're there sitting, and they have no idea what's about to transpire that very night and over the course of those next 24 hours. They're sitting, having lamb with the Lamb. I don't know if that gets anybody besides me, but I mean, it gets me.
So, they would have had a fairly, or would have had a very traditional Passover service. And so, it would have started like this. Those four cups are extremely important. So, they've got the cups there, and they've got the wine, but they're gonna pour into those cups four different times. This has been for ages and ages and ages throughout Judaism on the night of Passover. So, it started with the first cup of blessing. Jesus would have rose up from the table. He would have risen up from the table, rather, and he would have given the blessing, and he would have poured the first cup. They're are gonna be four.
Those four cups correspond with four "I will" statements of God that are given to them back in Exodus, in Exodus 6, verses 6 and 7. I'm gonna read this to you. It says, "I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel for whom that Egyptians hold a slaves, and I have remembered my covenant. So therefore to the people of Israel, say, 'I am the Lord.'" And then he makes for "I will" statements. He's making promises to them. "I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will deliver you from slavery, I will redeem you with an outstretched arm, and I will take you to be my people".
So, it comes to the second part in the second part of the ceremony, there was the washing of hands. So, everybody was to wash their hands, only Jesus does something really strange. He doesn't wash their hands, he gets down and he washes their feet. Every bit of it is so important because he is teaching them. He is re-actualizing the whole Passover with himself as the Lamb. And this is what it looks like to be a servant to the Lamb. And so, there's this whole point, the youngest one at the table, and to this day and from the earliest days, the youngest one at the table asked the critical questions. So, they ask, "Father," whoever the head of the table, "Why is this night different from every other night"? One of the things that I think is significant on this particular night is it could have been, "Father, why is this night different, even from the rest of the different nights? Why are you going off road with us here"?
Anybody getting that with me? And that's what causes whoever's the head of the table to tell the story. So, Jesus himself is telling about them being freed from slavery. He's telling the story himself. That second cup gets poured, but it is not sipped yet because right now, after it gets poured, the lengthy narrative begins and the whole Passover Haggadah is told. There comes a time at this climactic part of the story when an antiphony begins and what I mean by that is that whoever is sitting at the head of the table, which would be Jesus here, they would make certain statements. And this has been done for hundreds of years.
Again, were they using this exact wording, this exact, we don't know if he did this that night at the table in this exact form. But this was the practice where there would be things that the head of the table would say, and there was a certain way the congregation, or the table, the table, would answer him back. And this was called, at the Passover Haggadah, the telling. This part, it's done as a song often, is called the Dayenu, Dayenu, the Dayenu because Dayenu means it would have been enough. And so, there's this whole part where the head of the table says, "If God had just done this, but not done this," the group goes, "it would have been enough". So, I want to just, let's do it together. I'm gonna read you what their statements would have been, and then I want you to all together say, "It would have been enough". So, can you practice? "It would have been enough". Say it one more time. "It would have been enough".
Okay, so it goes like this, I'll point to you when it's your turn. If he had brought us out from Egypt and had not carried out judgments against them. If he had carried out judgments against them and had not smitten their firstborn. If he had smitten their firstborn, but had not split the sea for us. It would have been enough. If he had split the sea for us, but he had not taken us through it to dry land. If he had taken us through the sea on dry land and did not drown our oppressors in it. Anybody getting the idea? Anybody getting the feeling of it? If he had done this, but he hadn't done this, if he had done this, and he hadn't done this. He done this and hadn't done this. He says, "If he had drowned our oppressors in it and not supplied our needs in the desert for 40 years". It would have been enough. "If he had supplied our needs in the desert for 40 years and have not given us the Sabbath". It would have been enough. "If he'd given us the Sabbath and had not given us the Torah". But if he'd given us the Torah and not brought us out into the land of Israel.
But here is the thing. This is what we spent all this time to tell you. Had Jesus just been born to a virgin, it would not have been enough. Had Jesus voiced the very words of God, it would not have been enough. Had Jesus given sight to the blind, it would not have been enough. Had Jesus caused the deaf to hear, the lame to walk, the mute to speak, it still would not have been enough. Had Jesus called forth demons from the tortured, from the oppressed and the possessed, it still would not have been enough. Had Jesus only raised the dead like Lazarus, it still would not have been enough. If Jesus had been scorned and mocked and spit upon, it would not have been enough. Had Jesus been beaten and bruised and not bled a drop, it would not have been enough. The truth of it, of it was it was not enough.
If the Lamb at that table all of those thousands of years would have been enough, there'd have been no need for the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. The fact was, it wasn't enough for him to come live the perfect life, fully obedient to his, it wasn't enough. It wouldn't have been enough. It's at this point in the ceremony, they start reading these Psalms 13, 14, 15, 16, and they're gonna be reading 17 and 18 from at 118. They're gonna be reading that all the way to the end of the ceremony. So, holding something here in Matthew, go back to Psalm 116, and I want you to see where we are in that Passover meal and why Psalm 116, to this day, is important to us. In liturgical churches and liturgical practices on Holy Thursday of every single Resurrection week, what we call Easter, on that week, every single year on Thursday night, Psalm 116 is read because of this particular portion of it.
Look at where he says in verse 13, "I will take the top of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all people. The death of his faithful ones is valuable in the Lord sight. Lord, I am indeed your servant; I am your servant, the son of your female servant. You have loosened my bonds". Jesus is leading every single bit of this and that second cup is sipped. They eat that dinner, and this would have been the traditional point that they're taking that Lamb while he sits at the table.
I gotta tell you something. Remember what happens with that third cup? If you're looking, he takes that third cup in Matthew 26, and instead of drinking it, he hands it to them and has them pass it around. The fourth one, he says, "Listen, I will not drink of that one until I'm with you in the Kingdom". I don't think any of us can miss the fact that that's probably going to be the marriage supper of the Lamb. It's gonna be when we're all sitting together. And in case somebody in this room thinks, you know, that you feel very alone in your abstinence because you've got a family full of alcoholics and you've made a decision that you're just not gonna take that chance, I just want you to know, Jesus is abstaining too till you get home. You understand what I'm saying?
So, it's not a shame to enjoy a glass of wine. It's not a shame not to enjoy a glass of wine because you can know you're in good company if you need to abstain because he's waiting, he's waiting. And then you're gonna be able to have that gladness without any fear of anything happening to you. Is that an encouragement to anybody in the house? But what about that third cup? What about that third cup? Looking in Matthew chapter 26, "Going a little farther, he fell facedown and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet not my will, but yours". Cup three he's talking about and it says, "I will redeem you with an outstretched arm".
Please know with me when it says he passed it around, we don't see him taking it. You know why? 'Cause he is it. He is it. He is it. He becomes the cup poured out. He becomes the sacrifice. He becomes the vow fulfilled that was made before the foundation of the world. And that is the only way he can say to us, "And I will take you to be my people". You remember where it said in Matthew chapter 26, verse 30, "After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives"? You know what that hymn would have been? It was the very last one.
Remember what the very last Egyptian Hallel Psalm was? Remember what number it was? Psalm 118, Psalm 118, "Open the gates of righteousness for me; and I will enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. This is the Lord's gate; the righteous will enter through it. I will give thanks to you because you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This came from the Lord; and it is wondrous in our sight". This is the part that kills me. I barely read it to you. "This is the day the Lord is made; I will rejoice and be glad in it". Do you understand in the Hebrew reckoning the day always went from dark to light, from night today? This day he would hang on across, and he would die that very day, that very 24 hours. This is the day the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and I will be glad in it.