I listened to Alistair Begg’s sermon from the book of Ruth this morning. Let me first say that I appreciated this more than Keller’s message but not as much as Mohlers. Begg, in the context of a conference on preaching Christ in the OT, accomplished what he set out to do. I think he was attempting to balance preaching in depth exegesis with sketching several shallow models. He had intended to give three “sketches” in this sermon and after using 20-minutes for introduction really only had time for two 10-minute devotionals. With that said, I was blessed by these devotionals.
The first sketch he titled “Three women on the road to somewhere.” He noted that the choice for Naomi’s daughters-in-law had was between “everything minus Yahweh in Moab” or “nothing except Yahweh in Bethlehem.” Ruth’s response to her Naomi was “I can’t go back to my old gods, I’m not what I once was.” This idea of nothing being everything where God is, is a concept that is especially dear to my heart. Changing our vision and evaluation of life is key if we are to be disciples of Jesus Christ. The second sketch he titled “The name of the man is Boaz.” In this sketch he discussed the interaction of Ruth and Naomi after she providentially begins her service in Boaz’ field. He addresses the unmerited favor that Boaz extends to this Moabite. Ruth 2:13 Then she said, “I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.” Clearly, Christ’s grace, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us, is pre-figured in Boaz. Begg didn’t have sufficient time to develop this but the jist was addressing God’s sovereignty and grace. He never really got the third sketch off the ground and I didn’t really catch it. He snuck some interesting tidbits in at the end but they weren’t cohesive.
He could have spent two hours addressing these sketches even with a shorter intro. Personally, I wish he would have picked one of the sketches and really preached it. The book of Ruth with the picture of the kinsman-redeemer, and the picture of God’s redemptive grace makes the case for preaching Christ in the OT without an advocate. The thought that came to me was, Ok, you have demonstrated this in some simple places, I could do that, but what about Numbers, or some of the deeper parts of Jeremiah, Lamentations etc.. How about showing some heavy lifting? Demonstrate how you convincingly preach Christ in those more difficult passages.