There are so many ways to look at the cross. So many ways to get a perspective on the death of Christ. I wanna take what may appear to be a somewhat distant one, as we prepare for the Lord's Table. Open your Bible to the little book of Ruth...you have to go eight books into the Bible to find Ruth. There are only two books of the Bible named for women: Ruth and Esther. The book of Esther, we don't know who wrote that. Could've been Mordecai, someone else. The book of Ruth, we don't know for certain, either, who wrote it. Perhaps Samuel. He seems to fit the scene very well. But the little book of Ruth has an important place in the history of Scripture. It is an exquisite story.
It was written during the time of King David's reign in Israel, which would've been about...1000 B.C. King David is mentioned in chapter 4 twice, verses 17 and 22...It is the story of a woman called Ruth. The name Ruth means friendship. There are many things about the story that are instructive, but, above all things, it is one of the loveliest illustrations of God's redeeming grace in the Scripture.
Ruth, who is the star, if you will, or the main character of the story, was a Moabite. And that is to say she was of the people of a country called Moab. She was not an Israelite. Not a Jew. She lived in Moab, which is east of the land of Israel, across the Dead Sea in a barren desert area. Moab was cursed by God and, consequently, Ruth, being a Moabitess was under that curse. Moab was cursed by God, because Moab rejected the true and living God. Moab was an idolatrous nation, and Moab was the perennial enemy of Israel. That nation was constantly hostile to the people of God and to God. Moab was actually formed when Lot...you remember the brother of Abraham...had a child... Genesis 19:37...named Moab. That child, Moab, was born to Lot through an incestuous relationship with his oldest daughter...the grossest kind of human relationship...incest between a father and a daughter produced Moab.
And so that nation was, in a sense, cursed from the very beginning. Centuries later, the Jews suffered opposition from one of the kings of Moab by the name of Balak. And were you to read Numbers 22 to 25, you would remember that Balak wanted to curse Israel. And so he found a prophet for hire by the name of Balaam. And he hired Balaam to pronounce some kind of supernatural curse on Israel...Balaam, you remember, had a hard time pulling it off...and finally got a good talking to from his donkey...For many years, Moab oppressed Israel during the period of the Judges. If you read Judges chapter 3, at least 18 years of direct oppression by Moab against Israel during the period of the Judges. Now, the period of the Judges was before Israel had a king, before Saul, David, Solomon.
When Saul came along, after the Israelites had endured this oppression at the hands of the Moabites, Saul, the first king of Israel, discharged one of his first duties, and that was to defeat Moab. 1 Samuel 14:47 tells about that. As a result of Saul's conquering, as it were, the people of Moab, when David came to the throne, he enjoyed the resulting peaceful relationship with the Moabites. 1 Samuel 22 describes that. However, later, Moab returned to trouble Israel. We find that in 2 Kings chapter 3. So Moab, on and off again, was troublesome to Israel. Moab was idolatrous, rejected the true God, and was generally an enemy of Israel. And, as I said, they had a horrible beginning, cursed from the very outset, because Moab was a child of the grossest kind of incest.
Beyond that, Moab worshipped a god by the name of Chemosh. And one of the characteristics of worshipping Chemosh was child sacrifice. It was customary for those who worshipped this god Chemosh to offer their infant children as sacrifices on an altar, burnt offerings. First Kings chapter 11, 2 Kings chapter 3 describes that. And it was because of...bad beginnings. It was because of the rejection of the true God. It was because of idolatry. It was because of child sacrifice. Because of all of that, God pronounced a curse on Moab. Isaiah chapter 15, Isaiah chapter 16 give us some insight into that curse. If you would look at it for just a moment, because it really sets the stage for the story of Ruth. Isaiah chapters 15 and 16. Isaiah 15 begins the oracle concerning Moab. So here is the pronunciation of judgment on Moab that God gave through Isaiah, and you have down through chapter 15 this pronouncement of judgment against Moab.
Flow down, if you will, through the entire text to chapter 16 and verse 13. And this kind of sums it up. "This is the word which the Lord spoke earlier concerning Moab." But now the Lord speaks, saying...in other words, what...what has just been given in chapters 15 and 16 is the earlier judgment against Moab. But now the Lord has something else to say. Verse 14, "Within three years, as a hired man would count them, the glory of Moab will be degraded along with all its great population, and his remnant will be very small and impotent."
The prophet said, "God is gonna give you three more years, and that's the end." Three more years would take the life of Moab to about 715 B.C. So it's about 300 years after David. And what happened three years after Isaiah's prophecy was that the Assyrian king, by the name of Sargon, came into Moab and absolutely destroyed that nation, killing people, conquering the nation, leaving only a small, as verse 14 says, "Only a small and impotent or feeble remnant." Judgment of devastating proportions fell on Moab, leaving just a small group of people remaining. In the 48th chapter of Jeremiah, again Jeremiah the prophet, because of Moab's incessant rejection of the true God and wickedness, also was used by God to pronounce judgment. And it's a quite fascinating judgment. Jeremiah 48 verse 11. And it says in verse 11, "Mohab...Moab has been at ease since his youth." And...and what the prophet is saying here, is Moab's had it pretty well. Since the very beginning, Moab's lived a fairly comfortable life. It...it was only Saul who really brought a...a serious conquering, and then he...he didn't destroy the nation. He allowed them to continue their life, and there was a certain amount of prosperity and peace there. That had gone on since the time of Saul, who predates David.
So for at least 300 years until the judgment of Sargon came, they'd had it pretty well. They had been...verse 11 says...undisturbed...Hadn't been emptied from vessel to vessel. That is to say, when they made wine, they would put wine in a skin. And the way you produced pure sweet wine was to pour it in a skin, new skin, and it would ferment, producing expansion because of the gas. And what happens in a period of time is the dregs, the bitter goes to the bottom, and the sweeter part of the juice remains on the top. So after a certain period of time, you pour out that top part, the sweet part, into another skin, and the process continues, and a little more dregs will appear in the bottom, and you do it again at a later time. And, finally, no dregs remain. The dregs that do remain are...what we call the dregs...and were used to produce sour, bitter vinegar. But you kept doing that and doing that and doing that until you got a pure, sweet wine. And that is a metaphor or a picture of going through trouble and trouble and trouble and trouble, and trouble has the ability to drain out all the bitterness of life, to leave you sweetened by triumphing over trouble. They hadn't had trouble, and so they had never been poured from vessel to vessel. They had never gone into exile. Therefore, they had retained sort of their original bitter flavor, and their aroma had never become really sweet like wine that's been poured from vessel to vessel.
Because that had never happened, they had continued in their idolatry. Nothing had ever been challenged. And "So, therefore, behold the days are coming...declares the Lord...when I will send to him who...who tipped vessels, and they will tip him over and empty his vessels and shatter his jars. And Moab will be ashamed of Chemosh...that's the god they worshipped...as the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel, their confidence. There's gonna come a judgment...Jeremiah says...serious judgment."
If you go over in the same chapter to verse 42, it says, "Moab will be destroyed from being a people because he has become arrogant toward the Lord. Terror, pit and snare are coming upon you, O inhabitant of Moab, declares the Lord." So, again, Jeremiah addresses judgment. If we had time, we could read the 25th chapter of Ezekiel. Ezekiel 25 verses 8 to 11. In that section, the Lord says, "I'm gonna execute judgments on Moab, and they will know that I am the Lord, finally." And I think most interesting is Amos chapter 2 verse 1, "For thus says the Lord, 'For three transgressions of Moab and for four I will not revoke its punishment, because he burned the bones of the king of Edom to lime. So I will send fire upon Moab, and it will consume the citadels of Kerioth; and Moab will die amid tumult, with war cries and the sound of a trumpet. I will also cut off the judge from her midst and slay all her princes with him, says the Lord."
Here, again, is the fourth prophet that says there's going to come a deadly, devastating judgment on this cursed people. Now, let's go back... all the way back to Deuteronomy chapter 23. Back in Deuteronomy chapter 23, we have here a...a summation, really, of the curse on Moab. "No Ammonite or Moabite shall enter the assembly of the Lord; none of their descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall ever enter the assembly of the Lord." And in this case, it wasn't just their idolatry, wasn't just their sin, wasn't just their rejection of God, it was the fact that they'd never helped the people of Israel. So, because of all of these things, the curse was that none of them would ever be allowed to enter the assembly of Israel. That is, none of them would ever come inside the covenant.
In Nehemiah, much later when the people had been in captivity, come back from captivity, they picked up the book of Moses, Nehemiah 13, they turned to Deuteronomy 23. "They read aloud from the book of Moses. There was found written in that no Ammonite or Moabite shall ever enter the assembly of God...ever...because they didn't meet the sons of Israel with bread and water. They hired Balaam, again, to curse them." And so they were a cursed people, and the curse was nobody from that country is ever going to enter the assembly of God. Moabites, then, are symbolic of cursed sinners, alienated from God.
Let's go back to Ruth. Ruth was a Moabitess. This is a problem. The story takes place not in the time of David. It was written in the time of David, but it takes place in the time of the Judges. Probably during the judgeship of a man named Jair, J A I R, according to Judges chapter 10, before the time of Saul and David. It's the time of the judges. It's the time when the curse on Moab is in force. It was always in force until the destruction of that nation. Specifically, the curse said to the tenth generation. Interestingly enough, some scholars have calculated that Ruth was a member of generation number eleven. It is also possible that the tenth generation was just a sort of a simile for permanently. Because in the repetition of the curse in Nehemiah 13, the tenth generation is not mentioned, and the curse there appears to be permanent. Whether or not Ruth was a member of the eleventh generation, and you take it specifically, or you take it sort of generically, meaning permanently, is...sort of unprovable either way.
But the point is...I lean toward the forever character of the curse rather than simply the actual ten generations, because it's not repeated in Nehemiah 13. Moabite people were, by God, shut out from the assembly of those who worshiped Him. Shut out, as it were, from redemption because of their iniquities. Turn to Isaiah 56...I'm taking a long time to get to the point, but the point's gonna be good when I get there.
Isaiah 56...verse 1...prophet writes, "Thus says the Lord...this is from God...'Preserve justice and do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come and My righteousness to be revealed. How blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who takes hold of it; who keeps from profaning the Sabbath, keeps his hand from doing any evil.' Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, 'The Lord will surely separate me from His people.' Neither let the eunuch say, 'Behold, I am a dry tree.'"
Boy, verse 3 introduces a brand new thought. "Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, 'The Lord will surely separate me from His people.'" God had said no Moabite, no Ammonite, but something's different here. "Let not the foreigner think that he can't be joined to the Lord."
Verse 4, "For thus says the Lord, 'Eunuchs who are also cursed who keep My Sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, to them, I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off." Now, there is an interesting...double meaning. Eunuch, by definition, had something cut off, but I will not cut them off.
In verse 6, "Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the Sabbath and holds fast My covenant; even those I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; for My house will be called a house of prayer for...what?...all the peoples." Wow. So the curse is only in place until a foreigner and a cursed person, alienated from and separated from God, turns to God, joins himself to the Lord, holds fast the covenant, observes the Sabbath, and does what pleases god. Curse then is only in place unless there's a turning to Him.
We'll go back to Ruth now. Find ourselves in the book of Ruth in Moab. It was in the days, verse 1 says of chapter 1, "When judges governed, and there was a famine in Israel. So there was a certain man who lived in Bethlehem, and Judah went to sojourn in the last of Moab with his wife and two sons." Took his wife, two sons, went to Moab because he wanted some food. There was a famine in Israel. The man's name was Elimelech. Name of his wife was Naomi, and his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion, and they were from Bethlehem in Judah. "They entered the land of Moab, and they remained there." Then you know the story, "Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died; she was left two boys, and they took two Moabite women as wives, one named Orpah, and the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years."
So here we meet Ruth. She's a Moabite. She married an Israelite man who had come with his whole family to Moab due to severe famine in Israel. He was from Bethlehem. After ten years of marriage, the husband dies, brother dies, and the father has already died. Verse 5, "Mahlon and Chilion died," and now there aren't any men. There's just three widows. The mother-in-law, Naomi, and two widowed daughter-in-laws, Orpah and Ruth. Now Naomi says, "I'm gonna go back to Israel, and you girls should stay here." That's when the story gets interesting.
"She arose with her daughters-in-law...verse 6...that she might return from the land of Moab. She had heard in the land of Moab that the Lord had visited His people in giving them food...There was food back there. She was going back...Naomi said to her two daughter-in-laws...in verse 8...'Go, and return to your own mother's house. Go back to your home. Your parents will take care of you. May the Lord deal kindly with you as you have dealt with the dead and with me. May the Lord grant you that you may find rest, ease in the houts...ease in...each in the house of her husband...I mean the husband's house would then take care of the widow...She kissed them. They lifted up their voices and wept."
There was real love among these women, "And they said to her, 'No, but we will surely return with you to your people.' Naomi said, 'Return, my daughters. Why should you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?'" Like I can't help you. I don't have any more sons. "Return, my daughters! Go, for I am too old to have a husband. If I said I have hope, if I should even have a husband tonight and also bear sons, would you therefore wait until they were grown? No, there's no hope with me. Just...just go on."
Verse 14, they lifted up their voices, wept again; Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. And then she said, 'Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law.'" That's very important. Orpah went back to her sis...to her family, and also her what? Her gods. But the implication here is that Ruth was interested in the true and living God. The God of her husband, her mother-in-law, and her father-in-law, and brother-in-law. So in verse 16, "Ruth said, 'Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where I...you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.'"
That's the testimony of Ruth's conversion, isn't it? At least her interest in the true God. "Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried." That is a...that is a very familiar portion of scription often...Scripture often read at weddings. "Thus may the Lord do to me and worse, if anything but death parts you and me." And she went. Verse 19, "They went until they came to Bethlehem"...and there they were in Bethlehem. Two widows. She chooses to go with Naomi. After a ten-year stay in Moab, they come back. In a society where widows were often ignored, especially those who were from Moab. And these two needed support. She was a cursed woman, Ruth, a Moabite, the enemy. Providentially, by the way, when they got back there, it was the time of the barley harvest, and one of the provisions of the Old Testament law was that, during the...the harvest, poor people could glean. What that really meant was they could go behind the harvesters and pick up what the harvesters dropped or what the harvest didn't cut, they could cut. What fell off the wagon, they could pick up.
And Ruth agreed to go gleaning in the field. The end of verse 22, "They came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest." And I think you know the story from there. Ruth goes out to glean, and she winds up in a field that belongs to a man named Boaz. If you go down to verse 3 in chapter 2, "She departed, went and gleaned in the field after the reapers...she would follow the reapers and pick up what they dropped...she happened to come to the portion of the field belonging to Boaz...look at this...who was of the family of Elimelech." She had already decided she wanted to follow the true God, and so there she was, destitute in the land, a foreigner, an enemy, cursed. "Boaz came and said to the reapers, 'May the Lord be with you.' And they said to him, 'May the Lord bless you.'" And that's just a little insight into the kind of man he was who had such a kindness and such a spiritual attitude toward those who did his work.
"Boaz said to this servant who was in charge of the reapers, 'Whose young woman is this? I don't recognize her.' The servant in charge of the reapers answered and said, 'She's the young Moabite woman who returned with Naomi from the land of Moab.' And she said, 'Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.'" She really didn't have a right to do it, I guess, in one sense, because she wasn't an Israelite. "She came and has remained from morning until now; she has been sitting in the house for a little while." She's just waiting for permission to do what she needs to do. "Boaz said to Ruth, 'Listen carefully, my daughter. Do not go to glean in another field; furthermore, do not go on from this one, but stay here with my maids. You stay right here, and you work right here. Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Indeed, I have commanded the servants not to touch you. When you are thirsty, go to the water jars and drink from what the servants draw. You have all the privileges of gleaning in my field.' And she fell on her face, bowing to the ground and said to him, 'Why have I found favor in your sight that you should take notice of me, since I'm a foreigner?' Boaz answered and said her, 'All that you have done for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband has been fully reported to me, and how you left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and you came to a people that you didn't previously know. May the Lord reward your work, and your wages be full from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge.'"
Isn't that great? This was a spiritual decision on her part. She came to be under the wings of the true and living God, the Lord God of Israel. "At mealtime, Boaz said to her, 'Come here, that you may eat of the bread and dip the piece of bread in the vinegar.' So she sat beside the reapers; and he served her roasted grain, and she ate and was satisfied and had some left." Now, this guy's really a kind man and generous. "When she rose to glean, Boaz commanded his servants, saying, 'Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not insult her. Let her go where you're not supposed to go. Let her go right into the sheaves when you gather the sheaves and pull out anything she wants." That was not part of the deal. "So she gleaned in the field until evening...verse 17...She beat out what she had gleaned...that was the process of getting the grain out...and it was about an ephah of barley. And she took it and went up to the city, and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also took it out and gave Naomi what she had left after she was satisfied. Her mother-in-law said to her, 'Where did you glean and where did you work?'...and, of course, she says...'The man's name was Boaz.' And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, 'May he be blessed to the Lord who has not withdrawn his kindness to the living and to the dead.' And Naomi said to her, 'The man is our relative." Wow. This is an amazing coincidence. "He happens to be a relative. He is one of our closest relatives."
Is that important? Oh, it's very important, because there was, in the law of Israel, a principle called the kinsman redeemer. When someone was widowed, it was the responsibility of an unmarried man in the family to take her as his bride, so that she was not destitute. Rather than take another woman out of a family, that family already should take care of its own, and so the law of what was called levirate marriage, kinsman marriage, was that the nearest unmarried man would take the widow for his own bride so that she might not be left destitute. Well, Naomi thinks this is a great possibility.
So you remember the story in chapter 3, verse 1, "Naomi said to her, 'My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you?"...I wanna work this deal out...For you, this an ancient Near Eastern custom, since Boaz was older by a generation, he would not ask her. That's not what was done. She would have to make an overture to him.
So verse 3, "Wash yourself, anoint yourself"...what's that? You know, clean up and put on some perfume, "Put on your best clothes...Go down to the threshing floor; but don't make yourself known to the man until he's finished eating and drinking, his meal is over. When he lies down, you shall notice the place where he lies. You shall go and uncover his feet and lie down." You say, "That is strange." It is strange. It was an old Near Eastern custom. Boaz would not, being older by a generation, approach her. He showed tremendous kindness, but he would not have initiated a proposal. But this is the way a woman could very gracefully initiate a proposal to a man.
And so, with no breach of her moral virtue, "In the middle of the night, the man was startled, bent forward; and behold, a woman was lying at his feet. He said, 'Who are you?' She said, 'I'm Ruth, your maid. So, please, sir, spread your covering over you maid, for you're a close relative.'" What's she's saying is, "Marry me." Men, I know you would dream that this will happen, but it won't. It is an ancient Near Eastern custom. "Marry me." "And he said...what a kind man...'May you blessed of the Lord, my daughter. You have shown your last kindness to be better than the first by not going after young men, whether poor or rich.'"
She could've gone after a young man, maybe more attractive. Maybe promising a longer life together. But she knew levirate marriage, and she knew that this was what the people of Israel did. And she wanted to conform to what they did. And he had so much integrity, he says, "Now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence." She had already garnered a reputation as a virtuous woman, and now it's time..."It's true...he said...I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I am." This is how much integrity he has. He says, "You know, there's somebody who's a closer relative who has the first right of refusal on the deal. We gotta find this guy."
So they do. "Remain this night...verse 13...and I...when the morning comes, if he will redeem you, good." Oh, here's a new word. The word what? Redeem. "If he doesn't wanna redeem you, I'll redeem you. Just go to sleep until morning." You know what the act of redemption is? Buying someone for your own personal possession..."So she lay at his feet until morning and rose before one could recognize another...that's in the dark in case you didn't know...And he said, 'Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor. Just go away. Don't say anything about this.' And he said, 'Give me the cloak that is on you and hold it.' So she held it, and he measured six measures of barley and laid it on her."
Some translations say six ephahs. That would be ridiculous. She couldn't carry 200 pounds. Probably ciahs, which would be 60 to 75 pounds. He loaded her up. She went into the city. This was like good faith, you know? She's coming in, and she's got this blanket full of 75 pounds of grain, and her mother-in-law says, "Well, how did it go?" "It went really well." Yeah, I think it did, didn't it?...
So in chapter 4 Boaz goes into the town to find the guy who's the nearest relative, because that's appropriate to do that, and the first six verses of chapter 4 tell the story that the nearest relative won't redeem her. He won't do it. The end of verse 6, he says to Boaz, "Redeem for yourself; you may have my right of redemption, for I can't redeem. Now this was the custom...verse 7...in former times in Israel concerning the redemption and how it was to be done." There's a little exchange of a sandal and so forth and so on. Verse 8, "The closest relative said to Boaz, 'Buy it for yourself.' And he removed his sandal. Boaz said to the elders and all the people, 'You are witness today that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech.'...This, he had to purchase all the land that belonged to Elimeneck...Elimelech, which provided all kinds of money resource for Naomi, the widow. "All that belonged to Chilion. All that belonged to Mahlon. I've bought it all. Paid for it. I have also acquired Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, to be my wife in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance, so that the name of the deceased may not e cut off from his brothers or from the court of his birth place; you are witnesses today."
And so he purchases the Moabite woman. Look at verse 13. "So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife, and he went in to her. And the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son." Wow. "Then the women said to Naomi, 'Blessed is the Lord who has not left you without a redeemer. May his name become famous in Israel. May he also be to you a restorer of life and a sustainer of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.' And Naomi took the child and laid him in her lap, and became his nurse. The neighbor women gave him a name, saying, 'A son has been born to Naomi!' So they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, who was the father of...whom?...David." Wow.
So Naomi, this cursed Moabite, was the great grandmother of David. If you read Matthew 1, you're going along through the genealogy, you'll come to verse 5, Ruth. How did a cursed Moabite get into the line of Messiah? Answer: Because God provided for her a redeemer. Boaz is a picture of our kinsman redeemer. The Lord Jesus Christ, who bought us for Himself, out of the curse, out of our destitution, made us His own beloved bride and blesses us for all generations...
When you come to the Gospel of Luke, as we remember, in chapter 2 verse 38, there were a group of people in Israel who were waiting for the redemption. Remember that? They were waiting for the redeemer, and they were not disappointed. But when Jesus came...Hebrews 9:12 says, "He brought eternal redemption." Those who sought to know the true God, those who seek to know the true God...are redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ, who paid the price in full to make us His purchased possession, His eternal bride, to which He, for all eternity, pours out blessing.
Join me in prayer. Father, as we come to the Lord's table, we remember the Lord, our Redeemer. We remember that He paid the price of our redemption on the cross...that price, not like...Boaz paid...Boaz paid out of his substance. Christ paid with His own life, His own blood. And He purchased a bride cursed, doomed to judgment, but bought with a price. Not silver and gold, but the precious blood of a lamb without blemish and without spot. This is the cross where our kinsman Redeemer...one of us...in the likeness of a man...paid the full price to redeem us from the curse and take us out of our spiritual poverty and bankruptcy and bring us into eternal blessing. And so, as we come to the cross, may we meet again with hearts filled with gratitude, our Redeemer.