I read some time ago regarding a young man’s story about his first day in class at a Community College when he sat down next to a very friendly man. When they started talking, he told me that the best thing that ever happened to him was to listen to his wife when she told him about Jesus Christ. He said that he struggled with a decision to accept Christ as Savior, but finally he surrendered to the Lord. “I couldn’t believe it,” the young man continued. “My wife is a Christian too, and she had told me about the Jesus Christ. When I sat next to that man in my class, I had been thinking about turning my life over to Christ. Because of his encouragement and his witness, I did. What a coincidence that I should sit by someone whose circumstances was so much like mine!” A coincidence? I don’t believe so, because with God, there are no coincidences.
Great issues are often determined by choices that appear to be insignificant. The choice or decision of one person often affects many. Indeed, there have been a few people in our history who made choices and decisions by which God, in His providence, has directed the history and events of the world. Columbus’ decision to continue his western voyage for just one more day was a decision that has affected every one of us. However, by comparison the decision of Columbus and many others that followed him were insignificant when weighed against the decision made by Ruth, a Moabite, in the plains of Moab over 3,000 years ago.
The decision of Ruth forever fixed the course of human history in the direction of God’s eternal and redemptive purpose! Nor was it just a coincidence that Abraham’s servant met Rebekah, that Joseph happened to be given over to traders headed for Egypt, that Christ was born in Bethlehem, that Pilate and Jesus met in the judgment hall at Jerusalem, and that Philip and the Ethiopian met on the sandy road to Gaza. My beloved, we have an all-knowing and all-powerful God, who orders the events of our lives and of the world to bring about His purposes. Thus, with God, there are no coincidences.
Divine providence and not coincidence is behind every twist and turn in the story of Ruth beginning with the famine that led the family to Moab, the marriages to Moabite women, the deaths of Elimelech and Naomi’s two sons, the lifting of the famine in Bethlehem, Naomi’s return to her homeland, and Ruth’s gleaning in Boaz’s field. Although today’s text says that Ruth “happened” to go into Boaz’ field, her meeting with Boaz was in God’s perfect plan.
Boaz’s notice of Ruth and asked his foreman who she was. He had seen her gleaning in the field (Ruth 2:5). The foreman replied, “It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab” (Ruth 2:6). He further explained that she was an industrious worker (Ruth 2:7). Based on Boaz’s instructions to Ruth (Ruth 2:8), his heart must have been skipping a few beats over her. A romance was beginning to bud. Then the refusal of the next in line to be Ruth’s kinsmen-redeemer, and Boaz and Ruth’s subsequent marriage, where she came into the line of Christ. My beloved that was no coincidence but divine providence!
My beloved, the circumstances in your life don’t just happen by coincidence, they aren’t determined by the stars, nor are they by chance either. Our heavenly Father knows exactly what He is doing and He places individuals in our lives for a purpose and He puts us in places where we need to be as He did with the man in college, as He did with Ruth, as He did with Abraham’s servant, as He did with Joseph and most importantly as He did with Christ being born in Bethlehem, and Pilate and Jesus meeting in the judgment hall at Jerusalem.
From a human perspective, it certainly appears that the encounters mentioned above were only a coincidence; however, they were far from that. They were orchestrated from an all-knowing and all-seeing God who controlled the events and meetings of the above people, and who most certainly controls the events and meetings of individuals in your own life, is by divine providence and not a coincidence!
God may conceal the purpose of His ways, but His ways are not without purpose.