Saturday, March 5, 2011
Ruth Chapter 3
Ruth Chapter 3
- In Naomi's cold, bitter heart, hope has started to spring... She finally is starting to look past herself.
- Up until this point, Noami's concerns have been solely about Naomi. She has been so focused on all that she's lost that she has failed to see all that God has given her.
- Yes she lost her husband and her sons and all her property... but in the process, she has come back home to her family and friends, and she has been given a great asset in Ruth.
- I look at Naomi and I see this selfish, bitter woman... But for both girls to have wanted to go with Naomi... and for Ruth to have insisted on staying... there had to be something else to Naomi before all the bad stuff started happening... I mean the entire town was so excited when she got back to Bethlehem... so she probably wasn't always selfish and bitter... Since she was a pretty well-known woman in Bethlehem... I'm thinking she was one of the more wealthy women... had a husband of high standing... was probably very generous to the poor... overall probably a very loving and community centered woman.
- James 3:11-12
- Proverbs 14:10
- Ephesians 4:30-32
- Ruth went with Naomi. She's taking care of her. She volunteered to go out into the fields in a foreign land to try and get food for them. She is ready and willing to do anything Naomi asks... Does this not speak of a great love? Naomi HAD to be different when Ruth met her than when we first meet her in this story...
- But finally... all the anger and frustration is starting to melt away... She finally SEES Ruth. She finally looks beyond herself and realizes... that she has the ability to maybe make this girl's life a little better...
- Have you been there before? Have you felt your heart growing bitter through circumstances?
- Have you been blaming God for your circumstances? Have you found yourself screaming at the ceilings wondering why all this has to happen to you?
- Psalm 46 speaks of the earth shaking and the mountains crumbling into the sea... everything around you falling to pieces... and yet God is still our refuge and strength... “Be still, and know that I am God!” Stop worrying! Stop fretting! Stop trying to figure out what the plan is and just let GOD be GOD! Be still and watch God move...
- Job 1:21-22, 42:1-6
- Psalm 69, 143
- I Thessalonians 3:3-5
- Ecclesiastes 7:1-14
- Enter the match-making Naomi... haha.
- “My daughter, it's time that I found a permanent home for you, so that you will be provided for. Boaz is a close relative of ours, and he's been very kind by letting you gather grain with his young women.”
- Oh boy...
- Now this next part seems a little strange. Naomi tells Ruth to take a bath, put on perfume, and dress up. Then she's supposed to go to the threshing floor where Boaz is going to be having a celebration with his men after having finished the barley harvest. After dinner, they're all sleeping here... so Naomi tells Ruth to watch where he lies down and then go uncover his feet... and lie down at his feet...
- um... why in the world would she want to do that?
- footnote- “Naomi's advice seems strange, but she was not suggesting a seductive act. In reality, Naomi was telling Ruth to act in accordance with Israelite custom and law. It was common for a servant to lie at the feet of his master and even share a part of his covering. By observing this custom, Ruth would inform Boaz that he could be her family redeemer—that he could find someone to marry her or marry her himself. It was family business, nothing romantic. But the story later became beautifully romantic as Ruth and Boaz developed an unselfish love and deep respect for each other.”
- So after Ruth does all of the above... it's up to Boaz what kind of response to make. Depending on what kind of man he is, he can either turn her away, or he can choose to help her.
- Ever been asked to do something a little off the wall? Something that seemed a little crazy? Was God the one asking?
- Sometimes God moves us into places totally out of our comfort zone. Totally beyond where we feel like we can be effective... But there's always a purpose and plan...
- Are you willing to go wherever, do whatever... no matter what that is? Even if it seems a little dangerous, or a little crazy, or maybe even seems like something that's going to put you in a position that just looks strange?
- Isaiah 12 and 40
- Matthew 7:21-23, 26:36-39
- Hebrews 13:1-21
- I Peter 4:1-19
THE THRESHING FLOOR
- So Ruth, still being under Naomi... and maybe even looking at Boaz and seeing who he is and knowing that he's a man of honor and character... and thinking that maybe this could be a good idea... or at least that she can be sure of being treated fairly by him.
- So Boaz lay down to sleep near the grain... and after he was asleep, Ruth came and uncovered his feet and lay down just as Naomi had told her to do.
- About midnight, Boaz woke up and rolled over... and... there's a woman at his feet! What's going on around here!?
- “Who are you?”
- I love Boaz's response when Ruth tells him who she is... she asks him to spread the corner of his cover over her because he is her family's redeemer...
- And Boaz says “The Lord bless you, my daughter! You are showing even more family loyalty now than you did before, for you have not gone after a younger man, whether rich or poor.”
- So Boaz... was not a young man... I always saw Boaz as like... a guy in his 20's... at most 30's... but this speaks of a man maybe even older than that... Jewish tradition says that Boaz was 80 and Ruth was 40.
- Boaz however was struck yet again with Ruth. She's been so wonderful to Naomi. Her character has yet again been proven to be a special one.
- “Now don't worry about a thing, my daughter. I will do what is necessary, for everyone in town knows you are a virtuous woman.”
- Wow... what a compliment for Ruth...
- Not only has she remained faithful to her mother-in-law, but she has now taken on the task of keeping his name and memory alive through another marriage. She is willing to do whatever it takes...
- Are you willing to do whatever it takes to continue the growth of the Kingdom? Are you willing to risk your reputation to gain a harvest of souls?
- Do people see you and see a virtuous character? One that is to be respected and taken seriously? Does everybody in town know what kind of man or woman you are?
- Psalm 31, 18
- Proverbs 19:22, 3:1-12, 22:1
- So Boaz is one of the family redeemers... but there's another relative who is more closely related... so he technically has first dibs...
- However, regardless of outcome, Boaz promises Ruth that he will go talk to him in the morning... and if he won't redeem Ruth... then Boaz promises that he himself will.
- How precious must that moment have been to Ruth's heart.... Here she is, trying to do the right thing, trying to be faithful to her husband's family... but being a foreigner... not really sure of the kind of reception she will receive with this proposition... and here is Boaz... a man of influence and strength of character... a very kind and thoughtful man... and he's going to make sure that the family will be redeemed. Oh how her heart must have soared...
- So Ruth stayed at Boaz's feet until the next morning... probably mostly because it was pitch dark and it couldn't have been safe wandering through the city in the middle of the night...
- But she left right before dawn... “before it was light enough for people to recognize each other.” Because if it became known that a woman had been to the threshing floor... she'd have been seen as a prostitute and her reputation would have been ended...
- Boaz sent her back to Naomi with a cloak full of grain. I see this as kind of a sign of the promise he made... That he would be sure to carry out his promise of sustaining their lives and of redeeming their family...
- Naomi tells Ruth to be patient... “The man won't rest until he has settled things today.”
- footnote- “Naomi implied that Boaz would follow through with his promise at once. He obviously had a reputation for keeping his word and would not rest until his task was completed. Such reliable people stand out in any age and culture. Do others regard you as one who will do what you say? Keeping your word and following through on assignments should be high on anyone's priority list. Building a reputation for integrity, however, must be done one brick, one act, at a time.”
- The whole family redeemer concept brings me back to Christ. Christ is OUR redeemer...
- We are foreigners in a strange land. We have been left with nothing.
- In Matthew 15:21-28, we have a story of a gentile woman who came to Jesus begging for her daughter's healing... And Jesus said that He was only sent to the people of Israel... and she still persisted... “Lord, help me!”
- And Jesus said “It isn't right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”
- And she replied “That's true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters' table.”
- And Jesus healed her daughter... because her faith was so great...
- We as gentiles were foreigners gleaning in the fields. Picking up the scraps... hoping to get enough to survive...
- And instead of just the scraps... Jesus, the owner of the field, He comes and He says, hey, I see your faith, and I see who you are... come work with my workers. Enter my workforce. Oh and by the way, come eat at my table. Come spend time with me... And when we look to Jesus for help... He says... don't worry about it... I'll take care of it... I'll redeem your family name... I'll take you under my wing and make you a child of my father. I'll take the risk for you. I'll go argue with Satan for your soul.
- “Oh and while I'm at it, here, let me give you what you need... let me fill your life with things you need... like joy, and peace, and My love...”
- “And you don't have to wait! Nope... I already did it! I already signed all the contracts! All you have to do is accept my hand in marriage!”
- Will you do it? Will you risk your reputation to become a member of the family? Or will you continue gleaning up the scraps as they happen to fall in your path? Hoping that you can get enough to survive on... hoping that you have done enough to make it to heaven in the end...?
- What will you do with your Redeemer?
- Psalm 103, 85, 34, 49, 130, 107
- Lamentations 3:22-26
- Isaiah 63:7-10, 35:8-10
- Hebrews 9 and 10