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Ruth - chapters three and four

“I will do whatever you say.” (Ruth 3:5)

On her first morning in her new home, Ruth did not give in to her tiredness but immediately took up her responsibility to work and provide for her mother-in-law, Naomi. She "happened" to stop in the field belonging to Boaz and he just "happened" to come along. (Ruth 2:3-5) Their meeting was not contrived or manipulated by either woman but was the divine plan of the sovereign, loving God. Ruth had an opportunity to serve and that kept her right in the centre of God’s will for her life. She could have succumbed to self-pity or bitterness, like Naomi, who had changed her name to "Mara" (meaning "bitter"). Instead, Ruth chose to cling to the God of Israel, to Whom she had totally abandoned her life, knowing that He was totally trustworthy.

Ruth walked by faith in the God who had given her a new life. She knew that she could trust Him to show her where to go and work and that there would be plenty of food for herself and Naomi. She did not allow fear of attack to hold her back from obeying what God wanted her to do. Ruth faced each day with peace and contentment, looking to God as the provider of all her needs. Because she had such peace and patience, she was noticed by the most eligible bachelor in town: Boaz. Naomi instructed Ruth on how best to approach Boaz and prompted her to ask him if he would be her "kinsman redeemer". (This referred to a provision in Jewish law whereby a man had an obligation to marry the widow of any close relative who had died in his family in order to ensure the continuation of the family line and, incidentally, to provide for the woman herself. See Deuteronomy 25:5-10). Imagine Ruth’s happiness when he said “I will do for you all you require.” (Ruth 3:11) Her patience had paid off, but Naomi encouraged her to just wait a little bit longer, to make absolutely sure that there would be no problems from another "kinsman redeemer". (Ruth 3:18)

The big picture

“So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife...and she gave birth to a son.” (Ruth 4:13)

It is so much easier to look at life’s setbacks when we view them from God's perspective. He always sees the bigger picture. From His standpoint, it is easy to see where the right decisions were made and where the mistakes were made. Ruth must have been so grateful to God that, by His grace, she had decided to go with Naomi. Looking back on her life, with her new baby and wonderful husband, she would not have wanted to be anywhere else. All the times of heartbreak and hard work must have paled into insignificance, when looking into the eyes of her precious son, Obed.

These events are recorded to give us an insight into God’s preparation for the birth of David and Jesus - the promised "messiah", (Ruth 4:18-22) Just as Ruth could not see the full purpose of her life in the light of eternity, but had to make choices at a given moment with only God’s stated values to guide her, so we too cannot afford to live for short-term gain and expect to get away with it in the long-term. God has laid down standards of morality for all relationships and we have to live by them for our own good. God is not a great big ogre trying to deprive us of all pleasure and giving us a long list of "don’ts". He longs for us to experience true love and harmony. His plan is for this to take place within the security and comfort of marriage.

CHOOSING A BOAZ  (This link will open a YouTube film in a separate tab.)

Boaz would have been a good husband because:

  • He treated her with respect.
  • He cared - He was gentle, watched over her and guarded her reputation. (Ruth 2:8-15; Ruth 3:14)
  • He provided for her and her mother-in-law. (Ruth 2:14; 3:15)
  • He took no advantage of her. (Ruth 3:10)
  • He was very keen but did not jump ahead of God. (Ruth 3:18; Ruth 4:10)
  • He recognised her qualities. (Ruth 2:11)
  • He showed that God came first in his life by his talk. (Ruth 2:4; Ruth 2:12)
  • He was generous. (Ruth 3:17)
  • He put her needs ahead of his own. (Ruth 3:13)
  • He was prepared to take responsibility. (Ruth 4:9-10)

Total devotion

If we marry as an "incomplete" person we will be very disillusioned and dissatisfied, because we are missing total abandonment to Jesus and we are looking to our partner to fulfil us - which is something he can never do. Likewise, we cannot complete our partner and make him whole; only his love relationship with Jesus will do that for him. If our relationship with Jesus completes us, other people will want to meet this Jesus and, as they abandon themselves to Him He, will complete them. They will then also be fully satisfied, in a way that no relationship on earth can offer. Our total abandonment will also challenge other Christians who may previously have been content to have only a half-hearted, relationship with Jesus Christ, based on formal, religious ceremonies.

God is speaking to this world, right now, to warn us that this half-heartedness is not good enough. (Joshua 24:15; Revelation 3:14-22) The parable of the foolish virgins is singing in everyone’s ears and is a warning to all who consider that they are working hard for God. (Matthew 25:1-13) There are many, too, who see great miracles happen in their daily lives but do not really "know" the creator God who brings them to pass. (Jeremiah 9:23-25) Ruth was determined to be totally devoted to God and we must be the same in our commitment to Jesus Christ. (Galatians 2:20) If we do not want a mundane, perpetually anxious existence, we must be sold out to the King of kings and give Him everything. Let's not hold back. The choice is ours!

Finding a husband

“For my Maker is my husband – the Lord Almighty is His Name – the Holy One of Israel is my redeemer; He is called 'the God of all the earth'.” (Isaiah 54:4-8)

Those in the position of trusting God for a partner can take this passage of His word and repeat it until God, by the Holy Spirit, writes it on their heart and they are assured of His comfort at all times. When this becomes a reality to us, we are in a position to meet "Mr Right", without the danger that he will become an idol in our life. Then our prayer can be: “I don’t care if I never get married. I just want to love You and please You, Lord.” Let's surrender our dreams and expectations to the only One who can be trusted with our innermost desires. (Psalm 62:5-8)

It is dangerous to become attached to a man who we think we can change. We have to love him for the qualities he has now, not for the ones that we hope he will develop. We will make the right choice if we follow these points:

  • Total abandonment to Jesus; (Psalm 18:2-3; Psalm 27:1-5; 1 Corinthians 13:3)
  • Patience; (Psalm 37:7)
  • No compromise on God-given guidelines; (Joshua 23:12-13; 2 Corinthians 6:14-17)
  • Humility and acceptance of God’s plan; (Psalm 62:1; Philippians 4:11-13)
  • Joy - even in difficulties; (James 1:2-4)
  • No manipulation; (Ruth 2:3; Proverbs 16:2)
  • Faith; (Hebrews 11:6)
  • Care for others first. (Isaiah 50:4; Proverbs 15:4)

Submission and obedience

We have a "kinsman redeemer" in Jesus Christ who, although He was God, came to earth as a human being, in order to save us from the prospect of hell. By His death, He has redeemed us and bought us back from sin and hopelessness; He has purchased us to be His own, personal possession. (1 Peter 1:18-19) This guarantees our eternal home for the future with hope, security and real love here on earth. (John 14:1-3)

Why do we not obey God?

  • We don’t recognise His character and amazing love. (1 John 3:1-2)
  • We want our own way – mind and body! (Romans 7:15-19; Romans 7:24-25; Romans 8:1-2)
  • We think that we know what is best for us. (Proverbs 1:22)
  • We have no "fear of the Lord". (Job 28:28; Psalm 19:9; Isaiah 11:2-3)
  • We submit to peer pressure. (Psalm 1:1-6)
  • We are not willing to wait! (Acts 1:4)
  • We do not persist. (Romans 2:7-8)
  • We are foolish. (Ecclesiastes 12:13; Proverbs 1:7)
  • We constantly strive to be self-sufficient. (James 3:16)
  • We love our activities, relationships and possessions more than we love God Himself. (Deuteronomy 8:19; 2 Corinthians 7:1)
  • We don’t recognise God’s love for us (Deuteronomy 7:9-13; 1 Corinthians 1:9)
  • We keep wanting to play the "blame game". (Hebrews 4:16; Philippians 4:8)

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