Redeeming Ruth: Promised Provision - Sunday 10/7/18
Ruth 1 Out of Despair
Opens in Tragedy - Naomi, Famine, Death, Loss
Ends with Hope - God has visited his people in Bethlehem
Ruth 2 Into Hope
Ruth Gleans for food
God provision through his law - caring for stranger/poor
“Just so Happens” Ruth goes to Boaz’s field… meets him
Boaz shows God’s compassion and grace
Allow Ruth to glean (Two weeks worth in one day)
Food, Water, Protection, Conversation… Kindness
Ruth Reports to Naomi
Naomi thanks God
Informs Boaz is a Redeemer
Special responsibilities caring for his clan
Certain right regarding land
We begin today 3 months later, after wheat and barley harvest.
Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you?
Naomi is about to reveal she has a plan
Ruth took initiative (Food), this time Naomi acts seeking rest for Ruth
Isn’t it time you settled down, tie the knot?
Rest mentioned in her blessing over Ruth and Orpah in 1:9.
Rest is attached to Home and Husband - Marriage/Family
Idea of Fulfillment, Completion, Satisfaction
Echoing what God establishes in Genesis
Man placed in the Garden…alone
God creates Woman… a helper
Together - Relationship and Purpose
To tend, guard, cultivate
To have children
God’s Glory “taken” “multiplied” throughout Earth
God Rests - His good design is complete
This is why the Church should have a high view of marriage
The marriage covenant entered into by one man and one woman illustrates the faithful commitment and love of Christ (the groom) displayed to the body of believers that form his church (the bride).
The cooperation and intimacy between a husband and wife resulting in children that are nurtured in childhood, given guidance in their adolescence, and maturing into adulthood to create families of their own provides illustration of the mission and purpose of the church in fulfilling the great commission in cooperation with the Holy Spirit.
The Church, in response to these illustrations provided by the marriage covenant, should have a high view of marriage. Its members desiring to display these illustrations to those outside of the church by example, and guarding against ideas that contradict God’s good design such as; infidelity, divorce, cohabitation, fornication, and homosexuality.
As members of the church we should seek to mutually encourage one another to reject these inferior relationships and embrace God’s superior, perfect institution of marriage as an act of obedience, trust and worship to the glory of God.
Naomi desires that Ruth find fulfilment through God’s design of marriage.
Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.” And she replied, “All that you say I will do.”
What did we just read?
Doesn’t Naomi’s plan sound a little sketchy....risque?
Get dolled up, let him drink and lay down, go to him and do whatever he tells you…bad advice (Amen Parents?)
Varying opinions on what is going on here...
It is innocent - Naomi knows they will behave righteously
It is intentionally seductive - Ruth is fortunate that Boaz doesn’t take advantage of her.
Either way, there are sexual overtones…Naomi might have just given some bad advice, the Bible is honest…it doesn’t hide peoples imperfections.
Let’s Look at Naomi’s Plan
Naomi suggests making advances to Boaz
Distant Relative, Older, Single, Responsible, Reputable
But so far, has not made any moves towards Ruth
Go to the winnowing floor
End of harvest, almost a party/celebration
Men would get together in a barn with a breeze blowing through the open door.
They would use a “winnowing fork” to toss the grain into the air…the heavy grain falls, the wind blows away the chaff (husks, unusable)
They would hang out, eat, drink, sleep…really a time to see the profits from your labor.
Wash and anoint yourself....put on your cloak
This is not Ruth just getting ready for a date
David does something similar in 2 Samuel 12:20
Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate.
This washing, anointing and changing clothes was a symbol that your time of mourning the dead was over.
Naomi is saying it is time to move on, it is time to turn the page on that chapter of your life and look to the future
Let Boaz know you are ready, that you are available.
Not primarily sexually seductive “put on something a little more comfortable”
It would be letting Boaz know…I’m ready for a new relationship
Wait, Find Him and Uncover His Feet
Tension here, similar to what happened to Lot
Think back to Lot in Sodom and Gomorah
The city is destroyed
His wife is turned to salt
Daughters panicked because their family line would end...
Get dad drunk and sleep with him…both get pregnant
This is how the Moabites started
Ruth was a Moabite
Was Naomi telling Ruth to do the same thing here?
Get Boaz to get drunk and take advantage of him?
Manipulating Boaz in order to keep the family line alive?
This really a risky move
There would be a lot of people at this party
Men counting their money…celebrating
Often women, hired for sexual favors with new money.
You can feel the tension
Was Naomi asking Ruth to become a prostitute?
Was Ruth going to seduce Boaz to sin?
Would she be caught in the act?
So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down. At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” And he said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman. And now it is true that I am a redeemer. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I. Remain tonight, and in the morning, if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the Lord lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.”
Ruth follows Naomi’s Plan
She goes in, lies down and Boaz is startled
Reminds me of when a child comes and stands at your beside...
Boaz —> Who are you....how much did I drink????
I am Ruth…your servant
Different word than when they met in the field
2:13 she uses the word for “slave”
Here she uses the word “concubine or maiden”
“Boaz, I’m available” (in case you didn't know)
Spread your wings over your servant
Boaz had prayed God bless Ruth earlier using the same words
Ruth is saying, Boaz…will you be the answer to your own prayer for me?
In your own life, are there things you would like to see changed, new ideas, ways to serve others?
It just might be that God has alerted you to something, an area where He is not waiting for someone else to serve…but inviting you to serve.
“That family is really on hard times”....let’s pray God would send someone to help them.
“Our community is really under oppression and bondage from addiction”....let’s pray God will provide someone to work with them
Could it be that you are that someone?
Boaz then responds to Ruth
He is amazed at her kindness
Kindness here is “hesed”…an multi faceted word
Love / Compassion
Loyal / Faithful
Gracious / Merciful
The first time we see this word is when God passes before Moses, and reveals His name....it is a kindness that originates with God
Ruth has shown kindness to Naomi in being a loyal companion
Now she is showing kindness to Boaz in seeking marriage to an older man in order that he too might find rest…fulfillment.
Boaz doesn’t take advantage of the situation, but responds in truth.
Boaz could have acted here in a dishonorable way, but instead He acts in a way that is honoring to the God He serves.
I could just focus on the fact that Boaz didn’t make empty promises here for sex…but there is a principle here that is bigger than that.
There are times when people will come to us; times when they are vulnerable, when they are struggling, when they are in need
How do we respond to them as Christians?
Do we spread gossip, do we manipulate, do we purposely point them in the wrong direction or take advantage of them in their time of need?
Do we love them, do we seek their good, do we listen and respond in a way that seeks to see God glorified in our lives?
Boaz doesn’t make empty promises
Yes, I am a redeemer, but there is a redeemer nearer than me.
There is a “hiccup” in our love story
There is someone else who would have the first rights of redeeming this family and their land.
Boaz assures Ruth that she will be taken care of, either by this other redeemer, or personally.
So she lay at his feet until the morning, but arose before one could recognize another. And he said, “Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.” And he said, “Bring the garment you are wearing and hold it out.” So she held it, and he measured out six measures of barley and put it on her. Then she went into the city. And when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “How did you fare, my daughter?” Then she told her all that the man had done for her, saying, “These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said to me, ‘You must not go back empty-handed to your mother-in-law.’ ” She replied, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest but will settle the matter today.”
Boaz sends Ruth away with a picture of promised provision
Boaz tells Ruth, she must not go back empty-handed
Remember when Naomi first comes back, she says she has returned empty…without anything, no family, no land, no hope
But now, picture this: Ruth holding out her cloak in front of her, Boaz filling it with several gallons of barley…of seed. She pulls it up, struggling with its weight.....she looks “pregnant”
Ruth returns to update Naomi
She tells Naomi what all has happened
Naomi responds, He will not rest until it is settled
Boaz will not forget about Ruth’s need
Boaz will not be lazy in His pursuit/action
We see again this idea of the “hesed” of God; loyalty, faithfulness, compassion
Naomi asks Ruth an interesting question
How did you fare....
Hebrew this is more like....”Whose are you?”
That’s the question of this book…identity
Is she a Moabite
Does she belong to Israel
Is she a slave or a bride
Is she hopeless or will she be rescued
This is the big question of life....
Where is my identity
Where is the identity of my spouse, my children, my friends?
Are we hopeless, are we empty or are we redeemed, have we been rescued?
Have we experienced first hand the “hesed” of God?
“The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin” (Ex. 34:6-7)
Are we displaying this God and this love to others?
In our words…our worship, our boasting, the sharing of our story
By our deeds…living a life that serves others, that seeks to bless and benefit those around us?
Do we demonstrate
Do we share his promised provision?
Of His Salvation
Of His Rest
Of His Kingdom
We end here with Boaz saying “this matter”, “my responsibility” will be done, I will not rest, I will see that it is done.
We all have busy lives, many of us balance:
Careers, Marriage, Kids, Hobbies, Sports, School..overwhelming
We use those as excuses NOT to be involved in discipleship, in using our gifts, time, resources to serve others.
Maybe we need to rest a little less…focus on finding some way we can use what we are blessed with to bless others.
Maybe we need to reevaluate our priorities…cut something out to make time to be able to serve..
Maybe spending more time with neighbors, friends in order to disciple them.
Maybe coming early to help setup church service
Maybe leading a bible study group, teaching a class, starting a small group
I know we are busy…each month, each week, each day, my prayer is that God will show me how to best use my time to serve my family, my friends, my church…for His glory.
I don’t say that to boast, brag…but to say there are days I drop the ball.
There are times when I fail, when I get lazy, when I become selfish or even frustrated.
But I still find the MOST fulfilment when I am serving others and even sacrificing at times… for God’s glory. He is worthy.