2019-08-04 – Ruth 3 – My Redeemer
2019-08-04 – Ruth 3 – My Redeemer
(Quentin left for the Army)
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.
Last week we went through the second chapter of the book of Ruth. This Old Testament book is a great narrative of true love and commitment demonstrated. Written by the prophet Samuel around a thousand years Before Christ, there is so much about this that all of us can relate to and apply to our current day situation. Today we are going to continue where we left off with the third chapter of Ruth.
Please turn in your Bibles to Ruth 3, pg 230 in the Pew Bibles, The Inspired, Infallible and Living Word of God, and let us start with Prayer.
This book of Ruth really is a wonderful love story. Ruth had been living under the shadow of her mother-in-law Naomi. They just came into Bethlehem and as we learned last week Ruth went out and started picking up the barley grain that is left behind from the harvesters of Boaz, who turned out to be a relative of her now deceased father-in-law Elimelech. The land owner Boaz noticed Ruth’s hard work and her undying compassion for her mother-in-law Naomi, so he took her under his wing. He made sure she was protected and looked after while they were doing the harvesting of the crops. Naomi realized quickly that Boaz was a near relative that could stand-in officially as a “redeemer” for her and Ruth. Being an official redeemer was something that Moses set up to maintain the bloodline and land ownership of the Jews. You might recall that the land of Israel was given to each of 12 Jewish families or tribes under Jacob, and it was intended that those same families would maintain ownership of the land throughout the years.
So now Naomi in this chapter today is offering some suggestions to Ruth on how they should strategically maneuver this new relationship with Boaz so that it would be in keeping with Law and provide for their futures together. That is what we all should be doing, helping each other to be successful in our relationships, especially those relationships that might lead toward strengthening the family. Naomi gives prudent and wise advice, in training-up her daughter-in-law Ruth.
The Apostle Paul wrote about this in the letter-book of Titus 2, “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled”.
Just like I aspire to work hard at making disciples of the men of this church, the older ladies, should be stepping in and guiding the younger ladies in this regard. And young ladies (like the men) should be seeking wise council from their elders.
So now let us read the “advice” Naomi has for her daughter-in-law Ruth in this first verse of chapter 3:
1 Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, shouldn’t I find rest for you, so that you will be taken care of? 2 Now isn’t Boaz our relative? Haven’t you been working with his female servants? This evening he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. 3 Wash, put on perfumed oil, and wear your best clothes. Go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let the man know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 When he lies down, notice the place where he’s lying, go in and uncover his feet, and lie down. Then he will explain to you what you should do.”
At first glance, one might get all kinds of controversial ideas about what Naomi might be suggesting. Naomi is telling her to pay attention, wait until he is sleeping, then lye down at his feet in a humble way. Almost like a young daughter might do to their parents. Putting herself in the care of Boaz, laying down her situation, her reliance upon the feet on Boaz. Jesus tells us to do the same thing to Him, He wants us to lay down our troubles and challenges at the feet of the Redeemer, the Savior. Trust in the Redeemer. Make yourself available to the Redeemer so that He will lead you on the right path to salvation.
5 So Ruth said to her, “I will do everything you say.” 6 She went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law had charged her to do.
7 After Boaz ate, drank, and was in good spirits, he went to lie down at the end of the pile of barley, and she came secretly, uncovered his feet, and lay down.
8 At midnight, Boaz was startled, turned over, and there lying at his feet was a woman! 9 So he asked, “Who are you?” “I am Ruth, your servant,” she replied. “Take me under your wing, for you are a family redeemer.”
So Ruth again, a stranger in that country, who probably didn’t speak much Hebrew, took a chance based upon the wise council of Mother-in-law. She trusted Naomi and decided to do what she was told. But I can hardly imagine the anxiety of her situation. I would bet her heart was just pounding in her chest. She normally would be dressed in her field clothes, but this time she dressed up, perfumed herself, and stepped out in faith. It was nighttime and she had to sneak around all those other harvester men, risking it all for the chance of her family being redeemed by Boaz. What would you be willing to do for your family?
There will be times in our lives where we too will have to take some kind of risk. But like Ruth, we should be hedging our bets based upon the wise council of others. That is what church is all about. People coming together for the purpose of supporting, advising, sharing our lives with each other, and taking wise risks with one another but for godly purposes.
The last verse here we read is very wonderful. Ruth said “I am Ruth, your servant,” she replied. “Take me under your wing, for you are a family redeemer.” I would suggest that this comment she made is related to the other “wing” statement that Boaz made in the last chapter, verse 12. He said to Ruth, “May the LORD reward you for what you have done, and may you receive a full reward from the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.” Effectively in all of this, Ruth now is offering herself to Boaz to be his wife. To give herself to him now for refuge. God is her ultimate protector, but she is now placing herself under the care and protection of Boaz, and how beautiful is that. In our society today folks take marriage so flippantly it seems sometimes.
But God has designed marriage to be one where the husband and wife are truly committed to the loving nurturement, care and protection of each other. I pray that the marriages we have here in this church are protected, and that we are committed now more than ever to do what ever it takes to keep them together.
10 Then [Boaz] said, “May the Lord bless you, my daughter. You have shown more kindness now than before, because you have not pursued younger men, whether rich or poor. 11 Now don’t be afraid, my daughter. I will do for you whatever you say, since all the people in my town know that you are a woman of noble character. 12 Yes, it is true that I am a family redeemer, but there is a redeemer closer than I am. 13 Stay here tonight, and in the morning, if he wants to redeem you, that’s good. Let him redeem you. But if he doesn’t want to redeem you, as the Lord lives, I will. Now lie down until morning.”
Boaz was demonstrating real selflessness here. He recognized Ruth’s fragile situation, however based upon the Mosaic law, he had to first present Ruth and Naomi to another man as redeemer because he was closer in relation to them. Boaz, despite his obvious desire to be with Ruth, decided to do what was right, what was noble in the eyes of the people and the Lord. I love acts of nobility. In my mind I think of other great examples like Lancelot in King Arthur’s court. Lancelot loved Guinevere, but his noble character and respect for the king kept him from acting on that love. We need more men and women of noble character. Doing the right things, at the right times, for the right reasons. Not compromising truth and justice because of pride and worldly desires. God’s word says Ruth was a lady of nobility, and now Boaz is demonstrating nobility. Will you choose to be that kind of person of nobility when the opportunity comes to do otherwise?
14 So she lay down at his feet until morning but got up while it was still dark. Then Boaz said, “Don’t let it be known that a woman came to the threshing floor.” 15 And he told Ruth, “Bring the shawl you’re wearing and hold it out.” When she held it out, he shoveled six measures of barley into her shawl, and she went into the town.
16 She went to her mother-in-law, Naomi, who asked her, “What happened, my daughter?” Then Ruth told her everything the man had done for her. 17 She said, “He gave me these six measures of barley, because he said, ‘Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’” 18 Naomi said, “My daughter, wait until you find out how things go, for he won’t rest unless he resolves this today.”
So it is obvious that Boaz already had deep feelings for Ruth. He is protecting her reputation and providing for her and Naomi now directly. He gave her an amount of grain now that was more than what she even needed. I would propose that this was really an offering from Boaz to Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi. He wanted to impress upon her now his feelings for Ruth and attempting to win Naomi’s favor.
So at this juncture Nobody knows if Ruth and Naomi will become part of Boaz’s family, or if instead she will join this other redeemer man’s family. They have no other choice but to live by faith, under the wings of God, that He will take care of them, that God’s will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. That is the same position that God wants for all of us. Do what we can then put our faith in Him.
This is an amazing story of love and faith, and stepping out, doing what can be done to put order back into their lives. We all should be paying good attention to this His-story lesson today. It shows great faith, but it also shows the importance of nobility, the importance of hard work, the importance of choosing good strategic relationships, and the importance trusting God to carry out His perfect and glorious will in our situations.
What are you deliberating on now in your own lives? You may not be going through the same struggles of Ruth and Naomi, but maybe it is something that could change the course of things to come. Like Ruth, we should learn to trust in God’s care and providence. Don’t get me wrong, we all should also be doing our part just like Ruth in this story did, however after you have done what you can do, then choose to trust that God’s will be done for you as well.
Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, is my true Redeemer. And just like the song conveys, “I know that my Redeemer lives”. I love how Nicole Mullen’s song that we heard earlier starts first with a number of questions. Just for fun, I am going to read each of those questions, and if you are so inclined you can answer these questions with the words “My Redeemer”, okay?
Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning? My Redeemer
Who told the ocean you can only come this far? My Redeemer
Who showed the moon where to hide 'til evening? My Redeemer
Whose words alone can catch a falling star? My Redeemer
Amen, Then she concludes with some faithful and bold statements from scripture:
The very same God that spins things in orbit,
He runs to the weary, the worn and the weak.
And the same gentle hands that hold me when I'm broken,
They conquered death to bring me victory.
Let all creation testify; Let this life within me cry; I know my Redeemer,
He lives To take away my shame; And He lives forever I'll proclaim;
That the payment for my sin, was the precious life He gave.
But now He's alive and There's an empty grave
Now I know my Redeemer lives; I know my Redeemer, He lives! He lives!
Would you now please rise.