Journey in the Word

Karen Ingrid Clark


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Ruth: Loss to Legacy

Week Four – Day 1WK04D01

Read Ruth 4:1 -6               SOAP Ruth 4:5-6

Why did the man who was first in line to be Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer turn it down?

Now Boaz had gone up to the gate and sat down there. And behold, the redeemer, of whom Boaz had spoken, came by. So Boaz said, “Turn aside, friend; sit down here.” And he turned aside and sat down. And he took ten men of the elders of the city and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down.Then he said to the redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belonged to our relative Elimelech. So I thought I would tell you of it and say, ‘Buy it in the presence of those sitting here and in the presence of the elders of my people.’ If you will redeem it, redeem it. But if you[a] will not, tell me, that I may know, for there is no one besides you to redeem it, and I come after you.” And he said, “I will redeem it.”Then Boaz said, “The day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you also acquire Ruth[b] the Moabite, the widow of the dead, in order to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance.” Then the redeemer said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I impair my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it.”

O – Boaz was true to his word – he went to the city gate (where the men would gather) and approached the other redeemer.  “And behold” shows up again in scripture – God is STILL in control.  NO happenstance here!  *“Behold (02009) (hinneh) is an interjection meaning behold, look, now; if. “It is used often and expresses strong feelings, surprise, hope, expectation, certainty, thus giving vividness depending on its surrounding context.”  * (PreceptAustin)

Boaz also found ten elders (leaders) of the city and asked them to sit in on the meeting.   The city gate was where all “business” was conducted, so this would be considered a legal matter, and the ten men would be “witnesses.”  Boaz was going to conduct this transaction in a business=like manner.

He presented the deal – Naomi wanted to sell off her land.  He offered to allow the other redeemer to redeem the land – and if he didn’t want it, Boaz would do so.  The redeemer said that he would redeem it.  Did he think that the land just came with Naomi, who was too old to have more children?  There would be no risk to himself – just more land.

THEN Boaz presented the rest of the deal :  Ruth comes with the field, in order to preserve the name of the dead (Elimelech and Mahlon).  In other words, the redeemer would “inherit” Ruth in order to allow the line of Elimelech to continue – any proceeds would rightfully belong to his line, not the redeemer’s. Since Ruth was young enough to have children, the land would then belong to Elimelech’s line.  So, the redeemer would “inherit” both Ruth, and Naomi.  And – Ruth is mentioned as “Ruth the Moabite”, which may have been a negative factor in this deal.

The answer?  “I can’t risk (jeopardize) my own inheritance – you take it.” * Jeopardize (07843) (shachath/shahat) means to spoil, to ruin, to destroy, to pervert, to corrupt, to become corrupt, to wipe out….  The kinsman redeemer is concerned that to fulfill the role of the go’el might “utterly corrupt” his estate, for he would have both Naomi and Ruth to support. Furthermore he did not want the field to be inherited by Ruth’s future son instead of members of his own family.* (PreceptAustin)

What a comparison of two men.  One was willing to risk what he owned to allow credit (both monetarily and in inheritance) to go to another.  The other didn’t want to risk what he had to possibly risk it to honor someone else’s name.

A – What are my take-aways from today?

Am I a person of my word?   Do I say that I will take care of something and then back down, or do I, like Boaz, set it in my heart to carry out my word?  Boaz wasted no time in carrying out his word to fulfill the role of redeemer.

Where are my values?  Are they “live for today and protect my own interests”, or are they more in line with Boaz’s?  Are they to “do the right thing”?

What a blessing it must have been for Ruth to see this man of integrity continue to demonstrate what was in his heart.  Not only did he act in integrity towards her, but also in his conducting of business in the community.  God’s provision is ALWAYS the best – and He provided for Ruth, a foreigner, one who others did not want.  But Boaz did – and did so in the name of redeemer.  Not for his benefit, but for hers.

P – Father God, You provide so much in Your word that encourages me.  Even the story of Ruth, a foreigner, an outcast in her new land, You provided for her needs – a home, companionship, a new life.  You provided that for me.  You provided for my needs.  You have given me a home here in Indy.  You provided companionship and love.  You provided ministry that speaks to my heart and soul.  Thank You, Father.   Let my life be a blessing today to those I encounter.   Amen.

He Knows My Name – Francesca Battistelli –    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haLkLDfLBok

Spent today in a conversation
In the mirror face to face with
somebody less than perfect
I wouldn’t choose me first if
I was looking for a champion
In fact I’d understand if
You picked everyone before me
But that’s just not my story
True to who You are
You saw my heart
and made
Something out of nothing

I don’t need my name in lights
I’m famous in my Father’s eyes
Make no mistake
He knows my name
I’m not living for applause
I’m already so adored
It’s all His stage
He knows my name oh, oh,
He knows my name oh, oh

I’m not meant to just stay quiet
I’m meant to be a lion
I’ll roar beyond a song
With every moment that I’ve got
True to who You are
You saw my heart
and made
Something out of nothing

He calls me chosen, free forgiven, wanted, child of the King,
His forever, held in treasure…
I am loved

I don’t need my name in lights…
I’m famous in my Father’s eyes…


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Ruth: Loss to Legacy

Week Three – Day 5WK03D05

Read Ruth3:14-18; I Thess. 4:3-4                SOAP Ruth 3:14-15

Why did Boaz have Ruth stay until morning?  What does this say about his character?

14 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.” 15 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. 16 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, 17 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.’” 18 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.”

1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 (ESV) – For this is the will of God, your sanctification:[a] that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body[b] in holiness and honor,

O – The word for the day – intentional.  This whole passage is full of gestures of intentionality.

  • Ruth laid (intentionally) at Boaz’ feet until morning. As one commentator said, “not at his side, but at his feet.”  There was no question of impropriety here.  No temptation.  A covering of protection – not only for the body, but for her future, and also her reputation.  There was no thought of possible impurity, but protection.
  • Ruth and Boaz rose early, intentionally separating before workers came to the threshing floor. They didn’t want a hint of impropriety here, either, nor fodder for gossip.  EVEN IF their motives were pure, and “nothing happened”, they also ensured that no one would THINK that something happened between them.  Boaz probably didn’t send Ruth back in the night for her own protection from robbers or wrong doers, but he also sent her back early enough for her protection from gossip.
  • Boaz intentionally provided for Ruth. He had her hold out her “garment” or apron, and filled it with barley – probably about 60 pounds!   He is providing for the physical needs of Ruth and Naomi, even if he is not appointed the go’el.    He did not want her to go back “empty-handed” to Naomi, maybe because she had been with him during the night and would be tired the next day.
  • Naomi was intentional in asking Ruth what had happened. One commentator in PreceptAustin noted that the literal Hebrew was closer to “Who are you?” * Literally the Hebrew says Naomi asked “Who are you?” undoubtedly with a sense of anticipation. To phrase it another way Naomi appears to be asking…  “Are you still Ruth the Moabitess or are you the prospective Mrs. Boaz?”*  But she also calls Ruth “my daughter.”
  • Boaz’s reputation led Naomi to believe that he would be intentional in following through his promise to deal with the matter of go’el that very day. “for the man will not rest….but will settle the matter today.”  Naomi knew of his character, so knew that he would take care of the matter – of determining who would be go’el for Naomi and Ruth.  From PreceptAustin: *Has settled (03615) (kalah) means to finish, complete, fulfill or bring this matter to an end. The primary meaning of kalah is to consummate or to bring to completion. Boaz will finish his task, working until the goal is accomplished. Sometimes the idea of exhaustion or of being entirely consumed is signified by this verb kalah. Naomi was confident that Boaz would not rest until he had settled the matter.*
  • Naomi was intentional in her instruction to Ruth to wait. From PreceptAustin:  * Wait (03427) (yasab/yashab) means literally to sit down, to dwell, to inhabit, to endure, to abide , to stay, to remain.

Our greatest strength is often shown
in our ability to stand still and trust God.

Naomi is gives Ruth a command to “Sit still. There’s nothing more for you to do.” The essence of Naomi’s encouragement to Ruth is seen in the following words from Be Still My Soul… ponder Katharina von Schlegel’s poignant stanza which speaks especially of God’s sovereignty and providential control over the events and circumstances of all of our lives…

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.

 

A – What are my take-aways for today?

Be intentional.

  • Although Ruth and Boaz’s motives were pure, they also had to ensure that gossip did not enter into their situation. So, they intentionally behaved so there was NO HINT of impropriety.  Others should not see in me ANY HINT of impropriety or impure motives.  Do I live a life that shows purity?   Do I compromise in any way, so that there is no hint?
  • Integrity – Do I show integrity in all that I do? Does my word count?  Do I do what I say I do?  or Do what I say I will do?  Do I live life so that it is worth emulating?

Waiting  – Do I wait patiently on God?  Do I sit still, stand still, and be still?  This is the hardest for me.  I want instant results.  God desires growth.  If “be still” means “take your hands off” – do I do that?  DO I allow God His time to do His work?

P – Father God, may You continue to work within me.  Purify me.  “Search me, O God, and know my heart!  Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”  Help me to be a woman of chayil, a woman of integrity, a woman with no compromise.  A woman who keeps her word.  A woman who is intentional in service – to You.

We must set right boundaries, position ourselves in right places, and pursue right relationships – for freedom’s sake and ultimately for the glory of our Father God.  – Whitney, LGG post

Notes from PreceptAustin:

Hymn writer Phillips Brooks admitted,

“The hardest task in my life is to sit down and wait for God to catch up with me… The trouble is that I am in a hurry, but God isn’t.”

Haven’t we often felt the same? Yet patience is part of God’s strategy for maturing us. It’s a lost skill we all need to cultivate. If you have no joy because you’re always in a rush, slow down.

As Torrey wrote

Not so in haste, my heart! Have faith in God, and wait;
Although He seems to linger long, He never comes too late.

God is never in a hurry, but He is always on time. God stretches our patience to enlarge our soul. Ask yourself:

What circumstances make it hard for me to wait for the Lord?

How do I know I won’t be disappointed when I wait for Him?

George Matheson wrote,

We commonly associate patience with lying down. We think of it as the angel that guards the couch of the invalid. Yet there is a patience that I believe to be harder—the patience that can run. To lie down in the time of grief, to be quiet under the stroke of adverse fortune, implies a great strength; but I know of something that implies a strength greater still: it is the power to work under stress; to have a great weight at your heart and still run; to have a deep anguish in your spirit and still perform the daily tasks. It is a Christ-like thing! The hardest thing is that most of us are called to exercise our patience, not in the sickbed but in the street.

To wait is hard…
To do it with good courage is harder!

Henry Morris says that

Sometimes, when a believer has done all he knows to do according to God’s word, he must be content simply to “sit still,” and wait for God to work. (Morris, Henry: Defenders Study Bible. World Publishing)

O my soul, wait on the Lord
And know He sees your need;
He’ll make His presence known to you
Through word or kindly deed. —D. De Haan

Those who wait on the Lord
will never be disappointed.

SIT  STILL

Wait my daughter – Are you like Ruth or more like Martha in Luke10 who was…

distracted with all her preparations and… worried and bothered about so many things? (Luke 10:4041)

Then to calm your nerves and keep you from rushing ahead of the Lord, meditate on Naomi’s advice to Ruth, along with two other closely related exhortations in Scripture.

Sit still…until you know how the matter will turn out” (Ru 3:18note, NKJV)

How can we “sit still”? One way is to wait on the Lord in prayer, not wasting your time but investing it in eternity. God is preparing you and your circumstances so that His purposes will be accomplished. However, when the right time arrives walk out in obedience and in faith, do not delay.

STAND STILL

Do not fear! Stand still and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. (Ex 14:13)

Moses gave this command to the people of Israel as the Egyptian army was pressing in to destroy them. When God tells us to “Stand still “, there is no need to panic, for the Almighty, omnipotent God has the situation well in hand. And when He commands to “go forward” (Ex 14:15) as He did Israel, and He will lead us through “the sea” step by step. There is a time to stand and a time to move out, and we must be alert to know and do whichever God wants us to do.

BE STILL

Be still, (command; Heb = relax, hang limp; Lxx = Be at leisure) and know (command) that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. (Ps 46:10note)

The truth in this Psalm provides a wonderful antidote for a restless spirit. The Hebrew word translated “be still” means “take your hands off, relax.” It’s so easy for us to get impatient with the Lord and start meddling in matters that we ought to leave alone. He is God, and His hands can accomplish the impossible. Our hands may get in the way and make matters worse.

When the Lord arranges the circumstances of our life so that we must “wait“, then we need to take heart from these exhortations to sit stillstand still and be still. God is in control.

Warren Wiersbe comments on Ps 46:10 noting that…

The Hebrew word translated “be still” actually means “take your hands off.” God is saying to us, “Take your hands off, and let Me be God in your life.” So often we want to manipulate and control. We talk about those who are “hands on” people. In the Christian life, God uses our hands. He used Noah’s hands to build the ark. He used David’s hands to kill a giant. He used the apostles’ hands to feed 5000 people. But sometimes only God’s hand can do the job. Sometimes our hands get in the way because we are manipulating, plotting or scheming.

A friend of mine used to remind me, “Faith is living without scheming.” Whenever I discover myself pushing and prodding, God says to me, “Take your hands off. Be still, and know that I am God.” The difference is simply this. If we play God in our lives, everything is going to fall apart. But if we let Him truly be God in our lives, He will be exalted, He will be with us, and He will get the job done.

Are you facing a problem or a challenge today? Are you wondering what you will do? Give it to the Lord. A time will come when He will say, “All right, I will use your hands.” But until then, keep your hands off. Know that He is God. He does not expect us to do what only He can do. We can roll the stone away from the tomb of Lazarus, but only He can raise the dead. We can hand out the bread, but only He can multiply it. Let Him be God in your life.

To remain still seems to go against human nature. You want control. But as a believer, you need to remain yielded to God’s will and give your burdens to Him. What problem are you facing? Are you keeping your hands off and allowing Him to work in your life? (Warren Wiersbe. Prayer, Praise and Promises).

 

 

“Need You Now (How Many Times)” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tivseVZbnY

Well, everybody’s got a story to tell
And everybody’s got a wound to be healed
I want to believe there’s beauty here
‘Cause oh, I get so tired of holding on
I can’t let go, I can’t move on
I want to believe there’s meaning here

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

Standing on a road I didn’t plan
Wondering how I got to where I am
I’m trying to hear that still small voice
I’m trying to hear above the noise

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

Though I walk,
Though I walk through the shadows
And I, I am so afraid
Please stay, please stay right beside me
With every single step I take

How many times have you heard me cry out?
And how many times have you given me strength?

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

I need you now
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.
I need you now
I need you now


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Ruth: Loss to Legacy

Week Three – Day 4WK03D04

Read Ruth 3:12-13           SOAP Ruth 3:12-13

For some it may seem like the interaction between Ruth and Boaz was inappropriate. How would you explain what happened?

Why did Boaz first have to check with the other kinsman-redeemer?

12 And now it is true that I am a redeemer. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I.13 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.”

O – Yes, Boaz was the redeemer.  A redeemer, but second in line.  There was another redeemer, a closer relative.  So – he had “first rights,” or “first refusal.”  Boaz told Ruth to remain for the night (remember, this was around midnight), and then he would approach the redeemer that was closer.  One way or another (either the closer redeemer, or Boaz himself), Ruth would be redeemed.

I wonder if Naomi would have sent Ruth to the “other redeemer” if she had known he existed…. Or, did Naomi send  Ruth to Boaz because she knew of his character and reputation?   But – Boaz knew!  And he was ready to “do right” by Ruth.

From PreceptAustin:  *Boaz did not withhold the truth from Ruth that there was another go’el, for he did not want to give her false hope. Joy and peace based on ignorance of the truth is delusion and always leads to disappointment. The greatest concern of Boaz was for Ruth’s redemption, even if that meant another go’el accomplished the goal. Boaz was not willing to sacrifice his integrity for the sake of expediency (a good lesson for all saints of all ages!). He sought do God’s will in God’s way for God’s glory. He knew that if it were really from the Lord, than he would be able carry out the redemptive transaction in an orderly and proper way.*

Boaz showed his integrity in having Ruth remain, in safety, for the rest of the night – but also by allowing the rights of the other kinsman-redeemer (go’el) to be played out.  Even though he certainly was “interested” in Ruth, he was certainly more interested that the right thing be done, even if Ruth was claimed by another redeemer.  This was even done by an oath, a promise, a covenant – that he would redeem Ruth, if he had the right to.

The rights of the go’el (kinsman-redeemer) included property, but also the family line.  So – not just rights, but responsibility to allow heirs of the deceased carry on through the birth of more children, attributed to the deceased.  Boaz was willing, and even committed to doing this – IF the closer go’el was not.

A – Am I a woman of excellence?  Of integrity?  Do I think of the needs of others – above my own?   We are a selfish generation.  A selfish country.  A selfish society.  Do I go along with the cultural mores – because that is the norm?  Or – do I, like Boaz, consider the needs of others?  Am I willing to sacrifice what I want, or desire, for the benefit of others who may be “first” in line – or who would benefit from my leaning back?  I’m thinking of the distinct change in my mindset since moving here to Indy, and the whole idea of team, and ministry, and the greater good.  This past weekend challenged that thought – and I saw how God worked in the greater good of the worship team.   And now, working on schedules and teams, it is becoming easier to think in terms of team, and what “I” want.  THAT is God at work – in me.

Am I willing to place myself under the protection of my God?  Of my husband?  For many years, I operated under the umbrella of “self-protection” – having to fend for myself, and my mother.  Sometimes, there was help from a male sibling, but it really was “us.”  And there were times that we said to each other, “this would be easier with a man in the house.”  Knowing that there was an element of “protection” with a man.  But – no man in the house.   It really was relying on God’s protection, and doing the best that we could, and “making do.”   Now, I am in a different place of protection.  Do I do this willingly?  I think so, although sometimes the “independence” in me rises and struggles.  Not so much in actions, but in thinking that it is “ok” to have that protection.

Here’s another question.  Am I willing to sacrifice integrity for expediency?  Like Boaz, am I willing to do God’s will in God’s way for God’s glory?  OR, do I sacrifice that for my own glory?  Do I rush ahead of Him?

P  – Father God, You are the God of the impossible.  Just like you provided protection for Ruth in the form of go’el, in Boaz, You do the same for me.  You provided protection for many years, when I, like Naomi, did not have the protection of marriage.  You kept me safe.  You provided.  You extended what I had to meet needs – in impossible ways.  And now, You are providing in a different way, in the umbrella and protection of marriage.  Thank You, Lord, for this provision.   You are good.  Help me to live in this protection, living a life of redemption and integrity.  Develop in me a heart that seeks You first, not me.  Develop in me a heart that thinks of others and their needs, not my own.  May I be a woman of excellence today.

God of the Impossible – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_TlD6vX910

My biggest storm one drop of rain

My raging fire, a candle flame

My deepest ocean is

like a puddle at Your feet

My darkest valley my greatest mountain

They are Your prairie

for You are constant

Your ways are higher than any other

So I will sing

God of the impossible

Maker of all miracles

I stand in awe of You

I’m so amazed by how You

Reach into my brokenness

Make me beautiful again

I believe, yes, I believe

Nothing is impossible with You

When I am weak You are my strength

And all Your power is made complete

You turn my failures to victories

Hallelujah, hallelujah

 

Healer, Healer

I’m restored by a healer

Provider, Provider

I am filled by a provider

Deliverer, Deliverer

I’m set free by a deliverer

Savior, you’re my Savior

I’m redeemed by a savior


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Ruth: Loss to Legacy

Week Three – Day 3WK03D03

Read Ruth 3:10-11; Proverbs 31:31           SOAP Ruth 3:11

What is Boaz’s reaction to Ruth’s request?

10 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. 11 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.

Prov. 31:31 – Give her of the fruit of her hands,  and let her works praise her in the gates.

O – Boaz blesses Ruth, and calls her “my daughter.”  She is blessed by the Lord – *Boaz’s immediate use of God’s covenant Name shows His acknowledgment and recognition of Jehovah’s sovereign and providential hand in all that was taking place.*  (PreceptAustin)  This must have helped to rest Ruth’s heart, knowing that Boaz recognized God’s hand in this gesture of “protection” that Ruth was asking.

But he also acknowledged the fast that Ruth was not just thinking of herself.  This kindness (seeking out Boaz) was greater than the first (taking care of Naomi).  Ruth could have been looking for a young man – one of her own age.  She could have looked for a rich man.  But no – she obeyed Naomi, and sought out Boaz, who could also carry on the family name of Elimelech, and Ruth’s first husband, Mahlon.  Here, we see Ruth’s heart – to care for Naomi.

From PReceptAustin:  * Boaz realized that Ruth was primarily concerned for Naomi’s. It would have been natural for Ruth to have sought a husband of her own age rather than someone old enough to be her father. He had observed her reticence and respected her for it. He could do all she asked without incurring blame because the whole community had come to appreciate Ruth’s integrity….Kindness  (lovingkindness) (hesed) (used also in Ru 1:8noteRu 2:20note) conveys the basic meaning of steadfast or unfailing love and devotion. Hesed for example is used to describe God’s faithfulness to keep His covenant.*

Boaz told her not to fear – he calmed her heart.  He is going to care for her – take care of the details.  Why?  Because of Ruth and who she was.

After all, her reputation preceeded her.   Her care of Naomi, her willingness to travel to Bethlehem, her self-less work in the fields, her work ethic, her day by day care – all this was known by the town.

She was a “worthy woman.”   This is the same term used to describe Boaz in the beginning of chapter 2:  “Now Naomi had a relative of her husband’s, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz.”  (Ruth 2:1 – ESV)  Ruth is described in the same manner – *A woman of excellence (cp Pr 12:431:10,293031) – A woman of valor. A woman of virtue. .. The Hebrew adjective  excellence  (02428) (chayil) conveys the basic meaning of being strong or firm. One could therefore translate this phrase as “woman of strong (not strong willed) character” and this is essentially the same phrase used in Pr 31:10 to describe the ideal wife, where the writer of Proverbs emphasizes the wife’s industry, devotion to her family and her concern for others, all characteristics which Ruth had amply demonstrated. In the present context then chayil refers to Ruth’s virtue, capability, inner strength.* (PreceptAustin)

A – A worthy woman.  The words describe Ruth, but it is not dependent upon looks, or social status, or prestige, or wealth.   It is an internal quality.  To be worthy.  To have virtue.  To have strong character.  Chayil – to have virtue, capability, inner strength.   THAT is what I want to have.

I am learning that God doesn’t care much about the “outer trapping.” He cares about the heart.  The chayil.  So what does that look like – if you can’t see it?

It is caring for others – the poor, the elderly, the family members who need care.  It is self-less giving.  It is working diligently – even if no one notices (but they may!).  It is taking account of someone else’s needs ahead of your own.  It is making time to give.  It is arranging a schedule to minister to others – but not bragging about it.  It is working behind the scenes.

Am I like Ruth?   Do I work diligently?   Do I consider someone else’s needs ahead of my own?  Am I aware of the needs around me?  Do I quietly go about my business, working diligently, not looking for affirmation or praise?  The inner me, I confess, DOES look for that.  Oh, may I be a woman of self-less service, quietly going about my business, serving others and caring for the needs around me.

Because – it isn’t ME that is important.  It is the God I serve.  It is HIM that others need to notice.  Not me.  It is HIS glory that I should be seeking.  Not mine.  It is for HIS service that I work.  Not my own.  To be known for chayil.  Not Karen.  Why?  Because of who I am.  I am HIS.  But – also, He is mine!

P – Father God, You are good.  You are my Lord, and my Savior.  You have worked in my heart today.  Break my pride.  Crash my idols.  Take over and remake my heart, so that it is soft and pliable, ready to serve – You.  Father, may I not be known for my “good deeds”, but for Your working within me.  Father, shine through me today.  May I serve self-lessly.  May I serve with Your hands, Your heart today.

Who Am I (Casting Crowns) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBcqria2wmg

Who am I, that the lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt?
Who am I, that the bright and morning star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart?

Not because of who I am
But because of what you’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who you are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still you hear me when I’m calling
Lord, you catch me when I’m falling
And you’ve told me who I am
I am yours

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love
And watch me rise again?
Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me?

Not because of who I am
But because of what you’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who you are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still you hear me when I’m calling
Lord, you catch me when I’m falling
And you’ve told me who I am
I am yours

Not because of who I am
But because of what you’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who you are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still you hear me when I’m calling
Lord, you catch me when I’m falling
And you’ve told me who I am
I am yours

I am yours
I am yours
Whom shall I fear, whom shall I fear?
‘Cause I am yours
I am yours


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Ruth: Loss to Legacy

Week Three – Day 2WK03D02

Read Ruth 3:6-9                                SOAP  Ruth 3:8-9

What is a “redeemer”, as seen in this passage?

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[a] over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”

O – Ruth obeyed Naomi’s instructions, trusting that this “different” method of getting Boaz’s attention would work.  She waited until he had eaten and was full, and he had laid down to sleep.  She must have waited until he was sleeping, as he didn’t notice her until midnight.  And behold, there was a woman sleeping at his feet, under the cover of his blanket.  “Who are you?”, he asked.  She answered, “I am Ruth, your servant.  Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”

Ruth’s actions were ones of submission, not of overt sexual promiscuity.  She was literally asking for a “covering” or protection of a go’el, or kinsman-redeemer.  She was putting herself under the protection of the legal status that a go’el would provide. This was a custom of the day, that still is included in some middle eastern cultures – to place a corner of a garment over the woman, to demonstrate the protection that marriage provides.

Was Ruth being “forward” in doing this?  I think not.  It was Naomi’s (and therefore hers as kin) right to ask for their kinsman-redeemer to protect them.  Did they know if there was a “closer” kinsman?   Maybe not.  But this action allowed Boaz to follow through in seeing if HIS place was to be their redeemer.

A – Do I willingly place myself under the protection of God’s wings?  This is in two places.

Although I am not a part of the middle eastern culture, I am in a marriage.  Do I willingly place myself in his protection?  After almost thirty years of single parenting, this is a new place for me.  And as I think back over the past 20 months of marriage, I think that placing myself willingly under Paul’s protection has been one of the easier adjustments.  Maybe moving to a new place, new area of the country, without family and friends, has made that adjustment easier.  But, after those years of “independence”, it is a “different” way of living life.  But, like Boaz, Paul has made his role as husband one that he takes seriously, and with thought.  So, placing myself under his protection is a blessing for me.

Am I as willing to place myself under God’s protection?  To allow Him to lead and guide?  Sometimes I chaff under this, wanting to run ahead of His plan and protection, just like a little child who runs ahead of parents when walking through a park.  Most of the time, it is in thought, not necessarily in action.  But I also get impatient, wanting circumstances to “work out” and to make the way clear.  I have to learn, and am learning, to wait…. To be patient, to allow Him to work.  THAT’S hard work!  But, may I learn to rest in the covering of His wings – the best place for me to be!

P – Father God, work in my heart.  Help me to willingly place myself under Your protection, under Your wings.  Help me to rest there, patiently waiting for You to work, and then to guide me.  Thank You for Your protecting care over the years.  Thank You for placing me under the protection of marriage of a godly man.   Help me to live under his protection, in a place that You have designed.  Thank You for Your loving care.

From Precept Austin:  *Ruth immediately made her objective clear when she requested, “Spread the corner of your garment over me.” She was using the accepted idiom meaning “Marry me”—other passages in which the same expression is used are Ezek 16:8Dt 22:30 and Mal 2:16. No doubt the idiom reflected the custom, still practiced by some Arabs, of a man’s throwing a garment over the woman he has decided to take as his wife. The gesture is a symbol of protection as well as a declaration that the man is willing to enter into sexual consummation with his chosen partner.

Boaz had prayed in Ru 2:12 that Ruth might be rewarded by the Lord under whose wings she had taken refuge. Ruth now essentially asked Boaz to answer his own prayer, for “garment-cover” and “wing” are the same word in Hebrew. Ruth’s reason for this action is expressed in her appeal to Boaz as a “kinsman-redeemer.” That is a legal status. Under Jewish law, then, her request was not particularly unusual.* (

I am Ruth you maid – She uses the Hebrew word ‘amah (0519) which is applied both to literal slaves and to those who figuratively call themselves by this term as an expression of humility and submission.

Ruth reminded Boaz of his own words, and requested him to become the fulfiller of his own prayer. The word for corner is the same as that for `wing’ in Ru 2:12 (note) Ruth reminded Boaz of his own words, and requested him to become the fulfiller of his own prayer.

To raise the skirts of a woman’s garment is a symbol of insult and disgrace Jer 13:2226Nah. 3:5, whereas to cover her with one’s skirt was a token of matrimony. No doubt the idiom reflected the custom, still practiced by some in the Middle East, of a man throwing a garment over the woman he has decided to take as his wife, and symbolizing protection as well as fellowship.

Fruchtenbaum comments that spreading the covering referred to…

the corner of the garment, and it refers to the fact that a man spreads this over his wife, as well as himself (Dt. 22:30Dt 27:20). (Ibid)

In the present context, kanaph refers to the edge of a garment or bed-clothing flap. We find a similar use in Deuteronomy where God directs His people to

make yourself tassels on the four corners of your garment with which you cover yourself (Dt 22:12)

Ruth’s words about Boaz taking her under his wing suggest that in her mind, she was entering into betrothal to marry Boaz. Betrothal was the first stage of marriage in which a couple contracted to marry each other.  Betrothal in ancient Israel (at the time of Christ) lasted for a year and was as binding as marriage, being dissolved only by divorce. Should the man to whom a girl was betrothed die, in the eyes of the law she was a widow. During the actual marriage ceremony, the groom’s relatives cover the bride with the groom’s garment, indicating that from then on, she was under his protection (“his wing”).

In an earlier encounter Boaz had offered a prayer for Ruth,”May the LORD reward your work, and your wages be full from the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings (kanaph = translated covering in Ru 3:9 – note) you have come to seek refuge.” (Ru 2:12note)

The word wings was a symbol of protection, as with baby birds which run under their mother’s wings to escape the birds of prey. God used Boaz as the vessel to answer his own prayer in behalf of Ruth. It was customary for a Jewish husband to cover his new wife with the end of his tallit (Heb., prayer shawl) to signify that she was under his protection. Accordingly, Ruth was asking Boaz to accept his responsibility as kinsman and to take her as his wife. The modern Jewish marriage ceremony takes place under a “huppah/chuppah” (a canopy — sounds like “kanaph“) in the presence of two lawful witnesses.

All Things New – Believe – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sOBaJejIt4

You say that I am new

But I just feel old

If You’re alive in my heart

Why does it beat this cold

When the shame’s so real

And my faith is a ghost

When the sun won’t rise

And I’m all alone

 

Help me  believe that I am a new creation

Help me believe that I’m something more

Than the past that I’ve been carrying

Help me to know that I am Yours

I need to hear your voice speak louder

Than these lies that call my name

‘Cause I wish that I was strong but I am so weak

 

Help me believe I have been redeemed and my debt is paid

No matter how I feel on the worst of days

So when it’s hard to breathe

When I fall apart Speak Your Truth so clear

To my doubting heart

 

Help me believe that I am a new creation

Help me believe that I’m something more

Than the past that I’ve been carrying

Help me to know that I am Yours

I need to hear your voice speak louder

Than these lies that call my name

‘Cause I wish that I was strong but I am so weak

 

Help me believe that I am loved

Help me believe that’s enough

And let my heart find rest in your promises

GOD Help me believe that I am a new creation

Help me believe that I’m something more

Than the past that I’ve been carrying

Help me to know that I am Yours

I need to hear your voice speak louder

Than these lies that call my name

‘Cause I wish that I was strong but I am so weak

Help me  believe Help me believe

 


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Ruth: Loss to Legacy

Week Three – Day 1WK03D01

Read Ruth 3:1 -5     SOAP Ruth 3:3-4

In verses 1-4 Naomi gives Ruth some strange instructions. What is Ruth supposed to do and what is the point of her actions?

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? 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.”

O – Naomi seems to have recovered from being a bitter widow to becoming a matchmaker!  She takes on the role of what would typically be a parental one – securing a mate for her child.

First, she asks if she should seek “rest” for Ruth – so she would be cared for?  (Ruth has been caring for Naomi)  I love what Guzik suggests in his commentary:  *The Hebrew word for security in verse one is the same word for rest in Ruth 1:9, where Naomi hoped that her daughters-in-law would find rest and security in the home of a new husband. This Hebrew word (manowach) speaks of what a home should be – a place of rest and security.*

Then, she suggests that Boaz, their relative, the one whom allows her to glean with the other young women, is winnowing barley that night.    She reminds Ruth that Boaz was a relative….  So he could be a kinsman-redeemer.

Then, she unveils a plan for Ruth to accomplish that would get Boaz’s attention.  First to wash and anoint herself – to “pretty herself up” to appeal to his senses.   Then to cover herself and go down to the threshing floor, but to wait until he finished his meal.  When he went to lie down, she should uncover his feet, and cover herself with that covering.  (this let Boaz know her intentions….. that she was interested in him.  However, it was not a sexual invitation, but a submission to his “covering.”) At that point, Boaz would let her know what to do.

From PreceptAustin:  * This strategic nighttime encounter was to request him to fulfill the role of the nearest kinsman (perpetuate the name) and the Goel or redeemer who could pay the (“ransom”) price for Elimelech’s land. In summary, Boaz’s intervention would accomplish two of Naomi’s essential needs – perpetuation of the paternal name and perpetuation of the possession of property.

And….. Ruth agreed to do it!

A – What is my take-away from THIS passage?

First – God had put into place a way for Ruth to have protection – first as an “employer”, then a kinsman-redeemer, and finally as a husband – in Boaz.  Naomi knew this Hebrew custom.  She didn’t suggest this until after Ruth had been working in the fields gleaning for at least six weeks or so, enough time for Boaz to see what Ruth was really like.  But, those laws and customs were part of Ruth’s redemption!

Second – It is in obedience that God provides.  Ruth obeyed Naomi’s instructions.  Though they may seem odd to us today, they were part of the culture of that day.  If God can use customs to provide for Ruth, can He not provide for me in the same way?

Do I obey readily?  Even when I don’t understand, or it seems “odd?”  Do I question what God has for me to do  – that will bring relief or provision?  Do I really believe that God provides?   Certainly God’s “history” in my life has been one of provision – for many years.  May I rest in that – and obey Him readily!

P – Father God, thank You for providing for me, through many years of single parenting.  Thank You for extending the finances, providing food, and even creative ways of stretching what I did have.  Help me to rely on You for everything, because You are Jehovah-Jireh, my Provider.  You are my God, my Protector, my Provider.  Thank You.

 

Notes:

David Guzik –

Shall I not seek security for you: Naomi knew that Ruth could best be taken care of if she was married, so she suggested that she appeal to Boaz for marriage.

  1. The Hebrew word for securityin verse one is the same word for restin Ruth 1:9, where Naomi hoped that her daughters-in-law would find rest and security in the home of a new husband. This Hebrew word (manowach) speaks of what a home should be – a place of rest and security.

Now Boaz . . . Is he not our relative? One might easily think that this was inappropriately forward of Naomi to suggest this to Ruth. It is possible to think that Naomi plotted with Ruth to make her a man-trap, to go out and hunt down a reluctant Boaz for marriage. Not at all; Naomi’s suggestion to Ruth was rooted in a peculiar custom in ancient Israel – the meaning behind the Hebrew word goel.

  1. This was the point in Naomi’s question about Boaz: Is he not our relative?She reminded Ruth that Boaz was their family goel.
  2. The goel– sometimes translated kinsman-redeemer– had a specifically defined role in Israel’s family life.
  • The kinsman-redeemer was responsible to buy a fellow Israelite out of slavery (Leviticus 25:48).
  • He was responsible to be the “avenger of blood” to make sure the murderer of a family member answered to the crime (Numbers 35:19).
  • He was responsible to buy back family land that had been forfeited (Leviticus 25:25).
  • He was responsible to carry on the family name by marrying a childless widow (Deuteronomy 25:5-10).

iii. In this, we see that the goel, the kinsman-redeemer, was responsible to safeguard the persons, the property, and the posterity of the family. “Words from the root g’l are used with a variety of meanings in the Old Testament, but the fundamental idea is that of fulfilling one’s obligations as a kinsman.” (Morris)
Naomi’s Instructions:

  1. Therefore wash yourself: Naomi, in her advice to Ruth, showed a keen knowledge of male behavior. She instructed Ruth to make herself pretty and smelling good (anoint yourself, put on your best garment), and to leave Boaz alone while he ate (do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking).
  2. Uncover his feet, and lie down: At the appropriate time, Naomi instructs Ruth to go in, uncover his feet, and lie down. Some might think this was a provocative gesture, as if Ruth was told to provocatively offer herself sexually to Boaz. This was not how this gesture was understood in that day. In the culture of that day, this was understood as an act of total submission.
  3. In that day, this was understood to be the role of a servant – to lay at their master’s feet and be ready for any command of the master. So, when Naomi told Ruth to lie downat Boaz’s feet, she told her to come to him in a totally humble, submissive way.
  4. Don’t lose sight of the larger picture: Ruth came to claim a right. Boaz was her goel, her kinsman-redeemer, and she had the rightto expect him to marry her and raise up a family to perpetuate the name of Elimelech. But Naomi wisely counseled Ruth to not come as a victim demanding her rights, but as a humble servant, trusting in the goodness of her kinsman-redeemer. She said to Boaz, “I respect you, I trust you, and I put my fate in your hands.”
  5. He will tell you what you should do: Of course, this was a situation that had the potential for disaster, if Boaz should mistreat Ruth in some way. But Naomi and Ruth had the chance to get to know Boaz, and they knew what kind of man he was – a good man, a godly man, one to whom Ruth could confidently submit.

 

Constable’s Notes:

Naomi had expressed a desire back in Moab that each of her daughters-in-law might find “rest” ( Ruth 1:9). The Hebrew word reads “security” in the NASB and “a home” in the NIV, but its meaning in other parts of the Old Testament is a place or condition of rest. [Note: See my note on1:9.] Naomi”s concern for Ruth extended beyond her physical needs of food and safety to Ruth”s deeper need for a husband and, hopefully, a son. God had promised to bless His people with many descendants ( Genesis 12:1-3), and the hope of every Jewish woman was that God would so bless her. If Ruth was able to marry Boaz and have a Song of Solomon , Naomi likewise would enjoy blessing since Ruth”s son would perpetuate Elimelech”s branch of the family. Yet Naomi”s concern appears to have been primarily for Ruth”s welfare in marriage because Ruth had proved to be such a blessing to her.

Precept Austin:

Hubbard observes that…

A significant theological point emerges here. Earlier Naomi had wished (Ed: or prayed for) for these same things (Ru 1:89 – see notes Ru 1:81:9). Here human means (i.e., Naomi’s plan) carry out something previously understood to be in Yahweh’s province. In response to providentially given opportunity, Naomi began to answer her own prayer! Thus she models one way in which divine and human actions work together (Ed: cp God’s sovereignty, human free will/responsibility): believers are not to wait passively for events to happen; rather, they must seize the initiative when an opportunity presents itself. They assume that God presents the opportunity.” (Hubbard, R: The Book of Ruth. New International Commentary on the Old Testament series. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1988 )

John MacArthur notes that…

Naomi instructed Ruth 1) to put on her best appearance and 2) to propose marriage to Boaz by utilizing an ancient Near Eastern custom. Since Boaz is a generation older than Ruth (Ru 2:8noteRu 3:10), this overture would indicate Ruth’s desire to marry Boaz which the older, gracious Boaz would not have initiated with a younger woman.

ANALYSIS OF NAOMI’S RIGHTEOUS STRATEGY

Naomi’s strategic plan was based on the fact that her deceased husband Elimelech still possessed land in Bethlehem but her poverty had forced her to sell the property (Ru 4:3). Naomi however understood that Boaz was a near relative of Elimelech (Ru 2:13note), and was a “candidate” (potential) redeemer who could ransom Elimelech’s field as summarized in Leviticus…

If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor (like Naomi) he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman (Goel) is to come and buy back what his relative has sold. (Lv 25:25)

Not only could Boaz redeem the land but also the name. If Boaz were to marry Ruth (the widow of Mahlon) this would (if God blessed the union with children – Ps 127:3note) perpetuate the name of Mahlon (and Elimelech). While the Mosaic law in Leviticus addressed the land, the law in Deuteronomy addressed the name

This passage in Deuteronomy describes the rules of so-called “Levirate marriage” (Latin levir = “husband’s brother”) the practice of which was established to prevent the blotting out of the family name. If the brother would not fulfill this responsibility or there was no living brother, the right and responsibility passed to the nearest kinsman (cp Boaz – Ru 2:13“kinsman… of the family of Elimelech”, Ru 2:20 “our relative… one of our closest relatives [Goel]”).

So we see two OT concepts coalesce in the story of Ruth and Naomi. The upshot is that Naomi has become aware of a near relative who could function as the Goel, a kinsman-redeemer, (1) paying the ransom price for Elimelech’s land (cp Lv 25:25) and (2) marrying the widow Ruth so that the family name (and “seed”) was not blotted out (Dt 25:5-10).

Based on these truths in the Torah and her innate hope in Shaddai/Jehovah (Who had not withdrawn His covenant kindness, Ru 2:20), Naomi presented a detailed, step by step plan to Ruth. Using this plan Ruth would approach Boaz, who had shown himself to be kind and interested in Ruth (cp Ru 2:5). This strategic nighttime encounter was to request him to fulfill the role of the nearest kinsman (perpetuate the name) and the Goel or redeemer who could pay the (“ransom”) price for Elimelech’s land. In summary, Boaz’s intervention would accomplish two of Naomi’s essential needs – perpetuation of the paternal name and perpetuation of the possession of property.

My Provider (Urban Rescue) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMSyWO2vSWY

I believe You are able

I believe you are good

I believe you are with me

Even now

 

I believe You are greater

Than every mountain that I face

I believe You will supply all I need

You’re all I need

 

Till the ocean runs dry

My god is my provider

 

Though my heart it may fail

Your love will light the way

 

And if there’s one thing I know

I know that You are with me

You’re my provider

 

Would You speak, I am listening

I can’t do this on my own

So I lift up my eyes

For my help is found in You

Found in You

 


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Ruth: Loss to Legacy

Week Two – Day 5WK02D05

Read Ruth 2:18-23; Psalm 119:68                               SOAP Ruth 2:20

Naomi calls Boaz “one of our redeemers.” What does she mean by this?

In Chapter 1 we see Naomi really struggling. Do you think verse 20 indicates a change in perspective and attitude? Why or why not?

17 So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah[b] of barley. 18 And she took it up and went into the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also brought out and gave her what food she had left over after being satisfied. 19 And her mother-in-law said to her, “Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.” So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, “The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz.”20 And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Naomi also said to her, “The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.” 21 And Ruth the Moabite said, “Besides, he said to me, ‘You shall keep close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.’” 22 And Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, lest in another field you be assaulted.” 23 So she kept close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests. And she lived with her mother-in-law.

Psalm 119:68 (ESV) – 68 You are good and do good; teach my Your statutes.

O – Ruth worked in the field until evening, then readied the wheat that she had gleaned, and ended up with an ephah of barley. (An ephah was about 3/5 bushel or 22 liters.)  She carried it home to Naomi, along with the left over food from lunch with Boaz.  Naomi started asking questions, and each time, it reveals the plan of God and protection that Boaz offered.

  • Where did you glean? Where did you work? (Blessed is the man who “noticed” you!) – Boaz’s field
  • Boaz was to be blessed by the Lord – as he did not forsake the living (Naomi) and the dead (Elimelech)
  • Boaz is a close relative – one of our “redeemers”
  • “By the way – Boaz told me to keep close to his workers until they finished harvest “– thereby giving Ruth and Naomi a source of food
  • Naomi agrees, thinking that in another field, Ruth might be assaulted

 

This is the point of the story when the concept of “redeemer” is introduced.  The “kinsman-redeemer” or “close relative” (qarob) refers to “one who is near – a close relative.

Amplified Bible footnote:  According to OT law (Lev 25:25), if an Israelite became so impoverished that he sold his property, his closest relative was to buy it back, so that the land would remain within the family. Such a person was called a redeemer. Another law stated that if a married man died childless, his brother was obligated to marry his widow and raise a son in the deceased brother’s name, so that the name would be carried on in Israel (Deut 25:5-10; cf Gen 38:8-10). Being aware of these laws and their applications by the scholars of that time, Naomi conceived of a plan (see ch 3:1-4) that might bring Ruth and Boaz together by having Boaz serve as a redeemer both to purchase a field that Naomi owned, and to fulfill the obligation of Deut 25:5 ff by marrying Ruth.

Boaz was in the place, at that time, to not only buy or take over Elimelech’s field, but also to carry on the family name.  Did Naomi realize this when she sent Ruth out to glean??

A – What is my take-away for today?

Take one:  Ruth was a worker!   She gathered an ephah (22 liters) of wheat – after beating out the grain – in one day.  And she did this for six weeks or more, according to the calendar of harvest.    She served Naomi, but in so doing, also provided for herself.  There is no note of complaining, of bragging, or even of self-pity.   It is sharing, thinking of someone else’s needs, and working diligently.  Is that my attitude?   Do I self-lessly work to provide, or do I promote myself?  Do I complain, or thank God for His provision?

Take Two:  Naomi seems to “change her tune” from complaining and calling herself Mara (bitter), to a woman who blessed others (Boaz).  She is starting to take the focus off herself.   BUT – she is doing this because of what Ruth is doing….. going out to the field to glean.  Wiersbe’s comment hit me on our effect on others:

Wiersbe – It is encouraging to see the changes that have taken place in Naomi because of what Ruth did. God used Ruth to turn Naomi’s bitterness into gratitude, her unbelief into faith, and her despair into hope.

One person, trusting the Lord and obeying His will,
can change a situation from defeat to victory
 .

 

Does my life cause others to hope, or to change attitude or outlook?   Is my life an example of God’s grace and provision?

 

Take Three:   Where are my eyes?  What is my focus on?  Corrie Ten Boom’s quote also struck me:
Look at self and be distressed,
Look at others and be depressed,
Look at Jesus and you’ll be at rest!

-Corrie Ten Boom

 

I need to keep my eyes, my focus, on Jesus.  Jesus only.
P – Father God, thank You for Your continued provision in my life.  You have provided not only my physical needs, but my spiritual, my emotional, my heart needs as well.  You KNOW what I need, even before I know myself.  You work in my life so that I can serve You in Your strength.  Father, today, help me to live my life in such a way that others see YOU, not me.  Help me to be an example of Your grace and provision.  Help me to work today – to glorify You, not myself.  Amen.

Forever Reign (You are Good – Hillsong) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3f3sNiYpuF4

You are good You are good
When there’s nothing good in me
You are love You are love
On display for all to see
You are light You are light
When the darkness closes in
You are hope You are hope
You have covered all my sin

You are peace You are peace
When my fear is crippling
You are true You are true
Even in my wandering
You are joy You are joy
You’re the reason that I sing
You are life You are life
In You death has lost its sting

I’m running to Your arms
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

You are more You are more
Than my words will ever say
You are Lord You are Lord
All creation will proclaim
You are here You are here
In Your presence I’m made whole
You are…