>>>> Ruth, The Moabite <<<<
Studies From The Book Of Ruth
"But Ruth Clave unto her (Naomi)."
Ruth #1 AN EXAMPLE OF A STEADFAST LIFE:
By, James L. Thornton
From Ruth 1:1-22
There are many stories in the Bible that serve as an encouragement to our hearts. The story of Ruth is no exception. Many look at this little book, which was written during the time of the Judges, and see nothing more than a love story. However, while there is a love story of sorts in this book, that is the most shallow interpretation. The bigger picture is that of a lost sinner who, through divine guidance and providence, is brought into a relationship with Jehovah and is made to be an ancestor of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are taught in this book that God is not just the Savior of Israel, but that He is the Savior of the entire human race.
What I would like to do As An Introduction To This Book Of Ruth is to look into the verses we have chosen (1:1-22) and pull out a little snapshot of the heart of this woman named Ruth. In these verses and throughout this book as well, we see in Ruth a tremendous example of a steadfast life. She teaches us about remaining faithful even when others around us do not. Let us look into these verses and examine this Example Of A Steadfast Life.
Ruth 1:1-7, RUTH'S CONDITION:
Ruth 1:4, First Let Us Look At Her Ancestry: Ruth was a member of a condemned nation, Moab. She and her people were sinful and had been judged and condemned by the Lord. Her's was a desperate and lost condition.
In this, Ruth is a picture of each of person who is outside of a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. We were helpless and condemned before God. That condemnation fell upon us because of the sin of Adam, Romans 5:12, and we were all abiding under the wrath of God, John 3:36. The fact is, we were nothing but lost and undone sinners, Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
Ruth 1:5, Her Misfortune: This verse tells us that Ruth's husband and his brother both have died. These young women are left widows with no means of support and with no hope for the future. They faced a terrible trial. It seemed that there only hope was to return to the home of their father and hope another man would eventually marry them.
Again, in her condition, we can see a picture of humanity. The Bible tells us that life will be filled with troubles and afflictions, Job 14:1. This is especially true in the lives of the lost - Proverbs 13:15.
Ruth 1:6-7, Her Ambition: - Naomi has heard that the famine that caused her family to leave Bethlehem to begin with has ended and that there is bread in the land. So, she rises up to go home, and her two daughter-in-laws rise up to go with her.
It seems that Ruth and Orpah had seen or heard something from the lives of these Israelites that spoke to their hearts. It may be that even while they were in a condemned land that they continued to speak of Jehovah. Maybe it is the fact that these girls have married into an Israelite family. Whatever the case it is worthy to note that both of these young women, in the beginning, made the decision to follow Naomi back to Israel.
That is precisely how the new life begins! A conscious decision is made to leave the old life behind and to go with Jesus into a new life in Him. I wonder have you made that decision in your life? That is the starting point. That is where new life begins. We must be sure that we have indeed decided to follow Jesus. I remember the words of a song, “I have decided to follow Jesus.”
Ruth 1:8-15, RUTH IS CHALLENGED:\
Ruth 1:8-9, As they begin their journey, Naomi encourages both of these girls to return to the home of their mothers. She prays that the Lord will bless them, but she intends to send them away. Such is the condition of Naomi's heart that she would try to keep these women from going with her into the promised land of blessing.
Basically, this boils down to a challenge to the commitment made by these women. They are challenged to give up their resolve to follow Naomi and they are tempted to turn back to a life of heathenism and wickedness. In case you haven't noticed, life is filled with challenges. Satan would love nothing better than to get you side-tracked and mess up your Christian life. He will confront you with challenge after challenge to get you to turn your back on the Lord.
How you respond to these challenges reveals a great deal about the level of your commitment. In these verses, we get an opportunity to see Ruth's heart put on display.
Ruth 1:10-13, Naomi tries to persuade these women to go home because she has no more sons to marry the women and give them children under the law of the Levirate Marriage. And, even if she remarried and had children, these girls couldn't be expected to wait until these new sons were grown.
This is just another attempt to get these girls to go back to their families. You see, if you do not respond to one of Satan's challenges, he will try another. His ambition is to get you to fail and to discredit the Lord Jesus through your life.
How do you react to the challenges you face? Many people react to challenges by turning away from the Lord. You can see it happening in their lives. However, like Job, the challenges of life should drive us closer to the Lord, Job 1:20-21.
THE RESPONSES OF THESE TWO WOMEN:
Ruth 1:14, A Turning Back: When Orpah heard this speech, she kissed her mother-in-law and turned around and went home.
I am afraid that there are a lot of people around who are just like Orpah. They face the challenges of life by defecting and going back to do their own thing. Please don't let this be the way you react to life's challenges. The problem with Orpah was that her heart was still filled with love for the old gods and the old people. She was still a Moabite. Her heart had never been changed.
Ruth 1:14b-15, An Examination Of Commitment: After Orpah leaves, Ruth clings to Naomi. She is determined to stay with her mother-in-law. This allows us a glimpse into her heart. She shows us, by here actions that which is the best response in a time of challenge. The heart Ruth reveals to us is one of absolute devotion and commitment.
You see, instead of driving us away from our commitments, the challenges of life should cause us to cleave to Him more strongly. In her commitment, Ruth demonstrates the fact that her heart had been changed and she was willing to follow a new Lord into a new land to live a new life.
Ruth 1:16-22, RUTH'S COMMITMENT:
V. 16, She Commits To A New Land: She is willing to follow Naomi where ever she goes. She is willing to leave Moab behind forever and to follow Naomi to Israel.
V. 16, She Commits To A New Leadership: She is willing to submit to Naomi and to allow Naomi to guide her life. (Ill. This is seen in the various times that Naomi gives Ruth advise concerning the manners and customs of Israel.)
V. 16, She Commits To A New Lifestyle: She is willing to give up all the old ways of Moab and to conform her life to the way people live in Israel. She is ready to make a dramatic change in her life.
V. 16, She Commits To A New Lineage: Ruth is willing to cut all ties with Moab. She wants to be a part of the nation which she has married into. She is ready to claim a new lineage.
V. 16, She Commits To A New Lord: This is perhaps the greatest statement Ruth makes. She is willing to give up the gods of Moab and follow the true and living God of Israel. This statement is her declaration of faith in Jehovah God.
V. 17, She Commits With No Limits: - She tells Naomi that she is willing to commit to this new plan for life for as long as she lives. She even invokes the curse of God upon her life if she lets anything but death come between her and the commitment she has made.
As we consider the commitment Ruth made to Naomi, it paints a picture for us of the commitment we should be willing to make to the Lord Jesus Christ.
We should be willing to cut all ties with the old life and enter into a new land of blessing before the Lord.
We must be willing to commit to His leadership for our lives.
There should be a commitment to a new lifestyle based on the Word and will of God.
We should also consider ourselves dead to the old life and alive in a new relationship to the Lord Jesus. Our lineage has changed!
Obviously, this all means that there must be a new Lord, a new Master Who dominates every area of our lives.
Then, we should be willing to commit to the Lord and His will without any restrictions. Our commitment to Jesus Christ must be complete. It must be absolute and it must be final!
Does this describe the life you live? Or have there been areas where you can see you commitment slacking off? Can you honestly say that no matter what happens in life, you are 100%, absolutely and completely dedicated to serving Jesus, both now and forever?
Ruth lived a consistent and steadfast life. She was brought into Israel, married an Israelite man named Boaz and became a part of the covenant people of the Lord. She was accepted into the Lord’s Family. She became the great-grandmother to King David and an ancestor of the Lord Jesus Christ.
All of this came to pass in her life because she was unwilling to change her mind, change her devotion or to change her direction. She kept on going in the face of adversity and she did not give up. Can the same be said about you this evening?
Are you living a life that is “steadfast and unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,” 1 Corinthians 15:58? Or has your devotion to the Lord tended to fluctuate with the changing tides of life?
You know, you need God today, but you don't serve Him tomorrow. Where is your heart tonight? Are you more like Orpah who chose the easy path? Or, are you like Ruth who persevered through her difficulties to win the ultimate victory of faith?
Are there issues that you need to get settled with the Lord this evening? If so, this altar is open for your use. Please use it as the Lord leads.
By, James L. Thornton
Ruth #2 BEWARE OF THE ROAD TO MOAB
By, James L. Thornton
Introduction: From Ruth 1:1-7
The context of the book of Ruth. It is the story of how a pagan girl named Ruth came to be part of the covenant people of Israel. In the 85 verses that make up the book of Ruth, we see this young woman as she is pursued by grace, saved by grace, and delivered from her wretched past. It is a story of redemption, of love, of grace and of hope. It is a story we need to become familiar with on a very intimate level.
In these first seven verses of Ruth we are introduced to the family of a man named Elimelech who lived during the days of the Judges, v. 1. These verses paint a sad portrait of a man who chooses to walk out on the Lord and on God’s plan for his life. As a result of his decision, he and his family pay a terribly high price.
We are told that Elimelech takes his family to a place called Moab. The land of Moab was just across the Jordan River, east of the Promised Land. The Moabites were descended from a man named Moab. He was the son of an incestuous relationship between Lot and one of his daughters, Genesis 19:30-38.
The Moabites were a proud people noted for their lawlessness, immorality and brutality, Leviticus 18:24-25; Deuteronomy 9:4-5; Isaiah 16:6; Psaalm 60:8. They attacked and opposed Israel. They even sought to destroy the people of God while they wandered in the wilderness, Numbers 23-25; Deuteronomy 23:3-6.
The Moabites were pagan idolaters who were opposed to God and His ways. In Psalm 60:8, God says this, “Moab is my washpot...” This phrase means that they were “a despised thing; a vessel used by slaves to collect water for washing feet.”
They were a wretchedly sinful people destined for judgment and lowest forms of slavery!
It is to this despised and wicked nation that Elimelech moves his family. In Elimelech we see a picture of that person who willingly turns his back on the things of God and pays an awful price. This passage sends out a clear warning to those who have chosen to walk away from the Lord and His will for their lives; and to those who may chose to do so in the future.
Let me share a few thoughts offered in this text on the subject,
Beware Of The Road To Moab.
IT WAS A TIME OF DESPERATE CIRCUMSTANCES:
Ruth 1:1a. “Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land.”
A. A Material Famine In The Land - Verse 1 describes the situation that Elimelech and his family faced by telling us that there was “a famine in the land.” A famine is an extended dearth. It is a time when food is in serious shortage. While there was a shortage of foods in the land at that time, it wasn’t the only famine the people of Israel faced.
B. A Moral Famine In The Land - Verse 1 tells us that this story takes place during the time of the Judges. The attitude of the people during those days is summed up in the last verse of the book of Judges, Judges 21:25. It can best be described as a time of turbulence and social upheaval. They were days marked by lawlessness, idolatry, false religion, theft, drunkenness, homosexuality, sexual perversion, violence, national division, civil war and extreme unbelief.
Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Of course, when man “does that which is right in his own eyes”, what else should we expect?
C. A Missionary Famine In The Land Often, in the Old Testament period, God used famine as a tool of discipline. When His people, who were to be a light to the Gentiles, strayed away from Him, He would reach out to them to call them back to Himself by orchestrating a famine, Deut. 11:16- 17; 2 Chron. 7:13-14.
Often, as we pass through this life, God will orchestrate these famine experiences for us as well. It may take the form of a financial famine, when there is more month than money.
It may take the place of a physical famine where health and well being become elusive. There may be a spiritual famine when the heavens become brass and the Lord seems very far away. Whatever form it takes, it is a famine in your life.
God’s intention during those times of life is not to drive you away from Him, but it is to draw you home. He may be trying to correct you, Revelation 3:19; or He may be trying to perfect you, 2 Cor. 12:9. How you react to your famine experience determines whether it becomes a time of blessing in your life or a time of devastation.
IT WAS A TIME OF DANGEROUS CHOICES
Ruth 1:1b “And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.”
As we will see in these verses Elimelech did not respond correctly to what the Lord was doing in his life. Notice three mistakes he and his family made during this famine experience.
A. V. 1 Chose To Leave The Promised Land - Verse 1 tells us that this man made a conscious decision to leave “Bethlehem-Judah” for the country of Moab. The name “Bethlehem” means “House of Bread” and the name “Judah” means “Praise”.
At the present time neither of those places was living up to their names. There was no bread in “The House Of Bread” and there was no reason for rejoicing in “Praise”.
However, while the geographic locations failed to live up to their names, so did Elimelech! His name means “My God Is King.” If Elimelech had been living up to his n name, he would have known that God’s valleys do not last forever and that God would have taken care of His people. He placed the physical ahead of the spiritual. He walked by sight and not by faith!
After all, Elimelech had a close relative name Boaz. He stayed in Bethlehem and seemed to do quite well in spite of the famine, Ruth 2:1. Yet, Elimelech chose to leave his inheritance in the Promised Land and head off to a land where God would not bless him.
This is a scene repeated countless times in the family of God. Here is a person who says they are a “Christian”. That is a name that means “Christ-like One.” Yet, when a famine comes in their life, they run out on God. Maybe things didn’t go their way at church. Maybe a trial arose in their life and they were blind sided by it. Maybe they were placed in a financial crisis and placed God after income. Maybe they just came to love the world more than they loved the Lord.
Whatever the reason, they chose to walk out of the promised land of God’s blessing and to head off into the world to live life on their own terms. There is a word for that kind of behavior: Backsliding! I am afraid that more believers are in that shape than are willing to admit it today.
V. 1 They Chose To Live In A Polluted Land – In leaving Israel to go to Moab Elimelech violated the clear commandment of the Lord, Joshua 23:7, 12. Yet, Elimelech chose the forbidden path to Moab over contentment in the will of the Lord. To turn your back on your inheritance as Elimelech did was equivalent to denying the faith of Jehovah. It was a total turning from God to the world.
You see, for Elimelech and his family, this move to Moab involved total separation from the things of God. They could not worship at the tabernacle, they could not bring their offerings, and they could not keep the feasts that were commanded by the Law. They were totally isolated from everything having to do with God.
Not only that, but by moving his family to Moab, Elimelech exposed his family to evils they would have avoided had they stayed in Israel. You see, both of those boys married pagan women. It is never right for a child of God to marry an unbeliever, 2 Corinthians 6:14. These men violated the will of God by intermingling with this pagan race, Ezra 9:1-2; Nehemiah 13:23.
Again, how many times do we see this same thing repeated in the lives of those who call themselves God’s children? When a believer walks away from the things of the Lord, he or she cannot possibly serve the Lord as they should. Friend, there is no way to be right with the Lord as long as you are separated from the things of God! When His Word, His work, His worship and His will are not priorities in your life, it doesn’t matter what you mouth says, your life says that you are away from the Lord.
The believer who walks away from the things of the Lord is saying, “God wasn’t as good to me as I thought He should be. He mistreated me, therefore He isn’t worthy of my love and devotion.” It is a choice that always leads downward.
If you walk out on God, you will find yourself doing things you never thought possible. You will see yourself involved in wrong relationship and worldly activities. It is a dangerous thing to choose the world over the Lord!)
V. 2 They Chose To Linger In A Prodigal Land This family went to Moab and there they stayed. The word “continued” means “to exist or to become.” This may indicate that not only did Elimelech and his family go into Moab, but that Moab got into them as well. Who knows how far into the sin and society of Moab this family fell. I am sure when they left they told themselves that it would only last a short time, Ill. “Sojourn” = “to turn aside for a short time”.
But the days turned into weeks, the weeks into months and the months into years. Before they knew it, 10 years had passed, v. 4, and they were farther away from the Lord than could have ever imagined themselves being.
What an example of the deceptive nature of sin. There are people who are in Moab today in your heart and you can’t even see it! For whatever reason, you have decided that God and His plan for your life do not suit you.
Maybe you are struggling against something He had brought to pass in your life. Whatever the reason, you are away from Him today. You probably never thought you would get as far as you have, or that you would stay as long as you have.
Here’s how it works. Someone gets offended in a church. It is a time of spiritual famine. Maybe that person has always been very active and faithful to the things of God. Now, they are offended and they leave that church. Or, maybe they aren’t offended, maybe they “felt led” to go somewhere else. I always get nervous when someone tells me that! It usually means they are headed to Moab.
Anyway, they wander around trying to find a new church home. But, they only visit other churches on Sunday morning. After a while, they find a church to settle down in. They join that church. But, now they only attend on Sunday morning. They just can’t seem to get back “in the habit” of attending regularly. Why?They went to Moab and have never come back!
Maybe it happened like this: it got to be a burden to get to church Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. So you decided to take a Wednesday here and there. Before you knew it, you were missing a Sunday evening as well. Then, all of a sudden, Sunday morning became too much; and your church attendance has become hit and miss. You never intended for it to happen, but you went to Moab and you never came back!
That’s not your story? Then try this one on for size. A financial need arose in your life. You know a famine of sorts. Instead of considering that maybe God sent it to help you grow in Him, you went out and got you a second job. Now, you know it will involve your missing church now and then, but you got to make ends meet, right?
Well, before you know it, you are out of the church, out of the Lord’s will and in trouble spiritually. What happened? You went down to Moab and you never came back!
Of course, it could be like this: you started to allow little things in your life that had always been out of the question. Before you knew it, you were doing things you never thought you would ever do again. You began to let little words slip. You tolerated sinful programs on TV. You indulged the crude speech and wicked humor of your friends. Then, you found yourself living just like the lost world around you.
You neverthought it would happen, but you went to Moab and you “continued” there! You need to come back!
Before I leave this thought behind, I want to remind you that going to Moab doesn’t have to involve an actual, physical move. There are people who attend church regularly; pay their tithes; live clean, moral lives, but they are in Moab today.
You see, we go to Moab spiritually when we allow our attitude to get bad. When we become critical, quick to find fault in others, but remain blind to the fault in our own hearts, we have gone to Moab. When we use our tongues as weapons instead of witnessing tools, we have gone to Moab. When we harbor grudges and ill will toward others, we have gone to Moab. Not all the prodigals leave the Father’s house, though they are miles away spiritually. (read Luke 15:11)
If I have described your situation today; it is not my intention to rub salt in your wounds. My goal is to help you get out of Moab and back to the “House of Bread” and the place of “Praise”. Sometimes, the only way that will ever happen is for us to be confronted about our sins and our backsliding.
Ruth 1:2-5 A TIME OF DEADLY CONSEQUENCES:
Sin always carries with it harsh consequences.
Ruth 1:2 There Was Discipline In That Home Before Elimelech loaded up his family to move to Moab, it is likely that he had already moved away from God in his heart. You see, no one just wakes up one morning and decides to leave God behind. It is a slow subtle process that builds until the believer has moved farther away from the Lord than he could have ever anticipated.
The reason I say there was discipline in that home lies in the names of Elimelech’s sons. There names were Mahlon which means “Sick” and Chilion which means “Pining, or Wasting Away.” It may be that these two boys were just the victims of circumstance. But, if you believe that, then you don’t believe in a God of providence. I think God was trying to get Elimelech’s attention long before he ever left for Moab.
He will do the same in your life as well. When an old, cold, backslidden spirit begins to manifest itself in your life, God will begin the process of speaking to your heart. He may do it in a still small voice like He did with Elijah,
1 Kings 19:12. Or, He may do with the thundering voice of a man of God as He did with David, 2 Samuel 12:7. He may use subtle means, or He may use direct means, but if you are His, He will reach out to you to bring you home again, Revelation 3:19; Hebrews 12:6-11.)
Ruth 1:3-5 There Was Death In That Home In spite of his relationship to the Lord; in spite of the blessings of God in his life; in spite of the intervention of the Lord in his family; Elimelech moved to Moab. What was a reality in his heart became a reality in his life!
After he was there for some time, he died. After a while, his sons were also taken in death. It is my opinion that God used the ultimate form of discipline in the lives of Elimelech and his family in order to bring the remainder of the family back to God.
You see, the famine in Bethlehem was a call to repent. Those sick sons were a call to repent. God gave this family ten years of rope, but time finally ran out and they paid the ultimate price for their disobedience. It is sad, but it is also true, God will use whatever means that He deems necessary to bring you home again! If you are His, you will not run from Him forever. He will discipline your life and if you do not repent, He will take you home,
1 John 5:16; 1 Corinthians 5:5.
Ruth 1:5 There Was Defeat In That Home Naomi and her two daughters-in-law were left desolate. In that society, the poorest of the poor were widows with no children to care for them. These women were left with nothing but desolation, discouragement and defeat. It didn’t have to be, but because of sin, they were forced to pay a horrible price.
All Naomi had to show for years of disobedience and backsliding were three tombstones in the land of Moab. All she had left were her daughters-in-law and she couldn’t even provide for them.
These women were in a desperate condition. Such is the nature of sin. It never brings anything good into our lives. While it may give those who wander off into it some pleasure in the flesh in the short term, Hebrews 11:25, all it can produce in the long term are death, defeat and discouragement. If you want to destroy your family, devastate your life and doom those you love, just wander off to your Moab and stay there. There is a price to pay! You see, sin brings its own club, Proverbs 13:15; Romans 6:21.
So, put the things of God last in your life and see how your children treat them when they grow up. Go ahead and indulge your flesh and its sinful appetites and see what good comes of it. When sickness, when chastisement, when defeat, disillusionment and discouragement come, just remember, you are reaping the harvest you foolishly sowed, Galatians 6:9. Brother, the time to repent is now.
A TIME OF DELIBERATE CHANGES:
Ruth 1:6. “Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread. 7 Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.
These last two verses of our text will help us to leave this message with a little hope. Out of death and defeat we can catch a glimpse of life and victory in the actions of Naomi.
Ruth 1:6 A Time Realization Somehow or another Naomi heard that the Lord was again blessing His people. In truth, He had never stopped blessing! Did you know His chastisement is also His blessing? If he didn’t love you He wouldn’t chastise you when you failed.
Anyway, someone came into Moab with the good news that God was blessing back in Israel. This sparked a desire in her heart to go home.
Maybe she remembered what it was like to be close to the things of God.
Maybe she remembered the sacrifices and the worship.
Maybe she missed the sweet fellowship she had enjoyed with the people of God.
Whatever the thoughts were that went through her head; she finally woke up in Moab and wanted to go home. This is what happened to the Prodigal Son, Luke 15:17, “And when he came to himself...” (Being in a Backslidden condition is a form of insanity.) When that boy saw where he was and what he was missing out on, he wanted to go home. So it was with Naomi.
Sooner or later, all those who wander away from the Father’s house come to that time of realization. There will come a time when the fog and haze of sin will clear away for a moment and in that moment of clarity, the backslider will just where he is and how far he has fallen. He will hear the tender voice of the Lord saying, “There’s bread in my house. Come home!”
That moment is a defining moment in the life of the person who is away from the Lord. If they, like Naomi, will remember and will arise and head back, they will reenter the realm of blessing and hope. If they continue on in their sins and their wanderings, they will open themselves up to progressively harsher chastisements. What is the Lord saying to your heart today?
Ruth 1:6-7 A Time Of Repentance: - The Bible says that she “Arose...that she might return from the country of Moab”, v. 6; and “Wherefore she went out of the place where she was...”
Naomi rose up and left Moab behind! She experienced a change of heart that resulted in a change of action. She is a picture of someone repenting of their time in Moab and returning home.
If you are guilty of going away from God into Moab, then you need to do what Naomi did. Can you see that it was better back at the Father’s house? Can you remember the times when the Lord met with your soul in sweet communion? Are you looking back at a time when you were closer to the Lord and served Him more faithfully and fervently than you do today? It is time to come home. It is time to bring that sin, that attitude, that problem, that hurt, or whatever it is to the altar and let God have it.
It is time to repent of your sins and come home to the Father! It is time to leave your Moab behind you, to get out of that place and to get back to the Lord! If you will, He will receive you and He will balance the books of your life, 1 John 1:9.
Ruth 1:7 A Time Of Returning: Naomi rose up and went on her way to return to the land of Judah. She was headed back to the land of “Praise”. She was going back to where she should have been all along! She was going home!
Did you know that God never saved you so that you could wander off into sin? He saved you so that you might worship Him in spirit and in truth. He saved you so that you might be used of Him for His glory. He saved you so that you might live a life filled with joy, peace and the glory of God. But, that will never be true as long as you choose to remain in Moab. You see, dwelling in Moab will rob you of your peace, of your joy, of your praise, of your usefulness to the Lord. It will kill anything in you that God can use to help you and to bless you.
If you are there today, please return to the place of praise. Please come back to the Father today!)
Conclusion: When Naomi went into Moab, by her own testimony, she went in full, Ruth 1:21. When she came out, she came out empty. All of her hopes, all of her dreams and all of her to morrows were reduced to three tombstones in a place called Moab. When she left that country she left everything she valued behind. When you go to Moab, you always leave something.
Naomi left three tombstones in her Moab, what will you leave behind? Will you leave your testimony? Will you leave your innocence? Will you leave your health? Will you leave your wealth? Will you leave your family?
What will your journey away from God cost you? Whatever it is, it will cost less to come home today than it will if you wait to a later date. You will leave less behind if you come now than if you wait until later. God can salvage more from your life now than He can if you linger in that polluted land.
By the way if you are lost, this message is for you too. God is calling you to leave your wretched life of sin behind and to come to Him and be saved. If you linger there away from Him, you will pay the ultimate price. You will lose your soul in Hell! It doesn’t have to be that way. If the Lord is calling you to be saved, get to Him today and let Him take care of that for you.
By, James L. Thornton
THREE WIDOWS IN A WASHPOT
By, James L Thornton
Introduction: The book of Ruth opens with a tragedy and ends with a victory. It is the story of how God took a Moabite girl by the name of Ruth, brought her out of death and darkness and made her part of the covenant people of Israel. It is the story of how this woman was transformed from a lost sinner to an ancestor of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the story of a sinner being pursued by grace.
This passage opens with three widows, Naomi and her two daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth. These three widows have just lost their husbands. Now, they are left destitute in the country of Moab with little or no hope for the future. Ruth and Orpah were natives of Moab, but Naomi was a native of Judah. She was a Jew and she knew the Lord. And she had no business being in the land of Moab, a place called “God's washpot” Psalm 60:8.
By the way, the term "washpot" is a term of utter contempt. By calling Moab this, God says they are lower than the lowest slave, but are like the pot the slaves use to wash the feet of superiors. Now, after the death of her husband, verses 6-7 tell us that she is determined to return to the place where the Lord was blessing His people.
The Bible presents three women for us in this passage. Three women who are in a terrible situation and are widows because they are paying the price for leaving Bethel, the ‘House Of Bread.’ All Naomi has to show for her time in Moab is three tombstones in a washpot called Moab. How they respond to their situation can teach us much about how we should react when we find ourselves away from the Lord and in trouble because of sin. Let's take the time this morning to observe these three women as we consider the thought Three Widows In A Washpot.
Ruth 1:8-13 ONE WIDOW IN THE PLACE OF DEFEAT:
Naomi is a picture of a child of God who has grown cold and in the Lord.
The Cause Of Her Defeat: Can be traced to verses 1-5. There is always a high price tag on leaving the land that God has blessed us with. (Galatians 6:9; Proverbs 13:15). No good will ever result from a child of God leaving the Church.
Ruth 1:8-13a The Completeness Of Her Defeat: As you listen to Naomi's words, you can easily see that she is completely defeated and stripped of hope.
Ruth 1:8-9 No Hope For Today: -She has nothing with which to take care of herself or her daughters-in-law. She has no income, no place to live. She has nothing left but the Lord. She doesn't realize it now, but He is always more than enough.
Ruth 1:11-13a No Hope For Tomorrow: - Even her future is bleak. She has no husband, will have no more sons, she has nothing to look forward to in her life but grief and pain over the price being paid for leaving Bethel. When she speaks of her future, she is speaking of the law of the Levirate marriage, Deuteronomy 25:5.
Ruth 1:8-9, 15 The Consequences Of Her Defeat: Naomi actually encouraged Ruth and Orpah to return to their pagan gods and wicked lifestyles. She tells them that they will be better off in Moab. They might not be accepted in Israel. They will find husbands of "their own kind." She has lost all her ability to be a powerful witness for the glory of God. No child of God should ever be guilty of hindering others from coming to Jesus Christ! We are to try to bring them in, not turn them away.
Ruth 1:14-15 ONE WIDOW IN THE PLACE OF DEPARTURE:
Orpah is a picture of a lost person who looks into the things of God and turns back to a life of sin without believing or embracing them.
Orpah Returned To Her Relatives: Often family ties and affections are a hindrance to some people's receiving the Lord.
She Returned To Her Religion: -Evidently, even after all she had heard and seen of the God of Israel, her gods were still the object of her love and devotion.
She Returned To Her Reality: Orpah would have never been happy in Israel. She was still tied completely to Moab in her heart. The tragedy of a lost church member. Orpah is a picture of that person who is a "mere professor" of faith in the Lord. She walked away from the light and is never heard from again. Her eternal destiny is not hard to figure, Psalm 9:17. Don't turn your back on Jesus, He is the only hope you have, John 14:6.
Ruth 1:15-18 ONE WIDOW IN THE PLACE OF DECISION:
Ruth is a picture of that lost sinner who looks into the things of God and believes them by faith. She is a real possessor. She enters the family of God and makes a total commitment to follow the Lord forever.
Ruth 1:16a. Ruth Decides To Follow: Even though Naomi has nothing to offer her, come what may, Ruth decides that she will follow Naomi. Evidently, something (Someone) had worked in her heart. She is proof positive that God will speak to the hearts of sinners regardless of what His people do. Thank God for those who love Him even when He doesn't give them things.
How important was this decision? It determined that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. What have you decided concerning Jesus?
Ruth 1:16b Ruth Decides By Faith: - She adopts a new family and a new Lord by faith. She received a new life and a new Lord because she exercised faith. Everything changes at Calvary. 2 Corinthians 5:17; Luke 4:18;
Romans 6:6. In Jesus, we are new and free.
Ruth 1:17 Ruth Decides Finally And Fully: She makes a total commitment that extends all the way to death. She devotes every second of every remaining day to walking with the Lord. For her, there would be no looking back. What's back there anyway? Death, Defeat, Darkness and doom. Genuine Christianity is about a total commitment, (Matthew 16:24; Luke 14:26-27, 33.) Is your all His? Are you all His?
Conclision: Which of these poor widows best represents the life you are living right now? Are you like Naomi, a person who knows the Lord but needs to return to the place of blessing?
Could you be an Orpah, you have looked into the things of the Lord and have decided not to follow Him, but have chosen your life and your sin over the will of God?
Or, would you be like Ruth, you have made your decision to follow the Lord, come what may, until He takes you home? Which of these women best represents the life you are living right now?
If you are saved and away from the Lord, I invite you to come home. If you are lost and are thinking about a life of faith, I invite you to receive Jesus today. If you are saved, secure and settled I invite you to come before Him to worship, praise and thank Him for grace.
By, James L. Thornton
On The way Home
Ruth #4 COMING HOME THE HARD WAY
By, James L. Thornton
From Ruth 1:19-22
Introduction: A foolish old farmer, so the story goes, concluded one day that the oats he had fed his mule for years were simply costing him too much. So he hatched a plan: he mixed a little sawdust in with the feed, and then a little more the next day, and even more the next, each time reducing the amount of oats in the mix.
The mule didn't seem to notice the gradual change, so the farmer thought things were fine and kept decreasing the proportion of oats. But weeks later, on the day he finally fed the poor beast nothing but sawdust, the mule finished the meal and fell over dead.
A silly tale, perhaps, but it serves as a parable of the backslider--the Christian who slips further and further away from God through unrepented sin or neglect. Though we know our souls cannot survive on spiritual sawdust, we may well convince ourselves that a little won't hurt too much, and a little less real spiritual food won't be missed. Then, over time, the proportion of sawdust increases while the oats gradually disappear. Before long, the change is complete, and our starved, sawdust-stuffed spiritual life has collapsed.
Surely this is how Naomi found herself in Moab with a dead husband and two dead sons. She never meant for it to happen, but one day she woke up to find that she was miles away from where the Lord wanted her to be. This passage is all about how Naomi found her way home to Bethlehem and to the place of blessing.
I know that I am talking to some people who have allowed a little sin here or a little slackness there and today, you find yourself in a place, spiritually, that you never thought possible. You look around at all that you have lost as a result of your you backslidden condition and you wonder if there is hope for your spiritual restoration. The answer to that question is “Yes!” And this passage (Ruth 1:19-22) has something to say about how that can happen in your life. Let's watch as Naomi returns to Bethlehem and think on the thought “Coming Home The Hard Way.”
Ruth 1:19a, THE ARRIVAL IN BETHLEHEM:
The trip from Moab to Bethlehem would have taken between 7-10 days. It would have required them to cross the river Jordan and to climb the 2000 plus feet in elevation required to reach Bethlehem. It would have been easy to stop short of the city, but they continued until they were where they were supposed to be.
Repentance is the same way. Don't stop until you have come all the way back. There is no record of their conversation as they traveled. This reminds us that a person's repentance is a private matter. It is between them and the Lord and we cannot judge their condition by what they do or by what they don't do.
Coming To The City Of God's Praise: - (Judah = Praise) Bethlehem was the place where the Lord was honored and exalted. There was no praise in Naomi's heart when she was in Moab. That child of God who is away from the Father's house cannot have a heart of praise, nor can their life be honoring to the Lord!
Coming To The City Of God's Presence: - (Ruth 1:6) God had visited His people in Bethlehem. While Naomi was in Moab, she was away from the Lord's presence. When a saint is away from the Lord's will, away from Church, he cannot enjoy the presence of God! (Jonah - Jonah 1:3) When a believer returns, he can once again enjoy the blessed presence of the Lord, Psalm 16:11. “in thy presence is fulness of joy;”
Coming To The City Of God's Provision: - (Bethlehem = “House Of Bread”) It was in the city of Bethlehem that Naomi would find the best of God's provisions. It was thee where she could be fed. So it is with the saint. God's best blessings are reserved for those who will stay close to where He is working. Stay close to Him.
Coming To The City Of God's People: She returned to a place of kindred spirits and like-minded people. In Moab she was different. In Bethlehem, she belonged. So it is with the wayward child of God. Can you think of those who have wandered away from the place where God meets with His people? Thank God, they (or you) can come home again.
Ruth 1:19b-21, THE ANNOUNCEMENT TO BETHLEHEM:
“All the city was moved about them:” Means the city was disturbed and in an uproar. Naomi's return to Bethlehem alone, broke and in the company of a Gentile made news all over town.
Ruth 1:21, She Spoke Of God's Providence: “The LORD hath brought me home again.” She told of how the Lord worked to bring her home. I wonder how many times she had to tell of the death of her husband and her sons. Yet it was still home. “I will return to my father's house,” Luke 15:18. You can run from the Lord, but you cannot hide (Jonah).
Ruth 1:20-21, She Spoke Of God's Punishment “Hath testified; hath afflicted.” She seems to blame all this on the Lord, but it was all the result of her own choices. Her words revel her heart, “Call me not Naomi, call me Mara, I went out full came home empty...” “Naomi” = “Pleasant;” “Mara” = “Bitter.”
Evidently, Elimelech was a wealthy man when he left Bethlehem for Moab, v. 21 She left full and returned home empty. The Lord will fill you up, but the plan of the devil is to empty you out. God knows how to get our attention.
Ruth 1:21, She Spoke Of God's Patience: She and Eiimelech brought about their own troubles, but the Lord worked hard in her life to bring her home. Why her and not Elimelech, Mahlon and Chilion? Perhaps his heart was fixed, but Naomi's was still teachable, she had not allowed her heart to be hardened. Thank God for His patience in our lives.
Ruth 1:22, THE ANTICIPATION IN BETHLEHEM:
It Was A Time Of Sacrifice: The time of barley harvest was also the time of Passover. A time to shed the blood of the lamb and commemorate the deliverance of God's people from sin Exodus 12.
It is a picture of coming home through the blood, 1 John 1:7-10. Thank God the blood of the Lamb is sufficient to take care of the sins of the wayward saint.
It Was A Time Of Joy: This was also the time of the Feast of the Firstfruits, Leviticus 23:1-14. A time when the first of the barley harvest was offered in a wave offering before the Lord as an of gratitude for the harvest that was about to be reaped. “We shall come rejoicing bringing the sheaves.”
When the priest made the wave offering, he was saying, “This is just the first, there is more in the way.” Jesus is presented as the “Firstfruits from the dead” in the New Testament, (1 Corinthians 15:20; 23). It is always a time of harvest when a wandering child returns home. Remember the Prodigal?
It Was A Time Of Beginning: Naomi wanted her name to be changed to “Mara.” But, when the Holy Spirit mentions her in verse 22, He calls her “Naomi.” She may have been “bitter” in heart, but the Lord had some “pleasant” blessings ahead for this woman.
“Is this Naomi?” The people of Bethlehem were amazed at her appearance and problems, but the Lord was about to give her blessings and glories that she could not have been imagined! While people may mourn over the troubles of the sinner, but there is joy in heaven over a repentant sinner, Luke 15:7.
Conclusion: My friends, where has this message found you today? Has sin and worldly living stripped you of all the Lord has done in your life? Do you need a fresh start today?
Two thousand years ago Jesus Christ told the story of a boy who left his father’s house to find fun and adventure in the world. When he had lost everything he owned and wound up in a place he never thought he would be, he decided to go home. What he found was a father ready to forgive him, love him and restore him to a place of perfect fellowship and blessing. Is that what you need today? If so, then what you need is just steps away. Will you come?
Others need to come to the Lord for salvation. You have nothing but the sorrow of sin today and the prospect of Hell tomorrow. Jesus Christ died for you. If you will come to Him today, He will save you by His grace.
By, James L. Thornton
Ruth In The Field
Ruth # 5 SEARCHING FOR GRACE
By, James L. Thornton
Ruth 2:1. “And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz. 2. And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter. 3. And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.
WE WANT TO POINT OUT IN THESE LESSONS THAT NOTHING HAPPENS TO US BY CHANCE BUT THERE IS A HIGHER POWER DIRECTING US:
Introduction: There are three primary personalities that are presented in the book of Ruth. First, there is Naomi. She is a picture of a downcast believer. In chapter one, we are shown how she wandered away from her home and the terrible price she paid for leaving the promise land. We are also shown how, in the end, she returned to the place of blessing. She is a lesson in hope for everyone who has turned their backs on the things of the Lord.
Another of the persons we meet in this book is a man named Boaz. He is a clear picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. More will be said about him later in this lesson and in the next few lessons.
The third main character of this story is a Gentile girl named Ruth. She is a young lady from a pagan country who comes to know the true God. She is a picture in this passage of a brand new convert, a young Christian who is just beginning to learn about and grow in the things of the Lord. She is just beginning to experience the great blessings of the Lord and His grace.
As we look in on the activities of Ruth in these verses, we see a woman who is searching for grace (v. 2). I want to point out some elements of her search in this lesson. As I do, I want you to know that these elements reveal what ought to be the goal and focus of every genuine believer. Let's look in on Ruth as we see her Searching For Grace. Do not all of us need the grace (favor) of the Lord?
Ruth 2:2, THE PURPOSE IN HER SEARCH:
She Was Searching For Food: Ruth wants to go to the fields and glean ears of corn. She and Naomi need food to eat. The main thrust of her search is to find food for the body. She illustrates that desire that is birthed in the heart of the child of God at conversion: a desire to know more about the Lord and to grow in Him.
1 Peter 2:2. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”
Philippians 3:10. “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;”
It is learning to partake of the Word of God that causes growth in the life of a believer.
Ruth 2:2, She Was Searching For Favor: “I shall find grace.” Ruth was looking for some land owner who would be pleased to accept her and to allow her to glean in his fields. In spite of her nationality, in spite of her past, in spite of who she was, she was looking for grace.
She is a picture of that new born child of God who wants more than anything to please the Lord. Every dilemma is faced with regard to “What would Jesus do?” There is an overwhelming desire to just “please the Lord.” This is part of having the “first love” (Revelation 2:1-7.)
Many, like Ruth, worry about being accepted by the Lord. Friend, your past is no longer an issue if you are saved by the grace of God. He has given you a brand new start, 2 Corinthians 5:17. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
She Was Searching For Fulfillment: Her statement “Let me now go,” shows that she is itching to be a blessing to Naomi. Ruth simply wants to serve. In this she is again a picture of a new believer. When a person is saved by the grace of God, they want to do something for the glory of the Lord. They want to serve Jesus, like the man whom Jesus cast a thousand devils out of (Mark 5:18-20).
Ruth 2:3, HOW GOD DIRECTED HER SEARCH:
It Involved God's Command In The Past: Ruth went to a field and began to glean. She was allowed to do this because of a command that God had given in the ancient past, Leviticus 19:9. “And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. 10. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God.”
God had worked in her past to take care of her present need. The same is true in the life of the believer. Our present standing in Jesus was made possible because of what God did in the ancient past, We were chosen and elected in the past, Ephesians 1:4. “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:”
Jesus was provided for our salvation before man ever sinned, Revelation 13:8, 1 Peter 1:18-20. Everything we have and are today is a product of the past work of the Lord, and of His grace, 1 Corinthians 15:10. “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain;”
Ruth 2:3, It Involved God's Control In The Present: This verse says that it was her “hap” to go into a field owned by this man named Boaz. From a human perspective it looked as though it was purely coincidental. However, for God's perspective, it was sovereignty in action. He had already determined that there was going to be a wedding, and a baby for Ruth. Ruth doesn't know it, but the Lord is pulling all the strings of her life to get her in the right place at the right time.
Just as the Lord worked in Ruth's life He works in each of our lives. Nothing happens by accident.
The words accident, happenstance and coincidence do not exist in God's dictionary. He moves powerfully and providentially to bring about His will in your life and mine. That is why we can have confidence as believer.
God is always working and moving in our lives to accomplish one goal: He is reproducing His Son in every saint of God. Romans 8:28a. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son,”
Ruth 2:1, THE PERSON IN HER SEARCH:
She thought she was looking for a meal, but God was about to introduce her to a man. She went to find some food, God was about to give her a new family. Although Ruth doesn't know it right now, this Boaz is the real object of her search.
Notice what the Bible teaches us about this man:
Boaz Was A Related Man: This verse (v. 1) tells us that he was a “kinsman.” He was just what Ruth needed, although she didn't know it. Boaz was qualified to perform the function of the “Kinsman Redeemer” to these widows, according to the Law of God, Numbers 27:8-11. Boaz is a type of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. He became a “kinsman” to us so that He might redeem us from our sins, Philippians 2:5-8. Remember Job said, “I know that my redeemer lives.”
He Was A Rich Man: Boaz was “a mighty man of wealth.” This means that Boaz possessed all the necessary resources to carry out the task of redemption. No doubt if Elimelech had stayed home he would also have been wealthy now.
Jesus Christ also is a man of sufficient resources to carry out the plan of redemption.
Jesus possesses perfect righteousness, 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he (God) hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 1 Peter 2:22 “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:”
God possesses everlasting love for the fallen, John 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”
He possesses infinite grace, sufficient to save any soul that will bow to God in faith and repentance,
Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”
Jesus completed God's plan for your redemption in its entirety, and now God is satisfied, Isaiah 53:11. “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”
Salvation may be free, but it wasn't cheap. Still, you can be saved today if you will come to Jesus by faith.
Boaz Was A Respected Man: We are told that Boaz was “a mighty man.” His name means, “In it is strength.” It sounds as though he was a respected man. Some scholars believer that Boaz and Ibzan, an Israelite judge, Judges 12:8-10, are the same fellow. It is this man that Ruth will meet, fall in love with and come to know intimately.
Again, he is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ in that God has given Jesus an exalted Name, Philippians 2:9 “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Men may mock Him and use His name as a byword, but in Heaven, that Name evokes worship and celebration. Of course, one day, He will receive the respect He is due from all men, Romans 14:11. “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”
(It is far better to do it now than to wait until that day!)
Conclusion: I want to conclude this section from Ruth with three questions. They are simple. You know the answers and all you have to do is be honest in dealing with them.
1. Are you saved, a church member, a good person, truly born again?
2. If you are saved, can you honestly say that you are growing in the Lord as you should be? It is God's command and desire that we grow, 2 Peter 3:18.
3. Are you hungry for something in your spiritual life that you do not have right now? If so, it is available from the Lord, Psalm 84:11b. “No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”
Matthew 11:28. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
God has what each of you is looking for this day if you will come to Him and get it.
By, James L. Thornton
IN THE FIELD OF GRACE
By, James L. Thornton
Taken From Ruth 2:4-17, This is one of the grandest passages of scripture in the Old Testament. This whole incident belongs during the period of the Judges when the spiritual and religious and political system of the nation of Israel was at the lowest level of its entire history. Judges 21:25b “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” 1 Samuel 3:3 “And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, ..” It looked like everyone had backslid.
But I want us to look on at least one individual in one community that upheld every principal of religion in both the Old and New Testament. God has always had someone or in many cases many someones who are doing right. Elijah at one time told the Lord that he was only one doing right, but the Lord corrected him and told him He had seven thousand that had not bowed the knee to Baal (1 Kings 19:18).
Here in own chosen passage (Ruth 2:4-17) we meet a man by the name of Boaz who stands head and shoulders above most of the Old Testament characters, and I love every one of them.
Introduction: Ruth is a widow from Moab. In the mind of the average Israelite, she is less than nothing, a person to be despised and rejected. She is just a pagan sinner looking for a little grace (favor). Verses 2-3 tell us that she has gone to hunt for food. This involved her entering fields that belonged to total strangers, falling in line behind that man's servants who were reaping the fields and trying to find a little grain here and there.
She was looking for just enough to make a meal for herself and her mother-in-law. Verse 2 tells us that she went out looking “for grace.” Verse 3 tells us that she found it. Even though Ruth didn't know it at the time, God was directing her steps to bring her face to face with a man by the name of Boaz. When she went to glean in his field, she entered the field of grace.
Boaz is a clear picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. His actions in his field that day show us how the Lord Jesus acts toward those who are in His field, the Church. I want us to consider Ruth and Boaz today as we find them In The Field Of Grace. Notice the picture Boaz paints of Jesus and the lessons he teaches us about our Lord.
He Is Present In His Field: Ruth 2:4a “And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, ...” Even though he was a very rich landowner and had many workers to do the work for him, Boaz made it his business to visit his fields. The same is true of the Lord Jesus Christ; He is ever present in his fields, the Church. Listen to what he told His workers when He sent to the field, Matthew 28:20b. “And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
Jesus is walking in the midst of his Church, Revelation 2:1b. “who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;” These candlesticks represented the Churches to which John was to write, Revelation 1:20b.
His Presence Is Pleasant: Ruth 2:4b. “And said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.” Here we have the gracious greeting between Boaz and his servants. Jesus never brings strife, or trouble, but always the breath of Heaven and the fragrant breezes of glory. Psalm 16:11b. “In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
Wouldn’t it be a pleasure to work for someone who always came with such a greeting? It would make work much more enjoyable if the boss came out and greeted people pleasantly, especially reverently.
Boaz Inquires Concerning His Field: Ruth 2:5b. “Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this? 6. And the servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab: 7. And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house.”
Did you know that the heavenly Boaz misses nothing that transpires in His field, Proverbs 15:3 “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” The Lord's eyes are on His church and He misses nothing that happens. But, He is also interested in each individual.
Boaz’s Perception Is Personal: v. 5 “Whose damsel is this?” “Who is this girl?” “Where did she come from?” Ruth caught his eye, of all those in the field he took notice of her. I’m sure she was not the only poor person or stranger who took advantage of this field to glean in. Jesus loves the individual. You have caught His eye. He cares about you.
Boaz knew about Ruth’s background, her activities and her motives, he knew that she was a Gentile, a Moabite. Jesus knows everything there is to know about us, and yet He still loves us and desires to be with us. I find that amazing. He calls us saints and we are so pitiful. He calls us friends and we are such failures. That is grace, pure and simple.
Boaz Has A Few Words Of Counsel For Ruth: Ruth 2:8. “Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens: 9. Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.”
These commands are designed to encourage her in her work of gleaning. They also speak to us today as well.
Ruth 2:8-9a, Words Concerning Ruth's Steadfastness: She is commanded to glean in his fields only. Boaz has plans to take care of her. If she will abide in his field, she will enjoy the best he has to offer. The same is true for the child of God. If we will abide faithful in His field, He will bless us beyond our wildest dreams. The reason so many miss out on the Lord's best for their lives is that they glean here and there and never settle down and make the Lord's will their number one priority. We cannot glean here and there and expect God to bless us.
God is looking for faithful stewards, 1 Corinthians 4:1. “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”
Boaz Was Concerned About Ruth's Safety: Boaz has commanded the men to leave her alone. Boaz is making sure that no one takes unfair advantage of Ruth. He is telling her not to worry he has taken care of the details for her. She can trust him to look after her. What a lesson for the church. We can trust our Lord to take care of us. He is more concerned over our welfare than we are.
Concerning Ruth's Supply - Boaz makes sure she knows that he has everything she needs to be satisfied including food and water. She didn't even have to work to get any of it. So it is with the children of the Lord. He has all we need to be satisfied as we walk through this world if only we would learn to appropriate that which He has already provided. Jesus has and is all we need.
Jesus is rest for the weary: Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Psalm 23:2 “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.”
He is refreshment for the thirsty, John 7:37b “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.”
He is food for the hungry: John 6:35 “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger;” Psalm 23:5 “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:”
He is healing to the body:
Jesus is hope for the discouraged, Psalm 23:5 “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
He is shelter for the frightened, Psalm 23:4. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
Jesus is all you need: Have you discovered that truth yet? It is summed up in Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
Ruth Response to Boaz: Ruth 2:10 “Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?”
Ruth Finds Herself Humbled By Her Fortunate Circumstance: Most people would have counted it as “Good Luck” to have come to this particular field to glean that day. But Ruth realized she had found more that luck, it was “Grace” that she found. Ruth is emotionally charged by what Boaz has said.
There are times when the thought of what Jesus has done for you and me is overwhelming. Does grace still amaze you? We have received so much grace from the Lord that we should never forget it.
Boaz’s Comforting Words: Ruth 2:11 “And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore. 12 The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.”
Boaz tells Ruth that he knows about her deeds and he knows about her faith in the Lord. He prays that she will receive a full reward for the service she rendered to Naomi.
Just a word here for the struggling saint, There are times people may call into question your actions and your motives, but he Lord knows your heart, 1 Samuel 16:7. One day, there will be a full reward given to the faithful child of God, 2 Timothy 4:8 “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
Ruth’s Thankful Appeal: Ruth 2:13 “Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens.”
She is still looking for grace and doesn't even realize that she has walked right into the middle of a field full of grace. She just wants to “please him.” He has been good to her and she wants to do that which pleases him. This needs to be the goal of every child of God.
Stop trying to live pleasing to every body in the world and just live to please the Lord. That will make your life real simple, real fast. He is already pleased positionally (where we stand in His sight). We are as righteous as we are ever going to be, 1 Corinthians 6:11 “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
However, day by day, we need to live our lives in such a way that we please the Lord so that we may become more and more like Him. How do we do this? We do it by loving Him, worshiping Him, by putting Him ahead of everything else in this world.
Ruth 2:14, Boaz’s Acceptance: There are a few things that Boaz did in this verse that prove beyond all doubts that Ruth found favor in his eyes.
1. He Sat With Her: Boaz invited her to join him at the meal table and sat close enough to her to pass the corn.
2. He Served Her: “He reached her parched corn, and she did eat, …” He didn't care about her past. She had captured his heart.
Your past is no barrier between you and the Lord when it has been dealt with in salvation. You are brought into a position of nearness to Him. John at the last supper was close enough to feel the breath of the Lord on his head, John 13:25. He sits with us today. He serves us every time we read His word.
3. He Supped With Her: He allowed her to dip her bread in his vinegar. This was an intimate meal. This speaks of close fellowship. There are times in life when the Lord will “sup” with His children, Revelation 3:20 “I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” He desires that we be close to Him so that He might fill our lives with His best.
4. He Sufficed Her: When Ruth left that table she was satisfied. In fact she took of her leftovers home with her to Naomi, Ruth 2:18.
There is no need for any child of God to be unfulfilled as a believer. The Lord has provided all the resources we need to be filled above measure with His goodness and glory. Our duty is to receive what He gives us and to enjoy it to the full. We have already been blessed to the full, Ephesians 1:3. There is no excuse for defeat and dissatisfaction in the Christian life.
BOAZ CONTINUED TO WORK ON HER BEHALF:
Ruth 2:15 “And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not: 16. And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not. 17. So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley.
After Ruth left the table, Boaz continued to work in her absence. He was even working behind her back to take care of her.
A. A Work Of Providence: Boaz made some decisions behind the scenes that affected her life. He was working for her good, even when she did not know it. The Lord is always working behind the scenes in your life and mine to bring about His best for us. This is called Sovereignty and Providence.
B. A Work Of Provision: Boaz commanded his men to drop “handfuls on purpose.” Why? He wanted Ruth to get so much in his field that she would not want to go anywhere else. That is how the Lord operates on our behalf. He is so good to His children, that no one in their right spiritual mind would ever consider gleaning anywhere else. Praise God for His “Handfuls on Purpose,” those times when He blesses you just because He can.
C. A Work Of Plenty: When Ruth left that day, she left carrying a half-bushel of grain. “An ephah of barley.” This was enough to make 10 loaves of bread. More than enough to feed them for a week. There are times in life when the Lord will simply load your wagon. He will give you more than you need.
Conclusion: Ruth had no worries when she was in the field of grace. No one harassed her, no one hindered her. She rested when she was weary. She ate when she was hungry. She drank when she was thirsty. Every need was met by Boaz.
When you are saved and are gleaning in the field of the Lord's grace, you will find all you need.
Are you in that field?
Are you gleaning in that field?
Would you like to get into that field?
If so, there's still plenty to go around in the field of grace owned by our heavenly Boaz. If you need grace, you come to Him. In His presence, you will find all you will ever need.
By, James L. Thornton
GOOD NEWS FROM THE FIELD OF GRACE
By, James L. Thornton
Ruth 2:17. “So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley. 18. And she took it up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed. 19. And her mother in law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned to day? and where wroughtest thou? blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee. And she shewed her mother in law with whom she had wrought, and said, The man's name with whom I wrought to day is Boaz. 20. And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen. 21. And Ruth the Moabitess said, He said unto me also, Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest. 22. And Naomi said unto Ruth her daughter in law, It is good, my daughter, that thou go out with his maidens, that they meet thee not in any other field. 23. So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law.
Ruth the Moabitess has gone to the field of Boaz to glean barley. While she was there, she met the owner of the field. She caught his eye. She ate lunch at his table and he personally served her the food. When she left the field that day, she left with more than she bargained for. She returns home that evening weary and tired from her labors, but she has a tale to tell. All day, her mother-in-law Naomi would have been waiting for her to return with enough grain for a little meal. When Ruth does return, she is loaded down with enough grain to last them a week.
Not only does she have grain, but she has some good news to tell as well.
I want to share that good news with you in this lesson. It is news that we all need to hear, because this Good News From The Field Of Grace will help each of us to grow in our own walk with the Lord. There are some mighty big truths here for those willing to grab hold of them. Allow me to share with you this Good News From The Field Of Grace.
Ruth 2:17-18 GOOD NEWS ABOUT THEIR PROVISIONS:
V. 17 Provisions That Were Designed To Satisfy: When Ruth returns home, she has 25 lbs of barley. This is more than enough to feed these 2 women for a week. She went looking for enough for one meal and returned with enough to feed them for a week. Boaz wanted her to get so much in his field that she would never even dream of gleaning anywhere else.
This true of our Heavenly Boaz who is determined to bless His people, Ephesians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”
He wants to give you so much that you will never think of going anywhere else to glean. Ruth's words to Naomi in verse 21 serve to show them that the blessings would continue until the end of the harvest. The Lord doesn't intend to stop blessing you until you leave this world.
Then, the real blessings begin, Ephesians 2:7 “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
V. 18 Provisions That Were Designed To Impress: Can you see Ruth as she throws that 25 lb bag across her shoulder and heads into town? Everyone who sees her pass by knows that she is that Moabite girl. They know she has nothing and by now most of them know she has gone to the field of Boaz to glean. They can see that she has received a blessing just by watching her as she goes past them.
It might be that Boaz was making a statement to the community. That sack of grain told them, “I've got my eye on Ruth, and I'm going to be a blessing to her life.” God's blessings in your life are designed to show a lost world just how good God is. He blesses His people to create a desire for Him in the hearts of those who do not know Him.
That is why He gives us grace for living. He wants to use us as living testimonies to His grace, His power and His glory, Matthew 5:16. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
As we live out the real blessings of God, the world is going to be affected by God's work in us. What are the real blessings of God? “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” Galatians 5:22-23. A child of God who displays these graces in his or her life is a child of God who walks in victory.
V. 18 Provisions That Were Designed To Share: Not only does she share the bounty of her provision with Naomi, but she also shares the remaining part of her portion that she was given by Boaz in verse 14. Ruth isn't selfish, she wants to share what she has with Naomi.
We are not to simply horde up the blessings of the Lord, but we are to share them with others. Whatever we have been blessed with by God has been given to us to use for His glory. Whether it be a talent, God's truth, a gift, financial resources, etc. His blessings are given to us so that we might share them with others.
Ruth got what she did because she was willing to work for it. She gleaned and she got grain. The same is true in spiritual matters. You get out of something about as much as you put into it. Whether it be prayer, worship our just victory in your daily life, it isn't for the lazy. God's best is reserved for those who are willing to deny themselves, take up His cross daily and follow Him, Matthew 16:24.
Ruth 2:19-21 GOOD NEWS ABOUT A PERSON:
Ruth 2:19 Noami Is Interested In The Situation: When Naomi sees all that Ruth has returned with, she is overwhelmed and begins to magnify the person who has given so much. She can easily see that you don't get this much by merely gleaning
Naomi knows that someone has blessed them with an open hand! She blesses the person who “has taken knowledge of thee” (v.19). The word “knowledge” conveys the idea of “paying attention to; to acknowledge; to notice.” Naomi realizes that the person who gave them this grain has noticed Ruth and wanted to be a special blessing to her.
Naomi doesn't know it yet, neither does Ruth, but Ruth has been noticed by one who is interested in knowing her better, 2:5; 2:8-9; 2:14; 2:21. He is interested in her situation. The Lord Jesus is interested in you this morning. Wherever you may be in your spiritual journey, Jesus is interested in knowing you better.
If you are lost, He is interested in knowing you in salvation. If you are cold and backslidden, He is interested in knowing you intimately. If you are defeated, He is interested in leading you to the place of power and victory. The question is: “Are you interested in what He has to offer you?”
Ruth 2:19 Boaz Is Involved In The Situation: Not only is Boaz interested in Ruth's situation, he is now involved. He has opened his hands and his heart to her and is taking steps to improve her condition, 2:11; 2:15-16. He is busy working behind the scenes to do what Ruth needs. He is involved in her life.
Our heavenly Boaz is also involved in your life. Oh, there are times when He cannot be seen and there are times when His Hand is not visible, but you can rest assured that He is actively working on your behalf to fulfill His plan for your life. (Psalm 121:1-8.)
Ruth 2:20-21 Boaz Is An Instrument In The Situation: Boaz doesn't even realize the extent that he is being used in the lives of these two women. He had become an instrument in the hand of the Lord. There are three ways in which Boaz is being used by God as an instrument of blessing.
God Is An Instrument Of Revival: - If you will look at 1:20-21, you will see that Naomi is a defeated and discouraged woman. She is this way because of her downtroden condition. However, when Ruth returns from the field of grace with the good news of Boaz, Naomi is once more restored to the place of worship and victory. God has used this man to encourage the heart of one of His children.
You might be in a position in which you have allowed your heart to grow cold and hard toward the things of the Lord. I want to remind you that if you are His, He knows where you are and one day, He will show up and set things right in your heart and life. Just because you are down, you are not out. One of the first steps in getting back in the place of His best blessings is to come before Him and deal with whatever is lacking in your life.
This is the challenge fo the Word of God, 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
God Is An Instrument Of Redemption: As Naomi listens to Ruth speak, the wheels of her mind are turning. She hears the name Boaz and says that he is a “near of kin.” This means that she thinks he might be a relative of theirs. Then she remembers who he is and says, “he is one of our next kinsmen.” Now, she begins to realize all that the Lord is doing. In His providence, He has brought Ruth into contact with one who has the right of redemption according to he Law, Leviticus 25:25-34.
You can almost see Maomi regaining her spiritual confidence. Under The Levirate Law of Redemption For a man to be a Kinsman Redeemer three things had to be true:
A. He Had To Be Related: Boaz is related, Ruth 2:1. “And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz.”
B. He Had To Be Able To Redeem: Boaz is a mighty man of wealth, 2:1. Jesus is also able to redeem all who come to Him for salvation - Hebrews 7:25 “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
C. He Had To Be Willing To Redeem: Everything Boaz is doing suggests that he is willing to do anything to get to know Ruth. Jesus was more than willing to pay the price for our redemption. These women needed a redeemer. If they didn't find one, they would live their lives in poverty.
If you are not saved, you need a redeemer. You have one if you will accept Him. His name is Jesus and He died for you. If you will take a minute to think back over what the Lord has done for you if you are saved, you will have to admit that you have many reasons to praise His Name and to rejoice in Him tody. Are you doing it?
Boaz Is An Instrument Of Refreshment: Ruth tells Naomi in verse 21 that she will be going back to the field of grace to work until the harvest has ended. In other words, they are going to enjoy plenty because of this man named Boaz. I would imagine that every day he reminded the reapers to drop the “Handfuls on Purpose" for Ruth. Everyday he would see that she had parched corn, a cool drink of water and all the grain she could carry when she left the field. He was going to be a blessing to Naomi and Ruth.
Just a reminded to you who are living on spiritual scraps this morning, Jesus wants to load your wagon. He has glory, and power, and victory and blessing for every one of His children. But, it isn't for the lazy. For Ruth to get what Boaz wanted her to have she would have to go to the field of grace day by day and work.
So it is in the spiritual realm. If you want the best, then you have to pay the price in prayer, holiness and time spent in communion with the Lord. Your walk with the Lord is no stronger, no deeper, or greater than you want it to be. If there is a lack in your life spiritually, it's not everyone around you. If you want to see the problem, look no farther than the nearest mirror. Better yet, look no farther than your own heart, for there lies the problem and the solution. Your help lies in David's Psalm of repentance - Psalm 32.
Does your relationship and fellowship with the Lord need help today? The first step to take is a step in His direction. If He has challenged you as a believer about your personal walk with Him, then come to the altar and do something about it. There's good news from the field of grace.
By, James L. Thornton