Means for redemption…

Ruth 4:6-10   “And the close relative said, ‘I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance. You redeem my right of redemption for yourself, for I cannot redeem it.’ Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging, to confirm anything: one man took off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was a confirmation in Israel. Therefore the close relative said to Boaz, ‘Buy if for yourself.’ So he took off his sandal. And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, ‘You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, from the hand of Naomi. Morever, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from his position at the gate. You are witnesses this day.'”

Chapter 4 focuses almost entirely on what Boaz does to redeem Ruth for himself. He even goes so far as to buy extra property just so she can fully belong to him. It reminds me of Matthew 13:44-46:

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he ahd and bought it.”

This is such a perfect picture of Christ to me. He didn’t need me in order to have honor – He alone is worthy of all honor and glory and praise. He didn’t need to redeemt he whole world either – it all belonged to Him anyways. I couldn’t offer Him anything for compensation – I literally had nothing to bring, nothing but my own fallen self and dead spirit. He took one long, penetrating look at these things, then He walked to the top of Mt. Calvary and ransomed His life to have mine, signing the deed in blood. There was no sensible reason why He wold do this except He loved me and wanted me. So He gave up everything that rightfully belonged to Him and paid it out to ensure that I would belong to Him forever. now, there is nothing I could possibly do to leave this position or make myself irredeemable. “Hallelujah! What a Savior!”

Patience to Wait…

Ruth 3:18   “Then she [Naomi] said, ‘Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.'”

 

Waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting = requires patience. This is by far one of the hardest things to do, not only as a human but specifically as a young woman. Things would happen so much faster if GOD worked on my timetable. But they would never be the best possible for me. It’s like the first-time gardener who digs up her seeds, starts, and saplings to check how far their roots have progressed. It kills the success of all her other efforts! GOD includes rests and pauses so often in our lives because we need them – to slow down, to collect ourselves, to be still, to listen, to be refreshed, to prepare us, and to allow GOD to work things out. By now Ruth has had to wait three times. The first time whe prepared to go out and ask Boaz. The second time she obeyed Boaz and waited for those first rays of the new day before returning home. This third time she has to wait so Jehovah can Jireh!

GOD honors us when we wait on Him. If we’re willing to just spend the time with Him, He’ll produce the spiritual fruit of patience in our hearts. Just remember that if patience only grows when we are waiting, then it’s going to take many hours, days, months, and even years to produce this beautiful fruit. Am I willing to surrender to GOD’s timing, or will I resist it and thereby delay the ripening of patience?

Hope for the Future…

Ruth 3:11-13   ” ‘And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman. Now it is true that I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I. Stay this night, and in the morning it shall be that if he will perform the duty of a close relative for you – good; let him do it. But if he does not want to perform the duty for you, then I will perform the duty for you, as the LORD lives! Lie down until morning.'”

Jehovah-Jireh provides hope for the future. I wonder what Ruth felt like when Boaz answered her request for redemption with, “my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request.” Rather, I should ask the question, what is my response when GOD answers my prayers this way? His promise to work all things together for my intrinsic good according to His perfect plan to accomplish the very best for me should nourish that fire of hope inside of me. It’s when I forget this promise or fail to believe what the Lord says that I come away still feeling confused, anxious, or antsy. But I don’t have to. If I’ll only stay at His feet and wait for His purpose to be accomplished, like Ruth did that night at the threshing floor, then I’ll see that fresh light of dawn and look at the future with a new, brighter perspective.

Under His Wing…

Ruth 3:6-10   “So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law instructed her. And after Boaz had eaten drunk, and his heart was cheerful, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain; and she came softly, uncovered his feet, and lay down. Now it happened at midnight that the man was startled, and turned himself; and there, a woman was lying at his feet. And he said, ‘Who are you?’ So she answered, “I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.’ Then he said, ‘Blessed are you of the LORD, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich.'”

Jehovah-Jireh provides protection when I am vulnerable. Ruth sought shelter, support, and protection from Boaz at the threshing floor. Just as Boaz didn’t turn her away, neither does my GOD turn me away when I come to Him for shelter in the storms of life, for support when my heart is weary, and for protection when they enemy attacks. The best part is that I never have to go looking for my Defender: He is always with me and hears my every call.

Meeting my need…

Ruth 2:14-17, 21; 3:15-17   “Now Boaz said to her at mealtime, ‘Come here, and eat of the bread, and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar.’ So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed parched grain to her; and she ate and was satisfied, and kept some back. And when she rose up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, ‘Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. Also, let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.’ So she gleaned in the field until evening, and beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. … Ruth the Moabitess said, ‘He also said to me, “You shall stay close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.”‘

“Also he said, ‘Bring the shawl that is on you and hold it.’ And when she held it, he measured six ephahs of barley, and laid it on her. Then she went into the city. When she came to her mother-in-law, she said, ‘Is this you, my daughter?’ Then she told her all that the man had done for her. And she said, ‘These six ephahs of barley he gave me; for he said to me, “Do not go empty-handed to your mother-in-law.”‘”

Jehovah-Jireh provides satisfaction for my immediate and future needs. This I continue to struggle with. It just seems so beyond my mental grasp to ask GOD for 1,000s of dollars or miraculous healings or the end to bitter fighting. How do you ask in faith for something you have no hope for? Knowing GOD is able to do it and believing that He will are two different things. And yet at this very hour I am begging GOD to provide $8,000 worth of payments and services for me and my family. I have great hope to return to Bible College this February. I have great hope that my family will get to keep our house. Both deadlines are coming up quickly. The question is, am I allowing the deadlines to define my faith, or the One in whom my faith rests? But the enemy is sly and out to hurt us – he aims to shoot down our hope and damage our faith by introducing temptations to doubt, discouragement, and other fiery darts. Be on guard against these! Recognize them for the spiritual attack they are!

The Lord gave me a revelation concerning this facet of His character:

Kids who live in low income families or on the poverty level understand the greatness of the need present and the significance of those requests being answered when they ask their parents for something. At the same time, kids in wealthy or well-off families have a personal example of the immense resources available through their parents and the readiness/willingness with which they give. My life has been the former, but GOD wants me to understand the latter as well. One thing that I can always draw on to remember is the life-long testimony GOD has given me and my family of His willinghess, His readiness, His ability, and His follow-through. Even needs and desires that were never formed into words, or that may hae been relinquished years ago are not beyond His heart to answer. Just as Boaz instructed the reapers and later filled Ruth’s shawl, so GOD has satisfied my needs in the little, unperceived instances of daily life and in the immense outpourings when I least expected it.

One more Note:

Where was Ruth when she received the provision from GOD? In the field, working HARD all day. At the threshing floor, fully prepared and ready to follow Boaz’s directions. GOD never blessed Ruth for sitting in Naomi’s house, expecting a big fat check arrive in the mail. Ruth did the last thing GOD had directed her to do, and that was to take care of Naomi. Going gleaning was an opportunity the Lord placed in front of Ruth to meet that need. More often than you think, the next thing you need is met by the next thing God puts in front of you. Like now: I need an income – I have a second interview for a job today. My immediate need and my immediate opportunity go hand in hand. How about you? Are you waiting on a paycheck, a partner, a parent, a plan? or are you waiting on the Lord and stepping forward in faith when He provides an answer?

Encouragement while you wait!

Ruth 2:11-13 “And Boaz answered and said to her, ‘It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. The LORD repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.’ Then she said, ‘Let me find favor in your sight, my lord; for you have comforted me, and have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants.'”

Jehovah-Jireh provides encouragement while I’m ministering (and waiting). This very thing happened to Ruth when Boaz took the time to come and speak with her and to bless her for her heart to serve. Many times while helping with children’s worship at my church, parents approach me and offer a complementary word of encouragment, sharing how they have been blessed by my work. Like Ruth, I’m at a loss to know how to answer this. She and I were just doing our work because someone else needed it, and our hearts were right because we sought to please GOD. I don’t think it ever crossed Ruth’s mind to go gleanings so she could make connections or find a husband! It happens like this because those times of complete surrender and single-vision on the Lord are the moments when Christ shines through us uninhibited. That other people comment is recognition of this happening. When we are privileged to hear how they are blessed, we can receive it gratefully and turn it into praise for the faithful work of GOD in our lives. But don’t turn it away or criticize what they are complimenting! What would have happened to Ruth if she had carelessly turned aside the words Boaz shared with her?

Discipleship Living: the Next Step in Faith

Dear readers,

I hope you have been blessed by this last week’s posts. After writing my final for Ruth & Esther class at Bible College, I felt that the personal revelations into the person of Ruth and into my own life were something worth sharing with others. Hence, the first series on my blog. Moreso today, I want to let you all know about something new that GOD has started at my church this Sunday. In obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit, our church body has started a new study series called, “Discipleship Living”. For those of you not familiar with the concept of discipleship, here is a brief definition:

“the state of attempting to follow the example of Jesus or another teacher”

Interesting that even a secular dictionary puts Jesus as our first example to follow. Discipleship living is, in a nutshell, a lifestyle that strives to immitate the person of Jesus Christ by studying His character, actions, and teachings while seeking to live out wholeheartedly His commands and standards. Let me tell you up front, this takes GRACE. No one is capable of immitating the Son of GOD without help from the Spirit of God – that’s called being help-less. Along with the Spirit’s guidance, living a discipleship life requires mentors and teachers who can explain and train you, who have (and do) set an example with their lives of what it means to follow after Jesus and who have personal insight to share from years of walking with the Lord.

As a Body, my branch of the Church is taking the next 141 days to study verse-by-verse through the 10 Pauline epistles  – in order to equip believers with the Truth and an understanding of God’s Word. The epistles, as I learned in Pstr. Dave Shirley’s History of Redemption class, are our directions as believers on how to live the life that Christ set before us, as His servants and children of God. By studying these letters written by the apostle Paul to different churches and groups of believers, we gain a deeper understanding of what it means to live in God’s Grace, to fight from victory, and to draw closer to the Person of God Himself.

For any of you interested in joining with us, as brothers and sisters in Christ I excitedly invite you to study through God’s Word each day and listen along with your fellow believers to what the Lord has put on Pastor Tom’s heart. You can check out more details and sign up at: http://www.calvarynw.com.

May you abound in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ this week, and may the total joy of life in Him encourage you everyday.

K. Faylinn