Morning Light – April 23rd, 2015
Today: [Ruth Chapter Three]: Jesus is Your Boaz! In this chapter Naomi instructs Ruth how to approach Boaz in the hopes that Boaz will accept responsibility for her as a near kinsman. Ruth finds him at the threshingfloor and lies down next to him as a symbolic act of inviting him to exercise the right of kinsman redeemer. It was a bold thing for Ruth to do because Boaz could have rejected her – even had her punished for being so brazen. She was after all a Moabite – an enemy of God’s people. This interaction is a type of the presumptive intimacy that God wants us to initiate with Him. We are not to be timid in our approach to God but very bold for in so doing we secure for ourselves the betrothal of the bride!
[Rth 3:1-18 KJV] 1 Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee? 2 And now [is] not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor. 3 Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: [but] make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking. 4 And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do. 5 And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do.
Noami is a widow whose husband Elimelech dies in Moab after sojourning there from Israel. Consequently her two sons die there as well leaving both of her daughters-in-law widows as well. She prevails on her Moabite daughters-in-law to return to their people but Ruth refuses. When Ruth returns to Bethlehemjudah with Naomi they are impoverished. She goes out to glean in the fields to forage for food. She just so happens to choose the fields of Boaz who unknown to her is her near kinsman by marriage through her deceased husband. Boaz notices her and instructs his workmen to be kind to her. She is allowed also to eat and drink with the workers whereupon Boaz explains to her that he has heard of her kindness and devotion to Naomi and he wants to recompense her for choosing to remain supportive of her mother-in-law.
Here we see the type and shadow of the church’s relationship to Israel. Naomi is a type of the nation of Israel and the Jewish people as a whole. Without Naomi, Ruth would have no hope of finding a man like Boaz to take the place of her deceased husband. Boaz is a type of Christ to the lost soul. Through the Jewish nation God brought Jesus to us just as He used Naomi to bring Boaz to Ruth. Boaz favors Ruth because she is devoted and supportive of Naomi. He chooses us because we remember the nation of Israel and love and support them. Though the nation of Israel rejects Christ and consequently colluded in His crucifixion there were among them a remnant who waited on the consolation of Israel and believed that He was the Messiah. Israel is our Naomi. We are blessed as faithful Abraham through Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:29). In the Psalms we are exhorted regarding Israel and the city of Jerusalem itself:
[Psa 122:6] Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
In praying for the peace of Jerusalem and being supportive of the Jewish people that is not to say we agree with everything Israel does. Religious intolerance in Israel runs as strong against Christians as it does against Islamic people. We personally know of Christian missionaries who have been expelled from Israel. The Jewish people as a whole largely reject Christ altogether. Just because someone is Jewish does not mean they get a pass on whether or not they must accept Jesus as their savior. I have heard prominent and well known ministers claim that being Jewish is equivalent to being born again. This is absolutely untrue. Sooner or later the Jewish people either as individuals or as a nation must come to grips with the claims of Christ and face the consequences of their decision. In the meantime we love them and honor them and advocate for them as the means by which God chose in a natural bloodline to bring Jesus into the world. Judaism is to Christianity what Naomi was to Ruth. As Naomi brought Boaz into Ruth’s life so Judaism brought Jesus into the world and we bless them for it.
When Ruth returns from gleaning in the fields of Boaz she doesn’t realize yet that Boaz is her near kinsman. She tells Naomi and instantly Naomi knows that God is at work. In the law when a kinsman dies without children the near kinsmen was obligated to marry the widow as a second wife and raise up children to his brother. Now by this time in Israel is not so much a command as it was a suggestion or an option. However Naomi see the possibility that God is working to save the family from the ruin they had come to after loosing everything in Moab. God will not leave you where you are. If you are in a hopeless position the most important thing you can do is listen to God and do what He says. Naomi was somewhat fatalistic in the beginning but Ruth is not a person to sit idly by waiting on something to change. She is a woman of action. She goes out and does back breaking work, setting aside her pride and even her grief as a widow to glean in the fields.
The harvest here is the early or barley harvest. It is associated with the first fruits. When Jesus died and rose again it was also the time of the Barley harvest. When Jesus came out of the tomb and stood talking with Mary the High Priest at that very moment was waving two Barley sheaves as a celebration of the feast of first fruits. This also corresponded to the season that God brought Boaz and Ruth together. It tells us that in the heart of God He is bringing together a bride and a bridegroom. It is not late harvest. There are not other priority. God wants intimacy with us and with His people as a whole and is working to make it happen both individually and corporately to bring about the consummation of the plan of salvation in Christ.
Naomi gives instructions to Ruth that apply to us as well. Our bridegroom awaits at the threshing floor. Ruth is to:
- Wash herself: (Eph. 5:26 … by the washing of the word).
Anoint herself: (1 John 2:27 … the anointing of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit)
Go to the Threshingfloor: (John 4:35 … go into the harvest).
Notice that Naomi didn’t tell Ruth to go the synagogue. He told her to go into the harvest. If you are looking for Jesus in your life and your community go find the threshingfloor. Go out into the harvest. You will find Him in the harvest. This is the Matt. 6:33 dynamic. If you seek first the kingdom all these things will be added. She went out to the harvest and found the man who eventually became all that she ever longed for. We tend to see intimacy with God as arising from a sequestered, mystical and solitary experience. The exact opposite is true. Go and find Him in the harvest. We are all market place ministers. We are all called to go into the harvest fields of public life and listen to the Holy Spirit as he makes us laborers in the harvest.
6 And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her. 7 And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down. 8 And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet. 9 And he said, Who [art] thou? And she answered, I [am] Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou [art] a near kinsman. 10 And he said, Blessed [be] thou of the LORD, my daughter: [for] thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich. 11 And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou [art] a virtuous woman.
Let us see here the boldness of Ruth. She could have been rejected by Boaz. She was a widow and a foreigner. He could have rejected her and publicly shamed her. He could have accused her and brought about her death. She is a type of the believer who is not timid or hesitant in their relationship with God. The writer of Hebrews says:
[Heb 4:16 KJV] 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
The boldness was not in openly demanding Boaz to meet her need but rather Ruth’s boldness was an act of presumptive intimacy. The wording here is quite delicate. She uncovered his feet and lay down. She asks him to further cover her with his skirt. This was a symbolic act of betrothal in a public place where the eyes of others were watching. Boaz was apparently a much older man for he remarks that she shows him favor in not choosing one of the young men resting nearby. Let us take our example from Ruth and come toward our Lord and Master Jesus Christ in a presumptive overture of intimacy and personal relationship. God would rather you presume upon His goodness than assume His austerity and aloofness. If you are presumptuous let it be in intimacy and relationship with the Lord.
12 And now it is true that I [am thy] near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I. 13 Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, [that] if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman’s part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, [as] the LORD liveth: lie down until the morning. 14 And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor. 15 Also he said, Bring the vail that [thou hast] upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six [measures] of barley, and laid [it] on her: and she went into the city. 16 And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who [art] thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her. 17 And she said, These six [measures] of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law. 18 Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.
The intentions now between Boaz and Ruth are established. They intend to become man and wife but there is another claim to her. Another man is closer to her than Boaz. What about us? When we come to Jesus and desire to be close to Him and enter into relationship to Him we find that there is another legal claim. When Adam and Eve yielded to Satan they entered into a familial covenant with the serpent. That is why Jesus referred to others four times in the gospels as a generation of vipers. When we come to Christ we are closer in kinship to Satan himself than we are to God. We must be born again. There is a teaching going around today that everyone will be saved whether they accept Jesus as savior or not. This teaching (called Universalism, Ultimate Reconciliation, etc.) has many accompanying themes such as hell doesn’t really exist other than as a metaphor, or the teaching that you may go to hell if you don’t accept Jesus but He won’t allow you to stay there. If any such teachings are true then they negate the need of a savior. There is an accusation against the character of God is such teachings suggesting that the cross, hell and the need of salvation arises from some nuance of character in God not in any true and broken condition that can only be resolved by the shed blood of Calvary.
There is another that has legitimate claim to Ruth. This is a type of Satan himself. He had a claim to the lost that was established in the covenantal transaction between Satan and Adam and Eve. We are born enemies of God. We are aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel. We are a generation of vipers. We need a Savior. But Jesus like Boaz is willing to bear our reproach. Boaz could have easily said “no – you belong to another…” In choosing to get involved Boaz brings reproach on himself just as Jesus chose to bear our reproaches and bring us to Himself as a spotless bride.
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