Monday, March 27th, 2023
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the Fifth Week of Lent
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Wells of Living Water Commentary Wells of Living Water
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Ruth 1". "Living Water". https://studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ lwc/ ruth-1.html.
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Ruth 1". "Living Water". https://studylight.org/
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Ruth and Orpah
We have before us today the story of two characters which were alike in many particulars, and yet, so vitally different and distinct in others.
1. The two girls were brought up in the same kind of a home, in the same city, in the same country of Moab. This meant that the two girls journeyed side by side; they had the same general surroundings, and the same countrymen. The atmosphere of the one was the atmosphere of the other. They doubtless attended the same school, had the same kind of home instruction, and the same discipline. Both of them attended the same religious gatherings, and doubtless had the same religious convictions.
2. The two girls married into the same family. One married Mahlon, and the other Chilion. Both of them had the same father-in-law and mother-in-law, inasmuch as their husbands were brothers. This means that both of them were alike taken out of their former associations and religious idealisms and ushered into a new and distinct phase of life. The home into which the girls married was Jewish. The family were Ephrathites and they came from the land of Bethlehem-judah. These daughters from the land of Moab must have together recognized the vast difference between the True God of Elimelech and Naomi, and the false gods of their own country.
3. Later these two women had the same sorrows to enter their lives. Both of them lost their husbands. Both of them were left widows and therefore were thrown alike upon their husbands' parents.
4. These both dwelt under the same conditions for the same number of years. It was ten years that these strangers of Bethlehem-judah lived in Moab. It was during those ten years that the two girls were under the same spiritual illumination.
As we think of the above statements, we would imagine that the two girls would have been led to the same final decisions, and conceptions of life. This is exactly what did not happen. The two lives which ran together for so long a time, were destined to be severed because of fundamental differences, both physical and spiritual.
Today, it is the same. The one takes a different path from the other. The one becomes a follower of Christ, and the other of Belial. The one enters into life eternal, and the other into punishment eternal.
Why should this be? Is the vast chasm which separates these two lives due to God's power of predestination, or, is it due to man's power of choice? For our part we believe that God is willing to save all men. He gives the same opportunity, and the same call to the Orpahs, as He gives to the Ruths.
Different results must be brought about by different individual decisions.
I. YE DID RUN WELL FOR A SEASON (Ruth 1:7 )
Naomi has arisen to depart to her own country, and both of her daughters-in-law arise to depart with her. We read: "She went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her." The three, therefore, started out together on their way to the land of Judah.
Orpah did not go all the way. Our heading, which we have suggested, is taken from the Book of Galatians where the Apostle Paul said of certain would-be saints, "Ye did run well; who did hinder you?" How many there are who, like Orpah, seemingly enter the journey toward Heaven and Home, yet, after they have gone but a little way, they turn back again.
1. We read of the seed that was sown by the wayside, and the birds of the air came and plucked it up. Thus it is that some would-be Christians never receive the Word of God into their inner lives, and Satan, with but little difficulty, plucks up the seed, because it was sown on a hard, wayside heart.
2. We read of the seed sown among the thorns. This is descriptive of one who hears the Word, but the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word and he becometh unfruitful. Here is one who started out, but he did not cut clean from the world and its allurements.
3. We read of the seed that was sown into the stony places. Here is one who with joy takes hold of a new life, but endureth but a little while, because he has no root in himself. Thus when tribulation and persecution arises because of the Word, he is offended.
Not all who are with us, are of us. Many go out from us, because they are not truly of us. Orpah started but she never finished.
II. WHICH WAY SHALL I TAKE? (Ruth 1:8 )
After the three, Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah, had journeyed together to the borders of Judah, Naomi said unto her two daughters-in-law, "Return each to her mother's house." There they stood at the parting of the ways.
1. The two voices which called. One voice was saying, "Go back to Moab to your mother's house, to your home city, and to your former gods." The other voice was saying, "Ye have learned to know the Lord, leave, therefore, thy father and thy mother, thy houses, thy lands, thy everything, and go on to follow after the Lord."
How often do we come to the parting of the ways. As we stand there, vital decisions which must of necessity affect our lives for weal or for woe, for time and eternity, are before us.
Even now we can hear Joshua saying, "Choose you this day whom ye will serve; * * but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
Now, we can hear the Prophet Elijah, as he stands before the assembled hosts of Israel and says; "How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him."
Beloved, when Abraham came to the place of decision, he arose and went out to follow God, not knowing whither he went. When Moses came to the place of decision, he forsook the pleasures of Egypt, choosing rather to suffer with the children of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.
2. Decisions must be full-fledged and final. If those who are studying with us today would go forth for God, they must come out of the world. We cannot serve two masters. There is no middle ground, no straddling of the fence. A half-breed Christian is no Christian at all.
III. KISSING OR CLINGING (Ruth 1:14 )
The Christian's Lord needs more than a passing kiss. It is not enough to be a well wisher. It is not enough to kiss and then say good-by. We must cling and cleave and continue unto the end.
1. A bleak prospect, seemingly, was before Ruth. As Ruth looked ahead into the future, she faced an unknown path. It was not a path strewn with roses, environed with flowers, and filled with delightful perfume. It was not a path 'neath a sky that was blue. He who would go forth to follow his Saviour, should remember that bleak prospects often He ahead. We are not speaking of the end of the way. We are speaking of the road that leads home. Our Lord said: "In the world ye shall have tribulation."
It is given unto disciples not alone to believe in Christ, but also to suffer for His sake. If we would walk with Him, we must walk with One who is despised and rejected of men. We must go out unto Him without the camp bearing His reproach.
2. A clinging soul was in Ruth. Obstacles, shadows, deep valleys, rugged mountain heights, will discourage the halfhearted, but they never turn back the one whose heart is fixed on God. Orpah could kiss her mother-in-law and go back. Ruth could do no less than cleave unto her. The fleshpots of Egypt may have meant much to Orpah, but they meant nothing to Ruth. Ruth thought only of Naomi, Her heart was set on a person, not a plan. Little did she care what the future might hold, so long, as she had her mother-in-law, and her mother-in-law's God.
IV. ORPAH'S RETURN (Ruth 1:15 )
Our key verse reads: "Behold thy sister in law is gone back unto her people and unto her gods."
1. Back to her people. He who would follow the Lord Jesus Christ must remember that in all things the Lord must have preeminence. He must have the first place, even above father, and mother, or brother, or sister. These we may love, but we must love them in Him.
Must I leave them all
Father, mother, sister, brother,
Houses, lands, and all the other
Things that do enthrall?
Must I lay them down
High ambitions, acquisitions,
All those coveted positions,
All my joy and crown?
The true Christian must keep the Lord first in everything. No other love dare intrude to break the power of His love. If we do not crown Him Lord of All, we will not crown Him Lord at all. Orpah, of course, was not willing for any such a course. Thus she turned back to her people,
2. Back to her gods. Her gods were idols. They knew not anything, and yet, she went back to worship them. She left the Living God to bend the knee to gods of wood, and of stone, which see not, neither hear nor know; and the God in whose hand her breath was, and in whose hand were all her ways, she did not glorify.
People of today may not worship images of wood and stone, but they worship many things which are material. They also worship immaterial things, such as pleasures, honor, and ambition.
3. Back to be engulfed in temporal things. From the moment that Orpah turned her back upon the True God, she was lost to everything high and holy. She simply passes out of sight. She is never mentioned again. How much do they give up who leave Christ for the world?
V. RUTH'S DETERMINED DECISION (Ruth 1:16-17 )
1. Naomi pressed upon Ruth to also return. Naomi would not have her enter Bethlehem-Judah against her own personal, free choice. The Lord Jesus, Himself, threw up obstacles in the way of some who would follow Him. To one, He said: "Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head."
2. Ruth said: "Whither thou goest, I will go." Will we look up into the face of our Lord, today, and say as much?
Remember, that if we seek our own will and walk in our own way, we will know only sighs and sorrows. Let our consecration be complete. If we walk with Him, He will walk with us.
3. Ruth said: "Where thou lodgest, I will lodge." Could there be any better place for us, than to lodge with Him. His promise is still true, "We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him."
4. Ruth said: "Thy people shall be my people." When Ruth chose Naomi, she also chose Naomi's people. When we choose God we also choose the people of God. "By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body." We are members one of another. We have one Father; one Lord; one Word; one Faith; one Baptism.
5. Ruth said: "Thy God [shall be] my God." When Ruth cast her lot with Naomi she purposefully cast her lot with Naomi's God. If we enter into spiritual relationships with the people of God, we must of necessity enter into relationship with God Himself.
"Blest be the tie that binds,
Our hearts in Christian love."
VI. THE HOMEWARD TRAIL (Ruth 1:22 )
Our Scripture gives this illuminating message, "So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of the barley harvest."
1. A trail to "the house of Bread." That is really the meaning of Bethlehem, and that was indeed the meaning of Naomi's return. Also what it meant to Naomi, it meant to Ruth. In the House of our God there is always bread and to spare, and a warm welcome there. "He maketh me to He down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters." Not only this, but He also, "Preparest a table before me," and "My cup runneth over."
There is no want of bread in the House of God. He feeds us with the finest of the wheat, with the best of oil, and with honey from the rock.
2. A trail to "the place of praise." Bethlehem-Judah. The word "Judah" means praise. Ruth accompanied Naomi out of the place of sorrow and suffering, out of the place of death and despair, into the place of praise. Surely the one who turns to God always finds himself in the land of song.
The early Church ate their meat with joy, and singleness of heart, praising God. The fruit of the Spirit is joy.
3. A trail to God. When we get to Bethlehem-Judah, we get to God; we get to the place where we can bask beneath the sunshine of His presence; to the place where we can live in the glory and the joy of His countenance.
VII. THE REWARD OF THE INHERITANCE (Ruth 2:1-2 )
1. Boaz described. Ruth 2:1 tells us of how Naomi had a kinsman, a mighty man of wealth, and his name was Boaz.
When Ruth learned this fact she said unto Naomi, "Let me now go in the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace."
Redemption brings us into a new relationship, and a new fellowship with One who is Almighty. He who follows with God, also follows with the One who is the possessor of all things, the cattle on a thousand hills, the silver and the gold belong to Him. After such an One we do well to glean.
2. Giving homage. Read Ruth 2:10 . Here is a verse that describes Ruth falling upon her face, and bowing herself to the ground before Boaz. Then she said: "Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?"
How wonderfully does the grace of God appear upon the scene. Ruth did not boast her own prowess. She did not claim any right to the bounties of Boaz. She accepted every favor from him, upon the basis of grace.
It is thus that we must come to God. We have nothing by way of merit and of worth, to bring. We come pleading ourselves a sinner, and a stranger.
If we receive anything of God, we acknowledge that it is unmerited upon our part By grace have we been saved.
3. The full reward. To Ruth, Boaz replied: "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."
Ruth recognized nothing in herself. Boaz, however, looked back of her poverty and penury, and he saw and recognized the wonderful faith in God which she had exercised when she left her father and her mother, and the land of her nativity, and came unto a people of whom she knew nothing,
Ruth found rest and peace and joy at the feet of Boaz. Let us find our rest in Him.
One of the most exquisite statues of Christ is the one in white marble which stands in the hallway just inside the entrance of the great Johns Hopkins Hospital in the beautiful city of Baltimore. No one whose life the Man of Galilee has ever touched can look upon this statue without being profoundly stirred, and the marvel of it is that anyone else ever could.
Upon the base of the monument are chiseled the words which fell from His blessed lips, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." The nail-pierced hands are stretched invitingly. And the face! It is a face of tender patience such as Sarto gave the Master in the Church of the Annunziata, full of compassion and benign yearning. And it puts a richness into the words that causes hundreds of poor, pain-racked patients to shed tears and to take hope as they are carried through the door and past the wonderful statue.
One day, it is said, there came one who was a cynic and doubter to view the figure of which he had heard so much. It was very evident he was disappointed. He walked around from side to side and looked at it from nearly every angle and was about to go away. But near by there was standing a little girl, who had watched the man with childish curiosity and something of concern, When she saw him about to leave without having read the real message of it all, she ran up to him and said, "Oh, sir, you cannot see Him that way. You must get very close and fall upon your knees and look up!"
Oh, how much we need this close-up, upward look today! One can never really see Jesus in any other way. W. E. Biederwolf.
Ruth, the Moabitess
1. A study in genealogy. In the last chapter of the Book of Ruth beginning with Ruth 1:17 we read that marvelous announcement, "There is a son born to Naomi." This son, of course, was born by Ruth who was wife of Boaz, and the daughter-in-law of Naomi. Now comes a remarkable statement, "and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David." Thus it was that when Naomi took the child and laid it to her heart she took from the arms of its mother the grandfather of the beloved David.
Little did Ruth realize as she left her home far away in the land of Moab that her willingness to follow Naomi's God would be so richly rewarded. Thus it was that she, herself, though an alien, was received into the family of God, and was honored by being in the lineage of David who was in the lineage from Abraham to Mary, the mother of Christ.
2. A study of womanhood. When we think of a book in the Bible being named for Ruth, immediately we begin to think of what God and the Gospel have done for womanhood. Ruth, though a Moabitess, proved herself in every way a worthy daughter, not only to Naomi, but to God. The story of women in the Old Testament Scriptures is a remarkable elucidation of God's great grace.
We cannot take time to name the mighty women, but we remember the words of David who said, "The women who publish the glad tidings are a great host." In the Bible a virtuous woman is spoken of in the highest of terms: "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. * * She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children rise up, and call her blessed, her husband also, and he praiseth her."
Thus it is that a woman who feareth the Lord may well be praised. As we come into the New Testament we can do no better than to turn to Romans 16:1-27 , where Paul speaks so favorably of many women. He said, "I commend unto you Phoebe our sister, which is a servant of the Church which is at Cenchrea." He commands that Priscilla and Aquila should be greeted as his fellow laborers in Christ, as they "have for my life laid down their own necks." He admonished the brethren to greet Mary, "who bestowed much labour on us." He spoke of Junia as his kinsman, and said she was of note among the Apostles. He spoke of Narcissus and her household who were in the Lord. He mentioned Tryphosa who labored in the Lord. Then, he brought in the beloved Persis who labored much in the Lord. The most tender of all, perhaps, he referred to the mother of one, Rufus, and called her his own mother, because of her faithfulness to him. He spoke of Julia, Nereus, and his sister.
Surely Ruth finds her name clustered in a great gallery of noble women who knew and served the Lord. It has often been said that women were the last at the tomb, and the first at the sepulcher.
I. A STUDY IN NAMES (Ruth 1:2 )
As we open the Book of Ruth one of the first things that strikes us is the meaning of the names of the characters described therein.
1. We have Elimelech who was the husband of Naomi and his name meant "My God is King." Had the poor man fully realized the meaning of his name he would never have gone down to Moab. Alas, how many there are today who carry the name, "Christ." We are called "Christians," and yet how little are we worthy to bear so marvelous a name.
2. Naomi. The meaning of this name is "My pleasant one." The word, "Naomi" stood for everything that was lovely and delightful. So should the Christian be "My pleasant one." Indeed, we are everything to Him. Of us He says, Ye shall be Mine "in that day when I make up My jewels." We are His pearl of great price. In the Song of Songs how many times does the Lord speak in glowing terms of His own. We are set forth in that Book as the Shulamite.
3. Mahlon and Chilion. These two were the sons of Elimelech and Naomi. It seems incredible that the man whose name was "My God is King," and the woman whose name was "My pleasant one," should have had two sons named "sick" and "pining." Yet so it was. This was due to the fact that Elimelech and Naomi did not live up to the glory of their names.
4. The name of the town and country where these individuals lived was Beth-lehem-judah. The meaning of this name is the "house of bread and praise." It was there that a famine pervaded the land.
Alas! Alas, that so many places where the pulpit should be filled with the finest of the wheat, there is nothing there to eat, and in the pew, there is a famine for the Word of God.
II. LEAVING HOME (Ruth 1:1-5 )
1. "In the place of bread there was famine." It was this which caused Elimelech and his family to depart from Bethlehem-judah. Alas, when in the house of God and in the pulpit dedicated to the preaching of His Word there is no bread, there is sure to be on the part of the people a departure into the far country. Sometimes, to be sure, saints will go down to Moab when there is plenty to eat at home, but they are far more likely to forget God when they are not fed upon the Word of God.
2. Going down to Moab. Moab was no place for "My God is King" to dwell. Neither should one who is known by God as "My pleasant one" dwell in the country of Moab. We remember how the prodigal boy left his father's house and went into the far country. We remember also what happened there. This brings us to our third point.
3. Death and destruction in the land whither they went. Ruth 1:3 tells us that Elimelech died there. In Ruth 1:5 we read that Mahlon and Chilion also died. Thus it was that Naomi was shorn of all human help. She now was bereft and left a widow, and with her were her two daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, whose husbands, also, were dead.
Is it not always so when we turn aside from the house of bread? We are sure to reap sorrow and not song, disaster and not delight. Jonah ran away, but he ran into a raging storm and a fish's belly.
"In Central America there grows a plant called the nardoo, which, although it satisfies hunger, is said to be destitute of all nutritious elements, and a party of Englishmen once perished of starvation while feeding daily upon it. This is the experience of those who find their portion in earthly things. Their desires are crowned, but they are actually perishing of want. God gives them their request but sends leanness to their souls."
III. HOME AGAIN (Ruth 1:6 ; Ruth 1:14-16 )
1. The two daughters contrasted. Ruth 1:6 tells us that Naomi "arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab." We wish you might study with us just a moment these two girls. Both of them sought to show courtesy to Namoi. They proved that they were devoted to her by escorting her to the edge of their own country. When, however, they had arrived on the borders of Canaan, Naomi urged her "daughters in law" saying, "Go, return each to her mother's house: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me."
2. Orpha kissed her mother-in-law and returned. Ruth, however, took an entirely different attitude. She said to Naomi, "Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me."
Thus it was that Ruth showed, not only the intensity of her love, but the deepness of her faith. It was not only to Naomi to whom Ruth made her troth, but it was to Naomi's God. As we see Ruth leaving everything, we see her stepping out into the great unknown to a place where she had never trodden, to a land she had never seen. It was a walk of faith. Like Abraham, she went out, not knowing whither she went.
God grant that we may have the faith which Ruth had; that we may turn our back upon the land of Moab. The truth is that God has called us out of the world. When Rebekah had received the servant of Abraham and heard his story concerning Abraham and Isaac, her mother said, "Wilt thou go with this man?" and she said, "I will go." Then Eleazer and Rebekah made their way over the desert sands. Let us journey with them in spirit to the city whose Builder and Maker is God.
IV. THE ARRIVAL (Ruth 1:19-22 )
1. They went together. To me Ruth 1:19 is one of the most beautiful in the Book of Ruth. It opens by saying, "So they two went until they came to Bethlehem." In the story of the shepherds who received the annunciation of Christ's birth from the angels, we read that they said, "Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass." So here there were two who went to Bethlehem to the house of bread.
How true it is that no one of us is asking to journey the desert of this life alone. God promised us another Comforter to be with us. The word "comforter" comes from the Greek word " paracletos :" " para " means "near"; " cletos " means "side." He is near our side.
2. They came to the city. As Naomi and Rath went to Bethlehem "all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?" Is this the "pleasant one?" They were startled at the change in her mien. She saw their confusion and said unto them, "Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me."
The word "Mara" means "bitterness." Oh, how shortsighted we are. We wander from God and into Moab. We loose everything we have and then we complain against God. Naomi went on to say, "I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty."
Let us beware that we lay not our confusion upon our God. The tragedy of it is that Naomi said "The Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me." The word "Almighty" is the Hebrew "Shaddai," and it means "the all-sufficient God." "The God who is enough." How could He afflict one of His children with poverty and with death?
V. THE TIME OF HARVEST (Ruth 1:22 , l.c.)
1. The return. When the two returned to Bethlehem we read that they came in the beginning of barley harvest. This was in the month of April. The one who had just said, "The Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me," spoke with her eyes utterly blindfolded to the wonderful blessing God had in store for His returning prodigal daughter. It was not long, though Naomi knew it not, before her lap would be filled with blessings from on high. If she could only have seen the picture with which the Book of Ruth closes where she took Ruth's child and laid it in her bosom she would have said, "the Lord hath dealt marvelously with me." If she had known that child was to be the father of Jesse, who was the father of David, she could not have contained her gladness.
2. The prodigal's return. When the prodigal boy came home, was the fatted calf not killed, and was there not joy and dancing? The father had the robe and the ring all ready to bestow. This has ever been the case.
"Out in one of the cemeteries of Winnipeg is a tombstone marking the grave of a man who not until late in life became a Christian, and on the stone is this inscription:
'Here lies the son of _________. He was a poor, wandering boy, but he came home at last.'"
3. Leaving all. On the other hand Ruth was coming to God, leaving all her home and her native land. God saw her willingness to suffer loss, and to count everything that had ever been dear to her as refuse.
This was why God enriched her. He who leaves father, mother, brother, sister, houses and lands for His sake shall receive a hundredfold. The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are perfect toward Him.
VI. THE FULL REWARD (Ruth 2:12 )
1. The gleaning. It was not Naomi, but it was Ruth, the Moabitess, who said unto Naomi, "Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him," etc., and Naomi said, "Go, ray daughter." Ruth went, and we read, "Her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech."
Ruth and Naomi may have thought it was a happen-so, that it was good luck, but we are sure that if Ruth had remained in Moab she never would have happened to any such a blessing as was about to be hers.
2. Boaz on the scene. Ruth 2:4 tells us "And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, * * Whose damsel is this?" When he found out he said 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." To the young men Boaz gave orders that she be permitted to glean among the sheaves. So far as Boaz was concerned it was evident that it was love at first sight. Let us, however, glance at another picture.
3. Ruth's confession. Ruth, when Boaz addressed her, 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?"
Here is the attitude that every sinner should take as he comes to God. Ruth confessed herself a stranger and an alien. She made but one plea and that was a plea for grace. She knew that she had nothing by which to buy the favors of Boaz.
As we approach our Lord Jesus, let us say, "Nothing in my hand I bring; simply to Thy Cross I cling."
VII. THE MARRIAGE (Ruth 4:10 )
1. Ruth gleaning. After the weeks had passed, and the time of harvest was waning, they were winnowing barley at night, and Ruth, upon the orders of her mother-in-law, went to the threshing floor, as Boaz slept, and lay down at his feet. In that day and hour, this was perfectly proper. She was casting herself on his mercy. Here is the place that we should seek the Lord His love and His grace.
The Syrophenician came and fell at Christ's feet saying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil."
Mary Magdalene came and fell at the feet of Jesus, and bathed His feet with her tears and dried them with her hair.
The rich young ruler came and fell at the feet of Jesus.
Mary of old always delighted to sit at the feet of Jesus while she heard His word. How else should we come?
2. Ruth claiming. When Boaz awoke and saw Ruth at his feet he was startled, but Ruth immediately said, "I am Ruth thine handmaiden: * * thou art a near kinsman." Boaz said, "Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter: * * inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich."
Thus it was that Boaz, whose name means "in him is strength," became strength to the weak, and gave his vows of love to the one who sought his grace.
3. The call of Boaz. There was another "kinsman Redeemer." Thus it was that Boaz sat in the main gate on the succeeding day, and as the people went by he cried, "Ho, such a one!" Ten men of the elders of the city were called, and Boaz said, "Sit ye down here." He told them how Naomi had returned and how Ruth the Moabitess had married Naomi's son, and that he (Boaz) had desired to redeem her inheritance which was a certain land, and to marry her as a part of the redemption.
According to the law of the time he gave "such a one" the opportunity first to redeem the land. "Such a one" immediately agreed to buy the land. Then Boaz said, "Thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance." Then this "such a one" said, "I cannot redeem it for myself, * * redeem thou my right to thyself."
Are we not amazed? Every name in the Book of Ruth is given such prominence until we come to the near kinsman of Naomi, and he is called "such a one." No name is given to him.
We think we can solve the riddle. Boaz stands for Christ who is our strength, our Mighty One who is able to redeem us. "Such a one" stands for the law who was made weak through the flesh and could not save us. "Such a one," as the law, must step aside that the True Christ, our Saviour, and kinsman Redeemer, may buy us back unto Himself. Then, by and by, will come the marriage of the Lamb, and we will be the bride.
Ruth had her opportunity and redeemed it "In the Tate Art Gallery in London is a painting called The Girl at the Gate.' The scene is laid in the Highlands of Scotland. The farther background of the picture reveals the rocky cliff and the jagged scar. In the foreground is a rude highland cabin whose tiny yard is surrounded by a rickety picket fence. In front of the little home, the aged father is spading the ground. The mother, bedecked in an apron, standing akimbo feeding her chickens. At the front gate, about which daisies are blooming and a sparse vine clambers, stands a fair blue-eyed lassie, dressed in the native plaid. Her hand rests upon the gate post She is merely a peasant girl in form and surroundings, but with an expression of unutterable yearning after some great ideal. Her face is sweetly sad and beautiful. Her fine dreamy eyes they form the center and point of the picture. What a study! Those fine eyes are looking across the hazy distances. She seems to have visions of a larger, fuller life. Her soul, imprisoned and uncultured, appears to be striving for liberty, noble activity and lofty service. Those who look upon this picture are attracted to it with awakened sympathy and tenderness. This picture reminds us of hundreds and thousands of girls who are held back within the barriers of circumstances and narrow environment. There is no nobler task intrusted to men and women than that of giving 'the girl at the gate' a chance in life."