Devotion on Book of Ruth, Sent Away Full, 3 October 2014 Anno Domini
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. (Ruth 3:14-18)
There are more than a few fascinating points in these last few verses of Ruth, Chapter 3 – in fact, the entire Book offers enough fascinating facts to keep us meditating thereupon for a long while.
The advice of Boaz to Ruth, to lie down until the morning, fell on the soil of a good heart. “But that (seed which fell) on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:15) Certainly, patience is a Christian virtue, and Ruth was full of every virtue. Paul expresses that patience well: “But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” (Romans 8:25) This is the kind of patience Ruth will now demonstrate, and further show in the day following. She only has the word of her Lord of the Harvest (Boaz), but that is enough to justify her patience for she has come to know him well as one who cares for her. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7) We have the Word of our Lord, as well, and that is more than enough to justify faith. Our Lord Promised to redeem us in the fullness of time which He has done. He has promised to prepare a place for His Bride – the Church (you and me) – and He shall fulfill the pledge.
Enduring the night on faith alone is sometimes very difficult, but not to one whose heart is full of faith and love. Even though she waits in darkness, her Lord is near for she is at his feet. She may not SEE him, but he is right beside. God is the High Tower of Ruth to see all of her circumstances. He will work all things to her good. Boaz has promised to marry Ruth if the nearest kinsman does not redeem. The Angel of the Lord will work on the heart of the nearest kinsman redeemer to disallow his redemption of Ruth clearing the way for Boaz. Ruth’s name shall be changed to that of Boaz in due time – it is certain. She will wait during the dark hours and arise early with her reward. “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” (Psalms 17:15) Marriage means taking on the likeness of one’s spouse “for they two shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24) “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.”
God’s great works are done in and by Him for us. Sometimes the surest way to allow God’s work to be done is for us to simply get out of the way and stop trying, by our own power, to accomplish what He is best able to do. “Their strength is to sit still.” (Isa 30:7b) This will be the case with Ruth. Ruth did not commune with Boaz, the Lord of the Harvest, in vain. One never goes away empty who communes with the Lord of the Harvest. “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.” Those who come to the Lord of the Harvest will leave full just as the five thousand who were fed, from pitifully small portions, by Jesus; and the four thousand who were fed by seven loaves and two fishes.
Read an interesting comment by Adam Clarke on the numbers of measure to which the Book refers: “If the omer be meant, which is about six pints, the load would not be so great, as this would amount to but about four gallons and a half; a very goodly present. The Targum says, that on receiving these six measures “it was said in the spirit of prophecy, that from her should proceed the six righteous persons of the world, viz., David, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and the King Messiah; each of whom should be blessed with six benedictions.” It is, however, remarkable, that the Targum makes the Messiah to spring from her through the line of David, and goes down to Daniel and his companions; which Daniel prophesied so clearly, not only of the advent of Messiah the prince, but also of the very time in which he was to come, and the sacrificial death he was to die.”—Adam Clarke’s Commentary. I consider it remarkable for the Jews did not recognize the Messiah when He sprang forth though they clearly taught of Him. (JLO)
Note the searching greeting of Naomi: “And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter?” There is beautiful truth couched in the inquiry of Naomi. She readily admits Ruth to always be her daughter, but “Who else” is she now? Is she the betrothed of Boaz yet? No, but she is as nearly betrothed to Boaz as he can make her to be under the present circumstances; however, he wastes no daylight hours in securing the matter as we shall soon see. We are our old carnal selves until we have taken upon us the Name of Christ – then we are new creatures in Him. We bear His Name and likeness forevermore!
“And she told her all that the man had done to her.” This has no reference to some carnal or immoral act, but all the kindness and generosity with which Boaz has treated Ruth, and his strong promise. “And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law.” When a man loves a woman, he loves all of the trappings and kin that are attached to her. The world saw Ruth as a stranger among the people of Bethlehem – a woman from Moab; but God sees, even at this moment, in Ruth the wife of Boaz, mother of Obed, of Jesse, of David, and eventually Jesus Christ! How marvelous are the works of God and beyond our finding out! Boaz sees clearly the same vision – Ruth will become his bride if he has his way…..and he will!
Naomi is quite the judge of character, for she has analyzed that character of Boaz to the fullest: “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.” It was quite true that Naomi recognized, from all that Ruth had told her, that Boaz was madly in love with Ruth. There are no barriers that will stay the waters of love from flowing and coursing through the dunes and deserts of impossible odds. Boaz will set about, without a minute’s waste of daylight, to settle the issue with the nearest kinsman. He will be wise and subtle in his deliberations with him – not confiding the beauty and character of Ruth to the nearest kinsman, only the undesirable consequences to the nearest kinsman of redeeming Naomi and Ruth. He appeals to the man’s baser character and greed to preserve his inheritance untarnished by the claims of a relative’s son.
The next chapter is full of beauty and meaning which are a fitting climax to a wonderful story of love, redemption, and Gospel Shadows for the future Lord of the Harvest….and of the world.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. AMEN.