Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Right Way—The God-Honoring Way


The nearest kinsman had agreed to buy the land. Then Boaz, told him that if he buys the land, he must also buy Ruth and take her for his wife. 
The nearest kinsman wanted no part of that deal! He told Boaz that he could have the land and Ruth. Boaz was now free to buy the land, and take Ruth as  his wife in accordance to the law. And they sealed the deal—with a sandal, as was the custom. 

The right of redemption is fairly resigned to Boaz. If this nameless kinsman lost a good bargain, a good estate, and a good wife too, he may thank himself for not considering it better, and Boaz will thank him for making his way clear to that which he valued and desired above any thing. 
Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Doing things the right way, is the God-honoring way. So, often people want to take shortcuts to get things they want or to get things done. However, those shortcuts often lead to problems. Boaz knew that he was not the nearest kinsman to Naomi, and that another had the right and obligation to choose to buy the land and marry Ruth. 

Doing things the right way, is the God-honoring way. And when things are done the right way, the God-honoring way, then God can bless what is done. 

When my heart is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31, MSG), then I'll know the God-honoring way, and be willing to take the necessary steps to make sure it is done the right way. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Witnesses



Witnesses. 
Boaz did as he said he would. He found the nearest of kin to Naomi. Boaz found the kin and made sure he had witnesses whom others respected. Once he had the kinsman and the witness, he then told the kinsman about the piece of Elimelech's land that was sold, that needed to be bought back for Naomi, in accordance with the law.


In front of the witnesses, Boaz asked the question. 
So, will you buy it back for Naomi? If not, I'll buy back, being the next of kin. 
Once again these verses display that Boaz knew what needed to be done, and did it appropriately. 
The other kinsman, agreed quickly to buying the land.

Reading through Ruth, I am reminded that people are watching. Sometimes at our request, other times, without our knowledge. What are they seeing? What are they witnessing? What do my actions and attitudes reflect? 

Witnesses. What would they give an account about me? If my heart is permeated by a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG), then they'd see Christ.

"What an incredible witness it is to a lost and fearful society when the Christian acts like a child of God, living under the loving sovereignty of the Heavenly Father."  Henry Blackaby

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Character


Ruth did as she was instructed by Naomi. 
I love the description in verse 8 about when Boaz woke up. We've all had those nights when something (we aren't quite sure what) wakes us up out of a sound sleep. Boaz wakes up and turns... something woke him up—and then he realizes there is someone lying at his feet. That would get anyone heart pumping fast! 

When Ruth told Boaz who she was, responded graciously. He was kind, compassionate, and continued to look out for Ruth, because she as "a woman of strength (worth, bravery, capability)." Another translation, calls Ruth, "worthy; noble". 

We see Ruth's character from the beginning of this book all the way through. When it came time to make the tough choices, Ruth made the "right ones" no matter how difficult it would prove to be. Ruth was a lady of integrity, moral character, and humility. She worked hard to support her and Naomi. And she listened to and honored Naomi, in her actions and obedience. 

Boaz sent Ruth back home, to wait his further instructions. But he did not send her away empty handed. He provided food for her and Naomi. 
Ruth returned home and told Namoi all that had happened. Now they just had to wait. 

As I read these verses this morning. My attention was drawn to verse 11 and what Boaz said about Ruth. "You are a woman of strength (worth, bravery, capability)." 

How would others describe me? What do my actions, attitude, and words speak of me? 
Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied); and her husband boasts of and praises her, [saying], Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness], but you excel them all. Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not lasting], but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised!
Proverbs 31:28-30 (AMP)
When my heart is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG), that should be reflected in my life—with the strength of character and steadfast in goodness. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Advice


When one first reads these verses, it seems strange that a virtuous woman would suggest what Naomi advised Ruth to do. However, it's based on the law (Deuteronomy 25:5). 

Ruth had been working hard in the fields gathering grain. Now that the harvest time was over, Naomi, knew that Ruth needed a home where she would be cared for, and not have to work in the fields. Ruth had been working in the fields belonging to Boaz. And since Boaz was a kinsman, Naomi thought it was the right thing that Ruth present herself to Boaz. 

Boaz even though he was wealthy and had field of grain, he worked himself at the winnowing the barley. Winnowing is removing the chaff, usually by allowing the wind to blow through the harvested grain. The chat which is light will blow away, while the heavier falls to the ground. 

Naomi, then tells Ruth to make herself presentable. Some commentators suggest that she not wear her mourning clothes (from losing her husband); other suggest that she simply put on her "Sunday best" rather than the clothes she wore to work in the fields. Either way, she was to make herself presentable to Boaz. 

Ruth was not to run into the place where Boaz was, nor was she to make a scene. Rather, she was to privately wait and keep herself from being known. Ruth remained humble and followed Naomi's instruction. 

Ruth's character did not change in these verses. Ruth remained obedient, humble, and willing to listen to Naomi's advice. Ruth trusted Naomi and Naomi knew that Ruth would do what she advised. 

Advice. It can be a good thing. But coming from the wrong people with the wrong motive, it can be dangerous. It's key that the source of the advise have wisdom and integrity. It is also key that when the advice is solid and godly advise, that all of it be followed. You don't just follow the parts you like, it all must be obeyed. 

How does one know if advise is godly? Compare it to God's Word. If the advice goes against what God says, then it's NOT good advice. Also, consider the source of the advice. Has that person been trustworthy in the past? Is that person one of integrity? 

With a heart permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG), it's easier to discern when advise is good. And when my heart is ready to accept good advise, it's much easier to follow through on the advice. 

Friday, July 31, 2015

God blesses. I am to bless.


After a day of hard work, Ruth returned home to Namoi and shared all that had happened. I love Naomi's responses. First, she blessed the man who noticed Ruth, and was kind to her. Then she said,  "Blessed be he of the Lord who has not ceased his kindness." Then she asked where Ruth had gleaned. 

I wonder the look of astonishment on Naomi's face. Boaz, the nearest kinsman, who rightfully was to care for Naomi and her family. Out of all the fields, Ruth could have ended up in—she was in one that belonged to Boaz. That was not by luck, rather it was purely designed by God. 

As I look back over my life, I am so thankful for God's leading and direction. He made sure that I was in the "right place" at the "right time". I'm so thankful for the people He introduced me to, that have blessed me along the way. And I'm so thankful that those people acted in accordance with God's will. 

I have been blessed by God, by people who have been wiling to be blessings.
It makes me stop and think:
• Am I willing to be used by God to bless others?
• Am I acting on those promptings from God, when He wants me to help or encourage someone?
• Am I first of all thanking God for His goodness, and then thanking those who are sharing God's blessing with me? 

God blesses. We in turn are to bless others. We are to be thankful to God, for His blessings. We are to be thankful to those who bless us. 

When my heart is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG), I will be ready to accept God's blessings, and in turn I'll be ready to share those blessings with others. My prayer is that I'll be a blessing and encouragement and that I'll never take for granted the blessings God has given me.