Bible Study: Book of Ruth Chapter 3
Ruth Chapter 3: Rewards through Refining
by I Gordon
Introducing the 'mystery' closer relative!
3:12-14 'And now it is true I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I. 'Remain this night, and when morning comes, if he will redeem you, good; let him redeem you. But if he does not wish to redeem you, then I will redeem you, as the Lord lives. Lie down until morning.' So she lay at his feet until morning and rose before one could recognize another; and he said, 'Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.'
One final thought as we close out the chapter. In her early relationship with Boaz, Ruth had worked all day in Boaz' field and beat out 22 litres of barley. Here, after being at the threshing floor, Boaz gives Ruth a gift of six measures, which according to the Bible Knowledge Commentary was six seahs or 46 litres! Have you found that in your own life? Have you noticed that hard times produce far more growth in your character than any amount of normal daily living. We may not like it but it is true. If you have been a Christian long enough I'm sure you can look back at specific difficult times and testify that that was when you truly learnt more about the character and faithfulness of the Lord. We may read our books and hear our sermons for years but we only truly know something once that knowledge has been tested. May we like Ruth, desire to go deeper, learning to rest and lay all at the feet of Jesus.
1 Peter 1:3-9 seems appropriate here.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
 ↩ The threshing floor is all about separating the true wheat or grain from the chaff and this process is used in the N.T as an example of Jesus' judgement between the righteous and the unrighteous (Matt 3:12, 13:24-30) Grain is produced through this refining process. This also happens in our life and usually involves trials that refine our faith and cause us to put our life back into the hands of the one who owns it anyway - God.
 ↩ Why did Boaz have to be down there? Why couldn't he have been out in some nice flowery field and have Ruth meet him there? Likewise why did Jesus have to be where he was when he said 'If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am my servant will be also... Now my soul has become troubled; and what shall I say 'Father save me from this hour?' But for this purpose I came to this hour.' So where was Jesus at this point because it is the place he said we would be also? Jerusalem? Should we go there? No, he wasn't speaking about a physical location but a place in his life. He had just said that unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies it abides alone. But if it dies it will bear much fruit. He was contemplating the cross and the enormity of what that meant. But he was also at the place where he was willing to lay down his life and let God take the consequences! This is where he said we had to be as well. It's life out of death and rewards out of refining. (John 12:23-27)
 ↩ This reminds me of the attitude Esther took in going before the King - an act which was not lawful (Esther 4:16) She had to bring herself to the place where, having committed it to God, she steps out in faith stating 'If I perish, I perish'. If you want to read an awesome book about this and how it applies to our Christian life then I would recommend 'If I perish, I perish' by Major Ian Thomas.
 ↩ Same picture I guess as when Jesus slept on the boat in the midst of the storm. The disciples were frantic but Jesus kept on sleeping. The best thing they could have done would have been to sleep as well! Jesus slept because He had power and control over all things, including this storm. And that is what His disciples then, and His disciples now, have to learn.
 ↩ Might be a good time to recap on Ruth's character. If Boaz is a picture of Jesus Christ and Ruth is a picture of His gentile bride then we should look at what in Ruth pleases Boaz so much that he would call her a 'woman of excellence'? It just might be what Jesus would like to see in us! We know that Ruth was dedicated and committed in what she did, willing to leave her life in Moab behind to follow the true God. She worked hard in the fields yet was always humble and came to Boaz by grace. She was kind always sharing with others what she received. She was also teachable, following Naomi's instructions even if it meant stepping out in faith and putting herself on the line. Probably heaps more but I'm getting tired. Definitely a woman of excellence though.
 ↩ Don't you hate it when prosperity teachers take a promise like 'If you ask me anything in my name I will do it' and use it to say that if we had faith then Jesus would give us everything we want blah blah blah! I do. It seems that a verse like this is ripped out of context so much and not weighed up with other verses that show the need to pray in accordance with the will of God. But here in Ruth's life we see Boaz, like Jesus, saying 'I will do whatever you ask.' Why? It's because Ruth has laid her life down at Boaz' feet and has submitted herself to his will. That is the condition for that type of response. Which is exactly what Jesus meant by 'ask in my name' - it means to ask in accordance with His desires and His will. Sorry, it's not a magic formula.
 ↩ There is only one thing that prevents us from entering into the rest and that is unbelief. After Boaz told Ruth to rest, not to fear and that he would look after everything, do you think she spent the rest of the night tossing and turning thinking 'will he, won't he, he loves me, he loves me not - Oh what's going to happen?' No way! She believed him and had a good nights' sleep! Read Hebrews 4 - it states that there remains a rest for the people of God and that 'we who believe enter the rest'. The rest is not one day a week, but 'Today' as Hebrews states. Like the children of Israel we often fail to believe but let's hear God again say 'do not fear' and allow faith to rise as faith comes by hearing.
 ↩ One of my favourite passages in the Old Testament that shows the rest in the face of disaster is in 2 Chronicles 20. Jehoshaphat was alarmed as the armies of Moab and Ammon were coming against Israel. He was going to be defeated so he turned his attention towards the Lord. What does the Lord get him to do? He goes out against the enemy army with his singers and worshippers first! Not much of a contest you would think but in doing so the Lord confused their enemies and a great victory was gained. Likewise, the Lord calls us to praise and He is able to give us a song in the night. It is a song of thanksgiving in the midst of the trial that benefits us so much more than endless moaning to the Lord. This is the rest.