Summary: Ruth, Pt. 3
GOD’S WAY IS THE BEST WAY (RUTH 2:1-13, 3:6-15)
My wife and I did not marry young. We were in our 30s when we met each other. She was from Orange County and I was from Los Angels County, and the chances of us meeting, knowing and befriending each other were pretty remote. After graduating from Biola, she moved to Los Angels County to be near her job, but still commuted to her church in Orange County during the weekends. We met on the rare occasions she attended my church, but nothing was in the air, until one day when it rained.
The Sunday before 1996 Christmas, the pouring rain deterred her from driving to her church, and so she decided to attend my church. Our acquaintance with each other had went no further than normal greetings at fellowship meetings, but that morning, I delivered the sermon, baptized new converts, and coordinated the joint worship since I was the only pastor in the three-language congregation.
Up to that point, my future wife had not heard me preach, since she attended the Cantonese congregation when she was there at the same hour I was preaching in the English congregation. She told me she liked the Christmas sermon and I immediately liked her good taste. The match could not be any better. The long wait for the right person was justified because God had brought someone sweet, nice, and loving to me, and one who has a heart for God, people and ministry.
Boaz, the great-grandfather of King David, the ancestor of Jesus Christ (Matt 1:5, Luke 3:32), the Messiah-type kinsman-redeemer, was an upstanding citizen, of good stock, and had an impeccable record. He was blameless, peerless, and guileless. He was beyond reproach, highly esteemed, and husband material. However, he had yet to have a wife or a date, although he later found the woman of his dreams. The match was made in heaven and their love story was one for the ages. Their barriers included marital status, racial identity, and social standing. Ruth was a widow, a Gentile, and a hardworking migrant worker; Boaz was a bachelor, a Jew, and a successful plantation owner.
What kind of a person was Boaz and what type of person was he looking for? What shaped his character and what did he value? What was he holding out for and why was he so resistant and ready at the same time? Why did God give Boaz such an exalted, exclusive and envied place in history?
Be Godly in Commitment
A businessman was in a great deal of trouble. His business was failing, he had put everything he had into the business, he owed everybody, it was so bad he was even contemplating suicide. As a last resort he went to a pastor and poured out his story of tears and woe.
When he had finished, the pastor said, “Here’s what I want you to do, put a beach chair and your Bible in your car and drive down to the beach. Take the beach chair and the Bible to the water’s edge, sit down in the beach chair, and put the Bible in your lap. Open the Bible; the wind will rifle the pages, but finally the open Bible will come to rest on a page. Look down at the page and read the first thing you see. That will be your answer that will tell you what to do.”
A year later the businessman went back to the pastor and brought his wife and children with him. The man was in a new custom- tailored suit, his wife in a mink coat, the children shining. The businessman pulled an envelope stuffed with money out of his pocket and gave it to the pastor as a donation in thanks for his advice.
The pastor recognized the benefactor, and was curious. “You did as I suggested?” he asked.
“Absolutely,” replied the businessman.
“You went to the beach?”
“You sat in a beach chair with the Bible in your lap?”
“You let the pages rifle until they stopped?”
“And what were the first words you saw?”
W.H. Griffith Thomas scourged Christians this way, “There is no greater foe to Christianity than mere profession. There is no greater discredit to Christianity today than to stand up for it, and yet not live it in our lives. There is no greater danger in the Christian world today than to stand up for the Bible, and yet to deny that Bible by the very way we defend it. There is no greater hindrance to Christianity today than to contend for orthodoxy, whatever the orthodoxy may be, and to deny it by the censoriousness, the hardness, the unattractiveness with which we champion our cause. Oh this power of personal testimony – with the heart filled with the love of Christ, the mind saturated with the teaching of Christ, the conscience sensitive to the law of Christ, the whole nature aglow with grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Listening to tthe Giants, 149-50, Warren Wiersbe, Baker 1980)