Summary: There are few, if any, who become key links in the plan of God who are not in some way clever, and this goes for both Ruth and Boaz.
A young couple who had just gotten married, and who
had received many valuable wedding gifts, established their
home in the suburb. One morning they received in the mail
two tickets for a popular show in the city. A note said,
"Guess who?" The couple were amused as they tried to find
the identity of the donor, but they could not find out who
sent them. They used the tickets, and they had a delightful
evening. On their return home, late at night, still trying to
figure out the mystery, they found their house stripped of
every article of value. On the bare table in the dinning room
was a piece of paper on which was written- "Now you know!"
Crooks have so many clever ways of robbing people that
it has given the word clever a bad name. Vincent Teresa in
his book My Life In The Mafia tells of numerous clever schemes
he used to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars
from innocent people, and sometimes not so innocent people.
One that shows the thought and planning of these people is
one I want to share. There was a big horse race called the
Constitution Handicap. They put a fortune on Flauntless
Light to win. Non-clever people would give their horse
drugs to help him win, but the Mafia knows the winner will
be tested for drugs, and so they bribed the stable boys of the
other five horses in the race. They juiced those five with a
depressant. Their horse won by 7 links, and they made a
hundred and sixty three grand. There was a big stink over
the race, but the only horse that was checked was their
horse, and he was clean. Clever schemes like this enabled
them to rip off billions of dollars a year.
Because history is full of the clever schemes of con men,
and because the fall of man began with the clever, cunning,
and crafty scheme of that old serpent the devil, we have a
tendency to put cleverness in the category of vice rather than
virtue. The Jews did not do so, however, but recognized
cleverness as a great virtue, and one of the most powerful
weapons in the cause of righteousness. Yes,
they said, evil is clever but it is the task of the righteous to
outwit the evil. The book of Esther is about a very clever
man named Haman, who out of personal pride almost
succeeded in getting the Jewish people exterminated. He
was only foiled in his plot because Mordecai and Esther were
even more clever, and they were able to turn the tables on
him, and he was hung on his own gallows.
The whole theme of wisdom in the Old Testament deals
with the virtue of being clever enough to outwit the clever
appeals of evil. The fool falls for the wiles of the devil, but
the clever stay one jump ahead of him. After all, what is the
battle of life all about? It is about outwitting all the clever
ways of the evil one to keep us from fulfilling the will of God.
Cleverness is part of the image of God in us. He is the most
clever of all Persons in the universe. His wisdom is a marvel
as we study His creation. His cleverness in figuring out how
to outwit Satan, and save a lost world, when Satan seems to
have all the advantages of a fallen free willed creature who
tends toward evil.
Jesus faced the clever tempter, but He was more clever
than the first Adam, and He outwitted the old serpent and
all his agents. No trap set for Him by the Pharisees could
ensnare Him. Jesus said that we are to be wise as serpents
and harmless as doves, and He practiced what He preached.
He lived His whole life outwitting the devil, and He died a
spotless Lamb of God for the sin of the world.
He was, without question, the most clever man whoever
lived. He was a perfect man, and a perfect man by definition
is clever. There are few, if any, who become key links in the
plan of God who are not in some way clever, and this goes
for both Ruth and Boaz. They were just ordinary people,
but they were clever people, and from their story we can
learn why it is important for us to strive at being clever. By
their cleverness they got themselves into the blood line of the
Messiah. The first thing we want to see is that-
I. COMPLEXITY DEMANDS CLEVERNESS.
Boaz and Ruth had something of a romance going, but it
was not what you would call a whirlwind romance. He
watched her labor in the fields, and they ate lunch together.