Summary: Ruth finds rest as a result of indicating to Boaz that she wants him to be her Kinsman-Redeemer. The road of redemption is bringing security for Ruth.
“The Need For Rest”
Do you ever have those days when you are just “tired”.
It might be from physical exhaustion.
It might by spiritual exhaustion.
Maybe you have just been through a difficult time and life has not gone as you have expected and you just need some rest.
We get days like that don’t we.
And when we do it helps for us to have a look at the Bible and see how God helps us in those times.
So let’s do that by turning to Ruth 3:1-18 as we continue our focus on making our way through the book of Ruth.
It isn’t so easy to see in our translation but the theme of rest starts and ends this chapter.
Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you?” (3:1)
She replied, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest but will settle the matter today.” (3:18)
So does that mean the best way to find rest is to find some stranger sleeping in a field and then lay at their feet? That could be a lot of fun, but it isn’t really what the Bible is encouraging us to do. What is happening here is a search for security.
Up until this moment Naomi has been thinking about three people:- me, myself and I.
But now that they have been in Bethlehem for a while
… and now that Naomi has seen God is really providing for her needs and that He has not forgotten here
… now that Naomi has stopped to see that her bitterness is a little misguided.
Now, after all that Naomi starts to think about Ruth.
Naomi is old. If Naomi dies then Ruth will be in a very difficult position.
Then there was the promise/prayer that Naomi spoke all the way back in 1:9 May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.
Naomi starts to see the needs, the needs of Ruth that are much bigger than her own needs, and this spurs her on into action.
What does this means for the issue of rest?
Sometimes we need to stop thinking about ourselves and see the needs of others.
When you are thinking about all the difficulties and struggles that are happening to you … naturally you are going to come to a point where you feel overwhelmed and out of your depth. It is that place where you wonder if anything is going to go right and the world seems to be against you.
You have been there … haven’t you!
It is that place where you soul and your inner life is just not at rest, because you are constantly looking – at yourself.
But what happens when we start to open our eyes?
“I was sad because I couldn’t buy a new pair of shoes … then I met a man who didn’t have any feet!”
Revelations like that give us perspective don’t they? And as we look at the people around us we realise that we don’t really have such a bad life. And God has not been ignoring us – but He has been caring.
So begins the journey of rest.
In the Scriptures the word “rest” carries overtones of Eden. When God had finished creating the world He pronounced it was very good and He rested. God had completed all that He had intended to put into place. There is harmony, wholeness, satisfaction and peace. A time to rest.
The concept of “rest” can also be found in the promise which was made to the Israelites when they slaves in Egypt. Before they set a foot into the desert God said to them My presence will go with you and I will give you rest. God is not satisfied with just putting us on the road to adventure and then leaving us to our own defences. It is His will that we continue to go on under the shadow of His wings.
Having rest is not about the cessation of activity and challenges.
Rest comes when we understand that God has placed us under the wings of his care.
David puts it this way in Psalm 57:1-2, 4
1 Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.
2 I cry out to God Most High, God, who vindicates me.
4 I am in the midst of lions; I am forced to dwell among ravenous beasts—
men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.