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The Scriptorium

The Obedience of Faith

Whatever God says is right. Ruth 3.2-5

The Promise of Redemption (2)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 105.6-8
O seed of Abraham His servant,
You children of Jacob, His chosen ones!
He is the LORD our God;
His judgments are in all the earth.
He remembers His covenant forever,
The word which He commanded, for a thousand generations…

Sing Psalm 105.6-11
(Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
You holy children of Abraham, you chosen ones of Jacob, stand!
He is our Lord, of wondrous worth; His judgments are in all the earth.

He will His covenant faithfully guard – His oath, the promise of His Word.
That which He to our fathers swore, He will perform forevermore!

Read Ruth 3.2-5

Preparation

1. What did Naomi tell Ruth to do?

2. How did Ruth respond?

Meditation
Ruth’s response to Naomi (v. 5) echoes the ancient words of Israel in response to the command and promises of God’s covenant: “All that the LORD has spoken we will do!” (Ex. 19.8). This is deliberate on the writer’s part. He wants the beauty of God’s covenant to be before his readers as the story of Ruth moves into its most important phase.

Naomi’s plan (vv. 3, 4) must have seemed bold, even audacious, to Ruth. There were no guarantees here; Naomi was trusting in the goodness of Boaz – his character as a man of faith and obedience to God’s Law – but she could not give Ruth any assurances of what might happen beyond what she prescribed.

The journey of faith is like this; mostly we only know the next step, which, taken in faith, will open the door of opportunity for whatever the Lord is pleased to do next. We trust Him to be a gracious God, so we obey in faith, expecting His Word to lead to blessing.

Naomi did not leave any of the details to chance. She was very specific in explaining to Ruth how and when to proceed. While it was a bold plan, it wasn’t “pushy.” Ruth would have to obey explicitly and rest in the grace of God, waiting to see what Boaz’ response might be.

By submitting to her mother-in-law’s instructions, Ruth demonstrated the faith and trust that allow grace to flow to its proper ends. Without faith we bottle-up grace; with it, we release grace to do its transforming work in our lives and, through us, in the lives of others.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Obedience. Grace. Faith.
Precisely. Lovingly. Determinedly.

In some past cultures chewing vigorously and loudly was OK.
Not so now.

Bold burping even was considered proper etiquette.
Not so now.

The scenario that Naomi plotted out for Ruth was a good idea then.
I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be a Cosmo guide to getting a guy now.
But back then, yes.

It may have even been unheard of in Ruth’s Moabite culture then, but she, in her trusting and loving way, did exactly what Naomi prescribed: “All that you say to me I will do” (vs. 5), confident that Naomi would never ask her to do anything outside of God’s perfect Law.

That is exactly the way that we are called to obey God’s Word.
Precisely. Lovingly. Determinedly.

“I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes forever, to the very end” (Psa. 119.112).

It is exactly what Jesus told Peter, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?” Basically, if this doesn’t make sense to you, that’s OK. “You follow Me” (John 21.22)

And as Job cried out in the midst of his suffering, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13.15).

The Obedience of Faith.
Precisely. Lovingly. Determinedly.

Reflection
1. Ruth may have been shocked or perplexed about what Naomi told her to do. But she readily agreed to obey. Why?

2. Should we always expect that we can perfectly understand what God commands us in His Law? Why must we obey it anyway?

3. Use Ruth’s response to Naomi to write a brief prayer that you can use before your daily Bible reading.

The course Naomi advised appears strange to us; but it was according to the laws and usages of Israel. If the proposed measure had born the appearance of evil, Naomi would not have advised it. Law and custom gave Ruth, who was now proselyted to the true religion, a legal claim upon Boaz. It was customary for widows to assert this claim, Deuteronomy 25:5-10. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Ruth 3.1-5

Lord, give me grace to obey You explicitly and immediately today as I…


Closing Prayer: Psalm 105.1-5
Thank God for His precious and very great promises, all of which are ours in Jesus (2 Pet. 1.4; 2 Cor. 1.20). Offer your day to Him, and ask Him to help you submit to His Word in everything you do.

Sing Psalm 105.1-5
(Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
Give thanks unto the Lord Most High; call on His Name, before Him cry!
Make known His deeds in every land; sing praise for all the works of His hand.

Glory in God, rejoice in heart, all you who seek His holy part.
Him and His strength and Presence seek; His works proclaim, His judgments speak.

T. M. and Susie Moore

Listen to our summary of last week’s study in Ruth by clicking here. You can download all the studies in the Ruth series by clicking here.

Check out the changes in The Ailbe Bookstore. Our workbook, God’s Covenant, can help you to see where the book of Ruth fits into the whole of Scripture’s story. Order your copy by clicking here – free of charge!

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel: Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV, John R. Franke, ed, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2005). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore

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