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The Scriptorium

The Risk of Faith

Faith steps into the uncertain. Ruth 3.6-10

Ruth 3 (3)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 142.6, 7
“Attend to my cry,
For I am brought very low;
Deliver me from my persecutors,For they are stronger than I.
Bring my soul out of prison,
That I may praise Your name;
The righteous shall surround me,
For You shall deal bountifully with me.”

Sing Psalm 142.6, 7
(Dix: For the Beauty of the Earth)
Hear my cry, Lord, I am low! They are strong who seek my soul.
Jesus frees from every foe; He will keep and make me whole!
Lord, You are my Refuge strong!
O receive my plaintive song!

Out of prison lead me, Lord; thanks and praise to You shall be.
Righteous men armed with Your Word will Your grace bestow on me.

Read Ruth 3.6-10

1. What happened at midnight?

2. What did Boaz say to Ruth?

Faith often requires boldness and risk (cf. v. 14), and Ruth was willing to take that risk, both out of love for her mother-in-law, and for the prospect of the further grace – rest and wellbeing – that she might find. There is nothing symbolic in Ruth’s actions here; Boaz, sated and content when he lay down to sleep, might well have slept through the whole night, unless some disturbance should have awakened him. Cold feet in the middle of the night would prove to be just the thing.

Here is a rather surprising twist (v. 10). Ruth went up to the threshing-floor seeking some blessing, and it turns out she gave blessing as well. This must have been a surprise to her. But this is often the way of blessing. Those who seek the blessing of the Lord often find that they themselves are a source of blessing as well, precisely as God had promised in His covenant (Gen. 12.1-3).

Her request of Boaz appears to have been rather general – that he might extend the blessings of his provision and care to her, since he was a redeemer for her and Naomi. Did she wonder if this protection might involve marriage? It seems likely since it would have been in line with the teaching of God’s Law, as we shall see. Boaz certainly took her overture in that way. He was humbled by her request, even, we might say, honored, for Ruth preferred to pursue redemption through following the teaching of God’s Law and the protection of an older man, rather than by seeking a husband more her age.

By submitting in faith to the Law of God, Ruth would know all the blessings of God for those who seek restoration according to His statutes.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
It is interesting to note that Ruth’s response to Boaz is in many respects a repeat of his blessing to her: “The LORD repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge” (Ruth 2.12). Okay. “I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative” (vs. 9). Ruth was calling upon Boaz to show her God’s love. Fulfill your blessing to me.

God calls us to show this same love to others, as we are bearers of the Name of Christ. Especially those to whom we have used words to tell them of His love for them.

Jesus says to us: “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (Jn. 13.14, 15). And Peter says to us: “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps…” (I Pet. 2.21).

Faith is risky because our lives need to match up to what our mouths are saying. What would Ruth have thought of Boaz if his blessing to her was merely perfunctory? What do people think of us when what we say and what we do are not compatible? That we are merely spouting words with no action to back them up? Boaz fulfilled his blessing upon Ruth. We have the same opportunity to make good on our words.

Let others see Jesus in us: alive and active!

1. What do we learn from Ruth’s submitting to Boaz about our own submission to Jesus Christ?

2. What do we learn from Boaz’ commitment to Ruth about what Jesus has committed to us?

3. In what ways is faith a “risky” enterprise for you? How do you face the risks of faith that confront you each day?

The conduct of Boaz calls for the highest praise. He attempted not to take advantage of Ruth; he did not disdain her as a poor, destitute stranger, nor suspect her of any ill intentions. He spoke honorably of her as a virtuous woman, made her a promise, and as soon as the morning arrived, sent her away with a present to her mother-in-law. Boaz made his promise conditional, for there was a kinsman nearer than he, to whom the right of redemption belonged. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Ruth 3.1-5

Keep me in the path of Your Law and all Your Word, O Lord, and I will…

Closing Prayer: Psalm 142.1-4
Take refuge only in the Lord, today and always. Seek His Presence, guidance, and strength for everything before you today.

Sing Psalm 142.1-5
(Dix: For the Beauty of the Earth)
With my voice, O Lord, I cry – Hear my plea for mercy, Lord!
My complaint mounts up on high, bringing You my troubled word:
Refrain vv. 5, 6
Lord, You are my Refuge strong!
O receive my plaintive song!

When my spirit faints away, You my falt’ring pathway know.
Where I take my journey they traps have hidden to my woe.

Lord, look to my right and see: None takes notice of my plight.
Is there refuge left for me? Is my soul out of Your sight?

T. M. and Susie Moore

We’re in the process of moving, so our Scriptorium series on Luke will resume April 17. All the studies in Ruth are available for free in our bookstore. Order a copy for yourself and a friend, and work your way through this great book together.

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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.

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 the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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