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Ruth: 2:8-17; the lovingkindness of Boaz

RUTH-2-180128
length: 78:33 - taught on Jan, 28 2018
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Title: Ruth: 2:8-17; the lovingkindness of Boaz

 

RUT 2:8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, "Listen carefully, my daughter. Do not go to glean in another field; furthermore, do not go on from this one, but stay here with my maids.

 

RUT 2:9 Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Indeed, I have commanded the servants not to touch you. When you are thirsty, go to the water jars and drink from what the servants draw."

 

RUT 2:10 Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground and said to him, "Why have I found favor in your sight that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?"

 

Ruth's response to this kindness adds yet another aspect of her character that endears her to us. Her humility is expressed in her surprise. She doesn't expect blessing and privilege and is incredibly grateful for it. She falls on her face.

 

In Hebrew, she uses a play on words, “You have noticed the unnoticeable.”

 

RUT 2:11 And Boaz answered and said to her, "All that you have done for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband has been fully reported to me, and how you left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and came to a people that you did not previously know.

 

Boaz is not afraid to reveal to Ruth that he thinks that she is a remarkable woman. Sometimes, when a man is flattering a woman, he is after something. Boaz is not after anything, like Christ, whom Boaz is a type; he is only interested in giving, and cares nothing for receiving. That is what lovingkindness or checed truly is.

 

Boaz is a type of Christ. He desires to give and cares nothing for return = checed/lovingkindness.

 

The stewardship of each of us contains this same graciousness.

 

RUT 2:12 May the Lord reward your work, and your wages be full from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge."

 

Boaz prays that Ruth be provided for and protected by Yavah, the Elohim of Israel. What he doesn't yet know is that he will be the one to do so. He is the answer to his own prayer.

 

The picture is that of chicks gathered under the wings of their mother bird. This imagery is used in several places and reveals that Boaz is a lover of scripture.

 

RUT 2:13 Then she said, "I have found favor in your sight, my lord, for you have comforted me and indeed have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants."

 

There are two categories of servants in Israel at the time: the amah and the shiphah. The amah was a slave woman who was eligible to marry or to be a concubine to an Israelite freeman, and thus enjoy the status of being family. The shiphah denotes a slave girl who belonged to the lowest social class and was responsible for the more menial tasks; she is simply nothing more than the owner's property.

 

Ruth considers herself lower than the lowest slave.

 

Why is it so important to consider yourself as a low person rather than an esteemed person who deserves something? We turn to a teaching from the Lord.

 

LUK 14:1 And it came about when He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, that they were watching Him closely.

 

The Jews would prepare the food on the eve of the Sabbath, and beautifully adorn the house and set the table with the best foods in the house to enjoy for the Sabbath dinner. One of the leaders of the Pharisees invited Jesus to his own Sabbath dinner, but he also invited a man who suffered from edema, or what was called hudropikos by Greek physicians, translated/transliterated to dropsy. This is an effect of a heart or kidney disease in which the tissues, especially in the legs, swell up with fluid. Normally such a person would never be invited to the Sabbath dinner, but the Pharisees are setting a trap for Jesus. According to the oral law of the rabbis, a healing should not be performed on the Sabbath.

 

There are two things wrong with this gathering. 1) The Pharisees feel privileged enough to add laws to the Law and to enforce those laws. 2) They feel privileged enough to be honored by men.

 

LUK 14:2 And there, in front of Him was a certain man suffering from dropsy.

 

LUK 14:3 And Jesus answered and spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?"

 

Of course, Jesus knows why they have asked Him to attend. He goes as an evangelist. He is still calling out to the people of Israel to repent of their arrogant understanding of the Mosaic Law.

 

LUK 14:4 But they kept silent. And He took hold of him, and healed him, and sent him away.

 

The Pharisees have no care for this poor man. He is just a means to an end. They wanted Jesus to heal him, but not for his sake, but so that word will spread that Jesus healed on the Sabbath and broke the oral law. They don’t even care that Jesus can heal with a word or a touch, as their Messiah would only have the power to do. The Pharisees are only trying to gain public favor against Him.

 

They follow the playbook that so many of the proud and ignorant have. When confronted with truth, they label the truth-giver as something terrible and then seek to convince the public of the label, but never do they seek to establish the truth.

 

Jesus is the only one who has compassion on the man. He wisely sends him away from the evil of the company. The man, shocked at being invited to a Pharisee Sabbath dinner, perhaps convincing himself that they had turned compassionate, is even more shocked as he walks away well fed and fully healed.

 

When man feels privileged enough to create divine law, his law will always take precedence over compassion.

 

We have to have laws or there will be chaos, but when man makes laws for his nation or state, they should be driven and highly influenced by divine law, which law God gave from Sinai.

 

The Ten Commandments are sufficient, and laws that branch off of them, and this is what the founders sought for and fought for, which is why we are the only nation in the history of the world to actually do it.

 

But in this case, we have man’s pride playing roughshod with divine law itself. In few cases has the pride of man attempted to reach so high than in the leadership circles of the Pharisees of Jesus’ day.

 

Their oral law took precedence over compassion, to the point that they vigorously sought the crucifixion of Jesus, even after Pilate proclaimed Him innocent.

 

Be careful that law doesn’t supersede compassion. Law should always include it, even with the Law of Moses.

 

PSA 51:1 For the choir director. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

 

Be gracious to me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness;

According to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out my transgressions.

 

PSA 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,

And cleanse me from my sin.

 

PSA 51:3 For I know my transgressions,

And my sin is ever before me.

 

PSA 51:4 Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned,

And done what is evil in Thy sight,

So that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak,

And blameless when Thou dost judge.

 

PSA 103:13 Just as a father has compassion on his children,

So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.

 

PSA 103:14 For He Himself knows our frame;

He is mindful that we are but dust.

 

LUK 14:3 And Jesus answered and spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?"

 

LUK 14:4 But they kept silent. And He took hold of him, and healed him, and sent him away.

 

Jesus then appeals to them with wisdom, but wisdom given to one who does not love the truth will only lead him into further error.

 

"To give truth to him who loves it not, is to only give him more multiplied reasons for misinterpretation." [George MacDonald]

 

LUK 14:5 And He said to them, "Which one of you shall have a son or an ox fall into a well, and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?"

 

LUK 14:6 And they could make no reply to this.

 

One wonders who these guys would love more, the son or the ox?

 

They all knew the proverb:

 

PRO 12:10

A righteous man has regard for the life of his beast,

But the compassion of the wicked is cruel.

 

Compassion is a heavily referenced topic in the scriptures, mentioned over 100 times. Perhaps we will study it before we are finished with the book of Ruth.

 

Were the laws of Sabbath rest given so that Israel could create a system of oppression? Oppression so heavy that if a son fell into a well on Friday he could be saved, but if on Saturday he was doomed. They were to cease from their normal work so that they could rest and enjoy God’s bounty given to them, thanking Him, and having on their minds as they ate, rested, talked, laughed, etc. that the God of Israel was wonderful and gracious and forgiving. Such wonder, such fun, such healthy inner reflection, and they had taken it and twisted it into an unpleasant, over oppressive day.

 

Would Boaz have done this? He would not have because he is humble, wise, and gracious. Would Ruth do this? She would not for the same reasons.

 

Then the makers of Sabbath rules show why they make oppressive Sabbath rules. The man is healed and Jesus graciously tells him to get out of there, sparing him. Mumbling continues concerning the “work” done by Jesus on, of all days, the Sabbath - just terrible.

 

Jesus is unfazed by their rudeness, and He begins to notice something in their behavior.

 

What is the difference between fighting for a higher position and forsaking all selfish ambition and being promoted to a higher position by God?

 

LUK 14:7 And He began speaking a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been picking out the places of honor at the table; saying to them,

 

LUK 14:8 "When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him,

 

LUK 14:9 and he who invited you both shall come and say to you,' Give place to this man,' and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place.

 

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