Love, Loyalty & Labor Ruth 3:16 Adapted from a Davon Huss sermonhttp://www.sermoncentral.com/print_friendly.asp?Cont ributorID=&SermonID=46608
Ruth 3:16 NIV When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “How did it go, my daughter?” Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her 17 andadded, “He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, „Don‟t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.‟ ” 18 Then Naomi said, “Wait, my daughter, until youfind out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.”
Attractive: Pleasing to the eye or mind; charming. Beauty:A pleasing quality associated with harmony of form or color, excellence of craftsmanship, truthfulness, originality, or another, often undefined property.
To be attractive, pleasing to look at involves aesthetically pleasing measurements, the right color, the right texture, and the right this and that. If we don’t have it we are sorry, out of luck. This world can be cruel. There are qualities that transcend the outward appearance. They can make us attractive so that people are drawn or theycan make us unattractive so that people are repelled.
How do we become attractive to those around us? How do we become someone people want to be around? How do webecome attractive to our co-workers? How do we become attractive to our family? Most importantly, how do we becomeattractive to the one who matters most, and that is God?
Women put on lots of makeup, get a fancy haircut, get a tan, get a face lift, get atummy tuck, get their nails done, run miles every day, use Oil of Olay, use the right perfume, all to be attractive.
Men lift weights, make sure their hair isdone in the coolest style, know the correct etiquette and chivalry, they must be tough yet sensitive, and they must have thecoolest car in town, all to make themselves attractive. Many, if not most, people think they must look good in a swimming suit!
Joe McKeever is quoted saying, As a cartoonist and sketch artist, I love to draw people. So I notice people who have thatsomething extra, that inner glow that makes the difference between "Nice-looking" and "wow." It’s like someone has turned on alight inside them causing a radiance to seep out the pores of their skin.
It surely must be what Peter intended when he said; Let your beauty not be external — the braiding of hair and wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes —but the inner person of the heart, the lasting beauty of a gentle and tranquil spirit, which is precious in Gods sight. 1 Peter 3:4 NETInner beauty. Estee Lauder and Mary Kaywill never figure out how to bottle it. It is a spiritual quality.
Have you noticed that when people lose theirinner beauty (due to sin and only due to sin), or when they’ve never had it, they often fake it with an over-emphasis on makeup, hair and nail treatments, clothing, and jewelry. The effect is like trying to reproduce the Mona Lisa with crayons. It never works. You take two young people, one with an ugly attitude but beautiful outwardly, and the other who has a lovely spirit but is plain outwardly, and in time, the situations will reverse.
The lovely spirit will transform the personinto a true beauty, and the bad attitude will rob the other of their youthful beauty. The inner quality, whatever it is, good or notgood, will eventually come out and will rule. A beautiful heart more than offsets the handicap of a homely face!
Isaac Asimov is quoted saying, She (Ruth)has remained ever since, to all men, one of the most attractive women in the Bible. Why? Why did this man say that Ruth is one of the most attractive women in the Bible?Esther, Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Philistinewomen, these women are all mentioned asvery attractive. So why is Ruth an attractive woman?
She is never mentioned as being attractivein the Bible. No mention of physical beauty. We do not have a picture of Ruth but assuming the reaction of Boaz, she probably was very attractive. Maybephysically but an inner radiance that shone through. Boaz noticed it and was attracted to it.
Attraction does not always depend on looks. We all have known beautiful peoplewho have terrible attitudes. Not so attractive even though they may be physically beautiful. An average person of modest physical beauty who has a great outlook and attitude is attractive. Let’s look at some of the attributes and characteristics of Ruth that made her so attractive.
Not talking about a Don Won or a Cleopatra or some kind of seductress, but a great lover of people and a great lover of God. The story of Naomi. Her son Mahlon married Ruth. Mahlon and hisbrother Chilion died. The famine is over. Naomireleased Orpha & Ruth from any responsibility to her saying, “Each of you go back to your Mother’s home and find new husbands.”
Naomi pleaded with them to return. It would be hard for them. Widows could not getsteady jobs. Naomi could not provide them with husbands. It was customary when ason died, that another son would marry thewidow and provide children for his brother. Naomi could not provide this.
Ruth 1:14 NIV At this they wept again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good- by, but Ruth clung to her. 15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back toher people and her gods. Go back with her.”16 But Ruth replied, “Don‟t urge me to leaveyou or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.
Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separatesyou and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
Ruth had a great love for her mother-in-law Naomi. She saw Naomi needed her even though Naomi did not think so. It is a shame that so many mother in-laws and daughter in- laws do not have that kind of love betweenthem today. Ruth understood true love. Love is not self-seeking. Many people once love; the relationship becomes inconvenient or restricting, many people end that love, that relationship. Throw off marriages, throw off friends, and throw off children.
Immature love follows the principle: "I love because I am loved" Mature love says: "Iam loved because I love." There has to be a give and take and when it all becomes giving and no taking, many people grow weary and abandon ship. Mother’s are to love their husbands and children. Titus 2:4 NET In this way they will train the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children,
There was another reason that Ruth stuckwith Naomi. Ruth did not want to go back to her family or to the old gods. The god of Moab was Chemosh.Chemosh apparently wanted the people to sacrifice their firstborn sons in the fire to him.
2 Kings 3:26 NIV When the king of Moab saw that the battle had gone against him, he took with him seven hundredswordsmen to break through to the king ofEdom, but they failed. 27 Then he took his firstborn son, who was to succeed him asking, and offered him as a sacrifice on thecity wall. The fury against Israel was great; they withdrew and returned to their own land.
Ruth saw something vastly different in the Israelites God. She saw worship that builtup the family. She saw worship that was notprovocative to the flesh but convicting to the soul. She saw the laws, rules and regulations of the Israelite God and she realized these things are good.
Not that she understood everything but shesaw that they were different and good. She saw a God who showed loving-kindness and compassion to people. Not like Chemosh who had to be appeased withsacrifices and even then he might not show favor.
When she married Mahlon, God gained a convert. It was not right for Elimelech and his sons to go to Moab; it was not right for Mahlon and Chilion to marry foreignwomen, but in the end it turned out good forRuth. She loved the God of Abraham, Isaacand Jacob. She heard the stories of Moses and the miracles and she was hooked. Notthat the Israelites were perfect, but she saw God and she loved him.
15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law isgoing back to her people and her gods. Goback with her.” Ruth did not want to go back to that. Ruth was a true worshipper of God and went with Naomi to Judah because ofthat love. Boaz says, May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” Ruth 2:12 NIV
Many people accept Christ through superficial motives. They never surrender all. They do it to please family, friends, andromantic interests. They love God to a point and leave him when it becomes inconvenient. They do not love God enough. They love other things better. Do not love the world…
She showed loyalty to Naomi and hercovenant with Elimelech’s family. Ruth went the extra mile, even though Naomi loosed her from this responsibility; still she remained loyal to Naomi and to God. Shetook her words, promises and commitments seriously.
These verses (16-17) are used in many wedding ceremonies because it depicts love and loyalty to the wedding vows.However, it can apply to many other areas.It seems many today have no idea of what loyalty is. Synonyms of loyal: Faithful,trustworthy, devoted, reliable, dependable, steadfast, dedicated, trusty, constant Does our society value loyalty?
Horton hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss- Lazy Mayzie the bird was sitting on an egg.Horton the elephant passes by and Mayzie gets him to sit on the egg. Mayzie leavesand doesn’t come back. Horton continues to sit on the egg through all kinds of weather. Then some men find Horton sitting on the egg and they are so fascinated with an elephant sitting on an egg that they takeHorton and the egg and sell him to a circus.
Throughout all of these episodes, Hortonsays, "I meant what I said, and I said what Imeant… An elephant’s faithful- one hundred percent." Finally, the egg hatches and out pops an elephant-bird. And it should be, it should be, it should be like that! Because Horton was faithful! He sat and he sat! He meant what he said And he said what he meant…And they sent him home Happy, One hundred per cent!
How many people would fulfill such a promise! We see here a woman of great character. It is comforting to know somepeople who mean what they say and followthrough on their promises. It is refreshing tohave friends who say they will help you and support you and they actually do it.
We need more Ruth’s in our society. We need more people who will not stab us in the back. We need more people who willlead us down the right path. We need more people who will stick with us when we areright and when we are wrong. These people are few and far between. That is why they are so attractive.
Hold To Christ, cling to Him. We will stick with Christ; we will stick with our familieseven though better offers come. We need to be loyal to our mothers and mothers need to be loyal to their children. Ruth remained loyal even in the midst of adversity. Naomi was old and was unable to provide for herself. God’s law in Israel is that the corners of the fields were reserved for the poor.
Leviticus 19:9 NIV “ „When you reap theharvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up thegrapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.
Ruth and Naomi came back to Bethlehem during the barley harvest. Ruth went to a field and started to glean what was there. She went to the field of Boaz. ChapterBoaz helped her to gather a lot because he knew who she was and he respected her and her character. It was hard work but Ruth was loyal.
Ruth knew that going with Naomi put her ina very low position. Not just one widow but two. No income. No steady work. Had to work as a poor woman gleaning in the fields, not an easy job and maybe even a dangerous one. Usually gleaners did not get much from a day’s work. Besides, she was a foreigner.
Ruth must have had culture shock in moving to a different country. There weremany unfamiliar ways of doing things, many unfamiliar customs and sayings, not tomention language differences. She left herfather and mother and homeland, never to return. Ruth had to sacrifice much.
A lot of times there is a sacrifice, a giving up of something (carrying a cross) to be aChristian. Our parent’s had to sacrifice a lot for us. To sacrifice is to love.1 John 4:10 NET In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Ruth even sacrificed a lot of her dignity. Chapter 3;Naomi comes up with a plan. Boaz is one of their kinsman-redeemers. "A brother in lawor a close relative who bought back the land of an impoverished or deceased relative to carry on his name in Israel.
If there was a widow from a deceased relative, the kinsman-redeemer would haveto marry that widow and provide children for his brother in-law or close relative so that his name would be carried on in Israel. For a woman to make a marriage proposal or ask permission of a kinsman-redeemer to come and redeem, she had to uncover his legs and lie down by his feet as in submission, then the man would make that decision.
Boaz was older than Ruth. This could be embarrassing for Ruth. During the night Boaz was sleeping at the threshing floor, Ruth comes, uncovers his legs & lay at his feet. Ruth 3:11 NIV And now, mydaughter, don‟t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character. Boaz needs to approach the closestkinsman-redeemer and have him redeem or allow Boaz to redeem.
Ruth is one of the most attractive women in the Bible. Boaz says why. “you are a woman of noble character.”What made her so attractive? Her love, her loyalty and her sacrifice.Matthew 6:33 NET But above all pursue hiskingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. The Lord blesses those who please him.
Chapter 4 Boaz is allowed to be Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer. Boaz and Ruth are married and Ruth gave birth to a son. Naomi was comforted in her old age with a grandson named Obed, the grandfather of King David, in the lineage of Jesus.
WE have a kinsman-redeemer and that redeemer is Jesus Christ. He bought us back from being poor, wretched, and miserable. We were like Ruth and Naomiand even worse. Much like Boaz, who had nothing really to gain financially. Jesusgained a bride through his love, loyalty and sacrifice, the Church. May we be an attractive bride like Ruth was to Boaz.
Are you part of His bride, The Church? Do you believe as Peter did? Matthew 16:15NET He said to them, "But who do you saythat I am?" 16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Have you repented of your sins & turned to God? Acts 26:20 NET but I declared to those in Damascus first, and then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to theGentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds consistent with repentance.
Have you been added to the number? Acts 2:41 NET So those who accepted hismessage were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added. Are you living faithfully, staying true to theLord? Acts 11:23 NET When he came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with devoted hearts,