Ruth 3:1-18 (Part 1) – The Hand Up Is There for The Taking. It’s Up to Us To Take It!

Posted: October 30, 2017 in Book of Ruth
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Ruth 3:1-18 (Part 1 of 3)
Ruth Follows Naomi’s Plan

Have you ever had someone to help you out of a jam? I guess in a way my wife and I were recently redeemers for my youngest daughter. I love my youngest daughter to death and want the best for her but it just seems as though she will never want what is best for her – what will secure her own future.

As the youngest, she really did not know much of a life when her birth mom, my first wife (God rest her soul), had a solid marriage. Taylor’s mom and I started final stages of the death march of our marriage not long after Taylor was born and by the time Taylor was 2 ½ years old, her mother and me were splitsville. So, since that time, I guess both her mother and grandmother and my parents had spoiled Taylor a great deal. And, then, there was me, after the breakup of my second marriage when Taylor was a just becoming a teenager. In those years subsequent to the break-up of my second marriage, I made up for a lot of lost time with Taylor during those years. Taylor was so spoiled that she was almost 20 years old before she got her first job. However, at some point, a child must grow up and I thought she had when she finally got a full-time customer service job with a regional pest control company. But because of her mother’s death and her inheriting her mother’s me against the world mentality, she up and quit a good job. Not perfect. There is never one of those. But a good job for a girl who decided not to go to college even though she was smart enough to excel in college. So for the last two plus years she has not worked and has all the excuses in the world why she can’t get a job. However, recently, she had a car wreck because she had a blow out on one of her tires on her beater of a car (being unemployed will prevent you from affording to buy new tires – even if she paid attention to such things).

Now, she was in a real pickle. She couldn’t get a job if she didn’t have a car. On the opposite of that coin, she couldn’t get a car if she did not have a job. After much thought and prayer, my wife suggested that we give Taylor a “hand up” by giving her Elena’s car that. It’s not new. It’s a 2008 model, but it has been taken good care of and being a Mazda it is just a good car! Otherwise, Taylor would just be one of those people operating in the water just below the surface never being able to get their head above water. It was a good idea all the way around. Taylor seemed to positive about getting her life together finally. Finally! So, with some considerable thought and prayer myself, I gave an affirmative agreement to the plan. So, without any evidence of what Taylor would do with her hand up, we did it. We gave her the car for $1.00. We helped her out by putting the title in her name, getting the registration transferred into her name and getting the insurance for the first six months set up.

What Taylor does with this assistance is up to her. We have helped her out so many times and this is one more time. At age 27, this has to be the final big push to get her grow up, get a job, and take life on instead of expecting the world to take care of her. We can’t do this anymore. Here, sweetheart, I love you but this is it. Here is your hand up out of the water. Here is your life raft. Crawl in and get on with your life and make something of it. We cannot make her want a secure life and a career. We cannot make her want to be able to live more than a hand to mouth existence. We cannot make her want to quit living life on the edge of poverty. I can’t make her want to work. I just gave her the opportunity. I gave her a way to get a job. I gave her a way to get out the pit. It is up to her to climb out though.

That’s the thing that I thought of this morning when I read through this passage for the first of three times that we will write about it. Thinking about Boaz’s decision to redeem Ruth. It was something that he did not have to do, but he did it because of his great care for her situation. Let’s read the passage together for the first time this morning, Ruth 3:1-18:
3 One day Naomi said to Ruth, “My daughter, it’s time that I found a permanent home for you, so that you will be provided for. 2 Boaz is a close relative of ours, and he’s been very kind by letting you gather grain with his young women. Tonight he will be winnowing barley at the threshing floor. 3 Now do as I tell you—take a bath and put on perfume and dress in your nicest clothes. Then go to the threshing floor, but don’t let Boaz see you until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 Be sure to notice where he lies down; then go and uncover his feet and lie down there. He will tell you what to do.”

5 “I will do everything you say,” Ruth replied. 6 So she went down to the threshing floor that night and followed the instructions of her mother-in-law.

7 After Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he lay down at the far end of the pile of grain and went to sleep. Then Ruth came quietly, uncovered his feet, and lay down. 8 Around midnight Boaz suddenly woke up and turned over. He was surprised to find a woman lying at his feet! 9 “Who are you?” he asked.

“I am your servant Ruth,” she replied. “Spread the corner of your covering over me, for you are my family redeemer.”

10 “The Lord bless you, my daughter!” Boaz exclaimed. “You are showing even more family loyalty now than you did before, for you have not gone after a younger man, whether rich or poor. 11 Now don’t worry about a thing, my daughter. I will do what is necessary, for everyone in town knows you are a virtuous woman. 12 But while it’s true that I am one of your family redeemers, there is another man who is more closely related to you than I am. 13 Stay here tonight, and in the morning I will talk to him. If he is willing to redeem you, very well. Let him marry you. But if he is not willing, then as surely as the Lord lives, I will redeem you myself! Now lie down here until morning.”

14 So Ruth lay at Boaz’s feet until the morning, but she got up before it was light enough for people to recognize each other. For Boaz had said, “No one must know that a woman was here at the threshing floor.” 15 Then Boaz said to her, “Bring your cloak and spread it out.” He measured six scoops[a] of barley into the cloak and placed it on her back. Then he[b] returned to the town.

16 When Ruth went back to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “What happened, my daughter?”

Ruth told Naomi everything Boaz had done for her, 17 and she added, “He gave me these six scoops of barley and said, ‘Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’”

18 Then Naomi said to her, “Just be patient, my daughter, until we hear what happens. The man won’t rest until he has settled things today.”

In this passage, we see that, as widows, Ruth and Naomi could only look forward to difficult times. But when Naomi heard the news about Boaz, her hope for the future was renewed. Typical of her character though, she thought first of Ruth. She encouraged Ruth to see if Boaz would take the responsibility of being the family redeemer. A family redeemer was a relative who volunteered to take responsibility for the extended family. When a woman’s husband died, the law (Deuteronomy 25:5-10) provided that she could marry a brother of her dead husband. But Naomi had no more sons. Each had already perished. In such a case, the nearest relative the deceased husband could become a family redeemer and marry the widow. The nearest relative did not have to marry the widow. If he chose to pass on marrying the widow, the next nearest relative could take his place. If no one chose to help the widow, she would probably live in desperate poverty the rest of her life. Some were even known to have had to stoop so low as to prostitution to make a living if no one would take on the responsibility for caring for the widow. In Israelite culture, as in many ancient cultures of the Middle East, inheritance of a husband did not go to his wife. It went to his sons (with the eldest son getting a double portion). In the absence of living sons, a dead husband’s inheritance went to the nearest male relative, not to the wife. The laws for gleaning and family redeemers helped take the siting out these inheritance rules.

We have a family redeemer in Jesus Christ, who, though He was God, came to earth as a man in order to save us. By His death on the cross, he redeemed us from sin and hopelessness and has thereby purchased us to be his own possession as Peter states in 1 Peter 1:18-19. This guarantees our eternal future just as the family redeemer guaranteed the earthly future of a widow.

Jesus died for us when we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8). He did not require that we do certain things or have achieved certain things before He went to the cross for us. He made salvation available to us. It is up to us whether we see the need for it or not. If we want to secure our future in heaven with Jesus and the saints, we must recognize that we had a need for the cross. We must recognize that we are hopeless sinners destined for hell and eternal damnation before we can even recognize the purpose of the cross. However, our ignorance of the cross and its meaning before salvation did not stop Jesus from going ahead to the cross. He died for the sins of all us for all time. He took on the wrath of God for all sinners for all time at that moment on the cross nearly 2,000 years ago. He has already done the work. He has given it all even before you recognize that He has done. He has already made your path clear to eternal security in the bosom of God in heaven. However, you must recognize your own inability to get to heaven because of our first sin and our lifetime of sins besides that first one. The first one disqualifies us from heaven much less all the sins we commit in a lifetime. We are hopeless and eternally damned in the absence of Jesus taking the punishment for our horrid sin state. He has already provided the hand up. We must take His hand and crawl out of the pit.

The same is true for my daughter, Taylor. We have done the work to pull her out of the pit. We have made a way for her to find secure employment and a solid future. It is up to her to grab that help and climb out of the pit and make something of herself. We can’t make her want to climb out of the pit. She must recognize that she is in the pit first. She must recognize her need to secure her own future. She must want it worse than anything else. Just as we as sinners must want the hand the Jesus has extended to us from the cross. We must recognize first that we are destined to hell on our own merits. We must take the hand of Jesus and ask Him to save us. We must recognize our need for Jesus. He has already done the work. He has given us the hand up already. We must extend our hand to take his.

Amen and Amen.

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