“Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. In the middle of the night something startled the man, and he turned and discovered a woman lying at his feet.”
These beautiful verses from Luke 10:39 and Ruth 3:8 (we will look at this chapter together) give us insight into the “priority position” to take this summer. Whether you are in the breach or on the beach, or both, you need to find “what is better” and what lasts forever – our intimate relation with Jesus, the ultimate kinsman redeemer.
“My daughter, should I not try to find a home for you, where you will be well provided for?
We find identity and a home with Jesus. Relation with him is where all true provision begins.
“Wash and perfume yourself, and put on your best clothes.”
Confess and repent of your sins, washed in the cleansing blood of Jesus. May the incense of prayer and worship arise from our contrite hearts and may we clothe ourselves with the fruit of the Spirit and with power from on high. Colossians 3:12-14 gives us a whole wardrobe of “best clothes”. Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience…and the “overalls” of love!
“Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer.”
How we need the garment of grace to approach our Lord. This is not our own garment but it is given to us freely. As Christ spread out his loving arms on the cross to embrace fallen humanity, so he extends his individual grace to each of us and clothes us in his righteousness.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
“And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask.”
“You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” John 14:14
Move from fear to faith in his presence. Hear and believe his uncompromising promise to those who pray. Let your request rise to the generous level of giving expressed in the faithful words of our master. It is not time to be silent in unbelief or hedonistic passivity. It is time to ASK. Time to formulate a clear heart inspired request to a greater redeemer than Boaz. Find a prayer from your intimacy, from your dreams, from the discernment of the lover’s longings.
“David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” 1 Chronicles 11:17
Our Lord is still longing to drink from the occupied territories of this world. Who are the mighty men and women who will break through?
“Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out.” When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and put it on her.
Ruth went from gleaning to extravagant provision. She was used to working all day for one “epah”- and that was on a good day. Now, from an encounter of intimate prayer she perhaps received about 6 times that amount, more than she could comfortably carry.
“What these measures were is not expressed; the Targum is six seahs or bushels, as the Vulgate Latin version, but that is too much, and more than a woman could carry; unless we suppose, with the Targum, that she had strength from the Lord to carry it, and was extraordinarily assisted by him in it” Gill’s commentary.
Ruth’s shawl may be an image of our lives and ministries. Perhaps the Lord is asking you to hold out your work, prayers and dreams before him once again so he can pour in the long awaited blessing. Ruth went from a great time of trial and famine to a place of wonderful provision because of her intimate prayer with the redeemer.
He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age.
There is much talk of new paradigms for Church and mission. Some of the more traditional bastions of our faith, doctrine and practice are being assailed by a genuine quest for the new. This is not however the time to throw out the baby with the bathwater! We need the tension of the old and new treasures together. The place of prayer transcends human methods. A fresh encounter with the living Lord will bring renewal and keep us all on track. Ruth was able to give new hope to the “barren and bitter” Naomi and make her “pleasant” again in her old age. She brought Israel into its promised purpose by stepping into destiny and the genealogy of the Messiah. Prayer locks us back into our chosen destiny.
So, choose the place of prayer this summer.
“May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem.”