Sermon Follow Up- Week 50, 2021
Ruth and Naomi have found themselves in a very specific predicament that requires a very specific rescuer and to our surprise— Ruth finds herself in that rescuer's field. In the same way, we have found ourselves in a specific predicament in need of a God-sent rescuer who is equipped to save us. It's through that rescuer, who is Jesus, where we find ourselves safely under God's wings of refuge.
“Now Naomi had a relative of her husband’s, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech. And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem. And he said to the reapers, “The LORD be with you!” And they answered, “The LORD bless you.” Then Boaz said to his young man who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?” And the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, “She is the young Moabite woman, who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers.’ So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest.”
Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.” Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”1 But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” Then she said, “I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.”
And at mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over. When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”
So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. And she took it up and went into the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also brought out and gave her what food she had left over after being satisfied. And her mother-in-law said to her, “Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.” So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, “The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz.” And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by the LORD, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Naomi also said to her, “The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.”1 And Ruth the Moabite said, “Besides, he said to me, ‘You shall keep close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.’” And Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, lest in another field you be assaulted.” So she kept close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests. And she lived with her mother-in-law.” (Ruth 2:1-23 ESV)
God has given you the ideal Redeemer who acts as God’s wings of refuge.
SUBPOINTS AND REFLECTION QUESTIONS
Ruth is a bottleneck where the chances of deliverance are so slim that only God could remedy the situation. No food, no heirs, no husband, no king in Israel… How in the world is God going to work this one out? Many of you know the story and how God uses one man to reverse it all for Naomi…but is our story any different? God stepping in and supplying one man who would rescue us.
We're told that Boaz is not only a worthy man—an upright man who worships God—but also a relative who could redeem Elimilech's family. The odds of such a man existing in Bethlehem or all of Israel is slim. But lo and behold, God in his perfect plan and timing brings Ruth into his field looking for food and in need of so much more.
Nothing in our world just happens. Remember last week? Our world and everything that goes on in it is the product of intentional acts of an infinitely wise God. And our attention is drawn to him here. Is chance responsible here? There’s no such thing as chance. Luck isn’t a part of the sovereign God’s equation. The God who Naomi thought was against her has brought her daughter-in-law into the field of the one man who will do something about their situation.
To Ruth's surprise, Boaz is generous to her and seeks to bless her even though she is an outsider. He becomes to Ruth like God's own wings of refuge where Ruth will be safe and provided for.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.” (Psalm 91:1-4 ESV)
“ Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
till the storms of destruction pass by.” (Psalm 57:1 ESV)
As our advent devotional points out, Ruth's question of Boaz is similar to our own: "Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?" We too were once strangers of the covenant, alienated from God, without God, and without hope until we were brought near by the blood of his cross (Eph. 2:12-13 ESV). Why me?
God is a person in whom we can take refuge. Like refugees in need of a home or chicks in need of cover. We run to those wings when the storms of destruction come. We don’t run away, we run to a person who is faithful and who is trustworthy. And that’s what Ruth is doing.
Naomi says that Boaz is one of their redeemers. Essentially, Naomi is saying… here’s someone who can do something about our situation. In the same way, when angels explode onto the scene to announce the coming of Jesus, they are saying something very similar… here’s someone who can do something about our situation. The only one specially qualified to carry out an impossible rescue.
Let me remind you this morning that Jesus is the only person who can save you from your sins…your spiritual poverty.. and your trajectory towards the wrath of God for your rebellion. Jesus is the only one. He is the only one qualified as the sin-bearer and the only person who is fully God and fully man. Had God not sent him—think about that— what if God never sent Jesus to us? Think of this in Anti-Christmas terms. What if Ruth came upon a different field, and Naomi's hopes were ruined. What if Boaz was not an upright man? What if God never sent us the proper rescuer? There would be no ray of hope, just thick despair. No eternal safety, just eternal fire.
Christmas Connection: Christmas is not just an announcement, it’s an invitation! Come! Take refuge under my wings God says. I have sent you a redeemer. Come under the wings that are visible to you in a man who spread his arms wide on a tree for us. Come under HIS protection. HIS provision. HIS righteousness. HIS mercy. Not just once, but over and over, day in and day out. Come under HIS sustaining supply of grace in your difficulty right now. HIS mercies that are fresh every morning. HIS promise of life forever with him. HIS joy even in the midst of sorrow. HIS comfort. HIS Holy Spirit who is your Helper. Come under his wings. Live your life in his field like Ruth did in Boaz's… Come and hide. Find shelter. Find salvation. Come and take refuge. God's response to us, like Boaz’s, is overwhelming generosity to us. Welcoming arms for receiving the undeserved gift of a specialized Savior.
- What are things in your life that you've attributed to chance? How can you reframe those events in terms of God being the one who brought those events about?
- How is Jesus the only one who fulfills the requirements for being our Redeemer?
- How have you experienced God's protection in the past or how are you experiencing it now? What are times where God has not felt like a refuge for you?
- How is Jesus the only one capable of being our Savior?
- Hide under Christ's wings of refuge.
If God describes himself like a mother bird who spreads his wings over and gathers his people under his protective wings, how do we take refuge in him? The first way is by trusting in Christ and believing the good news of the gospel. In doing so, we are trusting in the safety of Christ taking God's wrath for us, and being a part of God's new covenant relationship. What better refuge than the person who will deliver us safely to eternal paradise with God?
Christ is not just a one-time refuge, however. We take refuge in his infinite wisdom when we ask for his help for difficult decisions. We take refuge in his sustaining grace when we are suffering. We take refuge in his promises when we are despairing and feel defeated. We take refuge in his sacrifice when we are guilty and realize our sin. He is a very present help and his wings are spread over us as his children.
- Men: Pursue acting as God's wings of Refuge
Boaz was the embodiment of God's love and protection for both Ruth and Naomi. Through him, we get a picture of Christ's own sacrificial and others-interested character which Christian men are meant to imitate. Dad, grandad, friend, son— Can it be said of you: "You have been like God's wings of refuge to me,"?
- Marvel at the generosity of God.
Boaz follows up generosity, with more generosity, with more generosity towards Ruth. His actions display the lavish love of God towards us. He is unrelenting in the spiritual blessings he has given us in Christ Jesus. When we are begrudged at God or given over to constant complaint, could it be that we've lost sight of how God had dealt so generously with us?
- Ruth 3 and 4
- Psalm 91
- Psalm 62
- Psalm 57
- Psalm 46
Songs to Encourage