Our Daily Homily, Ruth
Call me not Naomi, call me Mara - Ruth 1:20
So she spoke, as many have spoken since, not knowing that God's ways are ways of pleasantness and all His paths peace, when they are not isolated from the plan of our life, but considered as parts of the whole. We cannot pronounce on any part of God's dealing with us until the entire plan has been allowed to work itself out. How grieved God's Spirit must be, who is lovingly doing His best, when He hears these words of murmuring and complaint! Let us lift the vail, and notice the pleasant things in Naomi's life.
True, her husband and sons were dead; but their deaths in a foreign land had left her free to come back to her people and her God; to nestle again under the wings of Jehovah; and to share the advantages of the Tabernacle.
True, Orpah had gone back. Mahlon and Chilion were both buried in Moab; but she had Ruth, who was better to her than seven sons.
True, she had no male child to perpetuate her name; but the little Obed would, within a few months, be nestling in her aged arms, and laughing into her withered face.
True, she was very poor; but it was through her poverty that Ruth was brought first into contact with that good man, Boaz; and, beside, there was yet a little patrimony which pertained to her.
Yes, Naomi, like thousands more, thou must take back thy words. Thou didst deal bitterly with thine own happiness in leaving the Land of Promise for Moab; but God dealt pleasantly with thee in thy return and latter end. "Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy."
Under whose wings thou art come to trust - Ruth 2:12
In after-days this was a favorite image with David in his wanderings and escapes among those same hills. Perhaps he had received it as a fragrant legacy from the life of his good ancestor, Boaz. At least on one occasion Jesus employed it in saying that He had wished to gather Jerusalem as a hen her chicks.
How warm, cosy, and safe, the chickens are when they have gathered under the wings of the brooding hen! It must be a very heaven for them. The storm may roll through the sky, the heavy raindrops fall, the hawk may hover above, poising itself on its wings; but the body of the parent-bird is interposed between them and all that threatens. What wonder that the Psalmist said that he would hide under the shadow of God's wings till all his calamities were overpast!
Are you sheltering there? Have you come out of the storm and tempest to hide there? Can you say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust"? If so, remain in happy confidence. God is between you and all evil or alarm. Be still; yea, be still.
If you have not come to trust under the outspread wings of the Cherubim, do as Ruth did. Leave the land of your nativity, the far country of Moab; leave your people and your gods; tear yourself away even from some twin-soul, dear as Orpah; come across the border-line, and glean in the fields of the Gospel. There you will meet with the true Boaz, who will show kindness unto you, and you will become affianced to Him, and live at home forevermore in the house of bread, where you will be blessed indeed.
The man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day - Ruth 3:18
Boaz had many good traits--his religious demeanor and speech, his courtesy in greeting his servants, his refusal to take advantage of Ruth's trust; but none are more satisfactory as an index of a noble character than this well-known and acknowledged promptness of action, when he had once taken in hand the cause of the needy. From of old, Naomi had recognized this quality in her kinsman, and knew that he was a man of his word, who would assiduously complete what he had undertaken to perform.
It is a characteristic that we should do well to cultivate. Let us not arouse hopes, and finally disappoint them; let us not make promises to forget them. Our words should be yea, yea. Those who commit their cause to us should feel perfectly at rest about our executing what we have promised.
How true this is of Jesus! If we have put our matters into His hands, we have no further need of worry or fear, but may sit still in assured trust. For Zion's sake He does not hold His peace, and for Jerusalem's sake He will not rest. He has undertaken the cause of the Church, albeit that it is so largely composed of Gentiles, and He will not be in rest until the marriage-feast is celebrated. He has made Himself responsible for thee and me; and He will not rest until He has played the part of a Goel to the furthest limit, and accomplished our redemption. When we have fully yielded ourselves to Him, and have tasted the joys of complete rest, we may assuredly say with the Apostle, "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day."
Ruth have I purchased to be my wife - Ruth 4:10
So this exquisite idyll, which began with three deaths and famine, ends with marriage rejoicings. Shall not all God's idylls end thus? Shall it be left to the dream of the novelist only to make happy forever after? God has eternity at His disposal, as well as time. Only trust Him; "thy darkest night shall end in brightest day."
It is impossible not to read between these lines and see the foreshadowing of another marriage, when the purchase of the Church shall issue m her everlasting union with the Son, in the presence of God the Father. Let us, however, apply these words to ourselves as individuals.
The Lord Jesus has purchased us to be His own, not with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with His precious blood.
He has also won back our patrimony; this earth is His; and shall be yet rid of all intruding evil, to shine as the brightest jewel in His crown.
He has received the shoe, the symbol of dominion and authority. He is not only our lover, but our Lord.
He waits to take us to Himself, in a love that shall not cease, and compared to which all the love we have ever known is as moonlight compared with sunshine.