Friday, January 30

The Riches of Resolute Living

"And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:" Ruth 1:16

I distinctly remember being asked for a reference on a young man who is a student at our Bible College. Before this young lady was to accept a date from this particular young man, she did her homework! Fortunately, the young man I speak of has a solid background; his daddy is a Baptist Preacher, his mother is a devoted soul-winner, and he is unquestionably honoring to his parents; he has a healthy endearing relationship with all five siblings; he is polite, courteous, and always considerate of others.

Another quality that has stood out is his hard-work ethic. This young man is diligent in his work environment, diligent in his studies, and diligent in his ministry. In addition, other than my husband, I have never met a more resolute, considerate individual; he knows where he is going, he is resolved to take the necessary steps to get there, and his testimony never wavers.

The older I grow and through maturing in the Christian life, the more unwavering I become through disciplined living; during the course of life-experiences, I have learned that the power of resolution silences temptation. Resolution shuts and bolts the door, resists the devil, and forces him to flee.

The young man I used for my introduction applies this Biblical principle throughout his own life. This is what I describe as transferred wisdom. Through the training from godly parents and his own walk with God; he too, forging maturity throughout his own life-experiences, will come to the knowledge of what resolute living is to the Christian’s life.

I love studying the book of Ruth. Many years ago I defined Ruth as a love story. I now define this book as ‘The Riches of Resolute Living.’

Christian womanhood is refined and defined by women who imitate Ruth’s example. If you did not have a good role-model, you do here! It’s not easy to deny yourself and follow Christ’s example every day of your life. However, anything less is a conditional decision and therefore, amorphous or undefined. Belonging to God can be described as chemistry geology – there IS a crystalline structure! Our origin and our history are in His hands! Living the Christian life any other way is not living the Christian life!
  • Ruth’s Deciding - “Thy God my God;” This act alone expressed her determination to embrace and adhere to the Jewish religion. Fixed and strong resolution is necessary in order to truly serve God, and those who love Him will, when called to it, give up all for His sake. Wisdom, and virtue, and grace; remained with her, even in her present poor and melancholy condition. “And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:” (Ru 1:16)
  • Ruth Serving - She was an example of regard to her mother-in-law and of trust in providence. God wisely orders what seem to us small events and those that appear altogether uncertain, still are directed to serve His own glory and the good of His people. Little did she know that amid the sheaves she would find a husband, that he should make her the joint owner of all those broad acres, and that she, a poor foreigner, should become one of the progenitors of the great Messiah?

God is very good to those who trust in Him and often surprises them with unlooked for blessings. Little do we know what may happen to us tomorrow but this sweet fact may cheer us - that no good thing shall be withheld!

Christian lady, are you downcast and troubled? Come and glean to-day in the broad field of promise. Here is an abundance of precious promises which exactly meet your needs.

  • Ruth Resting - “I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman”--She had already drawn part of the mantle over her and she asked him now to do it, that the act might become his own. To spread a skirt over one is, in the East, a symbolic action denoting protection. To this day in many parts of the East, to say of anyone that he put his skirt over a woman, is synonymous with saying that he married her; and even to the present day, when a Jew marries a woman, he throws the skirts of his talith over her to signify that he has taken her under his protection.

This narrative may encourage us to lay ourselves by faith at the feet of Christ: He is our near Kinsman; having taken our nature upon him. He has the right to redeem. As Christian women, let us seek to receive from Him - His directions: Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?

A Virtuous Woman

“And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.” (Ru 3:11)

Ruth appealed to Boaz on the basis of relationship. “…spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman” (Ru 3:9). She appealed for protection and provision. She received in addition to a pledge of protection and provision, Boaz’s love and admiration. Boaz said, “I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman” (Ru 3:11).

The foundation of her relationship with Boaz was kinship. But Boaz gave her more. He gave her love and admiration based on Ruth’s virtue.

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” (Prov 31:10)

In the words of king Lemuel that his mother taught him, “Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.” (Prov 31:29-31)

A virtuous woman shall be given the fruit of her hands and her own works will praise her. Boaz’s feelings for Ruth went far beyond a sense of obligation toward her. He loved and admired this Moabite girl.

Husbands are required to love, protect, and provide for their brides. But admiration must be earned. A brides’ virtue and the works of her hands will build admiration in the heart of her husband. Or, her words and actions will tear down those same feelings. “…let her own works praise her in the gates” (Prov 31:31). Her actions will be what others notice and what she is known for.

Where did Boaz learn to evaluate people by their faith and treatment of God’s people instead of their background and race? Undoubtedly - from his mother. Perhaps you remember reading about a Gentile prostitute from the city of Jericho named Rahab? This same Rahab reached out to Jehovah and His people by faith. By faith she protected the Hebrew spies and sent them on their way in peace. She is mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11, or faith’s hall of fame as some call it - from the house of shame to the hall of fame. Yes, Rahab was Boaz’s mother and he learned much from her.

Boaz would be proud to be the husband of such a virtuous woman as Ruth. Her virtue complimented his character. “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.” (Prov 12:4)

Ruth would be an asset to Boaz in every way. After all, shouldn’t a bride be one who corresponds to her husband in every way? The expression is helpmeet.

  • Ruth Rewarded - The events recorded in Ruth cover a period of 10 years. We find in this book an excellent example of faith, piety, patience, humility, industry, and loving-kindness in the common events of life. Also we see the special care which God's providence takes of our smallest concerns, encouraging us to fully trust therein. We may view this book as a beautiful and natural representation of human life, as a curious detail of important facts, and as a part of the plan of redemption. Being subject to many afflictions and yet eventually God gives good and joyful offspring, teaching us to abide with patience till God delivers us out of troubles.

In the circle of kinship, there was one who was closer of kin to Ruth than Boaz. In a perfect world there would have only been one that had the right to redeem - Boaz. But a perfect world only happens in fairy tales. Ruth didn’t live in a perfect world and neither do we. There is one that has a prior claim on our life also – Death!

Ruth slept at Boaz’s feet that night. She arose very early in the morning before the sun was up and before any would even know she had been there. Boaz gave a parting gift. He would not send her away to her mother-in-law empty. “Bring the veil that adorns your head,” he said. After it was spread out, Boaz filled it to overflowing with precious grain. “And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor. Also he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city.” (Ru 3:14-15)

Ruth carried home the fruit of the Lord of the Harvest’s labors - a gift of love given by her loving groom. It was wrapped in that which she wore to beautify and distinguish her. Naomi said, “Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day” (Ruth 3:18).

And so it is today, we are to sit still and rest in God’s love and assurance. We have a sign of His love and desire for us today. It is called the gifts of the Spirit and they are wrapped and bundled up in that which beautifies and distinguishes the Church – holiness! “…seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.” (1 Cor 14:12)

Jesus Christ was crucified and tasted of death in our place. He paid the price to buy us back. And figuratively speaking of course, He took death to court. Death could claim our life, but he could not give us life. He could not raise up seed. And so, Uncle Death had to surrender his claim upon us. And Jesus Christ emerged from the grave with proof of the transaction in His hand. John the Revelator saw our great Kinsman Redeemer, and Jesus said, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Rev 1:18).

He has the keys in His hand - proof that death has relinquished his claim and that the grave cannot hold us down. This is proof of His redemption of our body, soul, and spirit. He holds our past, our present, and our future in His nail-pierced hands. And some day soon the consummation of this transaction will be complete as He returns to claim the purchased possession. He is not interested in real property - He wants real love.

But for now, we are to rest in His love knowing that He is transacting business on our behalf. We are to “sit still” because He “will not be in rest” until the business is completed. Someday soon He will return with the proof of His claim in His hand. He holds the keys of hell (the grave) and of death. And when He comes, He will claim His purchased possession: the Bride of Christ. Redemption will be complete when our bodies are resurrected and this mortal shall put on immortality. (1 Cor15:51-55)

“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor 15:55)

Until that day, we have the earnest of our inheritance – the Holy Ghost that dwells in us. “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Eph 1:13-14)

As Christian Women we are to live a resolute life; being definite about who we are and what our purpose is will not only bring God glory but will give us peace in this agitated world.

Rahab's faith was a SANCTIFYING FAITH. Did Rahab continue a harlot after she had faith? No, she did not. I do not believe she was a harlot at the time the men went to her house, though the name still stuck to her, as bad names will; but I am sure she was not afterward for Salmon the prince of Judah married her and her name is put down among the ancestors of our Lord Jesus Christ.

You can not have faith, and yet live in sin. To believe is to be holy. The two must go together. That faith is a dead faith, a corrupt faith, which lives in sin that grace may abound. Rahab was a sanctified woman. O, that God might sanctify some other women!

To be more pleasing to God and less pleasing to man is a road less travelled by a great majority of Christian women. Whilst we live in this imperfect world there will always be pressure on us not to be separated in our walk and not to face some tough decisions that require diligence and discipline to stay at it! Ruth made the tough choice and walked a road contrary to the majority.

This world can have an influence on you and the busyness of life will be the excuse you make for allowing your standards to droop. For example; seven-years ago our family made a decision to remove television from our home. There is no T.V to be found anywhere! Whilst this may be a rather radical move for most, we felt the need to eliminate the Trojan horse before a foreseeable attack on our family and our purity. Now, if we are exposed to television, the moral decline over these seven-years is clearly noticeable to us; the way women dress, the lack of respect for their authority (including a husband), their language, lack of discipline, and an over-indulgent lifestyle.

Has it ever occurred to you that television has an impact on us – and not in a positive way? What about the magazines we read, the books that influence our lives, the music that gives us a “buzz,” or the friends we socialize with? Are we not accountable for our children? Are we not accountable for living a separated life?

God, by His spirit, gives us a right understand for everything. Let the life we already possess show itself by longing for more. The word of God is the righteousness of God.

The closer I get to God the more powerful my telescope on such a view of this world and more particularly, the thinning of a crowd that choose to live a righteous life; uniquely set apart for God’s glory, honor, and praise. To be a disciplined woman of purpose and prayer requires us to whip the hard ones and deny our fleshly desires and tendencies.

At the beginning of 2009, I stood up to a mark God had already positioned for me, and my flesh not just resists, but gives me much grief; as I face the reality of what I am clearly not and what God undoubtedly wants me to be, I have wanted to “throw the towel in” often. I did not realize how many areas of my life were mediocre – until now!

Ruth’s testimony is an example for my own life. She was a woman of fortitude, values, and resolve. She was too focused and hard working to allow self-indulgence to pull for her affections.

We were created to live a simple life - as a servant! That’s a phenomenal statement coming from a once headstrong business owner. As one who has been in the world, I can testify to the riches of resolute living in Christ. The world will take it all from you and you will be left feeling empty and dismayed!

As a Christian Woman – God gives me all that I need; He is the Beginning and the beginning of my day. He is the Creator and the Author of my ways. He is the Comforter and the comfort that I need. He is All-sufficient and I have everything I need. He is a Friend and the friend I run to when others let me down. He is Omniscient and has all the answers to my questions in life. What more could a girl ask for?

I Love You,

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