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Meditations on THE BOOK OF RUTH


Beginning with the second chapter of Ruth, first verse, we read as follows: “And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.” We will notice first that Ruth desires to have the full consent of her mother-in-law to go and glean in the field of Boaz. Is it not true, dear reader, that you desire to have the approbation of the church in all of your travels? Not only did she ask permission to go and glean in the field, she asked the servant of Boaz if she might glean after the reapers. This shows that she did not care to be an intruder. Having obtained permission, she gleaned from morning until evening and beat out that which she had gleaned and took it to her mother-in-law, for Naomi was only interested in the good grain. Is this not a type of the gospel field? She left the chaff and straw behind. The church is only interested in the good grain (Jesus). It appears that Ruth had gleaned several days when Boaz made his appearance in the field and the first thing he said unto the reapers was, “The Lord be with you. And they answered him, The Lord bless thee.” What is the salvation for? Boaz is acknowledging the hand of God in their temporal blessings. The Lord had withheld the first and latter rain for several years, and there was a famine in the land. But now he smiles upon them and they are favored with a bountiful crop. Is this not a true sign of the gospel church today? She will acknowledge the hand of God in her temporal blessings, as well as spiritual. How true is the type; when the rain falls, it must first come through the roots in order for the plant to grow. The Lord said, “My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall Pistil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass.” So the heavenly rain must first come through the root, Jesus, for he is the root and the offspring of David, and Paul said, “Thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.” So all of our suffering, trials and sorrows, as well as our joys must first come through Jesus, for he was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” What a joy it must have brought to the reapers for Boaz to make his appearance in the field and give directions and instructions. Dear servant of God, do you not oft-times feel to be at your wit's end, and do you not long for the Master to come and give you renewed evidence of your call to the ministry and supply you with chords that are fitly spoken, which Solomon says are “like apples of gold in pictures of silver,” that they may be for the edification of the saints and in honor and praise to our precious and heavenly Master? In verse five, we see that Boaz takes notice of Ruth, and after the servant gives laity a full explanation of her coming, he says unto her, “Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens.” What kind and sympathetic words from this “mighty man of wealth” (Jesus) to a poor, helpless widow and stranger. How unworthy she felt for one so high and lofty to condescend and take notice of her. Read her own words in verse ten: “Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldst take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?” In Solomon's humble petition to God in the dedication of the Holy Temple, he fervently asked the Lord to remember the stranger that “is come from a far country.” Chron. 6:32. In the book of Leviticus 19:33-36 we read where the Lord made provision for strangers. If this script should catch the eye of some poor and tempestuously tossed traveler who so often feels, like the unworthy writer, a stranger, remember that our God has made ample provision for strangers. In verse nine he says, “When thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.” How favorably these words compare with the words of the Savior, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Is not this vessel a type of this old earthen vessel in which, Paul says, we have this treasure in an earthen vessel? Jesus said to the woman at the well of Samaria, the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. Is not this young man, Jesus, formed in you the hope of glory? Are we not blessed at times to drink from this vessel? Sometimes when we meet for worship, other times when traveling alone? And often Glen we wake up in the dark hours of night and when this living water flows so sweetly into our souls, can we not witness with David of old, “My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me an the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever?” And again we can say with the poet, “I need not go abroad for joy, I have a feast at home.” At meal time, Boaz mill, cone hither and eat bread. This is what Ruth and Naomi had longed for when they left the country of Moab, for Naomi said she heard that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread and nor they were partakers of it.

Ruth eats and takes halve to her mother-in-law. When the Lord so wonderfully favors us with a little of this bread, does he not also give us some to take to the church? He also said, dip thy morsel in the vinegar. While I have no special light as to the spiritual significance of the expression, “dip thy morsel in the vinegar,” we do know that vinegar makes many foods more palatable. He reached her some parched corn. Would it be well to say that this corn represents Jesus? Before corn is parched, it must be brought through the fire. So Jesus was brought through the furnace of afflictions and trod the wine-press of the wrath of God alone, and of all the people there was none to help. Note, he did not say that no one was present but “there was none to help.” Mine own arm hath brought salvation, and long before his crucifixion. Nebuchadnezzar saw him in the fiery furnace when he put the three Hebrew children in and heated the furnace seven times hotter than was wont to be. The king said, “Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” “Lo, I see four men loosed stalking in the midst of the fires and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” When David's brothers there in battle against the Philistines, he had a great desire to take them some parched corn. How well we know that God's humble poor are in a great welfare today, “the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh,” and we so often feel that the flesh will ultimately win the victory and sink us into despair. The writer has at tines all but given up. I have often said to my wife when I would start out to church, “I haven't any subject for today.” There are times when I walk into the pulpit and a silent voice will say, “The brethren are ashamed of you. Your life is far below the standard for a minister of the gospel, and the reason they don't tell you to stop is because they hate to tell you so.” And I must confess that at such times when I feel so depressed, tired, hungry and faint, I am unable to tell whether it is the voice of the Lord or the voice of Satan. But I am more inclined at such times to believe it is the voice of God. But, ah! when I begin to partake of this “parched corn”, it seems to penetrate through my whole being and suddenly gives me such renewed courage and strength, that I can say with the apostle of old, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes. When I have such an experience as just recorded (which are few now and far between), I can turn to Satan and say, “get thee behind me; I will never adhere to your suggestions any more.” But, ah! I have to be taught this lesson over and over again. Well did the apostle say that some are easel learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Such has been my experience. Boaz said to the reapers, “and let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them and rebuke her not.” Boaz, in his love and affection as will be seen from the narrative, is drawn out to Ruth, and Ruth is drawn out to Boaz. He shares his wealth with her, as will be seen from the words of Naomi in verse nineteen. “And where wroughtest thou?” It wasn't that she did not know, for she had given Ruth permission to go. But Ruth had brought home so much more barley than usual though the kindness of Boaz that Naomi was anxious for her to tell the whole story, and there is no doubt in my mind that it was an interesting one. How true today, when we see the love of God manifested in the life of the dear little saints, we know that handfuls of purpose have been scattered around in the gospel field and they are partakers, but do we not like to hear them tell their experience in their own manner and way? Naomi now introduces the Subject by telling Ruth: “The man is neat of kin unto us.” Ruth did not know this before. What would you say? If a child of God should relate the dealings of the Lord with him and you could see that he had been wonderfully favored, as Naomi could see from the words as well as the gift from Boaz, would you not say that Jesus is near of kin to us? Naomi brings the “us” in because both of then share in the blessings alike. Then she adds, “one of our next kinsmen.” Verse twenty. Notice she did not say the man is our “nearest” kinsman, but, “our next kinsman” or “near of kin to us”. Boaz introduces the subject to Ruth concerning the “nearest” kinsman in the next chapter, which I hope to treat on in my next article if the Lord is willing.

(To be continued)

Elder T. Floyd Adams
Willows Spring, N.C.

Signs of the Times
Volume 113, No. 2
February 1945