Ruth Resting
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Ruth, that portion of the Word of God we are studying together. We would like to remind you that we suggested to you we were going to follow a threefold approach in our study of this particular book. We are going to be thinking about the study of the book from the standpoint of analogy, then from the standpoint of soteriology, and then from the standpoint of eschatology. As you have been able to recognize, I trust, we are approaching our study of the book at the present time from the standpoint of analogy–that is, taking the historical events which are included in the book of Ruth and making spiritual application from those historical events so that we might profit by what is written. This is what the Apostle Paul had in mind when he said to the Corinthians that everything that is written in the Old Testament was written for our learning and for our example. This is what he meant when he wrote to the Romans, “We pray that all believers through the comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” He had in mind when he wrote those words the Old Testament scholars and not the New Testament, although all Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable.

We gave you a brief outline of the book of Ruth so that as you read continuously in the book, which we trust you will be doing, you will be able to know exactly what we are talking about. You will recall that in the first chapter you have had the opportunity already of studying from an analogical standpoint the return of Ruth to the land of Bethlehem and Ruth reaping in the fields of Boaz. We are going to notice chapter 3 of Ruth resting in the threshing floor of Boaz and next week, the Lord willing, we will be looking at chapter 4, which presents the reward of Ruth as she is redeemed by her kinsman, Boaz.

Naomi's Instructions to Ruth

We would like to read chapter 3 so that all of the words in the chapter might be fixed firmly in your mind:

Ruth 3

1Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee?
2And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.
3Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking.

We pause here to point out that the suggestion concerning washing and anointing here in verse 3 is a reference to Ruth's laying aside her widow's garments, which she had worn from the return from Moab until the present day, and let Boaz know that she was open for a proposal of marriage.

Ruth 3

4And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do.
5And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do.
6And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her.
7And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down.

Let us pause and notice that when reference is made, in verse 7, to Boaz when he “had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry,” it was not a reference to the idea that he was intoxicated. When he lay down at the heap of corn, he was doing that to guard that which he had winnowed so that the thieves would not steal it. It was the custom of the day.

Ruth 3

8And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself [that is, he was startled as he turned over ]: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet.
9And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman.
10And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.
11And 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.
12And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.
13Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman's part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the LORD liveth: lie down until the morning.
14And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another [that is, before one could recognize another because of the darkness of the hour] . And he said [not to Ruth, as it would seem here, but to the men of his threshing floor] , Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor.
15Also he said [to Ruth] , 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.
16And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter [This is not a suggestion that Naomi did not know who Ruth was. It was more like saying, ”What news do you have for me? Is your name still Ruth or is it going to be Mrs. Boaz”] ? And she told her all that the man had done to her [more accurately, all that the man had done for her] .
17And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law [that is, go not empty handed to thy mother-in-law] .
18Then said she, 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.

As we have read the chapter, I have made the appropriate changes in the reading so that we might conserve our time. Those appropriate changes are based upon the accurate rendering of the text, and, as you are well aware, sometimes in our King James translation the renderings are not as accurate as they might be as far as clarity of purpose is concerned.

If you do not know it, you will learn as I mention to you that this portion of the book of Ruth is, as are some other portions in the Scripture, one of the stomping grounds for the critics of the Word of God. Some of the criticism that they level declaring proof of the lack of inspiration for the Word of God I have already taken care of in some of the statements that I have called to your attention during the reading of this passage.

An Accusation of Immorality

There is another thing that bothers the critics intensely, and I think it would be wise for us to take care of it right at the start. I think that we need to take care of the accusation of immorality which is made by the higher critics against Naomi and against Ruth. That accusation of immorality is found first in the instructions, say the higher critics, which Naomi gave to Ruth. It you will notice verses 3 and 4 of the chapter:

Ruth 3

3Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking.
4And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do.

The critics say here that Naomi is suggesting that Ruth perform some act of immorality in order to get herself a husband, to attire herself, according to verse 3, as a prostitute might and offer her body, in verse 4, to Boaz to inveigle him into marrying her. They say that Ruth's plea to Boaz is further evidence of the immorality involved in the case because Ruth did exactly what Naomi said. In verse 8, when Boaz was startled and awakened and realized there was a woman at his feet, he said in verse 9:

Ruth 3

9And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman.

Notice the statement, “spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid.” Higher critics suggest that this was an immoral proposition which Ruth made to Boaz, suggesting that they commit an act of immorality which would tie Boaz to her forever. Actually the whole matter is cleared up when you recognize the more correct translation of the verse to which we have just referred, because Ruth's request, translated from the original more accurately, is not, “spread thy skirt over me,” but “spread therefore thy wings over thine handmaid.”

An Appeal for Protection

If you keep in mind what we read in chapter 2, verse 12, you see the thing that she really had in mind. In verse 12 of chapter 2, Boaz had said to her one day:

Ruth 2

12The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.

Boaz said to Ruth one day, “You have come to trust under the wings of Jehovah. It is a safe place to be, Ruth.” Ruth, recognizing because Naomi has so informed her that Boaz was her near kinsman, was making an appeal to him. It was not an appeal for immoral action, but it was an appeal for personal protection. She was saying, “You are my kinsman, my mother-in-law tells me. Will you spread your wings personally over me as Jehovah has already done.”

The fact that this was not an immoral act is indicated by what is presented in verse 11, concerning the reaction that Boaz had to what Ruth suggested. If you will look at verse 11:

Ruth 3

11And 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.

Boaz would have rebuked Ruth if her proposition had been an immoral one, but instead of rebuking her, he reassured her. He said, “Everyone in the city knows that you are a virtuous woman, and I will do the thing that you are going to ask me to do.” He did explain to her a little later that there was one problem that would have to be taken care of before he could do for her what she asked, but that is related to our discussion in the next chapter, so we will pass over it for the moment. The problem was that there was a kinsman nearer to Ruth than was Boaz, and he had the right to redeem the land, and he had the right to marry Ruth if that was his desire. All of this indicates that Boaz was very much concerned about Ruth and had taken the time to find out who she was and who was connected to her and who had the right to discharge the right of the kinsman-redeemer. This would indicate that he desired to do it himself and would at the first opportunity.

According to Custom

You might wonder why it was that Ruth went about this in the way in which she did if it was the manner in which I have suggested. The answer is related to two things. One, it was the custom of the day. This was done if one was seeking a husband. The other is related to the fact that after overtures had been made as Boaz had made them, he would have been thoroughly out of place because of the law of the kinsman-redeemer if he had pursued the matter any further. Either Naomi had to come to him and respond to the overtures which he had made or Ruth had to come. If Ruth had been an unmarried girl, if she had been a maiden, then it would have been necessary for her father, if she had one, or for Naomi to come; but since she was a widow, she had the right to come herself if this was her desire. When Naomi, an Israelite, explained to Ruth, a Moabite, the procedures in the case, she was only too willing to follow.

Desire for Rest

With that accusation out of the way, I would like for us to look briefly at the analogy that exists between the rest that was sought for Ruth and the rest that awaits every believer. The first thing that I would call to your attention is that there must be a desire on the part of every believer for the rest to which I refer as there was a desire on the part of Naomi and Ruth for the request in question. Look at verse 1 of chapter 3, noticing Naomi's request:

Ruth 3

1Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee?

She was exercising the responsibility of a mother-in-law, but spiritually speaking, she was exercising the responsibility that every believer ought to exercise in relation to younger believers, leading them into deeper truths.

We suggested to you when we were studying chapter 2 that the occupation of the redeemed soul should be gleaning–not gleaning in the harvest field in the sense of winning men to Christ, but gleaning in the Word of God, getting all out of the Word of God that it is possible to get. We would emphasize to you today that when you do glean in the Word of God, if your gleaning is profitable, you will have a desire for something deeper, something far better than what you have at the moment.

When we think about Naomi's request, the word “rest” interests us and we notice that it comes from the Hebrew word mawnoakh , which is translated by the phrase, “a settled spot,” by the word “quite,” and by the word “home.” The idea that Naomi was suggesting to Ruth was, “Don't you want me to seek a settled spot for you? Don't you want me to seek a quiet place? You have been traveling from Moab to Bethlehem and done nothing but glean in the harvest fields since you have been here. Don't you want me to seek for you a home?” We suggest to you that when Naomi made this request of Ruth, she was uncovering a real desire in the heart of Ruth that she herself did not understand.

Ruth's Decision for God

You will recall back in the first chapter of the book of Ruth, verse 16, Ruth made her decision for God. You might glance at the verse again and refresh your minds. Ruth said:

Ruth 1

16And 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:

When we were discussing that chapter and we designated Ruth as the possessor, you will recall that we said the whole thing rested upon the fact not that she decided to make a journey with Naomi, but she decided to choose the God of Naomi as her God. The verse at which we have already looked, verse 12, chapter 2, further indicated that Ruth was the possessor, for there you read:

Ruth 2

12The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.

There was no question, in the light of the Word of God, that Ruth was a born-again believer; but Naomi realized that Ruth needed something else, whether she realized it or not. The restless spirit that was taking hold upon Ruth indicated that she soon would realize it.

The Yoke of the Savior

Turn with me, please, to the Gospel according to Matthew, as I ask you today if you, a born-again believer, recognize through your study of the Word of God that there is something more than the average believer is enjoying in his relationship with the Lord? It is all bound up in this word “rest.” Turn with me, please, to chapter 11 of the Gospel of Matthew and notice a familiar portion of the Word that we want to relate to this section that we are studying at the moment, the paragraph which begins with verse 28:

Matthew 11

28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Beloved, that is the invitation to the unsaved. That is the invitation that Ruth accepted when she left the land of Moab and came to the land of Bethlehem-judah. She found rest. She had come to trust under the wings of Jehovah God.

Notice in verse 29 of this same chapter, the Words of the Savior:

Matthew 11

29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Here in verse 29 we have “rest” mentioned for the second time, and it is a different kind of rest. It is the kind of rest that the Apostle Paul had in mind when he wrote in the Hebrew letter, “There remaineth yet a rest for the people of God.” Many believers have entered into the first rest–the rest that is described in verse 28 of Matthew, chapter 11–but they have not entered into the second rest–the rest that is found in Matthew, chapter 11, verse 29, the rest that comes by taking the yoke of the Savior upon your own shoulders, not as an additional burden. Remember a yoke is useless with one person. It takes two for it to be effective, Christ in one side of the yoke and you in the other.

Sometimes people in the days of which we are reading wore what was known as a “shoulder yoke.” It was a yoke that stretched across their own shoulders and weights were carried on each end of the yoke. It emphasized that they carried the whole burden all by themselves without any help whatsoever from anyone. This is the way it is with so many believers when they first come to Christ. They carry the load all by themselves. Then there comes a time when they take the yoke of Christ upon them, and when they take that yoke of Christ upon them, they are not bearing the load by themselves. There is someone in the other side of the yoke. If you enter into this kind of rest, there must be a desire for it, and that desire was indicated in our text by Naomi's request and Ruth's ready response.

The Foundation of God's Rest

I would like to emphasize something else about it and that is that the rest of which we speak, the rest that I said a moment ago remains for the people of God, is a rest, the foundation of which rests in the Word of God. If you are thinking that I am talking about a second spiritual experience, then you are mistaken. If you think I am talking about a second moving of some kind that is unusual and amazing, you are wrong. What I am talking about is entering into a rest, the foundations of which are in the Word of God and for that reason you have a right to claim.

For purposes of illustration we want you to notice the scriptural foundation upon which the rest of which Naomi spoke and which Ruth desired is actually based. Turn, please, to Leviticus, chapter 25, and notice God's law in verse 25:

Leviticus 25

25If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold.

Elimelech had lost his possessions by default. That meant that Naomi had nothing, and that meant that Ruth, her daughter-in-law, had nothing; but according to the law of Moses, the possessions of Elimelech which he had lost could be redeemed. Naomi remembered this ancient law of Moses and claimed the promise of God as she sought the desired rest.

Obtaining the Settled Spot

Turn, please, to the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 25, and notice the manner in which the reclamation of the desired possession, the settled spot, might be obtained. You will notice the paragraph which begins with verse 5:

Deuteronomy 25

5If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her.
6And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.
7And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother.
8Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her;
9Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother's house.
10And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.

That is the law upon which Naomi depended, upon which she expected Ruth to depend when she desired the rest that yet awaited her. Yes, we re-emphasize, she had found some rest when she came from Moab to Bethlehem-judah, but she did not find that second rest of which we speak. This desire for rest is illustrated not only by Naomi's request, but as we have suggested to you, it is illustrated in Ruth's response to Naomi's request. When Naomi said, “Shall I seek rest for you?”, what was Ruth's response? Was it one of rebellion? Was it one where she said, “I'll choose my own husband, and I'll run my own life. I'll do as I please.”? Not at all. Ruth had learned that the secret of any victory, spiritually speaking, is total surrender and that total surrender is illustrated in two passages of Scripture in the book of Ruth, if you will go back there with me for a moment. Boaz earlier had noticed this total surrender on the part of Ruth when he emphasized, in verse 11 of chapter 2:

Ruth 2

11And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.

Boaz said, “I have been listening, investigating, observing, and I know all about the way that you have treated your mother-in-law. You have yielded yourself completely to her wishes and to her desires.”

Ruth's Total Surrender

If you will look at verse 10 of chapter 3, you will notice, as we have already pointed out to you, Ruth responded to everything that mother-in-law Naomi had suggested. In verse 10 of chapter 3, Boaz responded with the words:

Ruth 3

10And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.

I love those words: “Thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning.” At the beginning, the kindness to which he referred was that which we have already described as her complete and total surrender to her mother-in-law, Naomi, but that surrender on the part of Ruth was not a fluctuating thing. It was a continuous thing until it reached the point of total surrender because she was willing to have Boaz as her husband.

This impressed Boaz as is indicated in the latter part of verse 10 when he said, “Inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.” Ruth was not a young girl in the sense that she was in her teens. Remember, she had been married to Mahlon for something like ten years, and so she was a mature woman, but Boaz was a man eighty years of age, and she could have followed the younger men. She could have made her decision on the basis of those who might have been richer than Boaz himself. That is the suggestion of the verse, but instead she–this is what I want you to get–based her search for rest upon the written Word of God. Beloved, if you are to enter into this second rest of which I speak, it will demand a total rest based upon a full understanding of the Word of God. We must be willing, as we learned from the words of the story in Matthew, to take His yoke upon us and learn of Him.

Think for a moment about those words, “take his yoke upon us and learn of him.” A yoke indicates the labor involved, and learning indicates that there is a necessary period of training through which we must go before we can enjoy this total rest to which we make reference.

The Place of Rest

For that reason, as we draw a further analogy from this portion of the Word of God, I would like for you to notice with me the place of rest. Where was it that Ruth entered into this second rest of which we speak? Look at verse 2 of chapter 3:

Ruth 3

2And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.

I call to your attention those words as I suggest to you that Ruth found her second rest in the threshing floor. She had gleaned in the fields of Boaz, but her rest was found in the threshing floor where all the chaff was found, in the threshing floor where all of the chaff was beaten out of the grain and was blown away by the night wind. That is the reason they did their threshing at night and not in the day. They did it at night because there were the soft, east winds that came and blew the chaff away from the grain. Only as the grain without the chaff that was piled up could there be any rest for those who were on the threshing floor during the night time.

Entering the Second Rest

In view of what I have suggested–that the Scripture is given for our learning–I do not believe that it is just happenstance that the rest that Ruth found was on the threshing floor. I believe it is an illustration, Beloved, of the fact that you and I will never be able to enter into this second rest until the chaff is separated from the wheat. I am speaking of the individual life now. There is a lot of chaff in our lives. There is a lot of waste material. There is a lot of foreign matter, and only as the chaff is winnowed out will we be able to enter into that second rest because as long as the chaff is there, the demands of the flesh will be so great that the wheat will not have a chance to flourish. It will be choked out by the weeds.

I do not know where your threshing floor will be. Ruth's threshing floor happened to be the territory of Boaz. This I know: If your life is going to amount to very much, you are going to have to go through the threshing floor. As Peter put it, “You are going to have to go through the crucible of Christ's refinery. And when thou art tried, thou will come forth as pure gold.”

You may not agree with what I am saying. You may not even be ready for me to say it. You may not be ready to accept it. You may not even be able to understand it, but Beloved, I am convinced, and the longer I live the more convinced I am, that most Christians are in the first rest. They are not in the second. They have not felt the heat of the refining fire, and the chaff is still with the wheat, and the foreign material is still in the metal. Perhaps one of the reasons is that there has not been total surrender on the part of most of us where we are willing knowingly to go to the threshing floor. I daresay that a few of us would willingly do it, but some of us are thrust into it and then we have no choice. The thing that makes the threshing floor bearable is what we find there.

Rest At the Feet of Jesus

Did you notice where it was that Ruth finally lodged? She lodged at the feet of Boaz. My, that is a significant phrase, because Boaz, as we have already pointed out to you, is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. Three times in this chapter–in verse 4, in verse 8, and in verse 14–it is recorded that Ruth sat, lay, at the feet of Boaz. It is an interesting thing to me to know that this Scripture teaches that that is the only place there ever will be real rest for anyone–at the feet of Christ.

When you have time, read the story in Luke, chapter 10. It will be a matter of refreshing the minds of many of you because it is a familiar story, the story of Mary and Martha. Remember that the Lord Jesus was in their home, and Martha was cumbered with much serving, but Mary was seated at the feet of Jesus, drinking in His every word. She was perfectly relaxed, but Martha was a beehive of activity, of restlessness, and of anxiety. She fussed at Mary and she even fussed at the Lord Jesus Christ, wondering why it was that Mary could not help her with the work that needed to be done. You see, Martha was still in that area of first rest. She was so busy. She felt that the only way to please the Lord was to be in a constant state of activity, and if there wasn't something to show for her efforts, then the Lord wouldn't be pleased with her.

Sometimes when I am in meetings, I eat in homes and the dear housewives do their best to outdo one another with food. It is difficult for the preachers so often because the women sweat over a hot stove to try to prepare a marvelous meal. You've had one at noon time, and you have to go back to one at night time and you find yourself almost gorged beyond that which is practical. What these dear women think, and it is a normal thing for them to think, is “I have got to show this preacher how much I appreciate his ministry by serving him a good meal.” What they don't realize is that the preacher would much rather sit down in the home with a bit of something and just fellowship around the Word of the Lord than to sit down and gorge himself with food.

The Lord Jesus said, concerning Mary, “Martha, Martha, you are troubled. You are busy about many things. Mary has chosen the better part. She has found a settled spot right here at My feet. She has found a quiet spot and she is drinking in everything that I have to offer her.”

The Result of Resting

Do you recall when we studied Ruth gleaning in chapter 2? As we have emphasized to you in this chapter, we have been studying Ruth resting. I think that very fact is a marvelous illustration, by way of analogy, of the difference between gleaning and resting. Remember that Ruth gleaned all day long from early morning until late in the evening. She took time out for a coffee break, the only rest she had. Boaz instructed his men to leave some handfuls on purpose for her to gather up as she went along, and with all of that labor and with all of that extra effort on the part of the men at the instruction of Boaz, how much did she gather at the end of the day? It is recorded in chapter 2 that she went home and told Naomi how much she had gathered. In verse 17 you read:

Ruth 2

17So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley.

An ephah of barley was about one bushel and three pints or enough for about five days' food for her and her mother-in-law. So you see it was quite a bit, wasn't it? Humanly speaking, I don't know how she could have done any better. In fact, it is amazing that she did that well.

Is there anything better than what she did? Yes, there is. There is something better than gleaning where one ephah is the result. Here we are thinking of gleaning in the terms of constant activity. The thing that is better is resting, because while she was resting at the feet of Boaz there was provided for her six seah, which equals two ephahs, actually twice as much. Now, maybe you didn't notice that when we read the third chapter, so it might be wise for you to look at verse 15 of chapter 3:

Ruth 3

15Also he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it [this was sort of a little cloak. It wasn't a little veil that went over her face.] . And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city.

Notice that the word “measure” is in italics. As we pointed out to you, that means that it is not in the original text. The original does not speak of six measures but rather six seahs which equals two ephahs. He filled this veil with twice as much and put it on top of her head. That is the meaning of the phrase, “and laid it on her.” That was the way that women carried their burdens in those days, or carried their wheat or whatever, and he went on into the city. She went on to her mother-in-law and told her what happened. She told her mother-in-law in verse 17:

Ruth 3

17And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law.

Are you following me? Now you, if you are still in this first rest, can spend all of your time–work, work, work, busy, busy, busy–and you will glean something, and you may glean quite a bit. You may glean so much that folk will wonder how in the world you could have gleaned as much as you did, and you may hear the praises of men repeatedly about all that you are doing. Somehow or other we are human enough to like that praise, aren't we? But if you would stop that needless, anxious activity and take time out to sit at His feet, your results will come back doubled.

There was a time in my life that everything I did, I did in the energy of the flesh, and I was right proud of what I did. I defied anyone to say that there was any preacher who did any more than I did. Then there came a time when I realized there was a need to sit at His feet. When you sit at His feet, the results of what you do come back twofold. There is a reason for it. I think it is all indicated in the numbers that are presented in the text because, as we have told you repeatedly, there is an interesting lesson in relation to numbers in the Scriptures. You will notice the number six, the number five, and the number one. Now, six equals five plus one, doesn't it? Six is the number of man. Five plus one equals grace plus God. Beloved, that is the story of man who has entered into the second rest. The man who can gather six seahs instead of three is the man who has experienced God's grace in his life. God's manifest grace in your life can accomplish far more than all of the human instrumentality that man knows about. The sad thing is we are an impatient people.

Patient Waiting On God's Timing

In closing, I want you to notice with me what is suggested in the very last verse of this chapter as we present another analogy to you. Ruth had told Naomi what had happened, and Naomi said, in verse 18:

Ruth 3

18Then said she, 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.

You see, Ruth had turned the matter over to Boaz. Boaz had said, “I certainly want to perform the responsibility of the near kinsman to you. I surely do, but there is a little matter that we have to clear up before I can do it.” What did Naomi say? “Ruth, sit still and wait to see how the matter turns out.” You know, that is one of the hardest things we are called upon to do, isn't it? You commit something to the Lord, and then you are told to sit still until you see how the matter turns out. Isn't it hard to sit still? Wouldn't it be good if we could just know every day how the thing is progressing?

Sometimes in businesses executives demand a progress report periodically even before the project is finished. God doesn't very often do it that way. He says, “I'll take over from here now. You sit still and see how the thing is going to work out.” I am not being contradictory. I'm not telling you that there isn't something you can do. I am talking about something entirely different now. I am talking about a second rest, where you have done all you can and then you sit still to see how the matter will fall and you enter into what one of the apostles referred to as “patient waiting,” when he prayed a prayer that the Holy Spirit of God would direct our hearts into patient waiting for Christ. We are waiting for Him to come, but we do get impatient while we are waiting, don't we? We need to have our hearts directed to patient waiting for Christ. You have committed something to Him. You need to patiently wait.

Naomi said, in verse 18, “The man will not be in rest until he has finished this thing this day.” That suggests two things to me that I want to call to your attention and to close our remarks on. That verse suggests the thought of the resting Christian and the restless Christ. So often it is the other way around. It is that we are so restless, but you see that Naomi said to Ruth, “Ruth, you rest because he won't rest until he has finished this thing.” Oh, Beloved, I wish you could believe that. I wish you could.

Conclusion

I ask this question to provoke your thinking. Now think; have you committed something to the Lord, something that is very near and very dear to you, something that is very important, something that you are concerned about? Have you? Now think. Perhaps in your heart and in your mind you are saying, “Yes, I have. There is something that I have committed to the Lord. I really have, and I am waiting for Him to bring it to pass.” How are you waiting? Are you waiting patiently or are you waiting restlessly? Are you sitting still or are you walking the floor and chewing your nails? What are you doing? Let me ask you to sit still. Let me tell you not only from the Word of God, but from experience, that I have learned through the years what it means to sit still. I have learned that all the time that I am sitting still, Christ is working in my behalf that which I have committed to Him. Oh yes, I am human enough to tell you that it would be very encouraging to receive a progress report every now and then, but He isn't pleased to do that, with me at least. So I sit still, waiting to see how the matter will fall, waiting to see how it will turn out, knowing that while I rest, He works and He will bring to pass that which is good for me. Learn to rest. Learn to enter into that second rest where you find a secluded spot for quietness with Him.

Prayer

Thank you, Father, for this privilege of sharing the Word. We ask that the Holy Spirit might minister it to our individual hearts as we have need, recognizing that our individual needs are different, recognizing, Father, that You feed us for what we may need tomorrow. We ask that each heart might hide away the truth in these words so that they will be handy when they are needed. For we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.


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