Clyde Crittenden - Book of Ruth - Australia - 1963

Chapter 1, "Now it came to pass," etc to the end of verse 7, “The Lord  had visited His people in giving them bread." I am sure that we can say today that the Lord has visited His people in giving them bread. In giving them the "Bread of Heaven," He has called us together to feed us. He wants us to see a little more clearly the wealth there is and the sufficiency we can enjoy in His Kingdom. I don’t believe Elimelech consulted God as he should have done before he made the move he did. At the beginning, we are told how Ellmelech and his little family went to sojourn in Moab. He was not the only one who made that mistake. We read of Abraham after God had told him "to leave his kindred and country." The Lord said, "Get thee out" (Genesis 12:1) "There was a famine in the land and Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there."(Genesis 12:10) When the famine came, he went to Egypt The King of Egypt rebuked him (verse 18). It is a humbling thought to think that a man of the world had to tell Abram how he should act and where he should be. It is sad to read of Elimelech, who made a choice that influenced his wife and two sons in the wrong direction. They intended to sojourn, to stay there for a little while, but it says, "They continued there." Some people who have known what it is to walk with God & have tasted of His Spirit and fellowship, the fellowship of the people of God, and they have made a choice sometimes to go to the world. They intend to sojourn there for a little while and have found it very, very difficult indeed to return. In the course of time, Elimelech died there and his two sons took wives of the daughters of Moab. After a few years, they died also. It is sad to read of them losing their lives far away from the land of God

 

Naomi did a wise thing. She arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the country of Moab, for she had heard that the Lord had visited His people in giving them bread. She did a wise thing in taking her daughters-in-laws. She applied a little TEST to the Mission, shall we say she had worked there. She said, “Turn again my daughters," etc (Ruth 1:12) It tells us that one Orpha “kissed her, but returned to her people and to her gods.” Both lifted up their voices and wept, but as she put on a little more pressure, one kissed her and went back to her people, but Ruth CLAVE UNTO HER. Ruth said those wonderful words, "Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee, for where thou goest, I will go and where thou lodgest, I will lodge. Thy people shall be my people and thy God my God" (Verse 16) Where thou diest, I die and there will I be buried," etc. Naomi saw that she was steadfastly minded to go ALL the way. Orpha returned to her own people and country, and we never hear of her again. She did not get to know the True Living God. Ruth got to KNOW GOD and she came into fellowship with people she had never known or seen.


We sometimes sing, "Increase our Faith beloved Lord, release the cords of doubt that bind." It takes Faith to live for things Eternal. Our brother spoke this morning from I Corinthians verse 13, about FAITH, HOPE, and CHARITY. Three very important things and the greatest of these is Charity, or the Love of God. It says, "Without Faith, it is impossible to please God, and whatsoever is not of faith, is sin." It shows us that it is only the steps that we  take in faith that please God. If we take those steps, God has respect unto us. Ruth trusted in God and she trusted Naomi. She trusted in God, who gave her that faith that enabled her to say, "Entreat me not to leave thee," etc. It is sad if we make reservations in our service to God and say as it were, "I will go a certain distance." It is good to be like Ruth and say, “I will put my life into it and I will be in it till death.” There is nothing greater that we can do than to put our lives into it. We might like to plan other things but they would only bring disappointment. Jesus is the Altogether lovely One and the Chief among ten thousand.


We think of Samson who got great strength from God and fought a nation single handed. He was born to the end that he might deliver Israel from the Philistines. The last battle he took hold of the great pillars and asked God to give him strength to pull down the building. God did as he asked. He said, "Let me perish with them." He threw his life into it. Those who gathered the slain afterwards gathered him up as a conqueror The Philistines gathered the bodies of the defeated. There was a man who made a stew and he was asked how he made it. He said, "I put this and that into it and then I threw myself into it." If we are half-hearted in the previous things of Christ, we could not hope to succeed. "Worship God in the beauty of Holiness" or as someone put it, "Whole-hearted ness." Even the world will not respect half heartedness. Ruth threw all into following Naomi and the Lord rewarded her.

 

There was a great stir when Naomi returned to Bethlehem. The word went round, "Naomi has returned." She said, "Call me no more Naomi, call Mara; for the Lord hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full and the Lord hath brought me home again empty" (Verse 20-21). I thought of the famine and of this woman saying, ”I went out FULL." This woman could have easily blamed others, or her husband perhaps. I remember once, in another State a good while ago when preaching the Gospel. One woman made her choice, but seemed half-hearted. As a result, she got offended and was found going out of fellowship. She went out bitter. There was a mission and later on, I had little talk with her. She came along to the meeting. Naomi was honest enough to say, "I WENT out and the Lord brought me back again." This woman came to the next meeting and she came again. I visited her after a little while. She said, "I am glad you never came earlier. Last week I was waiting for you, but the Lord has dealt with me." We may not always understand others, but if we are true to God He understands ALL the different circumstances and our difficulties. God is looking for people who will do their best under difficult, circumstances. "The whole city was moved" about them(verse 19) when they saw that she had returned.

 

The next thing we are told:  Ruth said, "Let me now go to the field and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace (2:2). She realised, "I have been brought into a wonderful fellowship, a wonderful Kingdom, and I don’t want to sit at ease." She didn’t wait to be told what to do, but came to realise that she could live for the prosperity of God’s Kingdom, She was contented to fill the humble place. To be a gleaner. She didn’t say, "I'd like to rule over this country." Humility is the grace we ALL Need. If it were not for the grace and mercy of God, the Scriptures tell us, we would all be consumed (Lamentations 3:22). "By grace ye are saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the GIFT of God." We are God’s people by grace. It is not our own by merit. It is through the grace and mercy of God that we can have a place in His Kingdom. Ruth felt that she would like to give herself to it. She went to glean and to look for a field to glean in. It was the beginning of the barley harvest. She came to a certain field and asked permission to glean there and the servant granted it.


Later on, the Lord of the Harvest came and spoke to the reapers. He said, "The Lord be with you," and they replied, "The Lord bless thee." It is nice to see the relationship between the Lord of the harvest and those who laboured. He asked, "Who is this?" and was told about Ruth. The servant that was set over the reapers said, "It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi." Boaz was stirred by this. He was a relative of Elimelech's. He was a kinsman. He realised, "Here is someone that I have a responsibility towards." He felt, ”I am my brother's keeper." One of first questions asked in the Bible was, "Am I my brother's keeper?" It was in connection with Cain and Abel.  Boaz realised that he WAS his brother's keeper. He was moved to show the kindness of God to her, and Ruth said, "Why have I found grace in thine eyes that thou should  take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger (Verses 9 and 10)." She fell on her face and bowed herself to the ground. Boaz said unto her, "It has been fully showed me, all that thou hast done to thy Mother-in-law," etc. The 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 (Verse 12)." We are told not only to trust in God's word but in God Himself. Two things that can never lie.


Ruth realised, "I can trust in the Living God." Boaz told her to abide in that field and glean. She fell on her face and asked, "Why has thou dealt so kindly?" Boaz was a mighty man and a man of wealth, yet he showed that kindness that is found in God's kingdom. Boaz was a type of what the Lord Jesus is to us today. Jesus told His disciples, “To pray to the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth labourers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38) Boaz encouraged Ruth to keep her eyes on the harvest field. Boaz commanded his young men, "Let her glean among the sheaves and reproach her not. Let fall some of the handfuls on purpose for her, and leave them that she may glean them and rebuke her not." (2:15-l6) She gleaned some heads and put them in her basket and rejoiced, You have come here with your baskets. God allows you to put there what He has given. He speaks kind words.

 

Boaz spoke kind words and encouraged Ruth to abide by his maidens. Verse 8, "Let thine eyes be upon the field that they do reap, and go thou after them. When thou art athirst go unto the vessels," etc. Verse 14, “At mealtime, eat of the bread and dip thy morsel in the vinegar.” She could enjoy the water of Life as we can enjoy the water of life given in this meeting, that others have drawn. At mealtime, he gave her the parched corn. This would speak to us of the royal dainties, like a little reward. She began in the morning and continued till evening and was diligent and conscientious, even as we seek to glean here and to build up this Kingdom.


It was a wonderful testimony that she bore, "ALL the city of my people doth know that art a virtuous woman." In Genesis 24, we find the record of a virtuous woman. It says, "Her price is far above rubies." If we have a little of the virtue of Christ in us and show it before others, we will be valuable to Him and enjoy our place. "She rises while it is yet night and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens (Proverbs 31:14-15). She is like the merchants ships, she bringeth her food from afar." These are things we can be likened unto today and have these virtues, Faith, Meekness, Charity, etc. "Add to your faith virtue," and so on (II Peter 1:5-6). That is only the beginning, "Let us go on to perfection." (Hebrews 6:1)


Ruth was in the field because she was diligent and was a true gleaner. Naomi said, "Where hast thou gleaned today?" She had forty or fifty pounds of barley. Where did you get it? A good question to ask ourselves. "Where have I gleaned today?" She told her about the field she gleaned in and who it belonged to. Naomi said, “The man is a near kinsman." (verse 20) Naomi recognised it was the field of Boaz, her husband's brother. She said, “Let  me seek rest for thee, that it might be well with thee." (3:1) Isn’t that what the Lord would seek to do for us today? Naomi wanted to make the future of Ruth’s life secure. A wise thing for us to eternal future secure. One man asked a preacher, "Are you an insurance agent?" He said, "Yes, I am and I want you to take out a double life policy, one for this life and one for the life that is to come."


Ruth was told to “wash herself and put on her apparel” etc. A good thing to do when we approach our Redeemer Christ Jesus. The Scripture says to keep ourselves unspotted by the world, to be a chaste virgin for Christ. We want to wash away what would make us unacceptable to Christ. Ruth could have said, "It is a big thing to go into the Presence of my Redeemer." The Lord says, "I am in the position where I want to cleanse you from all sin and set you free - to redeem you." To make you free citizens. Paul says, "Ye are no more foreigners. No more aliens and strangers, but belonging to the household of God." Ruth did as she was told and lay down at her Redeemer’s feet. It is not easy to submit and to give in to another person. Ruth gave herself to a wonderful Master, one who had a tender and compassionate heart. We are to lay hold upon Christ Jesus and His righteousness, He will set you free from your past sins. He wants us to take His name and trust Him only.


At midnight, Boaz was aroused. He said, "Who art thou?" She answered, ”I am Ruth, thine handmaiden." She told her position, "I need Redemption.” Boaz rose to the occasion. God sees possibilities in our lives also. He wants us to go from strength to strength, to be blessed and to be a blessing to others. “Blessed  of the Lord, my daughter." He doesn’t want us to remain the same as we were. “Thou hasn’t  shewn more kindness in the latter than at the beginning." Naomi said, ”Sit still my daughter, for the man will not rest until he has finished this thing.” Boaz was a man of action, when he began a thing, he finished it. A wonderful mark. Christ Jesus won’t rest till we know a full salvation Think of Jesus interceding for us today, He wants to finish this work. Boaz the very next morning asked his brother if he would pay the ransom price. When the test came, that brother said, ”I cannot redeem it, lest I mar mine own inheritance." When he spoke of his own inheritance, it is sad. It proved he didn’t have the love for his brother that he should have had. This brother said, ”I will not," etc.


Wouldn’t it have been a sad us if Jesus would not do that? It was said of Jesus, "His visage was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men." He was willing to be marred, defaced, to be of no reputation. He took upon Him the form of a servant and died even on the Cross, died as a criminal. He was marred in every shape and form. Ruth was redeemed and set free, and she became the Bride of the Lord of the harvest. The same opportunity is set before us in Christ Jesus. We can be very thankful that in His love and mercy, he has redeemed us. I hope we will do what the Lord would have us do. Think of all that sister-in-law missed. She is never heard of again. God has set a wonderful opportunity before us in Christ Jesus. I would pray that have a heart like Ruth, a willing heart steadfast mind to travel on with Jesus even though “other voices bid us stay.” Steadfastly minded to go ALL the way, and what He says we will do. I trust it will be so. AMEN