“Under the Shadow of His Wings” Ruth: Week 2 (Ruth 2:1-13)
Ruth 2 / July 29th, 2018 / Dr. Todd Gray
Do you have anybody in your life whose integrity is unquestioned? We live in a world of private personal devices, the relative anonymity of the internet, and increasingly open standards of morality. In Chapter Two, Ruth and Boaz emerge as beacons of integrity and humility. They didn’t get there on their own effort. This week, we talk about how we can rely on God and begin to model these qualities in our own lives.
1. Live with Integrity
2. Walk in Humility
3. Make Your Mark by Staying Under the Shadow of His Wings
If you have your Bibles this morning let’s open them together to Ruth Chapter 2. Last week I couldn’t believe it, but we made it all the way through Chapter 1. But today I planned ahead a little bit. We’re only gonna make it through halfway of Ruth Chapter 2. So, Ruth 2 Verses 1 through 13, and see how she was and you can continually be under the shadow of His wings. This morning we’re gonna be seeing a lot of character in Ruth, a lot of good character in Boaz, and so I want you to think about a person that you know that you would say has a high, or a strong, or a noble character. Now, I’m not talking about just a friend, or somebody that you like, but the kind of person that when you’re around them they make you want to be a better person. By observing their good decisions it influences you to make better decisions. This is the kind of character that we should have, and that we should follow in others.
The word character in the English language is derived from a Greek word that sounds very similar. That Greek word basically means to make a mark, or to leave an impression, or on something, or someone else. The root meaning of that word character in Greek has the idea of a sharp and pointed tool. For those of you who know that I like knives you this is near and dear to my heart. It is a tool that once it’s forged, and once it’s sharpened you use it to carve into a piece of clay, or they did thousands of years ago, or even a piece of wood to leave your mark, or the impression of what you wanted to be on that piece of clay, or piece of wood. This is exactly what character should be doing in the Christian. We should be leaving a deep mark on the world in which we live in. We should be leaving an impression for other people to see. This is what Jesus did.
The author of Hebrews as he’s describing the Lord Jesus says that, “Christ was the character of the nature of God.” That means the impression that Jesus cut deep into our world was in the perfect form of God. Every time you heard Him speak, you heard God speak. Every action that Jesus did showed the world who God was. And as Christians, if we’re gonna leave a mark for the world to see, if we’re gonna make a deep impression on the society in which we live, it should be that of Christ in us, and that of Christ through us just like He did of God. If Jesus is the character of God, you and I are the character of Christ.
How does this happen? Well, as we place ourselves underneath the watch care, or I’d say today, under the shadow of His wing through our attitudes, and actions that we live for His glory, we are forging and tempering our blades of character to cut deep into the world around us, so that when we leave, or even when we’re here, they will have no doubt that Christ has been with us and been living through us. This is character. We come to two characters that had a good character. One is Ruth and the other is Boaz. They have left such a deep impression on our world, not only for the glory of God, but specifically of even that of Christ, that we’re still looking at the impression of the mark that they left 3,000 years ago, today. What I want to do for a few minutes is I want us to look at the character of Ruth in her humility. I want us to look at the character of Boaz in his integrity. I want us to see how they did it, so that we can do it by the same power that they did it with.
The story begins here. Look at Verse 1 of Ruth Chapter 2. It begins with introducing you to a new character who had good character. What was his name? Boaz. Come on, look right there in Verse 1. You all are thinking about that deep impression you’re gonna leave later. It’s okay. It’s Boaz. Boaz was a relative of Naomi’s dead husband, Elimelek. That’s gonna be important. You say, “Why is Boaz introduced so early?” I asked myself that question. Well, he’s an important character because what he is gonna be is the kinsman redeemer, which ultimately is a foreshadowing of Jesus. So, if you’re not familiar with Boaz you need to become familiar with Boaz because in him we see the nature of Christ when it’s in Christ perfected. It’s a beautiful picture of who Jesus will be for us. That’s why he’s introduced now.
We learned very on that in the NASB he says that, “He was a great man of great wealth,” but he wasn’t just a rich man. Other translations get it right as well. The Home and Christian Standard Bible says, “He was a noble character.” That’s my favorite description of Boaz. Or, the New Living translation says, “He was an influential man.” That is also true. The NIV says, “He was a man of standing,” meaning of good standing in his community. I prefer the idea of a strong, or noble character because you’ll see that this is a man of dignity, a man of chivalry. You and I would call him a gentleman today. But actually the author says, okay this Boaz. He’s a relative of Elimelek. He gets back into the story, so let’s catch up.
Ruth and Naomi had come back from Moab. Naomi lost her husband. Naomi lost her two sons. There’s no grandchildren. She even left a daughter in-law behind, and so it’s her daughter in-law, Ruth, traveling with her, Naomi, and Naomi is bitter about all of it. They arrive in Bethlehem, but I want you to notice when they arrived. I mentioned it last week. What was the season? Harvest season. This is an exciting time. Why? Because Israel had been living in a state of not only spiritual famine, but physical famine. There was famine in the land, but now there is food. This probably, through God’s providence, saved the life of both Ruth and Naomi. Ruth can hear her own stomach grumbling. She’s probably hungry. She can probably hear the growling stomach of the mother in-law who she loves and serves. And so she says, “Mom, can I go out into the harvest field and glean after the reapers? Can I go in there, after the harvesters, and pick us up some food?” Basically what she’s asking to do is to go there with what’s left over, what’s left on the corners and on the ground, and pick it up.
A question you’re probably asking right now is, why would they leave any grain behind? Or you should be asking that question. Have you ever looked at a cotton field in Ellis County after the cotton stripper goes through? Don’t you often wonder, well they need to go back and pick up the rest of that cotton. I mean it may just be enough for a few T-shirts, or something, but there’s always a little bit of cotton on the bush. Sometimes there’s some cotton on the ground. That’s what it was like at Harvest season thousands of years ago. There’s always a little bit of grain left on the ground, a little bit of grain left in the corners. But for them it was no accident. You’re thinking in your mind, why didn’t they go back? It’s a famine. Why didn’t they go back and every sheaf that they dropped, which is a bundle of grain, and every corner they didn’t get to, why didn’t they pick every single grain? I mean people are starving.
I’ll tell you why. Because God told them not to. God told them in Leviticus and repeated in Deuteronomy, “When you’re in harvest season and you’re a landowner I don’t want you to go to the very corners of your field. Leave that for the poor, and the widowed, and the orphaned.” If you drop a sheaf of grain, a bundle of grain behind, don’t go back and glean it. If there’s a little bit on the ground, don’t go back and pick it up. Leave that for the needy. It’s God’s perfect version of what we may label welfare. Look at Leviticus Chapter 23 Verse 22. “When you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor gather the gleaning of your harvest.” In other words, don’t go back and pick it up. You are to leave them for the needy and the alien. I am the Lord your God.
Would you describe Ruth and Naomi as needy? The answer’s yes. Shake your head like this. They’re hungry. Would you describe them as aliens? Maybe not Naomi, although she’s been an alien before, but Ruth, literally, is a foreigner. Let’s go to Deuteronomy Chapter 24 Verse 19. “When you reap your harvest in the field, and have forgotten a sheep, or a bundle of whether it barley or grain, you shall not go back to get it. It’s for the alien.” In other words, God’s like, it’s no accident. It’s for the orphan and for the widow. In order, and listen to this, that the Lord your God may bless you, not just them, but may bless you, and all the work of your hands. Why? Because you’re showing the benevolence of God to God’s people. This is God’s plan.
Ruth and Naomi were widows. Well Ruth was a foreigner, and they were in desperate need. So, when Ruth asked Naomi, “Can I go?” Naomi’s like, “Yeah, you can go. It’s the law.” So, Ruth is in the field. I want you to notice the … this time smiling face of God and His providence. They’d seen enough of the frowning providence of God, but now as Ruth is in the field, who just so happens to be strolling from Jerusalem to check on his fields in Bethlehem? Boaz. He’s not just so happened to. The hand of God’s providence is upon Boaz. He leaves Jerusalem, and he comes back to his fields, and upon arriving here’s his workers. He sees somebody. He sees Ruth. But before he has a chance to ask his foreman who is that foreigner in my field? Notice what his workers do. “Hey Boaz, the Lord be with you.” It was a common, but powerful greeting. How does he respond to them? “May the Lord bless you.”
After that courteous exchange … it’s a lot there. We’re gonna get into it in just a second. He goes to his superintendent, or his foreman of those who was harvesting the field, and he says, “Who’s that woman?” His foreman says, “Oh, that is Ruth. She came from Moab,” meaning she is a foreigner, “And she came with Naomi. She’s been here all day. She’s worked hard from morning until now. She’s only taken one break. She’s a good worker. She asked me if she could glean before she did, and I said that she could.” So what does Boaz do? In his affection, love, protection, and kindness he goes to Ruth and he tells her basically, “Hey listen, my daughter.” What a loving, affectionate term. There’s no sick intentions in his mind here. Don’t get that.
He says, “Daughter, what I want you to do is I want you to stay in my field. Glean in my field alone. Don’t wander off to the neighbor’s field, and I want you to stay close to my female servants. They’re gonna look after you. Don’t worry, my servants won’t touch you.” And then he says, “When you need something to drink just take it right here with my servants.” What kindness that he showed to this foreign woman. And she responds to that kindness. How does she respond? She falls on her knees with her face to the ground. Hey, can you think of a more humble position than that? She says, “Oh, how have I found favor in your eyes? How have you shown such kindness to me that you would look upon me with favor as a foreigner?”
He says, “I’ll tell you why. God has seen you and I have seen you taking care of Naomi, your widowed mother in-law even though you yourself are a widow. I know, and I’ve heard stories that you left your home, your mom, your dad, your neighbors, everybody, and you came to live in poverty just to take care of her. I have seen that, and more importantly, God has seen that and He’s blessing you because of it. Why? Because you placed yourself under the shadow of His wings, the protection of His wings, the watch care of His sovereignty.” She’s blown away. When she’s given kindness she doesn’t respond in arrogance or pride. There’s only humility in Ruth. She once again expresses her gratitude for his kindness and comfort shown to her.
This takes us to Verse 13. It’s an amazing passage of scripture. Can you not see the integrity dripping from Boaz? Can you not see the humility that is just saturated to the very core of who Ruth is? Of course, you can. What I want to do is highlight that for a few seconds, and tell you why I believe that they have that character, and how you can have it as well. Let’s start with Boaz. He’s an important character. I want you to live with integrity as Boaz lived with integrity. There’s lots of character traits that we’re gonna be talking about with Boaz. Almost all of them point to the future fulfillment of that, the perfect fulfillment of that in Christ. But every single one of those character traits I’ll tell you what’s at the root of them is not only a faith in God, but an integrity in which Boaz lived by.
When I was in the Air Force we had three core values. Number one and most importantly, we had integrity first. Then we had service before self. Then we had excellence in all we do. Service before self and excellence in all we do, those are great core values, but they mean nothing if you don’t do them with integrity. I learned the definition of integrity from the Air Force that I want to share with you that I still carry today. Here’s what integrity means. Doing the right thing even when no one else is looking. Doing the right thing when no one else is watching. Some people say that integrity is honesty, and it is. Some people say integrity is having good morals, and it is.
But I want to tell you, it’s easy to be honest. It’s easy to have good morals when everybody’s watching you. It’s easy to do the right thing on your computer at work when your boss knows everywhere that you go. It’s easy to make a right decision when your supervisor is standing there over your shoulders. But it’s a lot harder when you’re on your computer in your home by yourself, and nobody has access to the websites that you’ve looked at. Nobody has access to the bank accounts that you hold. It’s a whole nother ball game to do the right thing when nobody else is watching.
But as a Christian, the only way to do something is the right way even when nobody else is around. Why? Because God is always around. He’s not just watching you ready to punish you, although He is watching you. He’s watching you and here’s what you have. You have an opportunity. You have an opportunity to bring Him glory when people are watching, and when they’re not. You have an opportunity to bring Him glory with whoever you interact with and wherever you go. This is your call to live a life of integrity like Boaz did.
Let’s look at how his integrity was showing. Look at Verse 1. The Bible tells us that he was a man of great wealth. Well, that’s how the NASB puts it. I think it’s more than just wealth. He was more than just a wealthy man. Although it may be true that he had money, and he had land, and he had position, don’t get it confused. Hear me please. This is important because so many of you are chasing wealth. Just because you are a wealthy man, or just because you’re a wealthy woman it does not make you a righteous man, or a righteous woman. Just because you are wealthy does not mean you are filled with integrity.
We’ve had some examples of that in our society. Probably the ones you’re most familiar with are those who are in the greatest position of power. How about Donald Trump? I respect him as my president, just like I did Obama. I’d be willing to die for both being a service to my country because I think they serve and lead a free nation that is founded in Christ, and I love Him for that, but it doesn’t mean I’ve always agreed with what Obama did or said, or what Trump did or said. I ask you, what has gotten one of the most wealthy men in American history into the most trouble? I’m not talking about the political rhetoric, the lies, and that kind of thing. No, no boil it down to the stuff that sticks.
Now, before he was a president, see, there was several things that stuck. I want to tell you that almost every time it was the things that he dealt with a lack of integrity. When he thought that no one else was watching and he said that thing about that girl. When he thought that no one else was around, and he did that thing, and tried to kid that person. Those things that you do in private that you think that you can hide from other people, those are the things that are gonna get you in the most trouble. Integrity is doing the right thing when nobody is watching. I bring him up as an example because he is a great and wealthy man, but now let’s leave him for a second and go to you.
Wealth can give you some things. I’m gonna be honest with you. Wealth can give you a pretty high status of popularity. It just can. I’m not gonna lie to you about that. Wealth can give you a certain measure of power. I can’t deny that. Some of the most powerful men who’s ever existed has been the wealthiest men and women that have ever existed. But there’s some things that wealth cannot give you, church. Wealth for example, cannot give you what Boaz has. Wealth cannot give you integrity. That only comes from within as guided by God. The terms here for great wealth, or of great wealth can mean other things. The word for great can also be translated, mighty. It’s describing a warrior. The word for wealth can also mean strength, power, and ability. What I’m telling you is that Boaz had a very high position in his community, but not just because he was wealthy, but because his actions were honorable.
Boaz was the kind of man that people not only feared, but people truly respected. There’s a whole different comparison there. There is some people … I know you don’t like it about yourself, but you do it. There is some people that you snuggle up next to because they’re wealthy or they have influence, and you want to see what they can do for you. There’s some people that you have in your life because they are so important that you want some of that importance to rub up on you. What can they do for me? But then there’s some people like Boaz that may not do anything for you, but you want to be around them because they have high character. So, what mark are you leaving for the society to see?
A way to help you answer that question would be, what does your community say about you right now? That’s a great question, isn’t it? It’s scary, okay. An even better question is this, what does those who work with you, and for you, what do they say about you? That’s gonna get you pretty close to what your character really is. What do those who work for you and with you say about you? How do I know Boaz was a man of character? Not only because the Bible tells me because of his servants. Look what happens. He comes into the field. He sees Ruth, but before he can even interact with her what do his servants do? They call out to him. They were excited to see him. “Hey Boaz, sir, may the Lord be with you.” And what does he return to them with? “May the Lord bless you.” We know from that alone that Boaz was a man of God. He was no Pagan man.
Now, before you casually look at this like, oh that’s a bunch of church words. What is that, a church thing? We’re having a church sermon. He was just a church kind of guy. No, no, no. Remind yourself what time period this was in. It was in the time when who ruled? The judges ruled. This was a time in Israel’s history those 400 years where every man was doing what he thought was right in his own eyes. God was not number one in everybody’s heart. They were not a moral nation. Evil was winning. Not only that, that’s the environment that Boaz lived, but when you’re out there in the field, when you’re out there on the oil field, when you’re out there were the two roughnecks are, where the workers of our society are, I’m just telling you, some people can be a little rough around the edges. In that environment with working with the working people they greeted him in a Godly manner.
Listen, if he was a hard man, if he was an evil man, his servants, they wouldn’t have even have talked to him. They’d be like, no, we’re gonna let the boss man talk to him. We’ll let the foreman and the [supin 00:22:10] talking to him. I don’t want to talk to him. I didn’t want to look at him. I’m just gonna keep working, but I’m gonna take his money, but I’m gonna keep working. They didn’t do that. They were excited to see him. He was the kind of man that you would want to work for it because he’d have your best interests in mind while finding success for himself. He created an environment where everybody who worked for him felt comfortable coming to him. And where they also felt comfortable bringing God to work with them in an environment that wasn’t very Godly. Oh, Boaz was a man of integrity, high moral character.
If you’re a leader here today, if you supervise anybody, if you have children, notice the integrity that Boaz has with those who work with him. What he’s doing for us is giving us another beautiful example of what I told you last week is, chesed. That word chesed in Hebrew can be translated as kindly, but he’s not just kind. It’s describing God’s covenant commitment to his people. Like Boaz, but perfectly, God is the kind of God that says you can come to me anytime you want to even though you’re created to serve me I want you to come to me. He’s the kind of God that though you serve Him, He wants you to take Him everywhere that you go. You’re always welcome to come to God. And though you serve Him, He respects and loves you. See, though it’s very clear in the Bible that you are a servant of Him the king he doesn’t just treat you like most people treat servants does He? No, because you’re more than just a servant. You are a servant, but you’re also a son and daughter of the king.
So, he respects you and He loves you. What does that make you want to do? Just like the servants did to Boaz. I’ll tell you what it makes me want to do, it makes me want to serve Him all the more. I know that I’m created to serve Him, and He could make me rub my face in the mud all the day long for the rest of my life. He is God, but He treats me with love and respect. And what am I gonna do? I’m gonna work hard for Him. I’m gonna be excited to see Him. I’m gonna go to Him, and He’s gonna welcome me. While Boaz is such a beautiful example of God’s chesed love, but if you’re a supervisor here today take notice of some things. Take notice that when he approached his servants he didn’t talk down to them. He didn’t bark orders at them. He greeted them in the name of God because he wanted them to know God. He says here, “I want you to be bless by God.” He was a man of integrity and I want you to emulate his integrity.
But not only was he a man of integrity as he interacted with those who worked for him, look at his integrity as he interacts with Ruth. While she was in the field he noticed her. Ask yourself the question, why do you think he noticed Ruth? I’ll tell you why. Because she was a foreigner, but don’t think that she wasn’t young and beautiful either. He probably noticed her for both reasons. But don’t you dare go to that place that most men go today. Who we don’t act like real men when we do this. He did not look at her like an object that should fulfill his pleasure only. He looked at her with dignity. He looked at her with chivalry. He was a gentleman to her. He walked up to her when he noticed her, and he started interacting with her. He saw things that she couldn’t see. He saw that she was a woman. That means she’s vulnerable. She was by herself. Vulnerable. She was a widow. Vulnerable. She was young. Vulnerable. And she was hungry. Vulnerable. And so he showed her character and commitment by caring for her.
He says don’t go to this guy’s field over here, or this guy’s field over here, or over there, or back there. Stay here. Why? He didn’t know what kind of character that landowner had, or maybe he did, and it probably wasn’t good. He didn’t know if those servants would have integrity like his servants had. He says, you stay here, stay with my women. He says I’ve told my servants not to touch you. Not only did that mean they weren’t gonna touch her like physically abuse her, by the greeting that they gave to Boaz do you think that they were going to do that anyway? I think they had integrity. I think he was saying that for her sake. And don’t worry, I’ve got good men and women working for me. They’re not gonna touch you.
But what he also meant is they’re not gonna impede you. He says, “They’re not gonna stop you from going to the corners and glean.” How wide do you think Boaz’s corners were in his field? Some of the selfish men of the day are like, all I have to leave is a corner? That half inch right there that one stalk of grain, you can have that. They went to the probably the very edge, but still left a corner. Boaz, I could look at his field right now in my mind and see these swaths of grain that he intentionally missed. These sheafs that were laying on the ground, so that the widow, the poor, the alien could come in and find nourishment from his provision. He says, they won’t mess with you and if you’re thirsty I’ve got something for you to drink. He’s a wonderful example of God’s commitment to us, but things that you see in Boaz don’t miss here. Don’t miss this.
You see perfectly portrayed in Christ. He is the kinsman redeemer. Many of these characteristics that you see Christ perfected for you and for me. For example, do you remember when Boaz saw her in the field long before she saw him? He pursued her and he saved her from starvation. Come on, did anybody do that for you? Yeah, they did. Jesus did. Jesus saw you and had an affection for you long before you ever had any inkling towards Him, and He pursued you before you pursued Him. He found you and He saved you from the clutches of sin. He has protected you from fear, spiritual starvation. He fed her. He gave her water to drink and He protected her. We just finished John. Does any of that sound familiar in the IM statements? Oh yeah, He is the living water for your soul’s thirst. He is the bread of life for your satisfaction. He is the good shepherd that if you follow Him He will guide you and He will protect you. Boaz is a foreshadowing of who Jesus is for you and for me.
We’re gonna see this again and again. I don’t want to wear it out too much today. In fact, I wasn’t even gonna tell you, but Cody was like, “No, you got to give them some kinsman and redeemer.” I was like, “Okay, I’ll give them a little bit.” It’s so good. We got more to come. But not only do we see this character in Boaz, and it reminds us of Christ, but you and I should have this integrity as well. We need to take this with us. We need to live God’s saturated lives. We need to treat people the way that we would want to be treated. If people work for us we need to treat them with respect. Let them come to us, and let God feel welcome in the place that we work. We need to look out for those who cannot look out for themselves. We need to stand up for those who cannot stand for themselves, and we need to protect the vulnerable.
I think there’s a special message for men. So, if you’re a guy here today let me hone in on you for a second. I could speak to you because I’m a guy. There’s probably some stuff with Ruth that I’m gonna go into that I can’t speak to because I’m a woman, but I can speak to guys this morning because when I look out into society I watch TV. I look on the internet webs. I look at social media just like you do. Do you know what I see men described as today? Oppressive and violent, or I see them as weak, and unneeded. A real man is none of those things. He’s strong and meek. He’s caring and protective. He’s like Boaz. He’s like Christ. Listen, if you want to be a real man, I hear that today, “I want to be a real man,” you don’t have to have a beard. Sorry, I said that for Cody and Mike. I was just joking. You can have a beard if you want to. That’s kind of a side point, so nobody laugh. It’s okay, I tried.
Listen, if you want to be a real man forget the beard. Thank you. You can have a beard if you want to. But you don’t have to cuss. Did you know that? You don’t have to be addicted to something that controls you. You know that you don’t have to be violent. You don’t have to be insensitive, and you don’t have to be hateful. You don’t have to be any of those things to be a real man. You can be a real man like Boaz and take care of your business with integrity. You can stand up for those who are vulnerable. You can treat women with respect and lift them up to a position that they deserve, and not take advantage of them, and not see them as objects of your sexual pleasure. You can be a real man and treat those that work for you with respect. You can be a real man and follow God and have an honorable character for the society to see.
Men and women here today would you be willing to live with integrity? I pray that you would. But, we’re not done yet. Let’s look at Ruth. Not only did Boaz have integrity, but just as much, maybe even more, Ruth had humility. Her whole life was humble. She was humble in her diligence. She knew Naomi was hungry and she knew she was hungry. You didn’t have to be a genius to figure that out. She knew is was harvest, and she knew the law. Her mom and prayer told her the law, but she didn’t just go walking out into the field, did she? She submitted herself to Naomi. “Mom, can I go?” Well, sure you can, honey.
When she walked on to the field do you see an entitlement in her? Oh, we struggle with entitlement. She could have just walked on that field. Here I am, where’s my grain? That corner that’s mine. I’m coming over there. It’s time for you to feed me. She didn’t do that. She walked in humility. She went to the foreman. He knew the law. And she asked for permission. “Can I walk on your field? Can I glean after the harvesters?” And he said, “Of course, you can.” She had humility with Boaz. There was no entitlement in her. Let me tell you what my rights are. Let me tell you what I deserve. He showed her kindness and it crushed her.
Pride is not humbled when kindness is shown to them. “Pride expects kindness.” That’s what John Piper says, and he’s right. Man, I hear a lot of dumb things in our society today. I hear a lot of dumb things coming out of my mouth. Here’s one of them. You may have said it. “Oh, all I want is to get what I deserve.” All I want is to … Let me say that slowly. “All I want is to get what I deserve.” Okay, if you’ve been listening to the Bible preaching for very long you know that’s a really dumb thing to ask for you. In your sin, standing before Holy God, do you really want to say all I want is to get what I deserve? His wrath poured down on you for all of eternity because that’s what you deserve. No, no. Praise God He doesn’t give us that. That He shows us mercy and that He doesn’t give us what we deserve, and that He shows us grace. He gives us things that we cannot deserve.
She was so appreciative of being a widow, she was so humble in being a foreigner she didn’t resent that. You don’t hear her arguing against that at all. She just adopted the position that God put her in and owned it, and was thankful for it when kindness was shown to her. Again, and again, and again we see humility in Ruth. Therefore, she showed the character of Jesus Christ that Paul told all of us that we should emulated. Look at Philippians Chapter 2 Verse 3. Paul says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty conceit, but with humility. Regard one another as more important than yourselves.” Have this attitude in yourself, which is also in, where? Christ Jesus.
Who although He existed in the form of God. That means if anybody was entitled to be treated good it was Jesus. He existed in the form of God. He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, means to be used for His own purposes, but instead He emptied Himself. Look how low He’s going. Taking the form of a bond servant, being made in the likeness of men. Being found in the appearance of a man. He humbled himself becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. You can’t get anymore lower than that. But yet what did God do? Because Jesus Christ humbled Himself God lifted Him up and exalted Him to the highest place. What God did for Jesus, God did for Ruth. She humbled herself and God lifted her up.
What did she respond with? Kindness and more humility. She goes, “I can’t even believe that you would show kindness to me.” And he goes yeah, but you’ve been serving your mom, and God’s blessing you with that. You’re under the shadow of His wing. She says again in Verse 13, “I can’t even believe it. I’m overwhelmed by your grace and your mercy.” Emulate the integrity of Boaz and emulate the humility of Ruth. Humble yourself, church. Don’t walk in arrogance. Humble yourself and let God lift you up. There’s one question that remains there, isn’t it? How could they do this? How could Boaz not abuse his position of power and wealth, and show integrity? How could Ruth continue to serve Naomi in starvation and ever widowedness, and childlessness, and still show more humility? I’ll tell you how. One answer and it’s the same for you. God. Both of them were under the shadow of God’s wing.
Here’s my last point today. Make your mark. That’s what you’re supposed to do. Leave your impression on this world by staying under the shadow of His wings. You say, pastor where did you get that interesting statement? Well, I get it right here from this passage of scripture. After he shows integrity, after she shows humility in their conversation between Boaz and Ruth she says, “How could you do this for me?” He talks about the things she did for Naomi and how she left her father, and how she left her mother, and her homeland, but then he says, God is blessing you or paying you. But just in case you thought that she was earning it he says “Because you have placed yourself under His watch care under the shadow of His wing.” Some people say, “Well, isn’t Ruth just getting what she has earned for herself?” No, she’s not. God is not letting her earn His grace. God is giving her grace because she has submitted herself to His watch care and protection.
It went like this. Ruth was a Pagan. She was a Moabite. But somewhere on the journey between Moab and Bethlehem she saw God and His love and mercy stretch out His wing, and He says, “If you will my daughter, my vulnerable one, if you’ll place yourself under here I will care for you.” She heard that, and on the way to Bethlehem she says, “Your God will be my God.” And she placed herself underneath the shadow of His wing. And then for the rest of her life, as like my shadow is up on stage, wherever that shadow went, that’s where Ruth was. Why? Because she knew … Don’t miss this. She knew that the best place to be was underneath the shadow of His wing. Whether it’s rational or not, whether it’s safe or not, whether your family understands it or not, whether anybody else in the whole world gets it or not, the best place to be, the safest place to be, the most comfortable place to be is underneath the shadow of His wing.
Where’s the first place that God cast that shadow of His wing that she tucked herself underneath? In humble service to Naomi. Somehow she sensed that the first place that God wanted her to be was to humble herself to Naomi who was bitter, who didn’t understand God, who was resentful, and she served her anyway. She knew that underneath the shadow of His wing was her refuge even though she would be poor probably her whole life. As far as she knew she would be baron her whole life, yet that was her refuge. Her refuge was to be a widow her whole life, and maybe even starve to death. She didn’t worry about it. She said, “That’s my refuge.” Why? Not because it was humanly comfortable, but because that’s where God told her to go. Church, that’s where you want to be. She was underneath the shadow of God’s wing and she served Naomi as she interacted with Boaz and all through this story wherever God went that’s where she was.
What about Boaz though? I want to tell you I believe Boaz was also under the shadow of God’s wing. You don’t see that in the text, but this idea of underneath the shadow of your wing, that word wing, do you also know what it can be translated as? Corner. What? Yeah. Like, the corner of a garment. Whether you’re underneath the protection of God’s garment or underneath the protection of God’s steadfast wing like an eagle, it basically mean that you’re submitting yourself to His watch care. That you trust yourself to His sovereignty. That wherever He tells you you’re gonna go, that’s where you are gonna go because that’s where He wants you to be.
I believe Boaz was underneath the shadow of God’s wing when he was harvesting his fields and leaving the wide corners for the poor. I believe he was under the shadow of God’s wing as he was letting the poor, the widowed, and the orphan come and glean from his field. I believe he was under the shadow of God’s wing as he was interacting with a vulnerable widow in his field. I believe he was underneath the shadow of God’s wing in everything that he did even down to interacting with the servants because that’s where God wanted him to be. So church, the same is true for you today. If you want to have the humility of Ruth, I know I do, if you want to have the integrity of Boaz, you have to place yourself underneath the wing of God. I want to tell you, His wing is wide enough for all of you to fit. In His garment, the corner of His hem is large enough for all of you to come underneath. Where the shadow of God’s wing is that’s where you want to be.
The first way for you to place yourself underneath the shadow of His wing today, I’m gonna tell you, it’s in salvation to Jesus Christ because the shadow of His wing look like a cross cast in the shadow from Calvary. It’s where the God man took on the sin of man because the imperfection of mankind. Jesus Christ bore the penalty for your sin. He died and He rose from the dead. But hear me, although that shadow that was cast from Calvary that wing is large enough to save everyone in here today. It will only be effective for you if you repent of your sin and believe just because it happened does not mean you’ll be saved. Only if you place yourself underneath the shadow of that wing through repentance and true belief that’s the first way the shadow of His wing cares for you and protects you for all of eternity. That you will not bare the penalty of your own sin, but it’s more than that
If you’re a believer here today, that wing of salvation is the start, but that wing of guidance will always be moving. As you spend time in meditation, as you spend time in prayer, you notice the shadow goes over here. Well, that’s where you go. As you’re reading His word the shadow may go over here. Well, then that’s where you go. For some of you this week it’s gonna lead you to deal with those that work for you with integrity, for the first time. For some of you this week it’s to walk in humility when your heart tells you to walk in arrogance, and pride, and entitlement. For some of you it’s gonna be crazy. The shadow of that wing may lead you to a dangerous place, or a hardship in your family. The shadow of His wing, your refuge, may be in a country where they want to kill you because they hate Christ and they hate you.
It’s gonna be okay. Your refuge will be there because if that’s where He wants you to be, that’s where you want to be. So, some of you crazy people out there God may be calling you to the dangerous position of pastoral ministry, but you’ll be under the refuge of God because that’s where His wing is. Do you understand what I’m saying? That’s what Ruth and Boaz were doing. They were just following God, and they had His blessing.
May 12, 2019