It is a glorious thing,
dear friends, isn’t it, to really apprehend that
our Lord Jesus hasn’t any pre-occupations, where
we are concerned. We are His only occupation.
Where He is untrammeled by other considerations, and all
personal interests have completely disappeared in the
interest of getting His Bride. He’s free.
That’s Philippians 2:4-8, isn’t it? Yes,
everything is gone. Even His glory in heaven, where the
Father is, has gone because He is single-eyed and
single-minded. He has only one interest. He’s
untrammeled now by any other considerations. You and I
are His object, and He’s free from everything
I’m so glad the
Lord hasn’t got an alternative, aren’t you?
He hasn’t got an alternative. None at all. The other
man had an alternative. Christ has not.
Well, and when things
were established on that basis, and Boaz was the only
Redeemer, and the Redemption was carried out, all the
inheritance became Ruth’s — in Boaz. All the
redemption was hers in him. All the inheritance was hers
in him. It was the Redemption that was in Christ Jesus.
We got it all in Him. "He who delivered up
His own Son for us all, shall He not also with Him freely
give us all things." We get it all in Christ.
I know how simple this
is, but isn’t this a wonderful and beautiful
exposition of the Gospel, this book? The inheritance,
let’s look at that.
Well, in the first
place, of course, it was a part in the covenant land. You
have to go back again to the book of Joshua, don’t
you, when the land was taken by Joshua, and finally
subdued and conquered. Then it was divided up to the
tribes, and through the tribes to the families. They had
their lot, their inheritance, in the land. Somehow or
other Elimelech came to have a plot in the covenant land.
Now we know what the Old Testament figure means. So,
well, you see we’ve moved this afternoon, just to
touch it in the letter of Ephesians. For the thing that
corresponds to the book of Joshua is the letter to the
Ephesians. Wonderful inheritance that is in Christ, and
His wonderful inheritance in His own. It’s a land,
is it not, of far distances. That’s the
inheritance. Look at Ephesians: far distances, right back
into eternity past, and right into eternity to come.
Wonderful!. Very wealthy land. A very rich land. And the
inheritance in the first place, here in view with Ruth,
was that part in the covenant land. And it was no small
thing to have a part in that, as your own.
But it never stopped
there. You see, what had been hers because of her union
with Naomi and through Naomi, with Elimelech - what had
been hers was forfeited, lost. But in the recovery
through redemption, a very great deal more than what was
lost, was given. Her little bit was joined to His large
bit. What a great truth this is!!! That in the redemption
which is in Christ Jesus we get far more than ever we
lost, far more than Adam ever had, and therefore far more
than ever he lost. It’s a very much enlarged
inheritance into which we come in Christ. Our bit, yes,
but His all.
And I like that
"Now Naomi, returned, and Ruth, the Moabitess, her
daughter-in-law, with her, which returned out of the
country of Moab. They came to Bethlehem. And Naomi had a
kinsman of her husband’s a mighty man of wealth."
Look through that glass,
down the ages, through Ruth, and see the Mighty Man of
Wealth. Did Ruth come into a larger inheritance than
that little bit of land of Canaan that she had lost? Oh,
look on to Christ, who came through her. He came by way
of Ruth. What an inheritance! A greater than Boaz is
And then, for the
present, finally, the motive, and principle
of this redemption. It’s stated in those words of
Boaz — "To raise up the name of the dead upon
his inheritance." Perhaps a little perplexing, if
you don’t grasp the meaning of that — "To
raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance."
To raise up the name of Elimelech upon his inheritance.
How? By a seed, by an abiding seed in resurrection.
Elimelech, what’s the meaning of that? God is the
king. That’s it. You see, the very first part
brings in God. The name means "God the king."
"To raise up the name of the Lord upon his
The last words in the
Book of Judges — "There was no king in Israel.
Every man did that which was right in his own eyes."
And what chaos! What tragedy! There always is, where
there is no central and supreme authority. All the
trouble can be traced to that. It was in the four-hundred
years of the judges, the terrible condition and the final
It is, today, in the
whole world, true; and in some sense it is true in
Christianity. All the divisions, disruptions, the unhappy
conditions which exist because Jesus is not in His place
of Headship. Because, really, while He is called Lord and
King, while He is said to be that in name and profession,
He really is not in that place. Other lords have
dominion. We could have many of them. The things that
really do rule even Christian lives, and Church affairs.
Things that get in the way of the Absolute Sovereign
Headship of the Lord Jesus. Is not that made perfectly
clear by Paul that oneness, unity, that organic
fellowship in the body of Christ proceeds from His
Headship. All the Body fitly framed, joined together, as
from the Head.
Well, we’re so
familiar with that and here you have conditions which
were anything but like that, and they are like that
The need is for
Authority, for Government, for Headship, for a King, for
the Lord, really, actually, to be Lord. Everywhere I have
been recently in the States among Christians, the same
thing has been said to me. I haven’t said it, but
it’s been said to me everywhere, "Our trouble
is, no leadership. Our trouble is, lack of authority.
Everybody does as they think or like; there’s no
central authority, no leadership."
Therefore, what have you
got? A famine? Hunger, need, spiritual starvation and
poverty, it’s all there. That’s how it was in
the Judges, and that’s how it was in these days,
until the Lord visited them. "To raise up a name of
the dead upon his inheritance." It surely does mean
the recovery and reinstatement of the
absolute Lordship of the Lord.
"God is king." To raise up that name. And when
He is, there’s a very blessed situation, obtaining.
There’s nothing to
be lost in having the Lord as absolute Lord. People seem
to think that if they let go to the Lord, and let Him be
Lord, altogether, then they’re going to lose
Well, don’t be
deceived about that. Look again at the book of Judges,
and look to see that this — shall we call it
"little book" now? Surely not! — this Book
of Ruth says inclusively and finally that it is when
there is a Head and a Lord established that there is
plenty, there is prosperity, there is blessing, there is
life, there is everything. And when that is not so, there
is nothing. "To raise up the name of the dead
upon his inheritance."
In another glance at
that, "Thou madest Him to have dominion." He
lost his inheritance in death, through sin, and yet to
raise up for man, man who has sinned, and man who has died,
in the sight of God; to raise up even for that man,
through redemption, his dominion again, his kingship. For
we shall reign with Him, our Lord.
This message this
evening is as self-contained as possible.
The book of Ruth is
gathered all into that sublime declaration of
Ruth’s, one of the most beautiful things in all the
Bible, Chap. 1:16-18: "And Ruth said, "Entreat
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. Where thou diest will I die. And there
will I be buried. The Lord do so to me and more also if
anything but death part thee and me."
"When Naomi saw
that she was steadfastly minded to go with her, then she
left speaking unto her."
Pathway to Final Fullness
For this around Ruth was
a tremendous decision of faith. Look at Chap. 2:11,
"And Boaz answered and said unto her, "It hath
been fully showed 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 before."
A great venture of
faith. A sublime renunciation. You may not think that
there was very much to be renounced in Moab, for it was
leaving a place of much sorrow and disappointment and
tragedy; but when you consider really what the situation
was, and what she was going to, all unknown to herself,
and how things were going to work out, I think you would
see the picture from another angle. At least she was at
home in her own country — known and recognized and
had a place there. She had a father and a mother and a
home. She was going to a foreign country. She was going
with her widowed mother-in-law, who was in a great
sorrow, in whose life there was a great tragedy, and who
was under a very great cloud of disappointment — not
only with her life but with the Lord Himself. "The
Lord has testified against me." Real spiritual
And Ruth was a
Moabitess. She must have known of the embargo that rested
upon her nation so far as Israel was concerned. The curse
that had been pronounced upon Moab, — "The
Ammonite and the Moabite shall not enter the congregation
of the Lord forever." — she must have known
that, and that it was very doubtful that she would get a
reception in the land of Israel, — be made welcome.
Rather, it might be very much the other way. Suspect,
ostracized. And you know, Boaz had to give special
instructions to his young men and maidens not to be
unkind to her, not to interfere with her. And repeatedly
he had to tell them to show her some kindness. Here is
this woman, under a shadow, in their midst. And she must
have known something about it, what it could mean, the
future all unknown, and very doubtful. Her heart might
well have fainted, if she thought it.
But — there was
faith enough there. "Thy God shall be my God."
Evidently, with all, Naomi had taught her
daughters-in-law something about her God that made Ruth
feel — "Anyway, it’s better to be where
that God is recognized and acknowledged than where I am
in Moab." There was some faith in her heart in the
God of Naomi, and the God of Israel, and it was
sufficient to make her on the one side to leave the place
of security, — leave her home, and Boaz did
recognize that it meant something to Ruth to leave it:
"It hath been fully told me what thou has
done;" and on the other side, to accept all that it
might be, without any knowledge of really what would
happen. It was Faith’s Venture, faith’s
renunciation, with no real knowledge that it would work
out all right, and that there were the bright prospects
which did eventually come into view.
That was the first step
in the way into this great fullness: Faith’s
Oh, how much enticing we
need, how many promises and assurances we need to get us
going on the way. How much has to be held up before the
eyes of people as to the blessings that they’re
going to get, if they would follow the Lord what would
come to them.
We’re so tardy,
aren’t we, in our response? We have to have to have
so many bribes. I’m afraid the appeal of the Gospel
has been leveled down there, to all that you’d get
if you became a Christian.
The real faith that the
Lord waits to find is very difficult to find, and
we’re not surprised, are we, that limitation comes
into the life? We’re talking about Faith’s
Pathway to Fullness. And I cannot help feeling, very
often, that the spiritual limitation, the smallness of
spiritual life, of the knowledge of the Lord, once of all
that to which we are really called in Christ — the
limitation is due to this, that we’re always
thinking of how it’s going to affect us, for good or
bad, what we’re going to get. Even the disciples,
who are with the Lord, would say "Lord, we have left
all for Thy sake; what shall we have?"
That becomes too often a
motive — "What shall we have? What are we going
to get. Or, what are we going to lose?" No wonder
the spiritual life is so poor. If only we had some of
this kind of faith that Ruth had. It is aware that
it’s going to be costly, very likely. It’s
going to be difficult, facing the fact. Nevertheless,
"Thy God is worth it. Thy God shall be my God."
For God's sake, and not for our own, is the motive which
should activate. For the Lord’s sake.
If it’s like that
for the Lord’s sake — not only in our
beginning, but in our continuance, because we are brought
into much costliness in this way — but, for the Lord’s
sake — we should make better progress; we should
come more quickly into the fullness of Divine purpose.
It’s the motive, you see, of faith,
that makes all the difference. It’s quite clear,
isn’t it, that if we’re always thinking of
ourselves and how it will affect us, we shall not get
The Lord is dangling no
prizes before us, to bribe, or cajole, or entice. He
says, quite frankly — "If a man shall not take
up his cross and follow Me, he cannot be My
disciple." Faith must see right through and say
"It’s better to have the Lord, than to have
everything else and not have the Lord" whatever it
may be. And it’s better to have the Lord, with
affliction and adversity and trial and obstruction and
persecution, than to be without those things and at the
same time to be without the Lord.
faith’s renunciation. Then faith’s resoluteness
and finality. I like that in verse 18 — "And
when Naomi saw that she was steadfastly minded to go, she
left off speaking." It’s no use arguing with
this person; it’s no use talking to her. She’s
made up her mind and that’s the end of it.
Steadfastly-minded. Resolute, and finally so, she could
have said, "It’s no use. You’re not going
to talk me out of it. You’re not going to argue or
persuade me out of this. I have made up my mind."
And Naomi saw that. "And she left (off)
The resoluteness and
finality of faith’s decision. Get it like that and
the Lord can do anything.
What the Lord did, as we
have been seeing, is perfectly wonderful. You’ll see
that again in a minute. You see, such a faith opens the
way for the Lord to do wonderful things. And to bring
quickly into His greatest fullness.
Are we not slow because
we are not resolute? Is not our spiritual progress
retarded and arrested because there’s so little of
this finality about our decision? Still halting, limping
between two opinions? Still not quite sure as to what
it’s going to be right through? Whether we’re
going right on? And therefore the years pass, and
we’re very much in the same position spiritually,
after a long time, as we were.
It’s a very simple
word, but dear friends, it’s a good word on which to
close a conference. In the face of all that the Lord
wants and has called us unto, we must be really moved and
stirred to this matter, to say with Ruth: "Entreat
me not to leave thee, or to return from following after
thee; whither thou goest I will go. Where thou lodgest I
will lodge. Thy people shall be my people, Thy God, my
God. Where thou diest I will die and there will I be
buried. The Lord do so to me and more so, if anything but
death part thee and me." "And when she saw that
she was steadfastly minded." What a statement of
steadfast-mindedness that is! Then, again I say,
you’re not surprised at the sequel:
That word of verses 16
and 17 that we’ve just quoted again is a very
comprehensive and inclusive thing, isn’t it? It
covers all the ground. Every possible contingency. Every
aspect of things. The whole thing is taken in one full
survey, encompassed and brought down here in this
consecrated concentrated form: "I’ve taken full
account of everything — every aspect of this matter
— and I see that it may lead me into a good deal;
and it may be a very testing and long-drawn-out business;
but it’s unto death, and all that comes between now
and then I’ve reckoned up."
It’s an inclusive
avowal of faith. And then because it was like that —
that was the kind of venturesome faith, a faith
renouncing, a faith Resolute and Final, Inclusive,
— that kind of
faith opens the door to God’s grace in a most
wonderful way. God’s grace!
What a story of
God’s grace this is! We pointed out earlier today
the handicaps of Ruth, the handicaps that dear soul
suffered, and was under! The handicap of birth. The
stigma that had been handed down from her forebears. The
stigma of incest, and then the handicap of the
curse. The embargo: "A Moabite shall not
enter into the congregation of the Lord forever."
And she is going into the midst of the congregation of
the Lord, over against that terrible embargo and
handicap. "She’s a Moabitess" with all
that that means.
But her faith opened the
way to the grace of God to remove every handicap. I think
this is wonderful.
Let’s have a side
light on this. We’ve got it in the New Testament.
You know, in the eleventh chapter of Leviticus a whole
list of unclean creatures are mentioned which the
Israelites were not to eat. They were forbidden to eat
all these unclean creatures. Now, no doubt there was
something of a sanitary kind about this, or a hygienic
element in this, for health’s sake.
It had another meaning.
These unclean creatures were symbols of the pagan and
heathen nations with whom Israel was to have no
fellowship, no contact, no relationship, and no
intermarriage. All those outside of Israel were regarded
as unclean. And Jews knew that.
Now come to the New
Testament. The Apostle Peter had a vision one day. And in
his vision he saw heaven opened and a sheet let down by
its four corners, full of these very creatures mentioned
in Leviticus 11. All manner of unclean creatures. He was
a Jew, and he knew what that meant. And a voice said,
"Rise, Peter, kill and eat." Peter said,
"Not so, Lord. Nothing unclean, has entered my lips,
ever." This thing was done three times and the sheet
was caught up into heaven, and then — a knock on the
door. "Oh, Cornelius, away up there in Caesarea, has
sent us to ask you to come to his house. He’s an
Italian. To come and speak to him about the things of
Oh, Cornelius. An
unclean thing I’m forbidden by the very scriptures
to have anything to do with him, to do this sort of
thing. "Not so, Lord."
What said the Lord?
"What God hath cleansed, call not thus
unclean." And being prevailed upon, Peter went. We
know the sequel; what has happened?
Calvary has happened and
the curse has been borne by the Lord Jesus, the great
Kinsman-Redeemer. The curse has been borne and removed
out of the way, and Grace has opened the door for the
unclean, and Calvary has virtually cleansed all. Calvary
stands effective for the cleansing of all the unclean.
A side light on this.
"A Moabitess shall not enter the congregation."
Under a curse, ah, yes, but Faith enters into the removal
of the curse. Faith opens the door to the grace of God.
Grace is triumphant here; Ruth stands to declare that in
her very being. "The Law said No, Never, but
Grace says Yes, Ever" The Law says a closed
door. Grace says an open door.
The grace of God in
redemption, and faith laying hold of the grace of God,
opens the door and removes all the handicaps. What a
about handicaps? Well, the grace of God can get rid of
all your handicaps, if you will believe it. Faith opens
the door to grace, and grace removes every embargo, and
says "Let us draw nigh, with full assurance of
faith." "Let us come with boldness to the
throne of grace." Faith.
And then, the door
opened through faith and grace, you see the blessings
that begin to flow and come to Ruth. We spoke of all
these this morning. The immediate blessings, to begin
with. How sovereignty began to operate in her life, in
There was that
"hap" of which we spoke. "And it was
Ruth’s hap to light upon the part of the field that
belonged to Boaz." And in some apparently casual,
almost accidental movement, not knowing what she was
doing, but God knowing what He was doing, she came into
that field. Divine sovereignty and Divine providence
beginning to work in this wonderful way, so simply, so
easily, without the exercise of any power in a
demonstrative way from Heaven. It’s so easy
for Divine Sovereignty to do things that it sometimes
just looks like a "hap" and you wonder if it
ever has taken place. So easy, to come into that very
ease of God.
Blessings. I’m not
going to enumerate them. The immediate blessings the book
itself tells you. From lighting upon the field of Boaz,
her "hap" being that. Onward, step by step,
right up to the union and beyond. And that leads us to: Faith’s
rich reward. Something far beyond the immediate in
her life. As we have pointed out, the last words in this
book are these:
"Boaz begat Obed,
and Obed begat Jesse and Jesse begat David."
And then you leap a big
leap into the Gospels, and you find David — Jesus.
Wonderful thing — a
Moabitess with all that which rested upon her — the
dark shadow of embargo and curse, an ancestress of the
Lord Christ! Right in the direct line of Jesus, and all
that has come to the world.
Oh, what an immense
thing has come to this world through Ruth’s faith.
What rewards. I wonder if she knows all about it now.
I’d like to think that she does, that she’s
conscious of it all. Surely that would be a reward,
wouldn’t it. If Ruth now is looking back to those
days of timidity and fear, dread, and yet, resolution.
Seeing everything that has come, wouldn’t she say
"My word, it’s worth it. I never imagined that
my poor feeble effort of faith would result in
It’s not possible
to exaggerate this, is it? When you think of all that has
come through the Lord Jesus, through the incarnation. You
can’t say too much about that, and it started with
this simple, earnest girl’s faith. Resolute Faith.
of that faith, unto this great goal.
You never know what the
Lord can do, or will do, what Eternity will reveal. She
did not live to see more than Obed, as far as we know,
Her life passed on with the life of her son, she
Maybe she sees now; if
she doesn’t she’s going to see.
You and I may not know,
in our time, what the Lord has been able to do, and will
be able to do, if only He gets a faith in us like the
faith of Ruth. This faith that ventures. This faith that
renounces. This faith that resolves. This faith that
takes in everything that is involved, and that is not
moved by consequences, but takes it all up, and says,
"I will. I will. I will."
We must leave that with
you, and with ourselves. Well, I’m going to close
What the Lord’s
people needed (and this was a word we said this
afternoon) more than anything, for their own good, for
their own blessing, for their own fullness and
ascendancy, and victory; what Israel needed more than
anything else was a king. All that tragedy of the
Book of Judges, as we have seen, was because there was no
king in Israel. No uniting of authority.
The king came in
through Ruth’s faith. Dear friends, if the Lord
Jesus should come into His place, as Lord, as King,
through a costly, difficult, dark way, that we take in
faith — not knowing, when we take the great
inclusive step what it means — knowing only that it
may involve us in some very real and big difficulties
— and we take it — so that the Lord Jesus
should come into His place, along that line, will it be
If these scattered ones
find the Shepherd, if these defeated ones find their
King, their Victor, it’ll be worth it, and
you and I are called to that. To bring the Lord Jesus
into His place. It’s not easy. It’s costly. It
requires real faith to go on with that, because there are
such tremendous factors set against His Kingship and His
Lordship. But if it should be that He comes into that
place, through our instrumentality, then everything will
be worth it, and justified.
You ought to read again
this great declaration of Ruth’s and put ourselves
Are you tonight ready,
Christians, in a new way to say it? Any unsaved ones here
tonight ready to say it? Are you? Shall we pause in a
quiet moment, and let it challenge our own hearts? Shall
we? Can we? Will we say, "Entreat me not to leave
thee, or to return from following after thee. Whither
thou goest, I will go; where thou lodgest, I will lodge.
Thy people shall be my people, and thy God, my God. Where
thou diest, will I die. There will I be buried. The Lord
do so to me, and more also if anything but death part
thee and me."
Whatever that means, or
may mean, in our relationship to the Lord Jesus, the Lord
give us grace to say and to mean it, and to close all
arguments, and all discussion. "When she saw that
she was steadfastly-minded, she left speaking." May
the Lord have us a people like that.