So much of the Word of God spurs us to action! We know, for example, that faith unaccompanied by good works is dead faith (James 2:26). Similarly, the apostle Paul instructs us to "work out your salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12). We also know that it is not our good deeds that achieve our salvation, but rather prove it to be genuine and real.
We are studying Ruth these days. Certainly, if she had "believed" Naomi but not taken any faith-fueled action, we would not have a book of Ruth to study together!
At the end of Ruth 3, our heroine is asked to trust someone else, in addition to her Jehovah God and her mother-in-law: her potential kinsman-redeemer, Boaz.
As women, we are accustomed to keeping 11 plates spinning in the air simultaneously. Scientists testify to the fact that women's left and right brain lobes interact much more than men's do, giving women this ability. We can feed the baby, while talking on the phone, and planning dinner - - all at the same time. We are "multi-taskers extraordinaire"! Therefore, it is not surprising that Naomi felt the need, after Ruth's audacious overnight adventure, to tell her the following;
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.
Ruth 3:18 (KJV)
For that matter, this verse also describes most men "to a T". They have the ability to be single-mindedly focused on a task, pursuing it to completion.
In either case, with either sex, the ability to "sit still" in the face of a task, challenge or problem is tough. In the name of the LORD, we want to "pray, go, slay!"
Just as the Bible has a lot to say about "doing", it also shows us that there are times when we need to sit and wait on God.
One of my favorite verses with this message is Psalm 46:10 (ESV):
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
As Christians, according to the Winchester Shorter Catechism, our chief aim is to enjoy God and glorify Him forever. Deuteronomy 6:4-9, commonly called The Shema, puts it like this:
4Listen, Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5You must love the Lord your God with your whole mind, your whole being, and all your strength. 6These words I am commanding you today must be kept in mind, 7and you must teach them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, as you lie down, and as you get up. 8You should tie them as a reminder on your forearm and fasten them as symbols on your forehead. 9Inscribe them on the doorframes of your houses and gates.
We usually interpret either of these to mean "glorify Him by obediently doing stuff". But, Psalm 46:10 seems to say that when we make ourselves still in the presence of our God, He is lifted up and exalted. Not only that, but we are promised in Isaiah 40:31 He will strengthen us as we are still and as we wait.
Then, there's this:
13Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord that he will provide for you today; for the Egyptians that you see today you will never, ever see again. 14The Lord will fight for you, and you can be still.”
Exodus 14:13-14 (NET)
The context of these verses is that the Hebrews were "between a rock and a hard place". (Ever been there?) . They were getting squeezed. On one side was the Red Sea. On the other was 600 chariots of Pharaoh's army, driven by his best captains. Their response in verse 11 is classic: "is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you took out here to die in the wilderness?" LOL, gotta love it. I'll tell you, my own personal responses to getting squeezed have been about as bad....
Anyway, the point is that God told the Hebrews to camp in the desert, to sit still, and that He would fight the battle for them. When He pulled back the waters of the Red Sea, allowing them to safely cross it, He did just that.
Ladies, if you have ever had a man advocate for you or rescue you from a serious situation, you know what a thrill it is to have him fight that battle for you. How much more wonderful to allow our Bridegroom (pictured by Boaz in this story) fight our battles for us.
If you have not had a rock/hardplace situation in your Christian walk, well...then you just have not been walking with God long enough. Those situations will come. In some of them, there will be things you can do in obedience to untie the knot, to escape from the trap, to avoid a horrible collision....and when possible, you are to do them.
But....there are other times when you know that the mountain is unscalable, the river unfordable, the giant too big. In those situations, we are to:
SIT, PRAY, WATCH, WAIT, (repeat)
In our story, Boaz had to go contend with another kinsman, who had a closer claim on Ruth and her late husband's assets. That man represents the evil one, our adversary, Satan, who has his hooks into us because of our sin nature. We cannot save ourselves from eternal damnation, just as Ruth could not redeem herself. When Boaz approached this man, he wanted Ruth's assets. Oh yes! But... he did not want Ruth (Ruth 4:6-8). Similarly, while the devil wants our worship, it is solely for his own satisfaction; our welfare (spiritual or otherwise) is of no importance to him at all. He does not love us.
Get this now: Boaz did not redeem Ruth and her lands because he wanted her property. He wanted to glorify his HaShem, his God Jehovah, by following Torah, which demanded that a close kinsman redeem a godly widow. And, he loved Ruth. He wanted to redeem her for her own welfare.
Boaz was an older man. He could have already married, but chose not to. He did not stand a chance when he met Ruth, though. He loved her.
I do not know why my Lord loves me. It is certainly not because I deserve it. It is certainly not because we are "well-matched equals" (what a laughable thought!). Still, He loved me enough to be incarnated, to put on flesh, be born a helpless babe, live a sinless life, die an ignominious death, and then defeat satan in the pits of Hell before rising from the dead in triumph. He went through all of that...for me. And, for you. That is why He is my Kinsman-Redeemer.
And, there is NOTHING He can't do. There's no such thing as "impossible".
I love this quote from the book War Room, by Chris Fabry. The character, Miss Clara, a godly woman of fervent prayer says this to Elizabeth, a younger Christian woman she is mentoring:
"Then I started really studying what the Scriptures say, and God showed me that it wasn’t my job to do the heavy lifting. No. That was something that only He could do. It was my job to seek Him to trust Him, and to stand on His Word. Elizabeth, you got to plead with God so that He can do what only He can do, and then you got to get out of the way and let Him do it.”
Amen to that!