Ruth: Strategic Righteousness

UCCF Forum | Oswestry, England

Well, this is a strange chapter and more is going on perhaps than you realize. We’ll get to it in a moment. Let me do a little review. In chapter one, God is at work in the darkest of times. There was a famine in Bethlehem, where Naomi and her husband Elimelech lived. So, whether right or not, they went to Moab and in Moab found food for a season and Elimelech died. Her sons Mahlon and Chilion married foreign women. And for 10 years they had no children, and then her sons died. And then she decided to go back when the famine was lifting and only one of her daughters-in-law would go with her, namely Ruth. And she went. So at the end of that chapter, she says, “The Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me” (Ruth 1:20). And that’s true. There are bitter providences and there are sweet providences.

This book is about to end on some amazingly sweet providences, but at the beginning it is bitter. I think the whole point of the book is to try to help God’s people realize in the darkest of times how life really flows and how life moves. And at the end of the chapter, they come at the beginning of the barley harvest, and it’s in the barley harvest where all the providences will turn from dark to sweet. So there’s an opening. There’s a crack in the dark cloud that is over Naomi’s life, and it might be good to give one illustration of this pilgrimage from our church.

Lessons from the Dark Night

I’ve been at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota for 28 years as a pastor. In 1993, I picked up a phone and heard a recorded message that sounded romantic, and it was not from one of our staff to his wife; it was from one of our staff to another one of our staff.

And I sat there, and asked, can this be what it sounds like? And I was persuaded it was, there was no other explanation for the sound. So I immediately went to them and brought them into my office with my colleague and they denied it, the man and the woman. And for six weeks, it was hellish in our church because I would not back down. I said, “That is romance. There is no other explanation for that tone of voice.” They denied it, and the church almost blew to pieces because I was being accused of finding fault with a staff member with whom I had worked for 10 years — a very serious thought. I mean, there was no way to restore this. Even if I was wrong, there was no way to restore this. It was horrible. God moved, as I believe he did and brought him late at night. He called me on the phone and said, “I have to meet you at church at 11 p.m.” So six of the elders were there with us and he confessed to seven years of adultery.

The upshot of that was that 230 people left our church. Those were very dark days — days in which I couldn’t preach because the people were so angry with me. This never is clean. You’re never vindicated in a situation like this. It is always ugly no matter whether you’re right or not. It doesn’t really matter. And so, 230 people left the church. We didn’t grow in our church for three years. It was flat. It was sorrowful, and surviving was all we could do. We just tried to keep our noses above the water.

Now those were days I would say like the days in Moab in which people died, as it were. There were people who lost their faith through that. They walked away from the Lord. As I look back now, I would say the Lord’s hand was on us for good. It was horrible, but the Lord’s hand was on us for good. Lots of good came from it.

We are, as a church, three times the size we were in those days, though for three years, people were just walking away. The Lord was humbling us. He was, I believe, purifying us. He was breaking us. He was showing us that we had much to learn and that we couldn’t do it on our own. He was transforming our worship life entirely. He was crafting a vision statement that is now the vision statement of my life and of our church: I exist to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ. That mission statement was forged in the fires of that Moab experience.

You’re going to go there, young people. You will be there eventually if you haven’t walked through the days yet. You will have your chapter one of Ruth eventually. These things are in the Bible to prepare you to know how to see the hidden hand of God when it looks like he is simply dealing you bitterness day after day. That was chapter one.

Summarizing the Book of Ruth

Last night, I focused on two things. First, I focused on Ruth 2:3, which says:

So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech.

In other words, Boaz is a relative of Naomi and Elimelech. He can marry Ruth and continue the line. He can redeem the situation. He can redeem Mahlon’s name, and carry it forward. Naomi had forgotten about this in her darkness. She hadn’t remembered there was a little hope out there in the future. She might not have thought of Boaz anyway because he’s older and calls Ruth daughter, and he shows himself to be older by saying, “You didn’t go after the younger men.”

There was Boaz and Ruth happened upon his field. I paused at that moment and told a little story about how I just happened to live this life, and how instant after instant in my life I just did what I thought was the next best thing, and the Lord put together this life. If you had asked my pastor if one day I would be standing in England speaking to a group like this when I was in the ninth grade and couldn’t at all speak in front of a group — I mean physically it was impossible because of the depths of my nervousness and my insecurities in high school — he would have laughed and said, “That is never, ever going to happen. John might be a veterinarian or something. His hands shake too much to operate on real people. So he will operate on dogs and cats maybe. But to actually speak in front of a group? Never.” So this life that I live is a life I would have never dreamed of. So I stressed the fact that God plans your life; ultimately, you don’t plan your life.

Now, in a moment, I’m going to turn the table. Some of you are very uncomfortable with that way of approaching life, and in one sense you should be because planning is very important. Ruth chapter 3 is all about planning. Ruth and Naomi have a plan. It’s a very strange plan. But it’s a plan, and I’m going to turn the tables and say that even though you don’t ultimately plan your life, you plan today, and you plan a free gospel effort to give 400,000 students a copy of the Gospel of Mark, and that’s right. You should do that. You have no idea what’s going to come of this ultimately. Glorious things are going to come — worse and better things than you probably can dream. You should plan. But that’s coming in a minute. That’s one of the things I did last night. I focused on Ruth 2:3.

Why Have I Found Favor in Your Sight?

The other thing I did last night was to look with you at Ruth 2:10. You can go there with me. Boaz has received Ruth, protected her, given her food, given her drink, and protected her from the young men, and it says:

Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”

She was simply stunned at his mercy, and she asked about the origin of his mercy and kindness. In Ruth 2:12, Boaz responds as though she had asked, “Why has the Lord treated me with such favor?” Because both Ruth and Boaz see the hand of God behind everything. And ultimately, the mercy flowing to her is flowing through Boaz to Ruth. So he says:

The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel . . . (Ruth 2:12).

The Relationship Between Faith and Works

Now, if you stopped right there, the answer to her question would seem to be that the Lord is repaying her and that with God’s help Boaz is blessing her because of what she had done. She has loved Naomi. She has treated Naomi with respect, care, and humility. But then he adds, “Under whose wings you have come to take refuge” (Ruth 2:12). And I took that as the key. Now, some of you I’m sure were sensitive to discern that the issue I was addressing at this point last night was the issue of how faith relates to works in the larger theological scheme of justification, and then final rewards in heaven.

And I was arguing that the relationship between these two things — “You have loved Naomi, and you have lived the life of humility, care, and love” — and the other thing — “You take refuge under the wings of God,” sets up the issue for me. How do they relate to each other? How does flying like a little eaglet under the great and glorious wings of the grace of eagle God, cleaving to mercy alone, relate to behaviors of love? And all too quickly I sent you to Galatians 5:6. I just tossed it out:

Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love.

The kind of faith that justifies is faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone. I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase from Martin Luther and others along the way. It’s a very helpful phrase. It helps sort out the issue of considering that if we’re justified — if we have a right standing with God, he affirms us, approves us, and accepts us as righteous because of Christ on the basis of union with him by faith alone — where does obedience and work in loving Naomi and going back to Bethlehem with her fit in? It fits in as the fruit of faith because Ruth is hiding under the wings of God, as all these bitter providences are coming. She’s able to maintain hope, joy, peace, and rest in her God. She’s not angry at God. She’s not fretful about the future. She laughs at the future (Proverbs 31:25). She is fearless. This is the woman she’s being presented to us.

Under the wings of God, she is fearless about the future. And when you’re fearless and hopeful about the future you’re able to have resources for others instead of always wanting others to serve you. So she’s there for Naomi. That’s the Christian life, I think implied in these few verses.

Justified by Faith

I want to take you to a passage in Luke. If you have your Bible and you want to go with me, I really feel I ought to underline this with a piece of teaching from the Lord Jesus. This is Luke 18. This puts the words of Jesus on what I just said so that you can underline it with his authority.

He told them this parable to some who trusted in themselves, that they were righteous (Luke 18:9).

Now that is very important. Get that. He is telling this parable because there are those who trust in themselves that they are righteous. Ruth is just flying under the wings. She’s falling down. She’s humble. She’s not claiming anything. She’s not trying to present payment to God as an employer, for which he will get the reward of righteousness. She is broken, humble, and lowly like a little chick running under the hen’s wing. And he wants to tell a parable about the people who aren’t like that. And then, there’s a man in this parable who is like that.

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’” (Luke 18:9–12).

So there he is, calling attention to his behavior. This is what he will present to God as the ground of his acceptance and righteousness. That’s what Jesus is against — “those who trusted in themselves that they were righteous” (Luke 18:9). That’s this man. He just laid out his righteousness. He does good things. He cares for Naomi. How you get the order here is so important. It’s a good thing you care for Naomi, but it’s not a good thing to present your care for Naomi as the ground of your acceptance with God, which is what he’s doing.

Going Low Before God

Now, the other man here is in Luke 18:13:

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’

Now that’s flying under the wings, saying, “I just need protection from your wrath. I need your wings to cover me. I have nothing to claim. I don’t put my righteousness forward here. My care for Naomi here is not the ground of my flying under these wings. I’m just under here because you are my God. Knowing you, Jesus — there’s nothing better in all the world. I’m just here because I’m a sinner and you’re a Savior, I’m unrighteous and you’re righteous, and I’m going to trust you. And that’s all I’ve got on my judgment day.” And Jesus responds like this:

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted (Luke 18:14).

There’s that great glorious word justified, and he adds, “Rather than the other.” That’s a frightening statement. The Pharisee didn’t go down to his house justified. He wasn’t justified. If you present your list of deeds to God as the ground of your justification, it won’t happen. That’s what he says.

The Kindness of the Lord

That’s what I was moving toward last night in Ruth 2:10 and Ruth 2:12. Let me give you one other thing that I didn’t say last night. Look at Ruth 2:20. When Ruth came back with this report about how good Boaz was to her, Naomi said to her:

May he be blessed by the Lord, whose kindness (referring to the Lord) has not forsaken the living or the dead!

I just want you to see that the sky has opened for Naomi. She has moved from saying, “The Lord has dealt very bitterly with me,” to saying, “The Lord’s kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead.”

We sing a lot of British hymns because the Wesleys wrote a lot of great hymns and because William Cowper wrote great hymns. Now, you know your great hymn writer, William Cowper, never got out of chapter one. He was suicidal all his life. He tried to kill himself three times. John Newton loved him so dearly and never forsake him. I love that relationship.

And he wrote a song that we sang every Sunday for four weeks when we preached the gospel of Ruth back in 1984:

God moves in a mysterious way
     His wonders to perform.
He plants his footsteps in the sea
     And rides upon the storm.

You fearful saints, fresh courage take;
     The clouds that you so much dread
Are big with mercy and will break
     In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
     But trust him for his grace.
Behind a frowning providence
     He hides a smiling face.

Deep in unfathomable mines
     Of never-failing skill.
He treasures up his bright designs,
     And works his sovereign will.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
    ​​ And scan his work in vain.
God is his own interpreter
     And he will make it plain.

You can write things like that and never seem to rise above it. Isn’t it amazing that God will take you in Ruth chapter one, if you have to live there all your life, and use you to help John Piper 200 years later? I love that song. I live that song. Dark things come into my life almost every day, and William Cowper ministers to my heart, suicidal though he was.

Strategic Righteousness in the Book of Ruth

Well, it’s time to go to chapter three. I’m not trying to get away from it. In fact, I love it. So let’s go there. I have one phrase I want you to keep in mind in this chapter, and that is the phrase strategic righteousness. It’s my phrase. I’m not borrowing it from anybody. It may not be the best, but I’ll explain what I mean. By righteousness, I simply mean doing the right thing, doing the God-honoring thing, and doing the thing that looks wise and God-centered in the moment, while trusting in the Lord. It’s just doing right. By strategic, I mean that you have put some thought into this.

This is why I said I’m turning the tables on the non-plan emphasis from last night. Do plan. Let your righteousness be thought about. Plan some righteous behavior at the university this fall. Plan some righteous activity. Plan how to grow in righteousness. Plan how to treat people righteously. What we have here for strategic righteousness we first see in Naomi, then in Ruth, and then in Boaz. We’ll take them just like that. First, we see Naomi’s strategic righteousness in Ruth 3:1–5, and then Ruth’s in Ruth 3:6–9, and then Boaz’s in Ruth 3:10–15. We have all three of them acting out strategic righteousness.

Naomi’s Strategic Righteousness

First, we’ll consider Naomi in Ruth 3:1–5. The sheer fact that Naomi has a plan is very significant. Here’s the significance: when you are hopeless, as she apparently was for a season in chapter one, you don’t dream dreams. Hopeless people don’t dream dreams. They don’t make plans. They don’t pour thousands and thousands of dollars or pounds into conceiving and printing 400,000 copies of Mark. You don’t do that if you’re hopeless. You dream dreams and you make plans when God is reminding you and helping you feel encouraged that there’s going to be a tomorrow and there’s going to be some significance in your life. Then dreams begin to happen. So the very fact that Naomi has this strange plan to send Ruth down there at night means she’s begun to feel like there’s a future and there’s hope.

And her plan of course is, “I’m going to get a husband for you, Ruth. This Boaz, whose field you have happened upon, is Elimelech’s kinsmen.” And so, she thinks that through and she comes up with her plan — a very, very strange plan. So let’s read it:

​​Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do (Ruth 3:34).

So she says, “Go to the threshing floor, dressed and clean. After he’s gone to sleep, lift the blanket and lie down at his feet.” Now at that point, you’re thinking, Ruth is thinking, and everybody’s thinking, “What are you telling her to do?” Instead of answering the question, she says, “He’ll tell you what to do. I’m not going to tell you. He’ll tell you what to do” (Ruth 3:4). That’s very breathtaking. What?

A Risky Plan

It’s not clear what’s going to happen here. You start to think about the possibilities. One possibility would be that he wakes up, as he has been presented as a godly man, and he drives her away and says, “I thought you were worthy.” That would be one possibility. He could say, “Get out of my life. I wouldn’t be interested in any woman who would act like that.” That’s a risk that Naomi’s taking. Or, there is the possibility that most people would think of which is that he would look down there, being a man, with her obviously presenting herself, and he simply has sex with her. Now, both of those are bad ideas. That’s not a good plan.

Fornication was wrong in the Old Testament and it’s wrong today. It was wrong then and it’s wrong now. Naomi knew it was wrong, Ruth knew it was wrong, and Boaz knew it was wrong, and yet Naomi wants this to happen. She wants this to work, so what in the world is she doing presenting this idea to her daughter-in-law, to go down there in such a sexually alluring and tempting way? Will he have enough integrity to say, “So you are offering yourself to me as a wife. Thank you. I will take care of it with the elders tomorrow and we will move on this in a proper way”? Well, if that’s the plan it’s really risky and really strange. So much for Naomi’s strategic righteousness. That’s the plan. She wants Boaz to marry Ruth, and she is sending Ruth down there in this inexplicable (so far) behavior, but it’s a plan and we will see a remarkably subtle, profound plan.

Ruth’s Strategic Righteousness

Now we turn to Ruth and her participation in this strategic righteousness in Ruth 3:5–9. Let’s read these:

And she replied, “All that you say I will do.” So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down. At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! He said, “Who are you?” And she answered . . .

Now, what she says here, according to the text anyway, wasn’t something that Naomi had prompted her about. Naomi hadn’t put the words in her mouth. She said, “Do that, and he’ll tell you what to do.” So these words now are Ruth’s words. She says something to him, but the translations are going to go haywire in your versions of the Bible. We have to decide what is going on here.

In the ESV, it says, “Spread your wings over your servant” (Ruth 3:9). Now your version, if you have the NIV, says “garment.” The King James Version says “skirt.” The NASB says “covering.” Only the ESV does this wings thing. So let’s just go with garment because if wings is proper, it’s a double meaning and we may be onto something. But you’re reading garment if you’ve got the NIV, the NASB, the King James Version, or some other version. But we’ll come back to that. Ruth says, “spread your garment (or whatever this wing thing is) over your servant, for you are a Redeemer” (Ruth 3:9).

In other words, “I know and my mother-in-law knows you’re the relative who could marry me and give the name of my late husband Mahlon a future, and perhaps more if we had children.” It’s really clear what she is saying. What is going on with the word skirt or garment or covering, which the ESV translates as “wings”?

At the Age for Love

It really helps to know your Hebrew here, so I got it out. I got it out again last night, and I got it out 24 years ago. I looked at every one of them again last night. The word used in Ruth 3:9 for “wings” is used 34 times in the Old Testament, and maybe all but four of those means wings, like the wings of angels in Ezekiel, or wings of birds. It’s just wings. A few times, because of the context, it seems to mean garment in some metaphorical way. There’s one other place outside of Ruth where it’s used in relation to lovers. Let me read that one to you. It’s Ezekiel 16:8. Now Ezekiel 16 is one of the most beautiful and horrible chapters in the Bible about God’s coming and marrying Israel. He finds her like a baby, weltering in its blood, utterly disgusting, thrown out to die, and God sees this horrible scene and he takes the baby, and when she’s grown he marries her. So here’s Ezekiel 16:8:

When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment (there’s the same word, which would be wing) over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord God, and you became mine.

That’s the closest analogy in the Old Testament to this text and the use of the word wings. So it would be, I think, very contrary to the author’s intention and Ruth’s intention if we jumped to the conclusion that what’s going on here is a conniving mother-in-law and a risque, loose woman, Ruth, to get a man. That’s not the feeling if you know the language. This is the language of God covering Israel and making a covenant with her when she was very unworthy and had been so despicable in her weltering blood. So if there’s an offer going on here, which there clearly is, it is a noble offer. It’s an offer of a desire for a covenant relationship, and for something like a covering of God to happen from Boaz. Ruth is saying, “I want you to cover me, Boaz, with your wings.”

Under the Wings of Yahweh

Now, I’m sure some of you are already ahead of me in where we’re going from last night. There’s only one other place in this book where the word wings is used, and it’s back in Ruth 2:12. Boaz had said, “You’ve come to my field, seeking help from me, seeking protection from me, seeking food in my field, and seeking water at my well, and you’re asking, ‘Why have you found this favor?’” And his answer comes back, “You took refuge under the wings of God when you came here” (Ruth 2:12). It’s Boaz who sowed the seed in Ruth’s mind that there’s a connection between Boaz in his care, protection, provision, and his love as a possible husband, and God as the one under whose wings she has lived now for about 10 years or so, and where she finds her security. Boaz sowed the seed of that connection.

And Ruth goes home, evidently, and talks this over with Naomi. She said, “He said this and he did this.” And they sit down either together or however, I’m just guessing, and they say, “All right, we can’t be really sure that’s what he meant. Was he really suggesting that your coming to him, finding his resources, his provision, his protection, and his leadership in a husband-like way similar to the way you are going to God so that if you go to God, you go to him; if you go to him, you’ll go to God? And would he really like to be that for you? He’s an older man, he has said. He’s not married, but is he really saying that he’s open to this?”

And I think what they hit upon is a symbolic activity that is just as subtle and profound as Boaz’s words to Ruth were on the field. Boaz is saying, “You’re coming to me and my field, my protection, my food, and seeking security, provision, and rest. I recognize in that, that you are a godly woman and that you take refuge under God’s wings.” Implicit to that is, “That’s the woman I would like to take under my wings.” So she goes and she lies down. She puts a cover over her and she waits.

A Subtle Exchange

He awakens and says, “Who are you?” And at this moment, everything hangs on what response he’s going to give to this sentence because she’s going to take words upon her lips that experiment with whether she’s got it right. She’s going to say, “I’m Ruth, would you cover me with your wing?” In other words, she is thinking, “He’ll understand what I’m saying if I’ve got it right. He’ll understand what I’m saying, and if he doesn’t, I don’t what’s going to happen.” That’s Ruth’s strategic righteousness. She thought and she planned very subtly.

I hardly know what to say here in terms of what this implies concerning the delicacy, the subtlety, and the profundity of relationships. I try to imagine, and this is an awful thing to do, but let me do it. This is terrible. Suppose my wife died, though I hope she doesn’t before I do, and I’m 62 — should I remarry? How old should the woman be that I remarry, 40, 50, 60, 70? What if there were a 45-year-old woman in my church, and I just wondered if it could work? That would be a hard thing to approach, wouldn’t it? I mean, what if she said, “You’re 62!”

I would just feel so humiliated. I would just think, “Sorry! I didn’t mean anything by it.” I just try to put myself in Boaz’s shoes. What he says to her is, “You haven’t gone after any of the younger men, you’ve come to me?” He’s amazed. He wanted it but he wasn’t sure that he could have it. So what do you do? I think the answer is that you do something very delicate, something very subtle, something very profound. I wouldn’t have that skill I’m sure to be able to do it, but he said it, she got it, and she returned the subtlety, and then you’ve got clarity. And now we turn to what Boaz does. What does Boaz do here? Let’s go to Boaz and finish with him.

Boaz’s Strategic Righteousness

Boaz says:

May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not fear . . . (Ruth 3:10–11).

There are two things she could have feared: first, she’s going to be raped, or second, she’s going to be rejected as a slut. And he won’t do either of those. He continues:

I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman. And now it is true that I am a redeemer (that is, another relative). Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I (Ruth 3:11–13).

We haven’t heard of him before. He just shows up here, and we all want to say, “No! That’s a bad turn of affairs. What? I thought the story was over!” Boaz continues:

Remain tonight, and in the morning, if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the Lord lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning” (Ruth 3:13).

Doing the Right Thing When It Isn’t Easy

We’re going to pick it up there, but let me just close with a comment about Boaz here. This is strategic righteousness big-time, is it not? It’s midnight, the stars are out, Boaz has been drinking and feeling merry, the woman that he wonders if in his wildest dreams might be willing to take an older man has come washed and smelling beautiful, laid down at his feet, put his blanket over her, and said, “Cover me with your wing.”

Some of you guys have been in that situation, and some of you girls have been in that situation. He hears her offer, “I’m here and I would like you to be my husband.” You have two choices here. You can say, because of righteousness, “We will wait.” Or you can say, “We won’t wait. We just going to have sex now and we’ll get married tomorrow.” And I would just like to close by pleading with you to be like Boaz and Ruth. They were good lovers. Oh, there was supercharged power going on under that blanket and under those stars. These two people were ready to have sex.

Can you believe they didn’t? Boaz said, “You lie here until the morning, then I’m going to go do what has to be done to make this righteous.” I’ll tell you, young people, many of you have already blown it. You’re not virgins anymore. God can have mercy upon you and he will. If you turn to him, he can cleanse that and make a beautiful relationship in the future. I know that he can. And if you still have not had sex, I just plead with you, stand with Boaz and stand with Ruth. Embrace strategic righteousness. And let me put it in a larger context for you for what’s going on here is the making of the ancestor of Jesus.

Ruth from Moab is about to be folded purely and righteously into a line that will result in Jesus Christ. The purity of the moment and the purposes of eternity link right here. And that’s true for you. If you will, in the safety of your apartment, where she seems so willing, say, “We will wait.” God will honor that. He will honor that more vastly than you can imagine because here he honored it with the last chapter and the coming of Jesus Christ as the result of this holy union. And so, I just plead with you to let the beautiful, strategic righteousness of Naomi’s risky plan, Ruth’s sensitive discerning of this older man’s heart, and this older man’s massive willpower to say, “Lie there till morning,” motivate you to say, “We will wait.”