Monday, March 15, 2010

Treasures in the Fields of Boaz

Lessons gleaned from the Fields of Boaz help believers see there is something for them in Ruth.

When I was a boy I would occasionally dig for buried treasure. Somehow I’d get it in my head that a certain place looked like a place somebody would bury something valuable. Of course as a child I couldn’t calculate the odds that some pirate, in the early 1800s, landed at Corpus Christ, traveled 200 mi., picked a random spot to bury his treasure – WHY? I have no idea - and it turns out to be smack in my neighborhood 150 years later. So I dug anyway. Never found a thing.

But, you are almost guaranteed to find something if you dig into God’s word! Really! All you need is one thing, well two if you count the Bible. You need the Holy Spirit. You are not born with the Holy Spirit. That has only happened twice, and you aren’t one of them[i]. You must be Born Again! Jesus told Nicodemus that! Born Twice, How nice! Born once, what a dunce. Or as an old gospel preacher used to say, One birthday-two deaths; Two birthdays- only one death. Remember the story of Jesus about the man finding a treasure in a field, and then bought the field? The fields of Boaz have many buried treasures, let’s look at a few.

First Treasure from Ruth is simply what I just said; studying the Bible brings great reward! Psa 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, even fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drops of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

1 Jn 2:14 God’s word lives in you, so you overcome the evil one. Jn 10:35 Jesus said scripture cannot be broken-its inerrant! Jn 17:17 Jesus says the word of God makes us holy. In 15:11 He says His word brings us joy! I have had many joyful moments in the study of Ruth.

2nd Treasure in Ruth: Importance of sexual purity. Sometimes I think the church has just given up on this and let the world win. Sex outside of marriage is SIN. That’s it, period! The world has been lying to us since the garden. Sex outside of marriage damages and sometimes destroys lives.

In Matt 5:8 Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” To help us understand this, the great George Whitfield said a person who is most pure in heart will see God the clearest. I like that! Boaz and Ruth resisted temptation, keeping themselves pure & God blessed them incredibly.

We have loved ones living in sin. Do we keep on condoning it, are we doing them a favor? We say, ‘Oh but their little baby is so sweet and they’re good parents.’ No they aren’t, not if they’re living in sin. And you can bet that child is headed for heartaches when mom and dad split up. Over half the couples who live together split up without getting married. Of those who do marry over half those marriages end in divorce. So at best its 2 out of 10 that stay together in that situation. 80% will not be together for the whole life of that child. And let me ask, when was the last time you saw a couple celebrating 50 years of shacking up? I never have.

Advice for girls and boys:
Girls, if your boyfriend ever says, its ok to do this ‘cause we love each other, this is what you do. Call him a liar, slap his face, and get out of there! Really! Boys, if the girl says to you its OK we can do this ‘cause we love each other. Look her in the eye, call her a wicked Jezebel (don’t slap her) and run out of the building – immediately!

3rd Lesson from Ruth: Embrace Christian Manhood and Womanhood! I am not going out on a limb when I say that Feminism and social liberal attitudes have really confused gender roles in the family.

I’m not saying Feminists were totally wrong. I remember back in the day when the favorite put down for boys and men was, “You’re a male chauvinist pig.” Remember that? Guess what, there are still a lot of male chauvinists around. But to balance things out we now have lots of female Chauvinists!

What is chauvinism? There was a Frenchman named Chauvin who was fiercely loyal to Napolean even after he had been defeated and run out of Paris. It is a blind belief in the superiority of your group. Many men think they are superior to women and vice versa. That is NOT a Biblical male or female!

Some say, why can’t we all just be good loving Godly people? Yes, we should be! But it doesn’t mean we don’t have gender roles. Its not enough to tell a little boy he should grow up to be a kind loving person, he needs to grow up and be a MAN of God. Look at how Boaz longs to provide for Ruth and Naomi. Godly Men have a desire to provide for their wife and family!

Look at Ruth, here’s an incredible, hard-working, loving, sacrificing woman; yet she shows deference, respect, and yes, submission to this man, her elder, a landowner who has been good to her. Men, we need to learn that kind of deference and submission that a Godly woman demonstrates.

She did not have to show him that level of submission. Her respect and proper behavior was enough for her to be a godly woman. But she chose to demonstrate to Boaz what her submissive spirit would look like. The same kind of submissive spirit we ALL should have to the Lord, and yes, I’ll say it, to one another. Men, you can have a submissive heart and still be a leader! In fact, don’t even TRY to be a leader without it!

4th Lesson: I don’t know if you saw this one, Embrace Ethnic Diversity! One of the reasons this book is in the Bible is to establish the importance of Jesus’ ancestors, Mat 1:2-6. I read recently that in many parts of modern day Africa the reciting of genealogies at weddings is still important! There is a respect for heritage and family and the guidance and honor that have been passed down. There are 4 women in Jesus’ genealogy: Tamar a Jewish girl, who had a child by deceiving her father in law Judah. There are sinners in the line of Christ: Rahab the Canaanite prostitute; Sinner and pagan; Bathsheba the Hittite, Sinner, pagan, and Queen. Then there is Ruth, the Moabite, pagan and part of a wicked culture, who became a God-fearing woman.

God embraced ethnic diversity. We have a Hindu temple four blocks from our house, but there are Thai people who need Jesus. I eat Chinese food served by Chinese people who need Jesus. I live next door to Hispanics that need Jesus! Listen, there are illegal aliens within a mile of here, yes they are here illegally, yes they are breaking the law, but more importantly they are headed for Hell and we have the good news. If I’m talking to an illegal alien, I’m more concerned about his eternal soul than his temporary living arrangements! And if you aren’t shame on you! Are you too old for the mission field? Its OK, God brought the mission field to us!

And the last lesson I’m going to mention, although I could come up with 5 more, Trust a sovereign God!

Listen to Heb 12:5.

...have you forgotten the exhortation … "My son, do not take lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved. 6 the Lord disciplines those he loves, and chastises every son he receives." 7 It is for discipline you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are without discipline, … then you are illegitimate, not sons. 9 Besides, we had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 they disciplined us for a short time … but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.

God allows many difficult things in our lives, I don’t think everything hurtful is just to teach us a lesson, but in the midst of it, God can teach us something. It may be that we need to draw near to him, or that He loves us, but something! Sometimes we suffer at the hands of others, God can still use it in our lives.

Some people do not believe God brings any sickness, poverty, or death into the life of a believer. But I ask why should he treat us better than his only begotten Son? He brought betrayal, hate, scourging, beating, and crucifixion into Jesus’ life. And it was all planned. The Bible says ‘Christ died for us ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES.’ What scriptures? Old Testament prophecies and God’s law. None of it was by surprise. Just as God made pharaoh’s heart hard, so he also made the hearts of the priests, Pilate, and the soldiers who crucified him hard. Because it was God’s Will that Jesus suffer! No two ways about it. Sometimes its God’s will that we suffer. But the person who suffers most is the one who never knew God!

Have your sins been forgiven? Have they been washed away by the blood of the lamb? Jesus can save today! He forgives, He loves, and He will give us His spirit which is the promise of Heaven.

Will you surrender to Him today?

[i] Jesus and John the Baptist

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