Pastor Debra Isenbletter
Ruth 3:18 – “Then 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.”
What did Naomi tell Ruth she must do? Naomi told Ruth to Sit still: This phrase comes from “to sit down in quiet.” This is a quietness of the soul and the spirit, an inward peace! This is a quietness God gives that none can disturb – We see Him and nothing else. Job saw this quietness: “when he giveth quietness who can make trouble?” (Job 34:29). This is a quietness that gives to us strength when we realize that we have none – We see His Strength. This is quietness that comes when we have come to the end of ourselves and have utterly cast ourselves upon the grace of God to meet our needs. “…in quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (Isa 30:15). This is a quietness that comes from righteousness, not ours but our dear Savior’s – We see our Standing! “…the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever” (Isa 32:17). What tender words, what loving words, what instructive words, what important words! They are words that every child of God may lay hold of and find rest and blessing in times of uncertainty. These are words that when obeyed will cause us to sit still outwardly but our hearts will be beating with anticipation within, waiting expectantly for the fulfillment of His promises!
The implication behind the words to “sit still” is to “dwell, settle, remain, to marry.” Naomi points Ruth’s eyes to her future, to her security, to the blessings that will come from her relationship with her kinsmen-redeemer – to her marriage! To “sit still” also means “to abide, continue; endure,” Ruth doesn’t know how long she will need to sit still, and sometimes neither do we. It would be easier if Naomi had told her to sit still for a specified amount of time (an hour or two). When we know how long we are to wait it seems much easier, but this is a wait that will again test the faith of the heart of Ruth. What an example for us today. We wait for our Lord to return and like Ruth, we don’t know the hour, only that He will return, yet we are told to “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord...be ye also patient…for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (James 5:7-8). Jesus is waiting patiently to come and we are waiting patiently for Him to come.
To “sit still” also means “to sit down, sit still; tarry” Ruth is to do something and do nothing! Ruth is to rest, for all her work is finished, she is to wait for Boaz to finish his work. This is obedience, the obedience of a faithful and loving heart. This is what it means “to commit” our way to the Lord and put our “trust in” Him. (Ps 37:4-5) The wonderful promise is that “he shall bring it to pass.” I believe Ruth saw this, believed this and waited for this! Jeremiah wrote about how good it was to do this, it may be hard but it is good for us because it produces hope in us. One of my favorite scriptures is from Lamentations, where Jeremiah writes: “It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord” (Lam 3:26). Hope is active, we are doing something, waiting quietly is being inactive, and yet we are not doing anything. We are occupied and not occupied but it creates a perfect balance! To “sit still” gives us strength. Just as quietness (the attitude with which we sit still) brings strength, so also sitting still brings strength. Isaiah 30:7, “Their strength is to sit still.”
Warren Wiersbe writes: “I confess that waiting is one of the most difficult things for me to do, whether it's waiting for a table at a restaurant or waiting for a delayed flight to take off. I'm an activist by nature, and I like to see things happen on time. Perhaps that's why the Lord has often arranged for me to wait. During those times, three phrases from Scripture have encouraged me: "Sit still" (Ruth 3:18), "Stand still" (Ex 14:13), and "Be still" (Ps 46:10).” So also in our lives we will find times when the Lord asks us to either “sit still;” “stand still” or “be still” and in so doing we will truly overcome and be victorious!
How long is Ruth to do this? Naomi tells her: “until thou know how the matter will fall.” Naomi is saying wait until you “learn” or until you “find out.” Ruth is to wait until she knows who it is that will redeem her, Boaz or the other kinsman. The word “matter” can mean “speech, a saying, an utterance, a word or words.” The matter is what he will say, what he will verbally present to the elders and to the other kinsman. The word “matter” also means “business, occupation, acts.” This is what Boaz will do. This matter pertains to his acts, his actions. He will make Ruth his “business!”
Ruth knows what Boaz is both going to do and going to say, but she does not know what will happen, how the “matter” will end. She doesn’t know “how the matter will fall.” Or how it will “turn out” or what will be the “result.” The word “fall” comes from “to make the lot fall” or “assign by lot.” It is like casting stones for a lot and not knowing what they will fall. Today we would say like throwing the dice and not knowing how they will land. It sounds like chance and that is how the flesh will see it, but it is all in the hands of her “kinsman redeemer” and he knows more than she does. It is in the hands of the God of Israel to whom she has given her devotion and love and He knows how the “matter will fall.” There may have been a feeling of uncertainty on their part as to what the result would be but there was also a certainty in the promise given to Ruth by Naomi. It was the promise that she would know what happens: “until thou know.” What a wonderful statement! She will “know,” she will “find out,” she will “learn,” it will “be made known” to her. Ruth must wait but the promise is that someone will tell her what has happened. I believe that the person that tells her is Boaz!
Next Naomi, after telling Ruth what she is to do; Naomi tells Ruth what Boaz will not do: “for the man will not be in rest.” We see “the man,” we see Christ! Pilate pointed all eyes to this man when he said “Behold the man!” (John 19:5). He is the Obedient man (John 8:29); He is the Son of Man (Mat 9:6); He is the Resurrected Man (1 Cor 15:20); He is the New Man (Eph 4:24; Col 3:10); He is the Mighty Man (Mat 13:54; Mat 14:2); He is the Wealthy Man (2 Cor 8:9). He is our Lord and Savior, He is our Boaz! For Ruth, Boaz will not rest until he has given to Ruth the full blessings pertaining to her redemption, just as Christ will not rest. And that word “rest” means “to be still” or “be quiet.” Boaz will not be “quiet” about the matter and he will not be “still” he will do something that day! He will do everything while Ruth does nothing. Oh, what a wonderful picture of our Lord and Savior, our Boaz. Jesus is not idle, He is not still, He is doing something, he is doing everything for us. He is preparing for us a place (John 14:2). He is preparing for Himself a Bride, a “glorious church without spot” (Eph 5:27).
When will Boaz finally rest? Naomi says when he is finished. She says “until he have finished the thing.” Until he has brought to “an end,” until he has “completed” or “accomplished;” until he has “brought it to pass.” Only He can finish this, no one else! This “thing” is something he had started the day he met Ruth. It is seen in all the “things” he did for her when he met her needs. Those things were the ways he wooed her; those things were the ways he showed his love to her; those things were the ways he revealed his wealth to her. Now Boaz will finish what he started, he will finish what he began. He will give her everything that belongs to him. Like Jesus, this shows the work of redemption has such depths and such riches and is based on such love that it overwhelms the heart! The word “thing” is the same word as “matter” used in this verse. It is his “speech; his words; his business; his occupation; his acts and actions.” The “thing” is what Boaz will say to the elders and the other kinsman. The “thing” is the “matter” they discussed the night before. It is her request and claim upon Boaz. It is his promise to her. It is his work as “kinsman redeemer.”
When will Boaz finish this work? Naomi says “this day.” By faith she sees this and knows this. It is THIS DAY, there will be NO DELAY! This is what enables us to willingly and joyfully sit still and wait patiently on the Lord to do that work in our lives and finish that work (Phil 1:6). He is preparing us and providing for us such blessings that just glimpses of them in the Word of God overwhelm the soul! May He come quickly, oh, how my heart is looking for, longing for and loving His appearing!
Continued next issue