“HANDFULS OF PURPOSE”
Boaz, (the kinsman redeemer) said; “And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not: – Ruth 2:16.
We read that Ruth beat out that she had gleaned, and when she had eaten that she was sufficed.
In Isaiah 28:10,13, we read how the Word of the Lord came to Israel; percept upon precept, line upon line, here a little, and there a little. As we think of those handfuls of purpose, we are reminded of how the Word of grace comes to us today. We do not receive it all at once. What a glorious privilege we have of living from hand to mouth, from God’s hand to our mouth. Thank God for providing the living bread upon which we may feed and be satisfied day by day. Ruth had decided to go out into the field to glean, that she might find grace in the sight of Boaz, and she certainly did. Ruth 2:2, Boaz said unto her, “The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust” 2:12.
The Word of amazing grace is not enjoyed by us upon our merit, but is freely given by Him. He does put handfuls of purpose in our path that we might glean. All the provisions of God’s grace require the earnest appropriation of our faith. “By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” – Rom. 5:2.
This little book Ruth tells the interesting story of how Ruth the Moabite came to be in the land of Canaan, and in the lineage of Christ. Naomi (Ruth’s mother-in-law) and her family (husband and two sons) left Bethlehem-judah because of the famine in the land. They went down to sojourn in the land of Moab. But we read that they continued there, dwelling there about ten years.
Naomi’s sons married Orpah and Ruth, Moabite women. Earlier God had judged Israel harshly for intermarrying with the Moabites. (Numbers 25) Naomi’s husband and two sons died. Then she heard that God had visited His people in the land of Judah in giving them bread. She decided to return to Bethlehem-judah. She tried to get her daughters-in-law’s to return to their homes. Orpah did so, but Ruth loved Naomi and wanted to go to the promise land with her mother-in-law.
Ruth chose to leave her father, mother, and the land of her nativity. She told Naomi, “whither thou goest, I will go; and whither thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God” – Ruth 1:16. This reminds me of Psalms 45:10-11.
Ruth had no claim to any right of inheritance in the land of Israel. When she met Boaz the near kinsman to Naomi’s husband) she spoke of herself as a stranger – Ruth 2:10. What a picture of our position outside Jesus Christ. (Eph. 2:12-13,19) Our former head (husband) the first Adam, had died – Rom. 7:4. Now we needed a kinsman redeemer. Jesus Christ became that Redeemer and far more.
We read that, “in all things it behoved him to be made like unto her brethren…” – Heb. 2:17. He was the Word made flesh – John 1:14. “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh” – Rom. 8:3. He was made in the likeness of men (Phil. 2:7) to become our kinsman redeemer. Throughout this Age of grace He has continued to let fall for us “handfuls of purpose” of a goodly, glorious heritage. Today is our time and place to glean that which He has commanded for us.
Boaz, not only rescued Ruth from extreme poverty, but bought and brought her into a rich inheritance and made her his wife. Those, who by faith, have come to know the Redeemer are offered the highest priviledge of being joined unto Him as his bride. GLORY, GLORY, let us go for it! Apprehend that for which we are apprehended! He is the reward and rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. He is the prize of the high calling. Phil. 3:12, Heb. 11:6; Phil. 3:8,14.
Note some “handfuls of purpose” worth gleaning.
“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” I Jn. 3:8. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil: And deliver them who through the fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” Heb. 2:14-15.
“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” II Tim. 1:9. Oh what a handful! In the purpose of God before the world began, the grace that brought us this great salvation would also bring us into a high, holy, heavenly calling.
“In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory…” Eph. 1:11-12. Oh beloved, shall we not gather such gracious word to our bosom, and wholeheartedly submit to His marvelous handiwork? In the ages to come, He is going to put on display all that His grace has been producing. (Eph. 2:7) “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him” Eph. 3:10-12.
Aren’t you glad that our Redeemer has commanded the Apostle Paul to drop some handfuls of purpose for us Gentiles? Oh, thank God I am!
It has always been His purpose to give us grace, and it has to be His grace to give us purpose. Consider Acts 11:21-23. We read about those that were scattered abroad preaching the Lord Jesus even unto the Gentiles. “And the hand of the Lord was with them;” Here we see the grace of God being extended. “And a great number believed,” Yes, the grace of God was powerfully gaining as it was distributed and shared with others. Many from among the Gentiles were turning to the Lord. It is the Word of God’s grace that turns us in the right direction. While the term “Gentile bride” is unscriptural, Thank God, that in this Age of grace He is taking out of the Gentiles a people for His name. Read Acts 15:14; 13: 46-48.
When News of the Gentiles turning to the Lord was heard by the church in Jerusalem, Barnabas was sent as far as Antioch to check it out. “Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord” Acts 11:23. Barnabas saw grace at work. Grace at work results in gladness for those that truly see. Col. 1:6; II Cor. 6:1; Titus 2:11-14; 3:3-7.
“Cleaving to the Lord with purpose of heart” (Acts 11:23) teaches us of grace appropriated, and who in this way would realize grace reigning. By this message of grace Barnabas was teaching them to be extremely in earnest, and totally dependent. The glorious provisions of grace must be realized in practical experience or it is in vain as far as the individual is concerned. It is in this practical way that we are built up and given an inheritance.