The Proposal (Part Three)
(Click here to listen to the fourth teaching of Ruth)
The Verse of the Week
“THE WISE WOMAN BUILDS HER HOUSE, BUT THE FOOLISH TEARS IT DOWN WITH HER OWN HANDS.” Proverbs 14v1 NASB
More Words from the Father
From my Heart
How to Create a Haven (Part Two)
A haven of rest and peace doesn’t just happen. It is built, one brick at a time. According to God’s Word, it is often built by a woman, a very wise woman. A woman must be willing to give her all to the building process. She will need to plot and plan with purposeful determination. If this is what we want, you and I are going to need to learn everything we can by scouring the Scriptures for any scrap of wisdom about how to build this kind of home. We need to be looking around for women whose homes carry that special “scent of home.” Then we can find ways to ply those women with questions and watch how they go about the building.
For me, one of the saddest things to see is when a woman lazes into a passive role in her home and then complains incessantly about it. What a waste! We women have been created by God with an uncanny capacity to create an atmosphere of hope and happiness in our homes and relationships. Imbedded deep within the heart of every woman is that image of the Creator who made beauty out of chaos.
Ruth listened well to her mentor, Naomi. She followed Boaz’ leading as he bought in to the vision of home. Then she threw in a little spice of her own in order to create what God intended her to have all along. Let’s look a bit more at what they built...
A place of blessing.
Every time Boaz opens his mouth, encouraging words pour out. Not merely trite compliments, but words which Ruth will mull over and treasure when she finds a moment alone. He recounts her reputation of kindness, letting her know how highly she is thought of in town. He praises her in front of his field workers as well as when they are alone. He lets not the smallest deed go unnoticed, highlighting her uniqueness as a woman.
Such words of affirmation do not come naturally for most of us, yet all of us crave them. It was Mark Twain who declared, “I can go months on a good compliment.” So are we starving our friends and children of the affirmation which only we can give? Who else is going to tell your husband that he still thrills your heart after all these years, or your teenager that you are proud of him for the way he treats his girlfriend? And shouldn’t we all have bragging rights at home - a safe arena in which to showcase our hard won victories?
A place where problems are solved together.
When someone feels all alone in their struggles, as if they were the only one able to solve their dilemmas, they begin to slowly sink into despair. And that’s just where the devil wants them - just where he wants our kids.
Isolation has long been one of the enemies’ favorite and most effective tools. But Boaz didn’t leave these two women to figure it out for themselves. He knew it wouldn’t be easy. He was all too aware of the obstacles ahead of them. Yet he took their problems on as his own. And that’s what we ought to be endeavoring to do in our homes.
Home ought to be the first place our friends and family run to when they are afraid or overwhelmed. But the only way that is going to happen in our naturally guarded society is if we women watch over our homes with the vigilance of a soldier on guard duty. If at the first sign of distress, we step into soothe and sympathize, our loved ones will feel the freedom to unburden themselves. We’ll have to be careful, though, not to look shocked at what they have to say.
Our children are facing situations we couldn’t dream up with our wildest imaginations. How foolish we often are when we pretend that terrible things will just go away if we don’t talk about them! Our families and friends need us to come alongside and pray with them. When we take their hands in ours and bring them before the Father, He picks up their problems and makes them His own. What could be better than that?
A place of promises kept.
Boaz knew that time was of the essence. As soon as it was light he hurried into town to fulfill his promise to Ruth. The words of his pledge to her were beautiful enough, but they were not empty promises. He inconvenienced himself to do all within his power to help her. Why? Because he had her best interests at heart.
How often do we make promises with the best of intentions, only to fail to follow through? How many people have we hurt in the process? This is a glaring fault of every people-pleaser like me; a flaw which creates an expectation of disappointment which is hard to shake. Yet it’s so simple to overcome. Just be careful to assign significance to the people who depend on you.
A place full of affection.
Happiness is big business these days. More people are popping anti-depressants than ever before. Yet one of the simplest (and cheapest) solutions yet to be found for emotional well-being has to do with hugs. Yes, you read it right, hugs! Here’s what every woman needs to know...
“Hugging strengthens the immune system, reduces stress, assists sleep, lowers blood pressure, and is an antidote to depression. Hugging bolsters a patient’s will to live, dispels loneliness, eases fear, opens doors to buried feelings, builds self-esteem, fosters altruism, and imparts feelings of belonging. Hugging offers a wholesome alternative to promiscuity, alcohol, and drugs.”
According to Virginia Satir, a noted American psychotherapist, people need at least four hugs a day for mere survival! We require eight daily hugs in order to maintain mental health, and a whopping twelve hugs to grow and thrive. That’s a lot of hugging!
Is your teenager thriving from all the affection dished out in your home?
How about you?
Giving is as good as getting in this case. So do yourself a favor and throw your arms around anyone and everyone who dares to enter your haven!
When Elohim, our Creator, set out to build a home for Adam and Eve, He worked and planned and purposed to create just what He envisioned. There was nothing passive about the process. He laid it all on the line. So much so that on the sixth day, He heaved a great sigh of relief and rested. If God had to rest after all His labors, what does that tell you about this job of ours? Why does it surprise us that we get worn out sometimes by the task of building homes that are truly havens?
One thing I am absolutely certain of: when I get to the end of my life, I am not going to regret one bit of work or imagination or effort I put into creating this home of mine. I might wish I hadn’t wasted so much time keeping it clean. I’ll probably bemoan the hours I spent wishing it were different. But I’ll be glad, oh so very glad, that I partnered with my Father to carve out a little haven of rest for those who call this place home.
From my heart,
“The House of Bread”
Like most of you, I grew up in the city. Bread, as far as I knew it, came in clear plastic packaging which sealed it nice and fresh for my lunch box sandwich. It wasn’t until a visit to my grandparent’s farm in eastern Oregon when I was ten years old that I discovered that bread doesn’t originate in a grocery store!
In fact, just getting the barley (the primary ingredient for making bread in Bethlehem) ready to be milled for flour was an eight-step process. Add in the plowing and planting, watering and tending, harvesting and transportation, and you have a lot of hard work. Here’s a brief overview of how it happened...
1. The ripened grain was cut by men with hand sickles.
2. The grain was then bound by men and women into sheaves.
3. The stalks of grain left behind were gathered, or “gleaned,” by the poor.
4. The sheaves were transported to the threshing floor by donkey or by cart.
5. The grain was loosened from the straw stalks by the treading of cattle over and over, or by huge cart wheels, or by a threshing sledge.
6. The grain was tossed in the air with winnowing forks so that the wind could carry away the useless straw and chaff.
7. The grain was sifted to remove small stones or debris.
8. The grain was bagged for transportation and storage.1
And that doesn’t include the mixing, kneading, rising, shaping, and baking involved with the bread itself! Not the easiest of tasks. Keep that in mind next time you pick up a loaf of Wonder Bread.
This Hebrew word is at the root of dozens of expressions. Yada is used to denote God knowing us intimately and completely. It can also mean “to distinguish,” in the sense of knowing right and wrong. Yada is a term used for both an acquaintance and for sexual intimacy between a man and a woman. The most astounding use of this term, however, is “da’ at ‘ elohim,” which expresses the incomprehensible gift we are given through the Word and the Spirit: the knowledge of God.
The term “to know” is used over and over again in this scene from the third chapter of Ruth. In Hebrew, the root word is yada. And it has several uses...
“ relative”; one known (vs. 2)
“do not make yourself known” (vs. 3)
“observe (know) the place where he lies” (vs. 4)
“my…townsmen know…you are a worthy woman” (vs. 11)
“until you learn (know) how the matter turns out” (vs. 18)