The Wedding (Part Four)
(Click here to listen to the fifth Ruth teaching)
Verse of the Week
“…COME AND YOU WILL SEE…” John 1v39 NASB
More Words from the Father
Song of Songs 1v1-4
Song of Songs 2v3-14
From my Heart
…He Commands the Morning Job 38v12
The dark hour before dawn wrapped its silence around me as I burrowed deeper beneath the comforter. Ahh…that luscious sense of waking early, only to realize I can luxuriate in a couple more hours of sleep…ahh…sleep.
Then a whisper echoing over the silence,
Blinking open my sleep encrusted eyes, I peek out of my warm nest into the darkness.
This time I raise my head. Did someone call my name? Who could be up? My husband’s steady snoring assured me it wasn’t him. My imagination, of course, a dream perhaps. Back to sleep.
This time I’m startled awake. What? Who?
“Come, my beloved. Come meet with Me.”
Could I be hearing right? Could this inexplicable voice be my Lord’s? Was He calling me to come to Him?
As I lay there wondering, I heard it one more time.
Reluctance fled and with it all sense of sleepiness. Throwing back the covers, I padded downstairs with my heart pounding in anticipation. What did He want? Why would He wake me? Was this real or was I going crazy?
Within moments I had my answers.
God wanted me. He wanted me to be with Him. And what’s more, He wanted to be with me. Just be. Not to read my Bible, not to pray, not to do anything at all.
Curled up in the corner of the sofa, my Bible open on my lap, a steaming mug of tea in hand, He spoke to my heart. Words of wisdom, words of delight poured over my heart that morning. I felt lavished in His love. Surrounded. He simply wanted me.
And He still does.
From my heart,
Come with me
Be with me
Do you hear?
Do you see?
Tell me of your wanderings.
Be with me
The City Gate
Boaz hurried away from his clandestine meeting with Ruth driven with determination. This was not the time to dream about the future, for he faced a formidable mandate. He had to establish himself at the city gate in order to negotiate a complex contract to obtain what he wanted - Ruth.
Every city or town of decent size in Israel was surrounded by a thick fortress-like wall for protection. These walls were constructed of stones or brick, with fortified towers placed at intervals in order to survey the surrounding area. Oftentimes, houses were incorporated into the wall, with the entrance facing into the town. The gate through these walls leading into the city became a place of political importance. Legal proceedings were often conducted there, sometimes out in the open air for all to observe and, on other occasions, in deep niches within the walls themselves. This is where Boaz rushed to in those early morning hours after his proposal from Ruth.
Several instances in the Bible illustrate the importance of these places of power in Old Testament culture. Rebekah is given a blessing by her family when she left them to marry Isaac, which includes the hope that her children would “possess the gate” of their enemies. Job looks back longingly on the days before his afflictions, when he sat in his seat at the city gate to be revered by young men and honored by the aged. He made a difference there, where he “investigated the case I did not know” and “chose a way for them and sat as chief.” And we all know about the woman described in Proverbs 31, whose “husband is known in the gates” and whose life of service caused her husband and children to “praise her in the gates.”
Boaz called a meeting at the city gate in order to declare his honorable intention to marry Ruth and to redeem the land for Naomi. He wanted the proceedings to be witnessed by the entire town and endorsed by the ruling men in clear legal terms. In this action, Boaz brings his bride-to-be into a place of legal, moral, and social safety.
Can you see the implications? There are parallels between Jesus, our Redeemer, and Boaz, Ruth’s redeemer. The two collide in this moment to create a magnificent picture of His bringing us legally and morally into a safe place. Before the entire world, He declares us worthy to be His bride. Like Boaz, Jesus rushes to our defense, making our right standing before God His primary concern.