Brief Notes

God Gives
the Growth (5):
Ruth’s Deeper

2 April 2024

To present ourselves fully
to Christ requires a much
deeper consecration than if
we are one who is merely
“gleaning” some of His riches

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.
— 1 Corinthians 3:6

In Chapter 1 of the book of Ruth, Ruth has a turn from a land of idolatry to join herself to God’s people. Then in Chapter 2, everything is positive as she gleans in the field of Boaz and even meets Boaz himself. (See God Gives the Growth • 4.)

However, neither Ruth nor Naomi could be satisfied with her merely gleaning some food for them to eat. And so, at the beginning Chapter 3, Naomi asks her,

“My daughter, shall I not seek a resting place for you, that it may be well with you?”
— Ruth 3:1

Then Naomi tells her how to approach Boaz. Ruth accepts her charge, and thus goes to meet him at night, alone, on his threshing floor.

Whereas everything in Chapter 2, when she was gleaning, was positive, everything in Chapter 3, when Ruth actually presents herself to Boaz, seems to be negative. Instead of being in the bright sunshine, she is now in darkness; instead of being with many other workers, she is now all alone; instead of a fruitful labor, she appears to be doing nothing; and instead of being appreciated by those she is working with, she is now in a position where she could easily be despised, and even considered improper.

Did you know, this is actually a picture of our own experience, when we truly present ourselves to Christ?

So long as we are those who are merely “gleaning in the field of Boaz,” so to speak, others will appreciate us as we study the Bible, care for the saints, preach the gospel, and serve the Lord; and certainly, we should do all these things.

To be fully joined to Christ, however, is a very different experience.

First of all, while others may help us, just as Naomi helped Ruth, to have such a turn, in this kind of consecration we are not with others; it must be between us and the Lord alone.

Second, to present ourselves to the Lord in this way is something hidden, just as no one saw Ruth presenting herself to Boaz. There is a kind of consecration where believers stand up to publicly declare they belong to Christ, and that can be very good, if it is genuine. The kind of consecration pictured here, however, is something much deeper, and thus, it can only take place in private, out of the sight of others, directly with the Lord Himself.

Third, rather than being in the sunshine, this consecration takes place during “the night,” that is, during a time of testing for us, in which we may pass through many difficult experiences.

And finally, rather than being appreciated, which is what we might expect, such a consecration may cause others to despise us, for now we care for Christ alone and for what is on His heart, rather than for what others feel we should be doing. (In the New Testament, Mary’s experience of breaking her alabaster flask and pouring it out upon the Lord for His satisfaction is a good example of this; Matthew 26:6-13.)

In his excellent study of the book of Ruth, Titus Chu explains,

After all [her previous experiences], Ruth had to go down to the threshing floor. From this point, her experience would be in darkness, in the night. We might have expected that, as a Christian following the Lord, we would be in the enjoyment all the time. Actually, from the time we gave ourselves to the Lord in this way, we began to enter into death, suffering, misunderstanding, defamation, and difficulties. This happens because of our desire to follow the Lord and Him alone.
Ruth, Growth Unto Maturity, page 55

Thus, to join ourselves to the Lord, so that we are one with Him even in His suffering and rejection, requires from us a much fuller consecration and offering of ourselves to Him than if we merely serve Him in an outward way, “gleaning in the field” of the riches He provides for us.

But of course, it also brings us into a much deeper union with Christ.

We will continue to consider this in the next Note in this series.

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— 2 April 2024 —