SOAP Journal – 10 August 2017 (Ruth 2)

The servant in charge of the reapers replied, “She is the young Moabite woman who returned with Naomi from the land of Moab.”

Ruth 2:6

As I come to the second chapter of Ruth, I find myself wanting to look a bit at the servant in charge of Boaz’s reapers. I am not given his name or age or any other personal details, but what he says and does speak of who he is and of what kind of servant Boaz puts in charge.

The first thing I note is that he is observant. When Boaz asks who Ruth is, this servant knows without having to ask. He is fully aware of who this woman is that has been working in the fields all day. He is also aware of how long she has been working and how long she has been resting. This gives me an insight into why Boaz would want this man supervising his servants. This servant has an eye for details and he keeps track of things.

The second thing I note is that he has character. Ruth asked permission to glean — even though The Law codified gleaning as a sort of workfare for the poor — and the servant did not take advantage of Ruth’s situation. Ruth is not an Israelite and a person of lesser character might have seen her status as an opportunity to try to extract some payment or to make her situation even more difficult. This servant does no such thing. He gives her permission to glean with no caveats or stipulations.

The third and final thing I note is that this servant sees the good things that people do. When he reports who Ruth is, he speaks of her as the young Moabite woman who returned with Naomi from the land of Moab. He speaks of the sacrifice that she made by staying with her mother-in-law He also informs Boaz that Ruth has been working in the fields from the morning until whenever the conversation took place. The servant sees her work ethic and how she is laboring to take care of herself and her mother-in-law.

When the book of Ruth is taught, Boaz is often pointed to as a type of Christ and Ruth as a type of the church. If Boaz stands in for Jesus, then what does the servant in charge tell me about the servants that Jesus wants? Observant people of character who see the good things that others do and are ready to report that good. Let me be such a servant to my Lord. Let me be observant, looking to see what is going on and keeping track of things. Let me be a man of character. And let me be always ready to report the good things that people do. It is far too easy to relate the bad.

Father, thank You for this nameless servant who shows character, an observant mind, and a readiness to see and recount the good things that happen. Please form this kind of character in me; one that observes and is focused on the good things that happen.

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Promised Difficulties (Romans 5:3-5)

And not only this, but let us also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 5:3-5

 Every believer is promised difficulties.

I am going to leave that sentence by itself on the line above because I need to meditate on that truth and really apprehend it. Paul suggests an alternative to the sulking and moping to which we are predisposed: exultation. The Greek and the English rendering actually line up rather well on this term. To exult is to leap for joy; to be so suffused with excitement that one cannot contain it and must give some external expression to that joy. The Greek term, according to the concordance, means much the same thing. Paul suggests that we exult in our tribulations. Why?

Because tribulation can, if we enlist it, begin a process. Tribulation can engender perseverance which can forge a good character which gives us hope in the midst of difficult times. And the hope spoken of in The Bible is not the same as when we say “I hope ______.” Hope, as spoken of in The Bible, is an expectation of something. I understand it as something akin to a pregnant woman saying that she hopes she has a baby. The normal process of things will result in a baby. She is reasonably certain that she will get what she hopes for. If what I hope for is Christlike character and a hope that will not disappoint me, then tribulation is the prescription.

Another reason to exult in our tribulations is that it is the Christlike thing to do. Scripture tells us that Jesus determined to go to the cross for the joy set before Him. He was taking the long view. He saw past the tribulation of the crucifixion and on into the ages ahead wherein His suffering would bring myriads into right relationship with His Father. He saw an eternity of fellowship with those He redeemed. He saw joy and He hoped (surely expected) that joy would follow on the heels of His suffering. I need to take this same view. Certainly, the tribulation is not pleasant — no discipline seems pleasant at the time (Hebrews 12:11) — but the results of enduring are well worth it.

Let me take the long view; the view of my Savior and those who walked close with Him and see my light and momentary afflictions as achieving an eternal glory.