Affliction comes from God
is one of those inconvenient facts of Scripture: it is clear that affliction
comes through God. We would much rather have it be a random accident. But it
is clear that affliction at least comes through God, if not from God. In
Ruth’s life we shall see this, and see what the Lord does with it for her.
due to sin
apologetics, when someone asks “Why is there suffering in the world?” the
answer inevitably involves the concept of sin:
the affliction is due to our own sin. It is often less than gentle to
point this out, but it is the fact. If you get drunk and drive, bad
things happens. The fault is not with the tree you hit.
the sin belongs to others. We can see affliction for those who sin, but
the “innocent bystander” always evokes our sympathy. But that too comes
back as pain upon the guilty. It’s just that sometimes the innocent
bystander is known as Mom.
suffering is just the result of this being a sinful world. We can’t pin
the blame on any particular person or group – it’s a sinful world, and
thus pain and suffering must happen.
for God’s cause
also happens that God inflicts suffering upon his children for His own
it is designed to produce a particular character. How many of God’s
prophets were forged in the desert wilderness? How often has your
suffering been shown to be of assistance to others?
it’s simply His discipline. Do not reject this; his correction only comes
to those whom He loves. Others receive only punishment. Be thankful you
know the difference.
it is simply for the glory of God. Do others see you in your sufferings?
What do they learn from it?
– why don’t we heed it?
is most curious about affliction today (as compared to the earlier church) is
that we don’t learn anything from it. Why not?
can see the proximate cause. God put the tree right there where I ran
into it. We can see the tree; therefore, there is no lesson to be
forget the lessons of the Scripture. Just exactly how did God punish
Israel for their idolatry and sin?
important, we have the strange idea that God only punishes the “real
sinners” – those who are in church never receive His discipline. This is
He disciplines those He loves.
shown in affliction
can be a nice guy when things are going well. Character is shown when things
are a mess. We can learn from Ruth in this.
is a curious thing: the usual reaction to adversity is either anger or
humility. Ruth shows us the reaction of humility:
the one who brings up the idea of gleaning; Naomi doesn’t have to prod her
though the Law of Moses commands the owner of the field to allow gleaning,
that doesn’t make it her right. So she asks permission to do so. Imagine
having to ask permission to be poor!
when she is shown favor by Boaz, she acknowledges the this by asking why
she is “so favored.” At each turn she acknowledges that she is the one
humbled, the beggar, of sorts.
is not someone who is making a token performance in the hopes of obtaining
there at first light, and gleans pretty much all day.
obviously working hard – because she catches the eye of the foreman on the
job. His standards for hard work were, no doubt, tough.
thing might be noted. By human standards, Ruth is stuck. There is no
reasonable probability that she will improve her lot in life by doing this.
The hard work has no probability of “success.” Again, no anger – just hard
can glimpse the relationship between Naomi and Ruth in two facts:
shares her gleanings with Naomi.
does not reproach Naomi for failure to glean.
is a difference between a mother-in-law and a mother-in-love.
is a role model for those in affliction. If we might sum it up, the one thing
we most need to see is that she has come to take refuge “under His wings.”
Until you take refuge under the wings of God, you will not see his help.
When you do, you will not see the end of it.
church has always taught that Ruth and Boaz have an allegorical interpretation
is seen as the kinsman-redeemer, a type (picture, allegory) of Christ.
therefore, is seen as the one redeemed. Thus she is a picture of the
church as well as an example for those in the church.
we see in Ruth behavior which gives us a picture of what the ordinary Christian
should be doing?
lies at the feet of her redeemer. Surely this teaches us to be at the
feet of Jesus, both as redeemer and teacher. We need to have a servant’s
heart, and an attitude of submission to the Holy God.
asks for his protection – which clearly acknowledges that she does
not have the strength in herself to prevail. So the individual Christian
must acknowledge that without Christ we have no hope of righteousness.
was obedient to his instructions, as we should be to our Lord.
this seem so difficult? Or is it a matter of pride?
picture of the church
is, allegorically, the picture of the church. We can pick up this picture thusly:
is in submission to her Redeemer, as the church should be in submission to
Christ. This is not a burden to her, but a blessing.
comes to her Redeemer dressed in her best. Clean clothes symbolize the
righteous acts of the saints.,
So it is that we should prepare for His coming again by doing what the
seeks refuge “under His wings” – acknowledging that she needs the shelter