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The Longest Day

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
June 2, 2022 12:00 am

The Longest Day

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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June 2, 2022 12:00 am

Waiting for love can be excruciating! Have you ever been there? You think you know what you want; you think you know what God's will is for your life, but there is nothing more you can do to accomplish it. All you can do is sit and wait! That's where Ruth finds herself in this message, so let's join Stephen now as he teaches us a valuable lesson about patience.

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When troubled by the corruption of the world and the seemingly long delay of God to do anything on behalf of the believer, David writes, Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.

Do not fret when men succeed in their ways. Psalm 37 verse 7. See, our ability to be still is in knowing that God isn't. Our ability to sit still and stand still and be still is in knowing that our Redeemer is working on our behalf. And like Boaz, he will not rest until this is accomplished. Ruth was redeemed by Boaz, and that account beautifully illustrates what God does for all of us. In fact, the entire story of Ruth and Boaz was preserved for us as an illustration of God's redemption. But there came a day when Ruth needed to patiently wait. Have you ever experienced that? Have you ever expected something great to happen, but had to wait patiently for it?

Today on Wisdom for the Heart, Stephen Davey returns to his series through the book of Ruth. We're going to learn lessons about waiting in a message Stephen called The Longest Day. Just this past February, news at yahoo.com carried the article of a woman who was pretty upset that her desires were going unmet. A 27-year-old woman in Fort Pierce, Florida, walked into a McDonald's restaurant and ordered a 10-piece McNugget meal. After standing in line for some time, she finally made it to the counter, delivered her order. The McDonald's employee took her order and received her money, put it in the register.

And it was only after that when he discovered they were out of McNuggets, those tasty, low-sodium, low-fat, well, I added that part. The employee told the customer that they'd run out of them and that she would have to choose something else from the menu. She refused and said, just give me my money back. The employee told her he was sorry, but all sales are final.

He was a new employee and didn't know any different. The employee even told her he was sorry about it all, but he did tell her she could get something else off the menu, even if it cost more. No way, this woman insisted, give me McNuggets or my money back. She didn't want a Big Mac, didn't want a McRib, a Quarter Pounder, anything. According to the news, she became so frustrated that she pulled out her cell phone and dialed 911. And they didn't take her seriously.

Imagine that. But she called three times until finally somebody showed her. This is an emergency, right?

She never got her McNuggets, but she did get a ticket when the police arrived for misusing the emergency system. You know, when I read that, I wonder, how many people treat God like this woman treated that employee? We want something, we've got what we want in mind, and we're not going anywhere until we get it, or give me a refund. Or worse yet, to simply have to wait and wonder while God disappears behind the counter and goes into the back room. Or perhaps even worse than that, we have to wait for God without any guarantee, and he's gone, and we have to accept then whatever he comes out to offer us, and we have to accept it before we see what it is.

That would be a test, wouldn't it? Probably one of the key tests of the Christian's growth is patient surrender to the sovereign plan of God when you do not have any earthly guarantee. We more easily identify with Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of England, who once said, I am extremely patient, provided I get my own way in the end.

Would we all be if we knew we'd get our way? In that convicting little book of Puritan prayers called The Valley of Vision, if you ever want help in your prayer life, pick that up. You'll find it back in the corner of the Christian bookstore covered in dust.

Blow off the dust, take it up front and buy it. Puritan prayers, one church leader generations ago admitted his own struggle with patient surrender. It's one of the reasons I love these prayers, they are so real. And he prayed, when thou wouldst guide me, I control myself. When thou wouldst be sovereign, I rule myself. When I should depend on thy provision, I supply myself. When I should submit to thy providence, I follow my own will.

When I should honor thee, I serve myself. Lord, it is my chief desire to bring my heart back to thee. This is the honest confession of a heart that admits how hard it is to wait and how difficult it is to surrender without any guarantee from God. I happen to believe after studying with you so far in this book of Ruth that probably the longest day in the life of Ruth is about to begin.

It will be a day that will require patient surrender and she does not know if she will get what she desires. Now we've watched Ruth already express her love for Boaz and he responded, you remember, in kind, saying that he would do anything in his power to make her his bride if he can as her kinsman redeemer. And according to Old Testament law, you remember the kinsman redeemer was the one to buy up the family's estate, to buy up all of the debts, to take the widow and in this case her mother-in-law into his care, but there was a catch, you remember. Boaz, here on the threshing floor, has informed Ruth that there is another man more closely related to her than he is. There's someone more closely related to Naomi's family, evidently a relative older than Boaz, who stands in line. He has effectively first dibs on the property and first dibs on becoming the kinsman redeemer and marrying Ruth and taking care of her and Naomi.

You see, this isn't just about love, this involves the law. And Boaz, in a remarkable fashion and demonstration of character and honesty, says that he is willing to submit to the law of God and Ruth does the same thing as well. If you go back to Ruth chapter 3, you notice his words to Ruth that he whispered out there on the threshing floor that night when they revealed their love to one another. If you look at verse 13, where Boaz says to Ruth, I will remain this night and when the morning comes, if he, that is this other relative, will redeem you good, let him redeem you. But if he does not wish to redeem you, then I will redeem you as the Lord lives. I love that little closing comment.

It'd be easy to miss. It's a little addendum that reveals the passion and the emotion of Boaz. I will redeem you as the Lord lives, literally, by the life of Yahweh.

I will redeem you if I can. He's making a vow to Ruth. She can believe his promise with the same assurance that she can believe in the existence of Yahweh.

That's what he means. Just as Yahweh exists, I will keep my promise to you. And so he adds that little addendum by the life of Yahweh.

You know, we add that little addendum, don't we, when we make promises, you know, to give them a greater sense of gravity. Boaz is claiming the ultimate foundation for his oath. As God is alive, I am making this promise to you.

Ruth, if that other relative doesn't want you, as God is our true and living God, I will redeem you. Now, we watched as he not only made a promise, but he made provision for her. He gave her enough grain the next morning.

He says, give me your cloak. She held it out, verse 15, and he measured six measures of barley and laid it on her. Basically, what he did was he gave her two weeks' worth of food.

Perhaps he's wondering, perhaps he's thinking that other relative may be out at his threshing floor. I don't know where that is, but he might be away for two weeks, and that's how long I want to make sure Ruth doesn't have to go out and forage and be put in harm's way, so I'll give her enough food for her and her mother-in-law to survive until, by the life of Yahweh, she is mine. So the next morning, he heads to town, to the city gate, and she heads back to Naomi to see how this plan will play out.

Notice what happens when Ruth arrives home. When she came to her mother-in-law, Naomi said, how did it go, my daughter? Now, translated literally, she is saying, the Hebrew would read, who are you? Which I think is much more intriguing. The interpreter adds, for the sake of understanding, but she literally says, who are you?

That might sound strange. Perhaps Naomi doesn't recognize her in the early morning light, but no, that isn't it at all. It's the idea of, who are you now? That's the number one question. In other words, now that you met Boaz, now that you have delivered to him your desire to be redeemed by him, are you now the future bride of Boaz, or what?

Literally, in what state are you now? Our translators translated to give us the best sense of the Hebrew language, and so in my translation, it reads, how did it go? Yours might read, how art thou?

Or, how did you fare? Good translations. Naomi is basically asking, did he say yes? That's what she wants to know. She is ready for wedding bells, she's already picking out flower arrangements, she's working the whole thing out. And Ruth, verse 16, told her all that the man had done for her. In other words, she explained everything that Boaz had promised, and the vow that he made to her, and you can only imagine how these two women went over every detail, every word, every expression on Boaz's face, every hesitation, every raised voice on his part, everything they covered from the night before. And there's no confusion, no, there's no mistaking it. Boaz wants her to be his wife. Naomi said, wait, my daughter, until you know how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest until he has settled it today.

Wait. You might want to circle that in your Bibles. Your translation might read, sit still. And I can't help but think, are you kidding? Sit still, there's no doubt in my mind this is going to be the hardest day, the most nail-biting day in Ruth's life, this day. And Naomi's, they probably drove each other crazy, I imagine, as well. They got them peeked out the window a thousand times, every sound of a cart passing by, they'd hop up and go to the door, maybe they looked out to see if a messenger was coming. No messenger, and they would go back inside. Wait.

Now don't miss this. Ruth can do nothing. She is powerless to redeem herself.

In fact, the law can only reveal to her her condition, the condition she is in, and her total dependency upon her kinsman redeemer. What a wonderful, powerful picture of the bride of Christ. Like Ruth, all we can do is go to him and tell him that we love him. All we can do is tell him we want to be brought under his authority and care, we want to come under his wings. And when we do, we discover that Christ already loves us, and he has already chosen us. And he alone is capable of meeting the conditions of the law that bind us to another family.

It's a great gospel message. Christ alone can pay the price of redemption. Only Boaz could pay the price of redemption.

Only Boaz could take upon himself her debt. Only Christ can take upon himself our debt and bring us into his family as his chosen bride. You know what we're doing in a way? Even now, we're waiting for our redeemer to take us home. Wait, Ruth, sit still. Anybody in here like to sit still while you're waiting for something important? It's unanimous.

Nobody. Any patient people in here? We're all honest. Not a hand went up, not even a thought of it, which is true. We all struggle as we wait in how we live and how we process the challenges of our lives and how we trust him when there are no immediate guarantees throughout the course of life that we might get in life what we would really like to have.

We're not patient. I hate missing the elevator. In fact, at church, I've discovered we have an elevator I take up to my office area. I've discovered that when I get in, if I push the door, I push number two first, and then I push the button that says doors closed, the doors will close two seconds quicker. I've discovered that.

Of course, it means it smooshes people to try to get into the elevator, but they need to learn to wait. You know, I don't know how you were as a kid. I mentioned, you know, a little bit of my early childhood life, and I had two dads come up and say, you were a bad example of my son's today with that story.

Well, I can tell you that those lines in my mother's face are not laughter lines, having raised me and my brothers. But do you remember getting your report card? And I don't know if yours was like mine, but there's a section for the grade, and then there's a comment section. I dreaded the comment section more than I dreaded the grade because my parents put as much stock in what that teacher said about me than my grade. And so many times riding home on the bus, it was a no-win situation.

It was a double no-win. The grades weren't good, and the comments all sounded the same way, said the same thing. It would be stuff like, Stevie needs to sit still, or Stevie talks too much in class, or Stevie's disturbing his neighbors in class and all of those kinds. Any of you get those comments in your report card? Thank you.

I'm so glad that you did too, and you had a happy childhood like me. How do you wait and surrender, and you're waiting for good things from God? And you've offered them to him.

You know, there's nothing wrong with it, there's nothing immoral, there's nothing ungodly. It's a good thing, Lord, and he disappears in the back room. The imperative form of this Hebrew verb, sit still or wait, say be, also conveys the idea of stay calm, and now it's like, I wish I hadn't known that.

Now you're pushing it, Naomi. Stay calm, and the verb is used of a farmer, by the way, who awaits the growth of his crops. He's done everything he can do, and now he has to wait. What good would it do a farmer to go out there and pace in the cornfield? What good would it do for him to say, hurry up, hurry up, I can't wait?

That's the verb here. You've done all you can do, and now there are only things that God can do. And the issue then boils down to trust. Surrender to whatever the hand of the redeemer delivers. And in that surrender is the counsel that becomes possible to wait. The basis for Ruth waiting, according to Naomi's counsel, is in the last words of verse 18.

Did you notice that? For the man, that is Boaz, wait, my daughter, until you know how the matter turns out. For the man will not rest until he has settled it today. Ruth can rest because Boaz isn't. Ruth can wait because Boaz won't. Ruth can sit still because Boaz is doing anything but sitting still. I found it interesting to go through the Bible this week looking for phrases that included the word still, S-T-I-L-L. And of course here's one in Ruth 3.18, sit still.

I found also the expression not just sit still but stand still. You remember that fascinating scene where the Israelites have exited from Egypt following the final plague and where God took the lives of the firstborn throughout the land of Egypt and the people of Israel have rushed out to freedom. And they're so excited and they have marched out for some time. But Pharaoh now has a change of heart.

He is in a violent rage. He commands 600 chariots of his own and then every other available chariot in the land and every available soldier. And they march out after Israel. And Israel has arrived at the point where they're on the edge of the Red Sea.

This is the Red Sea which feeds off the Indian Ocean and has an average depth of about 1700 feet. There's no waiting going on here. In fact that's further proven by the sheer panic of the Israelites who know they're stuck. That's why we refer to this as a miracle in what God is going to do. And God says to the people of Israel through Moses stand still and see the salvation of the Lord which he will accomplish for you today. Exodus 14 13. The phrase also appears in Job Chapter 37 where Job is told to stand still and consider the wonders of God. Here he is deeply discouraged struggling with his illnesses and he's told effectively to surrender to the sovereign will of God. And while he is standing still understand that God is not standing still.

He is ruling the universe. Job 37 14. Sit still stand still. And I also found be still you know when the people were troubled over their national sin in Nehemiah's revival with them the Levites calm the people with the truth that they were forgiven. And so because of that Nehemiah would say be still for the day is holy.

Don't be grieved. Nehemiah 8 11 when tempted to sin the Psalmist David advises the believer in Psalm 4 verse 4 Be still be still when troubled by the corruption of the world and the seemingly long delay of God to do anything on behalf of the believer. David writes Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.

Do not fret when men succeed in their ways. Psalm 37 verse 7 of course the classic passage that you've already thought about your way ahead of me is where David quotes the counsel of God who says you say with me be still and know that I am God. He goes on to say that text I will be exalted among the heat and I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46 10 in other words the story of God's provision and power and glory is not over the best is yet to come. And I love the way David ties his ability to be still to the prayer he makes in Psalm 83 1 where he says Oh God do not remain quiet and Oh God do not be still. Our ability to be still is in knowing that God isn't our ability to sit still and stand still and be still is in knowing that our Redeemer is working on our behalf. And like Bo as he will not rest until this is accomplished. What great promises we have even in that.

This is the same idea in the mind of Naomi. You can sit still and stand still and be still because Christ is our Redeemer unceasing in his efforts. In fact you track this through the New Testament he is unceasingly interceding for the believer. He is unceasingly arranging all things together for his good purposes on behalf of the believer. Romans 8 28 he is unceasingly at work in the believer Philippians 2 13 sit still stand still be still because God isn't.

Ruth wait rest trust your redeemers at work. One author wrote about those early days in his life when as a little boy he'd curl up in the in the back of his family car you remember when you could do that before seatbelts. How many of you climbed up in the back window and laid there. That was the best spot in the whole car.

Well this is where he was lying and he wrote about how he loved to travel as they travel to their hometown through the night for a little vacation once or twice a year. And he said I felt so safe back there with dad in the driver's seat but sometimes my grandmother would be with us and she would sit on the edge of that front seat instructing every five minutes. Every car that came our way she'd say watch the side of the road there. Be careful of the driver coming up next to us. Don't drive so fast. This author went on to write I am convinced my grandmother never enjoyed the ride.

Why. She didn't trust my father and because she didn't trust my father she couldn't trust his driving and she couldn't rest in the journey. I love the way he summarized this grandmother and I both reached our destination at the same time.

One of us got there with frazzled nerves. The other arrived happy and rested. I had learned to rest in my father's care. Now understand Naomi doesn't give Ruth this advice and counsel because it's easy to apply or obey.

I imagine that Ruth didn't sit still too much. The advice here is never easy but it is possible. Our response to the difficulty of our circumstances is directly related to the depth of our confidence in God's work in us and for us.

Nothing under his control is ever out of control and the more we trust that kind of statement the more we can rest. How do you wait. How do you wait for that phone call. How do you wait for that acceptance letter. How do you wait for the doctor's report. How do you wait for that invitation that contract that delivery that surgery that arrival. How do you wait for that resolution.

I believe the beginning and perhaps the foundation for it would be taken from this scene here with Ruth. Just having a fresh vision of the care and concern and management and ministry in our own lives by our Redeemer who will not rest until his good purposes are accomplished. That doesn't mean that we don't do anything for him. You know there are things that he may want us to do and there are things that only he can do. You know how you know the difference is because when you can't do anything then you know you've done everything you can. And now it's up to God to do what only God can do about it and that's when you stand still.

That's when you sit still. That's when you you be still and know that he is God. You know it occurred to me that every Christian every member of the bride of Christ is going to arrive at the creation of the new heaven and the new earth at the same time.

Even those of us who drive faster than others aren't going to get there any quicker. And I wonder how many of us will have gotten any joy out of the journey which is directly related to peace in his abilities and his timing on our behalf. So all I wanted to do in this study was just pull up a chair with Ruth and perhaps for you the most poignant verse in this entire book is Ruth chapter 3 verse 18.

Wait sit still my daughter until you know how the matter will turn out. Rest assured Ruth your redeemer is at work today. You know beloved the greatest lesson to me here beneath the obvious and perhaps the superficial and the temporary is this truth that I need fresh confidence in my redeemer.

How about you? As the sons and daughters of God, God calls us to wait expectantly for the return of our redeemer. You've been listening to Stephen Davey here on Wisdom for the Heart.

Today's message from his series through the book of Ruth is called The Longest Day. If you'd like to learn more about us or if you'd like to access the resources we have available to you, I encourage you to visit our website. The address is wisdomonline.org. The entire library of Stephen's 35 years of Bible teaching is available to you on that website. Visit there anytime to be equipped and encouraged in your faith. And of course be sure and join us next time for more wisdom for the heart. you
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-09 18:53:56 / 2023-04-09 19:03:58 / 10

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