Rest, Refuge, and Wings, Ruth 3


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“Rest, Refuge, and Wings”

Ruth 3 (Part 1)

September 20, 2020

Faith Presbyterian Church – Morning Service

Pastor Nicoletti

 

We return this morning to the Book of Ruth.

 

Two weeks ago we considered Ruth chapter one. Elimelech and Naomi left the Promised Land with their two sons to travel to Moab during a famine. Each displayed a serious lack of faith in word or in deed. Then Elimelech and his sons died, leaving behind Naomi and the widows of her sons: Orpah and Ruth. When food was again more plentiful in Bethlehem, Naomi decided to return to home. Naomi urged her daughters-in-law to stay in Moab. Orpah did, but Ruth refused, and went with Naomi to Bethlehem. Ruth walked by faith like none around her at the time.

 

Ruth and Naomi arrived in Bethlehem, and Naomi declared to her neighbors that she had gone away full, but that the Lord – Yahweh, the God of Israel – had brought her back empty.

 

In chapter two, Ruth and Naomi are living together, and Ruth goes out to glean – to take advantage of a system commanded in the Law of Moses where landowners were to leave the edges of their fields unharvested so that the poor and widowed could pick from among them and have food to eat. By God’s providence Ruth came to the field of Boaz, who treated her with extraordinary and personal grace, providing for her far beyond what would have been expected. When asked why he was doing this, he pointed to her faith, and her faithfulness – her kindness – to Naomi.

 

It is also revealed in chapter two that Boaz is a close relative to Elimelech, and was therefore a redeemer – one who could marry a widow from Elimelech’s family in order to continue the family name and heritage.

 

God has provided food for Naomi and Ruth. But there are still needs: the need for a husband for Ruth, the need for an heir for Naomi, and the need for a home for them both. A husband, an heir, and a home. The rest of the Book of Ruth is about how God will provide for those needs. [Lusk, 54]

 

Chapter two ended towards the beginning of the barley harvest. Chapter three begins at the end of the barley harvest. So several weeks have passed. And that is where we return to the story. [Block, 163]

 

And so, with that in mind, we come to Ruth chapter three.

 

Please listen carefully, for this is God’s word for us this morning.

 

2:1 Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you? Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.” And she replied, “All that you say I will do.”

So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down. At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” 10 And he said, “May you be blessed by Yahweh, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. 11 And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman. 12 And now it is true that I am a redeemer. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I. 13 Remain tonight, and in the morning, if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as Yahweh lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.”

14 So she lay at his feet until the morning, but arose before one could recognize another. And he said, “Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.” 15 And he said, “Bring the garment you are wearing and hold it out.” So she held it, and he measured out six measures of barley and put it on her. Then she went into the city. 16 And when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “How did you fare, my daughter?” Then she told her all that the man had done for her, 17 saying, “These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said to me, ‘You must not go back empty-handed to your mother-in-law.’” 18 She replied, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest but will settle the matter today.”

 

This is the word of the Lord.  (Thanks be to God.)

 

“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” [1 Peter 1:24-25]

 

Let’s pray …

 

Lord, your hands have made and fashioned us;

give us understanding that we may learn your commandments,

that we, your people, might rejoice together,

as we see the work that you are doing in each of us.

Let your steadfast love comfort us,

according to your promises.

Work now in our hearts, to conform them to your word,

that we may not be put to shame,

but might delight in you.

Teach us from your word now, we ask,

in Jesus’s name. Amen

[Based on Psalm 119:73, 74, 76, 80]

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

As I spent some time in this chapter this week, I eventually realized I would need to preach two sermons on it. There is a lot here to consider, and I am not skilled enough to integrate it all into one sermon.

 

So we will look at some aspects of it this morning. Next Lord’s Day we will be blessed to have Pastor Kevin Skogen preaching to us. And then on the Lord’s Day after that we will return to this chapter again to look at some other aspects of Ruth chapter three.

 

Part of what that means is that while our text raises a number of questions, I will not be answering them all today. Some will be put off to the second sermon.

 

For our purposes this morning, I’ll say that Ruth approaches Boaz to provide for her and Naomi, according to God’s law. Her approach of him is for marriage and is keeping with God’s law. And Boaz’s hesitancy is also driven by his fidelity to God’s law.

 

You might have some specific questions about some of those things, and I’ll get into them a bit more next time. But for now, those are the interpretations I’m assuming this morning, and will elaborate on in two weeks.

 

This morning I want to focus in on three words that appeared earlier in the Book of Ruth and that come up in important ways again here in chapter three.

 

The author of Ruth does this a few times in this short story – using a key word in one part of the story and then bringing it back up at a later point, creating an intentional link that we are meant to stop and reflect on. [Leithart, Structures]

 

And, of course, the use of repetition is common in the Bible and in all literature. It’s a feature that literature and poetry can share with music. Music is filled with repetition, with musical phrases being repeated, developed, and modified throughout a piece of music. [See Leithart, Deep Exegesis, 141-171]

 

The same is true in stories or in poetry. In films and novels, in works of both high and low culture, it is common for a phrase, or an image, or a pattern to be repeated at different points, and those repetitions are meant to link those parts of the work.

 

There are two errors we can fall into when we see this kind of artistic repetition. One is to see it as merely aesthetic window dressing. Another is to act as if every time a phrase or image repeats, it must mean the same thing.

 

But a better way to approach such repetitions is that, as in music, repetition is not merely window dressing or merely saying the same thing a second time, but it is rather a way of linking two parts of a work, and developing a theme or an idea over the course of that work.

 

That puts some of the burden on us not only to recognize the repetition, but to consider what exactly is being done with the repetition.

 

And repetition can call us to that when it’s found within the same book of the Bible or when it’s found across books of the Bible. It calls us to examine it. Sometimes a simple link is being suggested. Other times an idea or an image is being further developed. Still other times a concept is being inverted or contradicted.

 

That said, what are the repetitions we have in this story?

 

Three words within the book of Ruth have significant repetitions here – they are: rest, wings, and emptiness.

 

That’s what we will consider this morning.

 

 

REST:

 

First, rest. Rest comes up in chapter three verse one – there we read: “Then Naomi [Ruth’s] mother-in-law said to her, ‘My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you?’” and from there, Naomi proposes her plan to unite Ruth to Boaz in marriage.

 

Now, if we were reading this book in one sitting, then when we heard Naomi speak to Ruth about rest, our ears should have picked up – because we’ve heard Naomi speak to Ruth about rest before. We heard it in chapter one, verse nine. There it was in a speech in which Naomi urged Ruth and Orpah to leave her and to seek rest in a pagan land, with a pagan husband, following pagan gods.

 

Now, in chapter three, that word appears again with Naomi seeking rest for Ruth in the land of Yahweh – in God’s place – by uniting her to a godly husband in accordance with God’s law.

 

The repetition is not just there in English, but in Hebrew as well. [Block, 167] And the repetition brings out both a similarity and stark contrast.

 

On one level, Naomi is looking for the same thing for Ruth in chapter three as she wanted for her in chapter one: the rest and security of a husband and a home. But on another level, there is a huge difference between the kind of rest Naomi is seeking for Ruth in these two chapters.

 

In chapter one, Naomi is seeking a false rest for Ruth. But in chapter three she is seeking true rest for her.

 

The false rest Naomi urged Ruth to in chapter one is fairly straightforward: it was to turn away from the hardships and challenges that would come with following Yahweh, the God of Israel – of going to Yahweh’s place and living among Yahweh’s people. Instead she urges Ruth to seek the comfort and security she can find in a pagan land, with a pagan husband, following pagan gods.

 

Such rest is superficial. Such rest is there on the surface, but it lacks depth. It is not true rest. It does not include true peace for Ruth with her Maker, or true peace with those around her. It may involve a lack of practical hardships, but it includes the strain and restlessness of, at the core of her being, continuing to be at odds with God, her Maker.

 

Contrast that now with the rest that Naomi seeks for Ruth in chapter three. Now it’s not just that Naomi is seeking a husband for Ruth in the land of Yahweh, but according to the provision and the law of Yahweh. Rather than looking for any husband, Naomi is now focused in on Boaz, who, in chapter two has already displayed the character traits of faithfulness, mercy, and godliness towards Ruth and Naomi. He has been presented as an image of Christ, and Naomi and Ruth are drawn to him. Boaz lives his life in imitation of Yahweh, and now Naomi is seeking a marriage with him for Ruth.

 

And along with that, Naomi is also seeking to do it according to the law of God. Ruth was free to marry whomever she wanted, but her desire was to marry a valid redeemer. In this chapter we see Naomi helping Ruth navigate the law of God so that she is able to do that rightly.

 

Naomi goes from seeking a godless husband for Ruth to seeking a godly husband for her – she goes from encouraging Ruth to break God’s law to helping her follow God’s law. And she does that all in the context of shifting from seeking false rest for Ruth to seeking true rest for Ruth.

 

And seeing that shift should cause us to pause and ask what kind of rest we tend to seek, and what kind of rest we tend to encourage others towards.

 

We may not worship Chemosh, the god of the Moabites, but we have our own false gods, don’t we? We have what R. R. Reno has described as “the smiling hearth gods of postmodern materialism – health, wealth, and pleasure.” Reno then adds a fourth god to this pantheon, the god of success or achievement.

 

These, Reno explains, are not the big thundering gods of past paganisms or even of earlier stages of modernity, but they are the smaller and softer hearth gods of our age, and the gods from which we often seek rest. [Reno, Resurrecting, 4; Reno, Lecture]

 

Like most idols of secular materialism, they are not things that are bad in themselves, but good things that we often treat as ultimate things, and thus make into idols. In and of themselves they cannot provide true rest, but like Orpah we often seek true rest from them anyway, and like Naomi we often encourage others to look to them for true rest.

 

Where do you tend to seek this false rest? Which postmodern secular hearth god do you tend to believe, in your thoughts or in your actions, will give you rest?

 

Is it health? A fixation on your own health, a conviction that if you can get or keep your body or your mind in a certain state of health then you will be okay, and then you will find rest from your fears and from the threats of this life?

 

Is it pleasure? In a life filled with dangers and concerns, do you look to pleasure not just as a good thing to enjoy, but as the thing that can give you escape – that can give you rest from the striving and insecurity you feel in life?

 

Is it wealth? Do you believe that if you store up enough, or bring in enough, or surround yourself with enough wealth, then you’ll be secure, then you’ll have peace, then you’ll find true rest?

 

Or is it achievement? Is it a conviction that if you just accomplish this thing, if you just reach that goal, then you’ll be okay, then you’ll have the approval that you crave, then you can have rest?

 

We each can often lapse into serving one of these hearth gods – most of us serve several, or the entire pantheon. What does it look like for you? Where does it come up in your life?

 

Where do you seek such false rest for yourself? Or where do you encourage others to seek false rest, like Naomi? It is a distressing thing that we, like Naomi, can head for Bethlehem ourselves, while encouraging our friends or family, our spouse or children, to find their rest in the idols of health, wealth, comfort, or achievement.

 

A pagan husband and a pagan god may have brought Orpah and Ruth superficial rest … but at their core they would remain restless. Chemosh could not give true rest. And neither can health, or wealth, or pleasure, or achievement. Each hearth god is fleeting. Each hearth god is shallow. Each hearth god can never give what it promises. Each hearth god is, in the end, empty.

 

Ruth is the only one who sees this in chapter one.

 

But now, in chapter three, Naomi sees it as well.

 

Now she seeks rest for Ruth somewhere else.

 

But where does she seek that rest for Ruth?

 

To answer that question, we need to move on to the second repeated word here in chapter three: wings.

 

 

WINGS:

 

Now … why are we talking about wings in a sermon on Ruth?

 

Well, wings are the second repeated element in our chapter this morning, and I want to argue that they are key to understanding this chapter. [Leithart, Structure]

 

“Wings” comes up in verse nine. Ruth says to Boaz “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”

 

Why does Ruth say this?

 

Well, as the ESV footnote indicates, the Hebrew word for wings could also mean the corners of a garment. But the ESV translates it as “wings” here and in the footnote actually points out the connection to Ruth chapter two verse twelve.

 

In Ruth 2:12 Boaz praises Ruth for her faith and her faithfulness, and then he says: “The Lord [– Yahweh –] repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by Yahweh, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!”

 

Boaz recognizes that it is under Yahweh’s wings that Ruth has come to seek refuge.

 

This is a common picture that is repeated throughout the Scriptures.

 

It comes up for the first time in Deuteronomy 32, where Moses sings of how, he says, the Lord encircled Israel,

“he cared for him,
he kept him as the apple of his eye.
Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,
that flutters over its young,
spreading out its wings, catching them,
bearing them on its pinions.”

 

God shelters Israel under his wings, and so by coming to and joining Israel, Ruth has sought that same refuge, under the wings of Yahweh.

 

The Scriptures go on, particularly in the psalms, to develop that picture further. [Lusk, 104-105]

 

So in Psalm 17, David prays to God, saying:

“Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings,”  [17:8]

 

In Psalm 36 we read:

“How precious is your steadfast love, O God!

The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.”  [36:7]

 

In Psalm 57 we read:

“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
till the storms of destruction pass by.” [57:1]

 

In Psalm 61:

“Let me dwell in your tent forever!
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!”

[63:7]

 

Psalm 63:

“for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.”

[63:7]

 

And Psalm 91:

“He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.”  [91:4]

 

The metaphor of God’s wings is a picture of the refuge and safety that he offers his people.

 

But what does that mean?

 

Well, the link to Boaz’s wings actually helps us see even more.

 

Ruth asks Boaz to spread his wings – the corner of his garment – over Ruth. This was a symbolic act that would signify his taking Ruth as a wife.

 

But here it signified more than that as well.

 

Boaz, as we have said, was a faithful Israelite. He strove to follow God’s law, and to go above and beyond many of the specific requirements placed on him. We saw that last week in terms of the gleaning laws.

 

But the Mosaic law had requirements for other things, of course … including for Boaz’s clothes.

 

Numbers fifteen, verses thirty-seven through forty-one speak of one specific requirement. It says:

37 The Lord [Yahweh] said to Moses, 38 “Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners [on the “wings” – it’s the same word again in Hebrew – on the “wings”] of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each [wing]. 39 And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of Yahweh, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. 40 So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God. 41 I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am Yahweh your God.”

 

Every Israelite was to have a tassel with a cord of blue on the wings of their garments, as a symbol of God’s commandments for them, rooted in his deliverance of them – they were symbols of God’s covenant with Israel. [Lusk, 102-103]

 

And so, for Boaz to stretch the wing of his garment out over Ruth would also be for him to stretch out this sign of God’s covenant with Israel and place it over her as well.

 

This connection between wings and covenant is strengthened even further later on in the Book of Ezekiel, where, in chapter sixteen, God says to his people: “I spread the corner of my garment over you [the Hebrew again reads “I spread my wing over you”] and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord Yahweh, and you became mine.” [16:8] [Lusk, 101-102]

 

The picture of God’s wings, God’s refuge, and God’s covenant all come together here.

 

Where does that leave us?

 

Ruth is seeking refuge under the wings of God. And the wings of God are a picture of his covenantal care of his people. That is true to some extent in chapter two, but in chapter three, as Ruth asks Boaz to enter into a covenant of marriage with her by spreading over her the wing of his garment, with the symbol of God’s covenant on it, that same truth is driven home even further.

 

True rest is found under the wings of God. True rest is found in a covenant relationship with God. When we live in a covenant relationship with God, we find refuge under the shelter of his wings.

 

The question is: Is that where you seek refuge?

 

First of all, do you look for rest and refuge under God’s wings?

 

When difficulties come – whether from within or from without – do you look to God for refuge? When distress comes, do you look to God for rest? When you are seeking a hope and a security in the midst of loss or fear, do you look to God’s wings … or do you look to those hearth gods who make many promises, but in the end are heartless and powerless, like the gods of Moab?

 

That’s the first thing to consider.

 

Second, when you come to God for refuge, do you recognize that the covenant is the basis of your relationship with him?

 

It’s not your feelings that are the basis of your refuge in God – God has made a covenant promise that, whether you feel it or not, his refuge is available to you.

 

It’s not your ethical track record over the last 24 hours or the last 24 days or 24 months or 24 years that is the basis of your relationship with God. God has made a covenant promise that all who trust in Christ and cling to him will be forgiven of their sins. That is the basis of your relationship with him – not your own merit.

 

It’s not a subjective or vague thing to know whether you have access to that covenant. God has given a covenant sign – he has provided baptism, and he has said through the Apostle Paul that all who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. [Galatians 3:27] When you wonder if you’re included, you are to remember your baptism.

 

It’s also not by racking up accomplishments that you remain in his covenant, but by clinging to him by faith – by, as the Westminster Shorter Catechism puts it: receiving and resting upon Christ alone for salvation, as he’s offered to us in the gospel.

 

And for those who enter into covenant with Christ, who cling to him by faith, God offers true rest – God offers true refuge.

 

And God wants to take us under his wings – he wants to shelter and protect us in his covenant.

 

Jesus, speaking to the people of Jerusalem, said: “O Jerusalem, […] How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” [Matthew 23:37]

 

Jesus’s longing is to gather his people under his wings – under his covenantal care.

 

Your calling is, like Ruth, to seek your rest there, in covenant relationship with him, and not in the hearth gods of our culture.

 

 

EMPTINESS:

 

And God promises that those who come to him, seeking rest and refuge, will not be sent away empty.

 

That is the third repeated word here in our passage: “empty.” [Leithart, Structure]

 

Back in chapter one, Naomi complained that she had gone out full, but the Lord had brought her back “empty.” [1:21]

 

But now, when Ruth seeks refuge in God, by covenant, through Boaz, Boaz makes sure, as he puts it in verse seventeen, that Ruth does not go back to Naomi “empty.”

 

Instead, Ruth goes back to Naomi not empty, but overflowing.

 

We’re told in verse fifteen that Boaz sent her to Naomi with “six measures” of barley. No unit is given for those measures.

 

If we assume it was an ephah, which was the unit the narrator used a chapter earlier, that would mean that Boaz sent her away with between 180 and 300 pounds of barley. That seems like a bit much. Some have suggested it was six seahs. A seah is about a third of an ephah, and would have weighed 60 to 100 pounds. There are other smaller possibilities as well. [Block, 186-187; McKeown, 59-60]

 

While we don’t know exactly how much it was, we are told explicitly in verse fifteen that Boaz “put it on her” – communicating that he needed to help her lift it onto herself before she left the threshing floor to carry it home. In chapter two, Ruth appears to have handled thirty to fifty pounds of barley just fine on her own, which would indicate that if she needed help lifting it now, it must have been even more. [McKeown, 60]

 

Boaz will not send her home empty – Boaz is sure to send her home full.

 

This is how God provides for his people – he provides over and above what they ask or expect.

 

 

APPLICATION: SEEKING REFUGE & REST

 

What does all this mean for us?

 

Well first, Ruth and Naomi model for us where we are to seek refuge.

 

In God’s provision, and in Boaz’s faithful care and willingness to be used by the Lord, we see here how God provides for those who seek refuge in him.

 

He will give rest to his people – true rest. He will do it through the covenantal care that he promises to all who trust in him, drawing them close to him and spreading his wings over them. He will provide over and above what they expect.

 

For us that means that we look not to the flimsy offerings of this world for true rest, but we look to the Lord, and seek refuge through his covenant, under his wings.

 

But it also means that we need to be attentive to the means by which God provides that care.

 

It’s significant that the way that God will take Ruth under his wings is by sending Boaz to take her under his wings. God uses means. He uses his word and his sacraments, but as we see here, he also uses his people to fulfill his covenant promises. You are not called to be a lone-ranger Christian. You are not called to go it alone. Ruth and Naomi needed Boaz. And one of the striking things in this chapter is that they let him know.

 

Would you have? Would you have brought your needs so starkly to God’s people, as Ruth and Naomi brought their needs to Boaz?

 

God works through his people. Which means that when you are in need, you are not only called to let the Lord know of your needs, but to let God’s people know, that they might build you up, help to bear your burdens, and extend the Lord’s covenantal care over you.

 

In all these ways we are called to follow the example of Ruth and Naomi.

 

 

APPLICATION: PROVIDING REFUGE & REST

 

But there are also times where we are called to follow the example of Boaz.

 

Boaz, I have said, is a picture for us of Yahweh, and therefore a picture of Christ. What makes him such a godly man is that he seeks to imitate the Lord. That means that we should see in him the Lord’s character reflected, and therefore consider, in him, the Lord’s love for us.

 

But it also means we should hear the call implicit in his actions to live as he lives.

 

Paul called on the Christians in Corinth to imitate him as he imitated Christ, and we might similarly say that the Scriptures call us to imitate Boaz as Boaz imitates Yahweh.

 

In chapter two Boaz prayed that God would provide a full reward to Ruth as she sought refuge under God’s wings. By asking Boaz to extend his wings over her and provide for her as a husband, Ruth is boldly asking Boaz to be the answer to his own prayer.

 

It’s a reminder to us that as the Church and as individual Christians, we are called to pray, and to pray fervently. But we are also are called to have eyes to see how God might be calling us to be his instrument in answering such prayers.

 

It’s interesting that Boaz did not act on his own. Naomi had to get Ruth to approach him. Maybe this was because he assumed she wasn’t interested in his marrying her as a redeemer. Maybe it was because he knew of the closer relative he mentions in verse thirteen. Or maybe it did not occur to him. We don’t know.

 

But God’s use of Boaz here is a reminder that it should occur to us. Stop today and ask where God might be calling you, as a part of his Body, to be his instrument in answering prayers for the needs of another.

 

 

 

CONCLUSION:

 

There is much more in this chapter, and many other questions I have not sufficiently addressed. We will come back to some of those in a couple weeks.

 

But this morning, let’s behold the picture we are given here of God’s care for all who come to him in faith.

 

In Luke 8 and Mark 5 we read of a woman who had a discharge of blood for twelve years. Mark tells us that she had spent all she had on physicians trying to be healed, but under their care she had not gotten any better, but had only gotten worse. She found no rest. She was suffering from a constant physical ailment, and on top of that, because of the Jewish ceremonial laws she was excluded from much of the life and worship of God’s people.

 

But then she heard of Jesus. And soon she had confidence that if she could just reach him, she would be healed.

 

Luke tells us that she reached out as he passed, and touched just the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased – immediately she was healed.

 

We don’t know exactly what part of the fringe of Jesus’s garment the woman touched. We don’t know whether it was the wings, with the covenant sign on its corner, or not – we’re not told.

 

But as we think of that scene, and as we think of our themes this morning, it’s hard not to be reminded in that story that Jesus Christ is the “sun of righteousness” that rises “with healing in its wings.” [Malachi 4:2] [Lusk, 106-107]

 

He is the one who provides healing and wholeness, security, and safety under the shelter of his wings.

 

Let us seek true rest and refuge there, with him.

 

Amen.

 

This sermon draws on material from:

Block, Daniel I. Ruth: The King is Coming. Exegetical Commentary on the Old Testament: A Discourse Analysis of the Hebrew Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015.

Ferguson, Sinclair B. Faithful God: An Exposition of the Book of Ruth. Bridgend, Wales: Bryntirion Press, 2005 (2013 Edition).

Leithart, Peter J. “The Structures of Ruth” Theopolis.com. January 17, 1993. https://theopolisinstitute.com/the-structures-of-ruth/

Leithart, Peter J. “When Gentile Meets Jew.” Touchstone Magazine. May 2009. https://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=22-04-020-f

Lusk, Rich & Uri Brito. Ruth Through New Eyes: Under the Wings. West Monroe, LA: Athanasius Press, 2018.

McKeown, James. Ruth. Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2015.

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