Meditations in Ruth : 17. Rest in it
Ruth 3:18 Then Naomi said, “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today
I have a very strong sense that the message of these verses is for particular people. Let’s note, first of all what happened. Ruth has returned home after her ‘night out’, (v.15) and Naomi questions her about it and she tells: “When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “How did it go, my daughter?” Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her and added, “He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, `Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’ “ (v.16,17) That is the context for what follows, that Boaz has said he will take action and he blesses her with further provision when she leaves.
Now our verse above is very simple but I believe it conveys a simple but important message: “Then Naomi said, “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.” (v.18) Indeed it is so simple we might almost despise it for its simplicity. It may be summed up as follows: when you have felt the Lord’s guidance and you have taken a course of action, be at peace, wait and let Him do what He now wants to do in it. If He has shown you further things to do, that is one thing, but otherwise, if you have simply taken the action He led you believe was the right action to take, then rest in it.
It may be that you have been anxious about something in life and you have prayed and prayed, and there seems nothing more to pray. Very well, rest in it that your heavenly Father has heard and knows and will act on your behalf.
It is the heart that is not confident in God that feels it has to keep on doing something, keep on doing further things to bring about what it is sure is right. When we are not sure of God’s love, we feel we have to make the running, someone has to act and if it won’t be Him then it had better be us. We’d never express it as honesty as that, but that is ultimately what we feel deep down.
No, there are times when having done all we can and having committed it all to Him, we need to simply sit back and rest and wait for Him to move. In fact we can confirm out trust in Him by praising Him that He is going to act on our behalf – that is an act of faith. See how it was with David: “Many are asking, “Who can show us any good?” (Psa 3:6a) People about him were questioning their circumstances, so he calls on the Lord: “Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD.” (v.6b) The circumstances have not changed but he is then able to declare, “You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.” (v.7) As he has prayed he has had that confidence that God will move. The outcome? “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” (v.8)
Do you remember Paul’s instructions about anxiety and prayer? “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil 4:6) Notice that one word that almost seems out of place – “thanksgiving”. How can you give thanks for the thing that is causing you anxiety? You can’t but you can express your trust in the Lord that He will deal with the cause of your anxiety by thanking Him that He WILL deal with it.
So there it is, learning to rest in the Lord, learning not to keep on and on trying to improve the situation after you have acted according to the guidance. Naomi has given Ruth the guidance. In this Naomi has typified the Holy Spirit. Ruth has followed her instructions and the thing seems to have worked out well – but there is still a glitch to be overcome, the closer redeemer. Yes, OK, he is there and he has rights, but let’s seek to act righteously throughout this, and in so doing , now let’s be at peace and rest in it, waiting to see how it will all work out. Amen? Amen!