One of the blessings of summer is the opportunity to get away from our normal routines, if only for a couple weeks. Perhaps I should say, the experience can be a blessing if we use our time off to stop and think, to invest some quality time in our walk with God. We live in a culture that is very self-focused. We have carried this natural human tendency to extremes, and so we need to reorient ourselves to how God has designed us. He made us to share our lives with him and with people. This will be the nature of eternal life. In our text we can see some glimpses of God’s desire for us on display.
The first glimpse is the importance of worship. They asked for God’s blessing on Ruth and Boaz. Ruth in some ways could be called “a book about prayer,” because we have heard many prayers in it (1:8; 2:4, 12, 20; 3:10). “Now all the people respond with prayer to the transaction at the gate by seeking God’s blessing on Boaz and Ruth… Every aspect of life, from misery to joy, from the routine to the extraordinary, daily work and social intercourse, as well as the very private moments, are lived in the faith that God is there and God cares” (Atkinson, my emphasis). Prayer ought to be natural to redeemed people. It should be so much a part of us that we naturally flow into and out of it. Pray constantly (1 Thessalonians 5:17 HCSB). We should be able to talk with one another, and then seamlessly transition to talk with our Father in heaven together. Since Christ has set us apart for God (made us holy—positional sanctification), we should be living such holy lives that we have no qualms to approach God at any time.
The elders and the rest of the people prayed for three blessings. They prayed that Ruth would be fruitful, bearing many children like Rachel and Leah together did. Children are a great blessing from the Lord. Have as many as you can! (Yes, I know that is not politically correct, but don’t believe all the propaganda put out by anti-family types.) They prayed that Boaz would have a high standing in the community. Obviously, they were not jealous of his present success and prayed that he would become greater. The increase of a kind man like Boaz contributes to the prosperity of the community. They prayed for the good of their family and tribe. God had worked through the life of Tamar, who was from the people groups of the nations (a Gentile), to build up the tribe of Judah. They prayed that the family of Ruth and Boaz would also prosper.
The second glimpse is the importance of community. Notice the phrase “the elders and all the people.” They joined together to maintain order; for example, by being witnesses. No one would be able to dispute the legality of the land purchase and the standing of Ruth in their community. The new covenant community is to maintain the unity of the Spirit. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3 NIV). Every gathering of followers of Christ ought to have this as a core value. “Together, we will keep the peace in our fellowship as children of God” (cf. Matthew 5:9).
They joined together to celebrate. Sharing joy is significant. When you share your joy, it multiplies. It is like the bread and fishes of the boy. If he kept them, only he would have eaten them and been satisfied. But when he gave them to Jesus for the good of others, a great crowd was satisfied – with leftovers. Don’t waste your life on yourself. Be willing to share your life with others, so that together you can celebrate the Lord’s blessings. Offer your life to the Lord in sharing it with others, and he will multiply its worth beyond your ability to calculate.
Grace and peace, David