"Then said (Naomi), ‘Sit still, my daughter (Ruth), until you learn how the matter turns out; for the man (Boaz) will not rest until he finishes the matter today.'"
The Persistence of the Redeemer
"Persistence" - Refusing to give up. Tenacious. The act of perseverance. Insistently continuous. Holding on steadfastly.
In my own life, how have I seen my "Redeemer" persistently hold on to me?
What do I think it means to be "steadfast?"
"And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint."
"By perseverance the snail reached the ark."
C. H. Spurgeon
If there is one quality my dad drilled into me, it was the ability to be persistent - to persevere.
I'll never forget when I was young and our little girls' club was practicing for a big camping event where we were going to compete with other kids our age in a sack race. My best friend and I were a team and as we neared the finish line, it was obvious we weren't going to win so we "slowed-up." I can still remember my dad's lecture.
"Why did you slow down at the end?" he asked.
"Because we weren't going to win," I retorted.
"Dorothy, you don't stop giving everything you've got until you cross the finish line. You never know what could happen," my dad instructed me.
All through my life, I've remembered my dad's words. I've never been the smartest or fastest at anything. In fact, I can't ever remember taking first place in anything I've tried. But I promise you, I've always finished!
This is why I love the words found in Hebrews 3: 14 and I'm going to use my Message Bible. "If we can only keep our grip on the sure thing we started out with, we're in this with Christ for the long haul."
This is what persistence is about - the long haul. Crossing the finish line in the end. Or as we find in our text for today, Ruth 3: 18, we won't rest until we are done. I must tell you that this small text has now become another underlined favorite of mine.
When Ruth arrived home, after following Naomi's instructions and going for a night meeting with Boaz where he was threshing barley, Ruth showed Naomi the gifts that Boaz had sent and possibly there was a great deal of excitement in Ruth's demeanor. If I had been Ruth, I might have said to Naomi something like, "What do we do next?" However, Naomi responded by saying to Ruth, "Boaz is a man of perseverance." As the Hebrew translates this text, "Boaz won't rest or be quiet and at peace until his work in "redeeming" and "claiming" you as his own Ruth, is completed and accomplished. He won't stop until he wholly reaps the result, from sunrise to sunset of this very day."
Now let's apply this beautiful passage to the persistent, perseverance our Father shows in redeeming you and me.
The Psalmist, David, who repeatedly experienced God's persistent love, wrote: "The Lord will not reject His people. He will never forsake His inheritance" (Psalm 94: 14, N.I.V.). This tells me that as long as I'm hanging on to my Father, He won't rest until we cross the finish line together -- as a team. But there's even something more our Redeemer does for us. David says in Psalm 94: 18, (N.I.V.) "When I said, ‘My foot is slipping, Your love, O Lord, supported me.'"
I don't know whether you ever tried crossing "monkey bars." We had these metal bars on our playground in elementary school and you climbed up on one end then hung by your arms and moved one hand after another until you crossed all the bars to the other side. I'll never forget getting in the middle and my weak arms and tired hands began to slip. I was certain I'd fall to the ground below but from behind me, where I could not see, one of the strong boys in our classroom came up and held me by my waist, helping to take the weight off my hands so I could continue to the other side.
This is what Boaz did for Ruth. As a persistent redeemer, he went into town and "took the weight" off of Ruth. She and Naomi didn't have to come up with a dowry or with a payment for land. Boaz solved the problem. And he was steadfast to the end. He stuck with the task no matter what obstacles were thrown in the way.
This is what your Redeemer and mine does for us. He takes the burden and weight off of us as we travel life's pathway. And He never stops until we reach the other side. Doesn't our Redeemer's persistence encourage you to hold on - even when the going gets tough!
Author, Thomas Carlyle, wrote, "Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak." In the words of Jesus found in Revelation 3: 11, (The Message) "I'm on my way; I'll be there soon. Keep a tight grip on what you have so no one distracts you." As John Cassian so eloquently advised, "We must not therefore be hesitant and lacking in faith. We must persist…and our persistence will quite certainly win us, as God has told us, everything…no doubt about this at all!"
"Seeing that a Pilot steers the ship in which we sail, who will never allow us to perish even in the midst of shipwrecks, there is no reason why our minds should be overwhelmed with fear and overcome with weariness."
"Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me"
"Jesus, Savior, pilot me
over life's tempestuous sea;
Unknown waves before me roll,
hiding rock and treacherous shoal;
Chart and compass come from Thee;
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.
When at last I near the shore,
and the fearful breakers roar
‘Twixt me and the peaceful rest,
then, while leaning on Thy breast,
may I hear Thee say to me,
‘Fear not, I will pilot thee.'"
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $10.00.
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