Friday, August 17, 2007

Repeating For Emphasis

What do you do when you want to stress something? What do you do when you want to make sure that others know that you consider that what you are saying is important? There are various techniques. If you are speaking, you can change the tone of voice, or the speed of your words. If you are writing you can modify the letters. One other way for both speakers and writers is to repeat things. This happens often in the Bible. Things are repeated to bring them to our attention. Sometimes what’s repeated for emphasis is a word, phrase, or a sentence. Sometimes what’s repeated for emphasis is a motif or theme. This week study highlights one of those motifs in the Bible: God brings the bride to the groom.

In the first lesson we saw how God brought Eve to Adam. We see this pattern repeated with Rebekah and Isaac. We could also argue that this was the case with Leah and Jacob. This week we see this same pattern repeated in Ruth and Boaz.

What is impressive is how God did it. According to the lesson God made or allowed at least 7 events to happen for Boaz to meet Ruth. The odds of they meeting were miniscule. But, to God nothing is impossible. Let us read the lesson’s suggestions.

“In the beginning of the story, the odds of Ruth ending up marrying Boaz were indeed minuscule. Many "circumstantial" events were necessary to lead to their eventual meeting and marriage. (1) There had to be a famine in Judah, else the family of Elimelech would not have left Bethlehem. (2) They had to choose Moab rather than some other country for refuge, such as Egypt or Edom, in order to come in contact with Ruth. (3) There had to be eligible bachelors in Naomi's family to marry Ruth. (4) The male had to die in order for Ruth to be eligible for a second marriage. (5) The famine in Judah had to end so that Naomi could consider going back. (6) Ruth had to decide to accompany Naomi. (7) Ruth had to happen to glean in the field of Boaz.” (Friday, August 17, 2007)

So, what seems circumstantial, accidental, or coincidental is really providential. This marriage was years in the making –long before Ruth and Boaz even met - and everything had to be right for it to happen. Most importantly, the hearts of those involved had to be right with God. In the fullness of time, God brought Ruth to Boaz. Boaz, like Ruth, was a Godly man. He treated his servants well. He was available for marriage. It seems that although he was not married, he was not a womanizer. We do not know if he was never married or a widow. We can only speculate that he was waiting on the Lord to provide for him. Boaz respected Ruth; he did not take advantage of her. They did not have sex before marriage.

If Boaz was waiting on the Lord, he was following the Word of God. Let us read the following verses on waiting on the Lord.

Isaiah 40: 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Romans 8:25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

Psalm 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

It seems this is another recurring motif. Isaiah, Paul, and David lived in different times. However, all three repeated the same concept. The emphasis is clear. Waiting on the Lord has benefits. It requires hope, trust, belief …in fact: Faith. Waiting on the Lord shows patience. Faith and Patience are both part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). From this we may understand that those who take matters in their own hand are sinning. Not only that, but by taking things in their own handed they also get in the way of God’s providence. God’s work of probably many years is wasted because we want our way instead of God’s.