This morning we considered Strategic Righteousness in Chapter 3, exercise by the plans of Naomi, Ruth and Boaz. Naomi's skies begin to open. John Piper shared how we've been inspired by William Cowper (and his song God moves...) who could write of hope despite never really breaking free of the shadows of depression, cared for by John Newton.
He also shared from the darkest days at his church, in 1993, where the church lost members due to a hard decision he'd had to made, that took several years to recover from.
We were charged to plan righteous activity for the term. Hopeless people can't and don't plan, because they can't see ahead. We can dream when we have hope. Naomi's hope is evidently coming back as she plans for Ruth to go to Naomi. The hope shows that this isn't a loose woman and her coniving mother-in-law.
The key issue is what does the word 'garment' or 'skirt' mean. Piper argued from Ezekiel 16v8 that it's about the covenant wings of God under which his people find refuge. The ESV makes this plain, and points us back to the same word in chapter 2. I've loved Piper's rigorous argument built on verses not "logic", that has been warm, simple, accessible and compelling.
The language of Ruth, apparently unprompted, speaking to Boaz is covenant language. This is a noble relationship. He could drive her out or sleep with her, but says WAIT and he'll sort it in the morning. Then we're appalled - there is someone nearer than Boaz who could marry Ruth. We scream (with Piper) - Oh No!
We've gone into the drama of the book, we've gone to the heart of God, with tenderness and compassion in the darkest of days and found hope in a story that moves unstoppably to the rescuing of Ruth and the coming of David and Jesus. We conclude the book of Ruth tomorrow morning.