Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss says we need to spend more time waiting.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: There is a moment to act. There are times to take action, to do something, but there are far more moments than most of us realize when we just need to be still.

Leslie: It’s Friday, July 13, and you’re listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

“Don’t just stand there, do something!” Has anyone ever told you that? We feel as if we’re being irresponsible if we don’t take action. Today we’ll see why sometimes the best thing to do is wait.

Nancy is in a series called Ruth: The Transforming Power of Redeeming Love.

Nancy: Do you ever feel, when you go to pray, a little bit hesitant to ask God what’s really on your heart? Do you ever feel like if you were to tell Him what you really need that you might be imposing on Him or bothering Him? Do you ever feel that your requests are too big, or maybe you are just hesitant to ask Him for what you really need.

When we left Ruth yesterday, she was at the feet of Boaz. She was there on the threshing floor at the end of the harvest asking Boaz to be her husband. If you’re just picking up with us now, that’s not quite as strange as it might sound.

We’ve seen that Ruth was a poor, needy widow and Boaz was a wealthy Jewish landowner. You might think that Ruth would have been afraid to ask him to meet her need, but she realized that he was her kinsman-redeemer.

He was her goel. That’s a little Hebrew word that we’ve been looking at over the last few weeks that speaks of someone who is a protector. It’s a man who would step in and help his poor, needy relative. Ruth had come to realize that Boaz was related to the family of her deceased father-in-law and her deceased husband, Elimelech. She came to understand that he was one who could help her and her mother-in-law, Naomi, in their point of need.

She has gone to Boaz and she has said, “Would you cover me? Would you spread the corner of your garment over me?” That’s a symbol, a word picture, for, “Would you take me under your protection? Would you take me under your covering? Would you take me under your situation, as your own?”

Now I suspect that as she went to Boaz, she might have easily feared that he would reject her. After all, who was she? She was a foreigner. She was poor. She was a widow. She had nothing to commend her to Boaz. Here he is, a respected citizen of the land. He’s an older man.

I can just imagine all the fear that might have been in her heart as she was making her way there to that threshing floor thinking, “Is he going to accept me? Is he going to listen to me? Is he going to receive my appeal? Will he want to be my kinsman-redeemer, to rescue me in my situation?”

But as we come to Boaz’s response in Ruth chapter three, verse 10, we find—to the contrary—that Boaz is delighted that Ruth has had the boldness to come and ask him to serve as her kinsman-redeemer. He says to her in verse 10, “The Lord bless you, my daughter. This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all that you ask” (also verse 11).

Isn’t that a great response? Here comes this little lady who needs help and she’s going to this great man who could be her helper—not knowing how he will respond. But he is enthusiastic and warm and gracious in his response. She has asked him to redeem her, and he is glad that she has asked him to redeem her.

As the story unfolds, we’re going to see in Boaz a picture of the heart of the Lord Jesus—our goel, our kinsman-redeemer. We come and ask Him to redeem us, not only to redeem our soul—to redeem us in the terms of salvation—but to redeem us in a daily sense, to rescue and protect us in our areas of need.

When we come to Him as poor, needy sinners, and we come appealing to Him out of His riches, His wealth, His position, His right to redeem us; we come asking Him to cover us. We’re not appealing to somebody who is reluctant to meet our needs. He says, “I’m so glad that you came. I’m so glad you asked. I want to redeem you.” Boaz says to her, “Don’t be afraid. I will do for you all that you ask.”

I love that verse. As I think about this matter of prayer and intercession and how we go to the Lord Jesus and say we have these needs, as we approach His throne, we need to remember that it’s a throne of grace, a throne where He says, “I will do for you all that you have asked. Don’t be afraid to come. Don’t be afraid to ask. In fact, ask boldly!”

He’s told us, “Ask for me. Tell me your requests. Don’t worry about anything,” Philippians says, “Instead pray about everything and the peace of God, the grace of God, the promises of God, the provision of God will come to your rescue” (4:6-7, paraphrase).

I love that stanza from an old hymn that says,

Thou art coming to a king,
   so large petitions with thee bring.
For his grace and power are such,
   none can ever ask too much
 (John Newton).

He tells us, “Ask in accordance with My Word. Ask in accordance with My will, and I will do for you all that you ask.”

As I read this passage, I wonder—how many times do I fail to receive something that I really need from the Lord; something He’s wanting to give; something He’s willing to give; something He’s able to give; something He has to give; something I need, but I don’t get it. Why? Because I don’t ask; I’m too scared, too timid, too busy. I just don’t ask.

The Scripture says, “Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22, NKJV). Am I casting my burdens on the Lord? Am I trusting Him to sustain me? He says, “Ask of Me and I will fill you with My Holy Spirit.” I need to be filled with His Spirit. Am I asking Him to fill me with His Spirit? Am I asking Him to guard my heart?

He says if I keep my mind fixed on Him He will keep my mind in perfect peace. I need the peace of guarding, garrisoning my mind. Am I asking Him to do that? Am I asking Him to meet my needs? Am I asking Him to give me the wisdom that I need?

“Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Bless you. Thank you for coming. Don’t be afraid. I will do for you all that you ask.”

Let me just back up to one other point there in verse 10. Boaz says to Ruth, “This kindness [you coming and asking] is greater than that what you showed earlier. You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor” (Chapter 3).

Boaz realizes that Ruth could have gone and looked for a husband. If she was just looking for a husband for herself, she might have gone and looked for someone in her age group, someone who was younger, and someone who perhaps would have been just what she was looking for in a husband. But she went to Boaz, not because he was her dream man. Remember this is not a story of romance as much as it is a story of redemption.

She goes to Boaz because she has a bigger purpose in mind. She realizes that God’s heart is to redeem her whole family situation and that God wanted to preserve in Israel the family lands and the family name from one generation to the next. In order to have her husband and her father-in-law’s names and lands preserved, she had to find a redeemer, a kinsman-redeemer, one who could take their situation on as his own.

So she goes to Boaz and asks him to become her husband, to become her redeemer because she is wanting to fulfill God’s role for her life and for her family. She’s not just looking for personal happiness. She’s not just looking for personal convenience and for her personal desires to be met.

She’s wanting to submit to God’s plan for a legacy, for an ongoing family line, for a lineage that she doesn’t know—but we know—is going to lead to Christ. I think it could well have been a natural desire on Ruth’s part to start a new family, to forget about the old family line where there had been so much pain and so much sorrow.

But she was willing to stick with the family in which God had placed her and to take whatever steps were necessary to believe God for, if you will, a revival of the old situation that seemed so hopeless and so desperate. Rather than starting a new line, she’s willing to believe God to restore the old line.

I wonder how many times, as it relates to our churches or as it relates to marriage, are we quick to throw away the old situation rather than believing God to revive it and restore it and make something new out of it.

I’ve watched people in church situations that get difficult. I’m not saying there’s never a time when it would be appropriate to leave a church where perhaps the Word of God is not being preached or there is being clear violation of biblical principles. There is a time perhaps to leave and go to a different situation.

But today, people are so prone to just “church hop.” If something happens in the church that upsets them, or they get unhappy with something—maybe a decision that’s made in the church—they say, “I’m just leaving that church. I’m just going to another one.”

I’ve been in cities where most of the evangelical churches in that city are splits off of splits off of splits—people not believing God to revive the old situation, but just going and quickly starting something new. Nowhere is that more deadly than in marriage—which is to be a picture of Christ’s redemptive relationship with His church—where we throw off the old so quickly and say, “I’m going to look for something new. I’m going to look for something fresh.”

Let me just say, and some of you sitting in this room know how true this is, that you don’t solve your problems in marriage by just putting another pair of shoes under the bed. In fact, you may end up with a whole series of problems you hadn’t counted on.

What is the situation you’re facing that just is old and burdensome and wearying to you? Would you ask God for faith to stick with it? For faith to wait on Him? For faith to surrender your own desires, your own happiness, your own convenience, your own personal desires and just say, “Lord, I’ll wait on You. I’m willing to submit and surrender and relinquish my own plans. I’m willing to fulfill Your plan for keeping this family line intact. I want to see You restore and revive that which seems so hopeless.”

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back with more from the series, Ruth: The Transforming Power of Redeeming Love. Maybe you’ve read Ruth many times before and appreciate the new background and insight Nancy’s bringing to it. Would you share these insights with others by hosting a small group in your home?

Invite some women to watch Nancy teach through Ruth on DVD. Answer the questions in the study guide. Help each other incorporate principles from Ruth into your lives. You can order the workbooks and DVD at Reviveourhearts.com.

When you order five or more workbooks, we’ll give you the DVD at no charge. Again, that’s Reviveourhearts.com. You can also call 1-800-569-5959.

Now back to Nancy and the book of Ruth.

Nancy: Let’s pick up in verse 11 of chapter three where Boaz says to Ruth, “All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character.” Another translation puts it this way: “All the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman” (NKJV).

Wouldn’t that be an incredible reputation to have? “All the people in my town know that you are a virtuous woman.” Remember earlier, in chapter two, when Boaz first met Ruth, he said, “It has been told me all that you’ve done for your widowed mother-in-law” (verse 11, paraphrase). Her reputation had gone before her. He says, “Now when the people think about you, they know that you are a virtuous woman.”

That is the same word, by the way, that’s used in Proverbs 31:10, where the Scripture says, “A wife of noble character [or a virtuous wife], who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. The heart of her husband does safely trust in her. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”  A woman of noble character, a virtuous woman.

I want to live the kind of life that if a negative rumor were to start spreading about me, the people who know me best would be quick to say, “There is no way that that could be true of her.” I want to live the kind of life that has a reputation, that is a true reputation for being a woman of noble character, a virtuous woman.

Let me ask you. Are you known as a woman of virtue? Are you known as a woman of virtuous heart and attitude and values and behavior and dress and speech? Do people know that you are a woman of noble character—that you’re a woman of virtue?

I really believe that my character, my spirit, my values, and my attitude has a determining effect on the whole spirit of the ministry where I serve. You’ve heard it said, perhaps, that the spirit of the woman determines the climate of the home. Ask yourself, “What is the climate like in our home? What is the temperature like in our home?”

Then, before you’re quick to say, “Well it wouldn’t be that way if it weren’t for this person who lives in my home,” you may want to go take a look in the mirror and say, “Lord, is there something in my character or something in my spirit that is pulling down the tone, the climate, or the temperature of this home?"

One of the burdens that God has put on my heart for the whole ministry of Revive Our Hearts is that He would raise up a movement of women—Christian women, in our generation, in our churches, and in our homes—who would be women of virtue. There are so many corrupt, rebellious, strong-willed, independent-spirited women in our culture today—in our churches even!

I believe one of the great things we need, if we’re going to see a revival in our churches, is a revival of women of virtue, women who have godly, Christlike characters. It’s not going to be a movement of hundreds of thousands or millions of women all at once. It’s really going to be one woman at a time—Linda, Wanda, Edie, and Nancy. We can become the kind of women who together really shape and mold the character of our homes, our churches, and even our nation.

Boaz brings up to Ruth at this point, in verse 12, a situation that apparently she was not aware of. He says, “I’m willing to be your kinsman-redeemer.” But he says, “Although it is true that I’m near of kin, there is a kinsman-redeemer who is nearer than I.” He is saying that “there is someone who has a prior right to redeem your situation and we’re going to have to take this matter up with him before I can serve as your kinsman-redeemer.”

This may explain why Boaz hadn’t taken the initiative earlier to redeem Ruth and Naomi in their situation. We are reminded that Naomi and Ruth could not expect anything from Boaz as their right. He was not a brother of the deceased, so he was not obligated to fulfill the role of the goel or the kinsman-redeemer. They were dependent on his compassion and his generosity and his grace to choose to be their kinsman-redeemer.

Boaz says to Ruth, verse 13, “‘Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to redeem [this near kinsman,], good; let him redeem. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it. Lie here until morning.’ So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, ‘Don’t let it be known that a woman came to the threshing floor.’”

Let me just insert here that I see in Ruth and Boaz a discreet spirit—a purity of heart that leads them to be careful in the appearances of their relationship and of their behavior. In every way they are trying to be discreet so as to not to bring reproach or blame upon themselves or their reputation. That is how Ruth got a reputation for being a virtuous woman—by being careful not to leave an impression of something otherwise.

I think as women, it’s so important that we be careful not to leave opportunity for others to give an evil report or to suggest that we have something other than virtuous intentions.

Now verse 15, Boaz says to Ruth, “‘Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out.’ When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and put it on her. Then he went back to town.” This is the kinsman-redeemer showing generosity. He’s been extending grace to her all along, and now he’s saying again, “Here’s an abundance out of the harvest. Take it back to your mother-in-law. I want your needs to be met.”

I see this gift as a kind of a down-payment that Boaz is giving to Ruth in anticipation of all the good things that he intends to pour upon her; to share with her and with her widowed mother-in-law in the future.

Ruth goes back to her mother-in-law. When she gets back, verse 16, Naomi says, “‘How did it go, my daughter?’ Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her and added, ‘He gave me six measures of barley, saying, “Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.”’”

When I see that word, it brings back a word that we read in verse 21 of chapter one, where Ruth and Naomi came back to Bethlehem and Naomi said, “The Lord has brought me back empty.” She had gone out to Moab. She had lost her husband and her two sons. Now, she came back as a destitute, poverty-stricken widow. At that point, the end of chapter 1, she says, “I’m empty. I have nothing.”

She did have Ruth, but from her distraught vantage point at that moment, she was empty-handed; she had nothing. Now we see as the story is unfolding that her emptiness is beginning to be filled. Boaz said to her, “Don’t go back to her empty-handed. Take her a gift. Take her an expression of love and commitment and concern. Let her know that her needs are going to be met. She’s going to be filled. Her empty days are over.”

Let me say again—it’s all, all, all because of her redeemer—a man of grace who has the right and the willingness and the power to meet her needs!

Then verse 18, “Naomi said, ‘Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.’” That verse has encouraged my heart many times when I’ve been in the midst of a process where God is working things out, but I can’t see exactly how. I can’t see how He’s going to bring a matter to a conclusion. I don’t know how He’s going to resolve the issue.

The Word says to my heart, “Wait. You can rest. You can be still. You don’t need to contend. You don’t need to manipulate. You don’t need to strive. You don’t need to fret. You don’t need to try and figure this out. You don’t need to try and control your circumstances. Wait. Wait on the Lord. Be still. Rest, because your Redeemer is not going to rest until He has resolved the matter.”

As women, if we could only remember that we always have a Redeemer who is working on our behalf! He is in heaven interceding for us. He’s at the right hand of the throne of God. He’s taking up our case, taking up our cause. He is orchestrating the events of our lives providentially, sovereignly, to fulfill His holy purposes—we can wait.

There is a moment to act; there are times to take action or to do something. But there are far more moments than most of us realize when we just need to be still. Wait and watch God work in the heart of that teenager. Watch God work in the heart of that husband. Wait for God to work in the heart of that employer.

Don’t take matters into your own hands. Don’t go and try and fix all the things that you think are wrong with your pastor or your church. Wait on the Lord. Make it a matter of prayer. Take it to him and then be still. Be at rest because your Kinsman-Redeemer is always working, and He will not rest until the matter is settled.

It may not be settled today, but in God’s books in heaven, it is settled. We’re just waiting to see what He has already determined. In His time God will surely bring it to pass.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back to pray. Aren’t you glad you heard Nancy’s insights from the book of Ruth today? It’s the kind of teaching that so many have come to appreciate from Nancy. There is an easy way to keep up with what Nancy’s teaching every day and to ensure that you won’t miss anything.

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In today’s story we saw how Boaz was willing to marry Ruth. But there was a complication. Find out what it was and how they dealt with it on Monday’s Revive Our Hearts. Now let’s pray with Nancy.

Nancy: Thank You, Lord, for Your generosity. Thank You that You are always at work redeeming us and our life situations. Teach us to rest. Teach us to wait—to wait on You and to know that in Your time, You will right all wrongs. You will redeem every situation that relates to us.

Your Word says that You will perfect that which concerns us. Lord, help us to cease striving, to let go and to relax, to know that You are God and You will be exalted. Help us to remember that You will fulfill Your purposes in us, in those we love, and throughout the whole earth. We thank You in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the New International Version unless noted.

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