The Giving of Our Life
"I love them that love me; and those that seek me
early shall find me ... that I may cause those
that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill
their treasures" Proverbs 8:17,21.
This "love" is not the "agape" love wherein
"God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten
Son." Agape love is a one-way love that flows out and
is dependent only on the giver. Rather, this love speaks of
"phileo" love and relates to that part of God which
responds to our love towards Him, even as we desire love and
respond to one another.
There is a "giving" of our lives that releases
the blessing of the Lord in our behalf. At the very heart
of this "giving" is a willingness to give up our
own comfort and gain and lay down our lives to become givers
and worshipers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
A beautiful depiction of this principle is set before us
in the relationship that developed between Naomi and Ruth.
Naomi and her family came to Moab because of a famine. While
there, Naomi heard how God had visited and given bread to
His people. Now, Naomi is on her way back to again dwell with
God's people. Even during a time of famine, it is better to
stay where He has placed us. The Lord is ever faithful.
The Word tells us that it is folly to start a building without
first counting the cost, lest we lay the foundation, but are
unable to finish (Luke 14:28). Naomi's husband and sons were
gone. She carefully rehearsed to Ruth and Orpha the cost of
their returning to Israel with her. She said, "I am too
old to marry, and even if I did and had sons, would you wait
for them to grow up?" In that day, the name of the family
was perpetuated in this way.
Naomi shared with them the futility of their returning with
her. "The Lord has done this, go back to your people
and to your gods." Orpha kissed her mother and went back,
but Ruth clave to her. Fully understanding that there was
no hope of any personal gain, Ruth made a commitment.
"Intreat me not to leave thee or return from following
after thee, for wither thou goest I will go, where thou
lodgest I will lodge, thy people shall be my people, and
thy God my God. Where thou diest I will die and there
will I be buried" Ruth 1:16.
When she saw that Ruth realized the cost of her commitment
and was steadfast in purpose, Naomi granted her desire. "So
they two went" Ruth 1:19. We find a parallel truth in
the Song of Solomon.
"I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me. Come,
beloved, let US go forth into the field; let US lodge
in the villages" Song of Solomon 7:10-11.
Ruth clave unto Naomi (Ruth 1:14). This word "cleave"
means to catch by pursuit, to pursue hard, to follow close,
to be joined together. A young child cleaves to its mother.
Often, when a baby sitter comes and the mother seeks to leave,
the child will run after the mother, saying "I want to
go too." This is what Ruth did. She ran after Naomi,
she came behind her and caught her by pursuit, and then was
joined together with her.
We are to cleave unto God, to run after Him, to hang on and
not let go. When we do this, "something" in the
heart of God turns toward us. There is a joining together,
as we commit ourselves. Now He will lead us into the place
of fruitfulness and fulfillment.
"Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see
if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape
appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there
will I give thee my loves" Song of Solomon 7:12.
Ruth willingly worked in the fields to provide for her mother-in-law.
She came to a part of the field that belonged to Boaz. Here
is an evident outworking of the guidance of the Lord which
places us in the right place at the right time. Ruth "just
happened" to go to that field, and later found that it
belonged to a kinsman. When he inquired who she was, her reputation
made her known.
Boaz encouraged Ruth to glean in his field, then told the
gleaners to leave a little extra; also, he gave her food and
drink. Now, Naomi's basic livelihood has been provided, but
there is nothing for Ruth. She is barren, and who is going
to glean for her when she is old? She has no expectation for
herself, as she is in a strange land among strangers. She
is giving the best years of her life to take care of Naomi.
Because there is nothing apparent in all this for Ruth, Boaz
told her, "The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward
be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings
thou art come to trust" Ruth2:12.
The Lord may require us to make a specific consecration or
commitment when there appears to be no benefit or reason for
doing so, other than our obedience to His nudging. In these
instances, if the Lord is not the rewarder, then there is
no reward. Boaz said the only thing he could say to her, "The
Lord recompense thy work."
Ruth had given her life, not really caring that she would
be barren, or that she would have to work hard to feed her
mother-in-law. She had done nothing for herself. As she came
to know Naomi's God and began to put her trust in Him, it
entered Naomi's heart to provide for Ruth. "I am my beloved's,"
Why? Because I have given myself to Him. Now, "His desire
is toward me." (Song of Solomon 7:10).
Naomi told Ruth exactly what to do, and Ruth simply obeyed.
As a result, Boaz redeemed Ruth; Ruth had a son, Obed, who
was David's grandfather. There was a divine arrangement through
which the purpose of God was fulfilled beyond anything that
Naomi or Ruth could have imagined.
Naomi, in her barrenness, found that although she passed
through difficulties, the Lord had not left her without a
Kinsman. The Lord made an arrangement and a redemption took
place. Naomi, by seeking rest for Ruth, was herself blessed.
Ruth, desiring to serve her mother-in-law, was also blessed.
The Lord provided for each of them.
At one time or another, each of us faces opportunities to
unconditionally give of our lives. As we make these commitments
to the Lord, worship will rise out of the depths of our being
and we will begin to sing a song we could never have sung
before. This flows out from the commitment we made. Our life
is becoming a worship. Now the blessing of the Lord descends
and His approbation, or favor, manifestly begins to rest upon
It was not necessary for Ruth to seek rest for herself, Naomi
sought it forher. We can never out-give the Lord. As we freely
give ourselves, there is "something" within the
heart of the Lord that will respond and turn towards us.
"I love them that love me, and those that seek me
early shall find me ... that I may cause those that
love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their