Spirit and Ruth Please Wait to Be Seated

This article is based on a talk given on Sunday, 18th July, 2021.

The other day, I went to a restaurant
The waitress said to me, “I’m really sorry but we are really short-staffed today. Would you mind waiting for a bit?” so I said that would be fine.
She said “great, can you take these drinks to table 15?”.

What are you waiting for? What are you doing while you are waiting for it?

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At the start of the Book of Acts, we see Jesus telling his disciples to wait and he gives them very specific instructions:
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
Acts 1:4 (KJV‬‬)

It’s not always easy to wait, and it’s also not always easy to know what we are supposed to be doing while we wait. Being stable often involves waiting, but is it always going to look the same?

In Ruth chapter 3, we meet three characters, all of whom are waiting, but each of them has a different role to play, and therefore they wait in very different ways.

Then said [Naomi to Ruth], Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man [Boaz] will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.
Ruth 3:18 (KJV‬‬)

First, we have Ruth, the daughter-in-law, who has just offered herself on a plate to Boaz, the rich old relative of Naomi’s. Boaz, however, points out that there are a few things that need to be sorted out first. There is another man who has a legal right to marry Ruth, and he must first get his permission.

This is often the case when we are waiting for something. There are other things that need to take place that are often completely out of our hands. So, when Ruth gets home and tells Naomi all that has just happened, Naomi tells her to “sit still”.

This brings us to Naomi, who is also waiting. What does she do? Well, of course, we have just seen what she does. She is the encourager.

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This is in spite of the fact that what is about to happen next is just as big a deal for Naomi as it is for Ruth, but Naomi has developed a maturity that Ruth hasn’t quite developed yet. If we are struggling to wait for something, maybe there is someone else we can encourage with their waiting.

Then there is Boaz. Naomi tells Ruth that Boaz will not be at rest. The word rest here means quiet or undisturbed, so we’re told that Boaz will not be quiet and will not sit still, so quite the opposite to what Ruth is being told to do by Naomi.

But then we’re told what Boaz does next at the beginning of the next chapter, and it might come as a surprise:
Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down. And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down.
Ruth 4:1-2 (KJV‬‬)

Boaz sits down.

He then instructs the man with the legal right to marry Ruth to sit down and then he takes the elders of the city and instructs them to sit down.

It might not seem like a big deal, but this was a pattern that Jesus himself would follow. When Jesus ascended into heaven after he told the disciples to wait, the assumption of the disciples might have been that Jesus had a lot of work to do and wasn’t going to rest until he’d finished.

But we find out in Hebrews 10 that, just like with Boaz, that wasn’t quite what happened next:
But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

Hebrews 10:12 (KJV‬‬)

He sat down. All the hard work of suffering on the cross and dying for us had already been done. The only thing that was left for Jesus to do was sit in his rightful position.

And the best news is that, as Ephesians 2 tells us, when we are born again, we sit down with him:
And [he] hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
Ephesians 2:6 (KJV‬‬)

So what do we do while we wait? If you’re born again, you’re already doing it. In the spiritual realm, we are sitting down, together, with Jesus, in heavenly places.

So what else must we do? Well, from our place of sitting down, we just encourage others to sit down. Like Boaz and Naomi, the best thing we can do to encourage others, is to sit down too. That, of course, is what we are already doing. We just need to start acting like it!

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What might that look like? It might look like taking off our face masks, safe in the knowledge that Jesus has already given us authority over all disease and that we don’t need some flimsy piece of cloth to protect us or anyone else.

It might look like gathering together to sing praises to God, even if the science says that singing indoors is high risk.

And then we wait as God does everything else and draws others who are desperate to hear the message that they don’t need to live in fear any more. And from our seated position, we encourage them to sit down too.

Take your seat, be stable and stay blessed.
 

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