Skip to content
Jun 5 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

June 5, 2022



Welcome and Prayer: Nancy Lopez

Welcome – I’m so glad we get to be together today.  May the Spirit be with you!

I found a cartoon from Family Circus.  It features an older sister comforting a younger brother as they watch a storm outside their window, rain, darkness, thunder and lightening.  She says to him, “Don’t be afraid, it’s just God givin’ us some thunder and enlightening.” 

Today is Pentecost Sunday, and I wonder what the Disciples were experiencing as they gathered together to wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus had instructed them.  They were already fearing for their very lives.  Ten days of prayer and waiting, and then the Spirit of God descended to fill them.  I’m sure fear, even terror, was felt in that scene.  Scripture describes it this way in Acts Ch. 2: Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them.  Can you imagine what they saw and felt?  I mean, when the Holy Spirit fell on Jesus at His baptism, it was a dove!

We remember that Jesus had already breathed on the disciples and declared, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  That was on the first day after His resurrection.  But this, THIS, is something more.  The Acts passage continues: And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.

Thunder and Enlightening…that’s what they experienced!  So, friends, are you experiencing a bit of thunder in your world?   Perhaps you could be on the lookout for some enlightening!

I’m offering the Pentecost prayer this morning from the Celtic Prayer Book.
Most powerful Holy Spirit
come down upon us
and subdue us.

From heaven,
where the ordinary
seems glorious,
and the glorious
is but ordinary,

bathe us
with the brilliance
of your light
like dew.

The morning Talk: chuck smith, jr.

Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you? Is not Boaz our relative with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.” And she replied, “All that you say I will do.” Ruth 3:1-5

Intro: This past week was about getting things done

Not everything on my to-do list–not even one, one-hundredth
– one appointment was scheduled several weeks ago
• another one that I had to plan and prepare myself to complete
◦ I’ll have more to say about this later
• my point is that in our day-to-day passage through life,
◦ I am no different than you
◦ we all have to deal with schedules and appointments and getting things done
– the Book of Proverbs offers us a guide to wise decisions and actions
• the philosophy behind the Proverbs is simple:
◦ God is the source of all wisdom – so reverence him
◦ use common sense
◦ integrity will serve you and your community better than duplicity
◦ when stuck, be creative (but stick to the path of the righteous)
◦ ask for help – seek the counsel of wise people
• it is wisdom to plan and prepare for the future

This is what we find Naomi doing

“My daughter”
Robert Alter, “This reiterated form of address is a token of Naomi’s constant affection for Ruth.”
“should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you?”
– Naomi has had this concern for Ruth from the start (Ruth 1:9)
• she blessed her daughters-in-law with safety and security in the homes of their husbands
– Boaz’ interest in Ruth had not been lost on Naomi
• so she makes plans that involve some “maneuvering”
• probably a little more than the Proverbs recommend
◦ it required a special skill – more like chess than checkers

Naomi knew, at end of harvests there would be a celebration
– winnow means to use wind or a fan to separate the husk from a kernel of grain
• there was a special place for doing this – the threshing floor
◦ it was a festive event – the way grape stomping is depicted in film and TV
• and, important for Naomi’s purpose, Boaz would be present and accessible
– it was a simple plan: Ruth was to make herself presentable
• then go to the harvest festival, but stay in background
◦ she would have to keep her eye on Boaz,
◦ notice when he’s done celebrating and where he beds down
• that is when she would approach him
“uncover his feet” may mean nothing more than that
◦ from that point on, Boaz would take the lead
Ruth’s response, “All that you say I will do”

(Please read vv. 6-13) We may discern a whiff of romance in this scene

However, there is a stronger feeling of suspense
– we cannot predict how Boaz will react to Ruth’s approach
• this uncertainty is intensified when he wakes up startled and barks at her, “Who are you?”
• that’s the moment Ruth makes her intentions known
I am Ruth, your servant. Spread [the corner of your robe] over your servant
– she uses a word with a double-meaningkanawf
(it refers to the edge of something, the corner of a blanket or garment, or the wings of a bird)
• it is the word Boaz had used in blessing Ruth (chapter 2, verse 12)
The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!”
◦ Ruth may be saying that Yahweh would provide her refuge under Boaz’ wings as well
• a few weeks ago I said that we are all artists
◦ what I want to emphasize here is Ruth’s artistic creativity
◦ Naomi did not give her this line, she came up with it herself
it states her request perfectly, using another meaning of his own metaphor
– one other detail, Ruth reminds Boaz, “for you are a redeemer”
• we went over this last week
• a family member with a legal opportunity and responsibility

Naomi and Ruth could not have asked for a more enthusiastic response from Boaz
– Boaz had his eye on Ruth, but he was unsure of who she had her eye on
• he is pleased to learn this young woman wants him
◦ besides whatever physical attraction he felt toward her
all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman
• literally “my people of the gate” – the city gate served as town hall and county courthouse
◦ so he is referring to everyone living within the jurisdiction of the city gate
◦ that will be location of the first scene in the next chapter
– Boaz saw in Ruth something that was true of himself (Ruth 2:1)
• if we see in someone an attribute we value, it is attractive

Boaz delivers the same line Ruth used with Naomi, I will do for you all that you ask
– but there was a complication
• the success in the first stage of Naomi’s plan can be lost in next stage
• this snag creates greater tension than anything else in the entire story
– there was another redeemer who stood in the way
• and, there was valuable property at stake
• we are stuck in suspense through the rest of the night
◦ for now, nothing can be done to resolve it
◦ however, if that obstacle is removed, Boaz swears,
“As the LORD lives, I will redeem you”
(note that he does not mention the property, because that was not his interest)

(Please read vv. 14-18) Ruth reports back to Naomi

“How did you fare, my daughter?” – she is eager to know
– Ruth’s report includes the generous gift she brought home,
• and that he reportedly said,
“You must not go back empty-handed”
• this is exactly how Naomi described her return to Bethlehem
“I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty” (Ruth 1:21)
– now Naomi’s new instruction to Ruth is “Wait”
• of course, we find this more difficult than doing something
• our challenge is to not let things eat at us while we wait

There is one more detail in this story I want to show you

It may not seem like much at first, but I think it’s important
– the most dramatic moment of this episode occurs on threshing floor
• the threshing floor is a recurring symbol in the Scriptures
◦ and the message it speaks comes all the way down to us
• the threshing floor is a place of identification, decision, and separation
– what happens on the threshing floor?
Things get sorted out!

The first instance in scripture is ironic, because it doesn’t mention a threshing floor
– but it should, because Gideon was threshing wheat, but he was doing it
in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites
• an angel appeared to him and commissioned him
◦ this was a decisive moment for Gideon
◦ it separated him from his life of fear and inaction, and gave him a new identity
• there were more separations – soldiers in his army were threshed out twice
◦ the kernel separated from the husk
– the next two examples are found in the story of David
• Uzzah died after placing his hand on the Ark of the Covenant — and that happened
when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon . . .
• it was a pronouncement of judgment – they were to do the Lord’s work in the Lord’s way (cf. 1 Chr. 15:2, 12-13)
◦ the chaff had to be separated from the wheat
• David’s last big mistake resulted in judgment on Israel
◦ but God relented when his avenging angel came to Jerusalem
And the angel of the LORD was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan (1 Chr. 21:15)
◦ this threshing floor became the sacred space on which the temple was built (2 Chr. 3:1)
– one more example involved two kings Ahab and Jeroboam
• Ahab was the most evil king ever – Jeroboam was one of the best
• they were a mismatch, but had allied themselves for war
◦ when they sought first to hear from a prophet whether they should go into battle,
they were sitting at the threshing floor at the entrance to the gate of Samaria (2 Chr. 18:9)
◦ soon the chaff would be separated from the grain
(Ahab died from a battle wound and Jeroboam escaped with his life)
– both Jeremiah and Micah referred to a threshing floor as a place of judgment (Jer. 51:33; Mic. 4:12)
– for the last reference, we turn to the New Testament and John the Baptist
I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire (Mt. 3:11-12)

Conclusion: The positive side of John’s analogy is the gift of the Holy Spirit

Today is Pentecost Sunday — the day the baby Church was given its first breath
– the significance of this event is that we are not alone
– yes, we plan, design, prepare, make schedules and appointments
• but none of that guarantees our future or the future of the Church
• Pentecost tells us that Jesus will fulfill the word he spoke to his disciples,
I will build my church (Mt. 16:18)

Last week we saw God working through what was apparently a coincidence
This week God is at work through Naomi’s plotting and planning
(the success of her maneuvers, like our own, is never guaranteed)
The point is – God’s Spirit is present and he is at work

I mentioned my busy, stressful, and oppressive week
But Wednesday morning, I found peace
It cam through something I mentioned last week about my grandson,
when he blurted out, “It’s my lucky day”
When I remembered that, I smiled and said, “It’s my luck day”
Then I began to believe it, because I knew God was in my day
I had to remind myself again on Thursday,
and God worked it out so that too was my lucky day
But I could have saved myself a lot of unhappiness earlier in the week
if I had just trusted God fully all the way through
So prepare, plan, schedule–but above all, trust God
And that bit of wisdom can be found in the Proverbs:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths
(Pr. 3:5-6)

Leave a comment