“I Am Ruth Thine Handmaid (Part 3)”

I Am Ruth Thine Handmaid (Part 3)

Wade Webster

Ruth stands out as one of the greatest servants in the Scriptures.  In previous lessons, we saw that Ruth was a faithful, fervent, and fearful servant.  In this lesson, we will see one final characteristic. 

A Fruitful Servant

Throughout the book we find Ruth bringing fruit to Naomi. In the second chapter, she brought her a part of her lunch (Ruth 2:14, 18) and “about an ephah of barley” (Ruth 2:17).  An ephah would have been about a bushel and would have lasted for about a week.  In the third chapter, she brought Naomi “six measures of barley” (Ruth 3:15, 17).  Six measures would have been about twice what she gleaned the first day in the field (Ruth 2:17).  Six measures would have been about eighty pounds and would have sustained Ruth and Naomi for about two weeks.  Ruth did not come “empty” to her mother-in-law (Ruth 3:17).  Interestingly, “empty” was the very word that Naomi used to describe her situation when she arrived back in Bethlehem (Ruth 1:21).

Although the grain was great, the fruit that Naomi most wanted was a son to carry on the name of her husband and sons (Ruth 4:5, 10).  As you know, she would not be disappointed.  God granted Ruth conception and she bore a son (Ruth 4:13).  By the book’s end, Naomi has the child in her arms (Ruth 4:16). 

What about us?  Are we fruitful servants?  Do we come to God “empty” or are our hands full of gifts for Him?  Repeatedly, men under the Old Testament system were warned not to appear before Him empty (Ex. 23:15; 34:20; Deut. 16:16).  Amazingly, even the pagan Philistine priests knew this much (1 Sam. 6:1-3).  Although God made allowances for the poor under the Old Testament system, such as a pair of turtledoves instead of a lamb, all were to bring something (Lev. 12:8; Lk. 2:24; Psa. 96:8). Obviously, if men under the Old Testament system were not to come to God empty, then it makes sense that under a far greater system we must not do so.  As His servants, God wants us to bear fruit.  Jesus said, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples” (John 15:8; cf. 15:16; Rom. 7:4; Col. 1:10; Heb. 13:15).  We are not to be unfruitful (Tit. 3:14; 2 Pet. 1:8).  Of course, the fruit that God most desires is someone to wear the name of His son (Rom. 1:13).  He wants individuals to be born into His family and to keep the name of His Son alive in the earth.

Are we a servant to our Redeemer as Ruth was to hers?  Have we placed ourselves humbly at his feet submitting to His will?  Are we faithful, fervent, fearful, and fruitful?