“And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech”
(Ruth 2: 3)
“her hap” – Yes, it seemed nothing but an accident – but how divinely was it overruled! Ruth had gone forth with her mother-in-law, Naomi’s blessing, under the care of her God – to humble but honorable toil; and the providence of God was guiding her every step! Little did she know, that amid the sheaves – she would find a husband; and that he would make her the joint owner of all those broad acres; and that she, a destitute foreigner, would become an ancestor of the great Messiah!
God is very good to those who trust in Him, and often surprises them with unlooked for blessings. Little do we know what may happen to us in the future; but this sweet fact should cheer us – that nothing which is really good for us – shall be withheld from us!
The word “chance” is banished from the Christian’s vocabulary – for we see the hand of God in everything. The seemingly trivial events of today or tomorrow, may involve consequences of the highest importance. Take comfort – our Lord deals as graciously with all His servants – as He did with Ruth!
Surely something must be amiss with the scales!
“Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19: 36)
Weights, and scales, and measures – were to be all according to the standard of justice. Surely no Christian will need to be reminded of this in his business, for if justice were banished from all the world beside – it should find a shelter in true Christian hearts!
There are, however, other scales and balances which weigh moral and spiritual things – and these often need examining. We will call in the Judge right now.
Those scales in which we weigh our own and other men’s characters – are they quite accurate? Do we not turn our own ounces of goodness – into pounds; and other people’s pounds of excellence – into ounces? See to just weights and measures here, Christian!
Those scales in which we measure our trials and troubles – are they according to standard? Paul, who had far more to suffer than we have – called his afflictions light.
Yet we often consider our afflictions to be heavy! Surely something must be amiss with the scales! We must see to this matter, lest we get reported to the court above, for unjust dealing!
Those scales with which we measure our beliefs – are they quite fair? The precepts and doctrines should have the same weight with us as the promises – no more and no less! With many, one scale or the other is unfairly weighted. It is a grand matter to give just measure in God's truths. Christian, be careful here!
Those scales in which we estimate our obligations and responsibilities look rather small. When a rich man gives no more to the cause of God, than the poor contribute – is that an honest weight, an honest measure, a just balance?
Reader, we might lengthen the list – but we prefer to leave it as your day’s work – to find out and destroy all unjust scales, balances, weights, and measures!
The knife of the heavenly Surgeon
“This sickness is not unto death” (John 11: 4)
From our Lord’s words, we learn that there is a limit to sickness. In all sickness, the Lord says to the waves of pain, “Hitherto shall you go – but no further!” His fixed purpose is not the destruction of His people – but the instruction of His people. Wisdom hangs up the thermometer at the furnace mouth – and regulates the heat!
1. The limit is encouragingly comprehensive. The God of providence has limited the time, manner, intensity and effects of all our sicknesses. Each throb is decreed, each sleepless hour predestined, each relapse ordained, each depression of spirit foreknown, and each sanctifying result eternally purposed. Nothing great or small escapes the ordaining hand of Him who numbers the hairs of our head!
2. This limit is wisely adjusted to our strength, to the end designed, and to the grace apportioned. Affliction does not come by “chance” – the weight of every stroke of God’s rod – is accurately measured. He who made no mistakes in balancing the clouds, and measuring out the heavens – commits no errors in measuring out the ingredients which compose the medicine of souls. We cannot suffer too much – nor be relieved too late!
3. The limit is tenderly appointed. The knife of the heavenly Surgeon never cuts deeper than is absolutely necessary. “For He doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” A mother’s heart cries, “Spare my child!” but no mother is more compassionate than our gracious God. When we consider how self-willed we are – it is a wonder that we are not driven with a sharper bit!
The thought is full of consolation – that He who has fixed the bounds of our habitation, has also fixed the bounds of our tribulation.
(Extracts from C H Spurgeon)