But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Ruth 1:8-9 esv
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? Ruth 3:1 esv
On this last of 31 days gleaning with Ruth, I’ve been asking the Lord why Naomi chose prioritized rest for her daughters in law. On their way out of Moab, Naomi stopped and blessed the young women to go home and find rest – each in the house of a husband. And later for Ruth, after the harvest season was completed, back in Bethlehem of Judah, Naomi’s desire and priority was to find her a place of rest.
Looking at the Hebrew words used in each of the two verses I realize Naomi’s idea of rest is far different than our American Merriam Webster definition of rest, which is – repose, sleep… a bodily state characterized by minimal functional and metabolic activities.
Ruth 1:9 – in this scripture reference the Hebrew word for rest is mĕnuwchah according to blueletterbible.com meaning – figuratively, consolation (specifically, matrimony); hence (concretely) an abode:—comfortable, ease, quiet, rest(-ing place), still.
And then in Ruth 3:1 the Hebrew word for rest is mânôwach, maw-no’-akh; quiet, i.e. (concretely) a settled spot, or (figuratively) a home:—(place of) rest. This word for rest in the Hebrew carries with it the idea of security.
As we’ve journeyed along through the book of Ruth, we’ve witnessed this desire of Naomi come to fruition. Ruth obediently followed Naomi’s instructions to wash, dress and lay at the feet of her near kinsman, Boaz. As strange as that might seem to our modern western cultural norms, and especially inside the church – Boaz was the man Naomi hoped would step up to the role of Ruth’s kinsman redeemer, and Naomi knew how to get his attention without crossing a morality line. To be covered, taken in, sheltered – to become the wife of the kinsman redeemer would mean rest, home, peaceful security and hope for her future.
Nowhere at all do we find an indication of Naomi desiring for Ruth the idea of rest in the sense of doing nothing, sitting around her tent, being still – not working – a cessation of being active. Certainly, as a young woman, the expectation would have been for her to care for her husband and hopefully children as time went by.
In the days of Ruth and Naomi, women worked hard with great physical labor just to gather water and prepare a meal. Their daily tasks were far beyond my view of keeping up a household – driving to the grocery store, buying and unpacking food already prepared for me, and gathering water through my indoor plumbing!
And so, while it is important to set aside time to rest from work – to stop the busy routine, the constant motion of going and doing and exhaustion, today the concept of rest Holy Spirit is highlighting is more in the realm of security under His wing.
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him. Psalm 91:1-2
So, if anyone were to ask me: “What is your one big take away from 31 days of gleaning with Ruth?” – it would be the concept of rest as relates to being sheltered under God’s wing.
I’m a busy lady, just as most of you are busy with your daily life activities. As I look back on the last 31 days of writing every day, maintaining my full-time employment, caring for family (which includes 3 dogs) and home, and checking in on neighbors, it’s been an overly full month. And yet, the fact that I am now crossing the finish line (with you) on this project is proof enough – this was God’s idea. Truly because Holy Spirit has been leading the way, and I have simply followed under His direction, this adventure has been anything but burdensome. Rather, it is has been a JOY feast for my soul.
I’m reminded this morning of Jesus’ definition of rest –
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30 ESV
Yes, do you see it too? Jesus teaches when we join Him in His work, under His gentle supervision, we will find rest for our souls. It’s true! I’ve experienced this truth in every one of the last 31 days. I pray today you too are taking Jesus at His word, to join Him – yoked with Him – in His work for today. As you choose today to submit to His gentle training, I am confident you WILL find rest for your soul. I can’t wait to hear the testimonies…
Father, thank You for sheltering me under Your Wing and for covering me with Your Feathers as I’ve met with You in Your Word daily. Holy Spirit thank You for teaching me in the peacefulness of the first fruits of the day. Thank You, Jesus, for giving me rest in my work because this is the work You called me to do. May I remember always and come often to sit at Your feet, my Lord, to rest with You and work with You under the security of Your habitation with me. I give thanks to You God for You are good and Your steadfast love endures forever. Amen.
- What is your definition of rest? Do you see rest as a state of being? Or do you see rest as something to do? Do you have room in your life for both forms of rest?
- Is Holy Spirit highlighting a particular form of rest for you to prioritize today?
- Would you like to make my prayer your own prayer today? How might your prayer be different regarding rest? In what areas of your life are you seeking rest?
- Let’s pray together to be taught by Holy Spirit and to glean His truth for our good and for His glory.
Thank you for taking this journey with me. May God bless you richly with a desire to be tucked under His great Wing – covered by His Feathers as described in Psalm 91, and may you experience His tangible presence and an overwhelming sense of security no matter where you are or what tasks you are performing. May you find yourself lying at Jesus’ feet and listening to His loving Shepherd voice calling you by name.
Eyes on Jesus… you’re Shining!