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Expositional Listening

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Over twenty years ago I wrote a phrase on the title page of my bible. It is a quote, though not original to me. By experience, I have come to trust that it is true and relevant and that it speaks to my past, present, and my future in compelling and urgent ways. The phrase is simply this; “The reader is destined to become a participant.”

Last Sunday we continued the story of Ruth. We use a style of preaching termed ‘expository,’ meaning a verse-by-verse detailed explanation of the story, and especially the archetypal roles that were divinely assigned. Below are my ‘expository notes’ on the first 13 verses that were enabled by Matt’s expository message. Please open your bible and walk through these verses as we look at them.

Ruth 2:1-13

Verse 1

Bible margin note: Character, wealth, lineage. Underlined text: “Man of great wealth, family of Elimelech, Boaz” (note: the first mention of Boaz as a ‘type’ of Christ)

Verse 2

Margin note: Contrast; Poverty, needy. Underlined text: “let me go and glean…  one in whose sight I might find favor” (see Jn 4, The woman at the well)

Verses 3-4

Margin note: Providence – not chance. Underlined text: v.3 “she happened to come…” and v.4 “behold, Boaz came”

Verses 5-6

Margin note: Boaz gets Personal. Underlined text: “Whose woman is this?” (note: Ruth is standing there and heard him; note: the servant introduces her as the “Moabite from Moab,” not as the daughter-in-law of Naomi)

Verse 7

Margin note: Her Plea. Underlined text: “Please let me glean” (note: Ruth’s second request see v.2, here she begs to be a beggar – she is ‘less than the least.’

Verse 8

Margin note: His Provision. Underlined text: “Do not go…stay here with my maids” (note: Boaz elevates her status)

Verse 9

Margin note: His Protection. Underlined text: “I have commanded the servants not to touch you” (note: A further comment on the low character of the servants and the blessing of Boaz re: food and water)

Verse 10

Margin note: Her Puzzlement. Underlined text: “Why have I found favor…” (note: Ruth esteems Boaz as royalty. She acknowledges her lowly status, wrongfully established by the servant)

Verse 11

Margin note: Her Demonstration of Faith. Underlined text: Verse 11 (note: Boaz sets the record straight)

Verse 12

Margin note: The Origin of Blessings; A Kind Providence. Underlined text: “May the LORD reward your work”. (note: It might appear in v.11 that Boaz is blessing Ruth as a result of her works (and would that mean that our salvation and blessing is based on ours?) but that cannot be because Ruth made her vow of conversion to the God of Israel in chapter 1. So why does Boaz bless her? Ans.: He blesses whom he blesses and in v.12 explains to Ruth the true origin of his kindness - a kind providence, indeed.

Verse 13

Margin note: Undeserved Kindness. Underlined text: “I have found favor in your sight, my lord” (Ruth expresses a contrite spirit in the presence of Boaz’s blessing; a fitting response to the grace of God.)

I hope my ‘expository notes’ might serve as an encouragement to you as together we sit under the expository preaching of God’s word. I am blessed by Matt’s teaching and thankful for where it takes me. I see myself in the progression of keywords from each verse. I am thankful to be a modern-day participant in this never-ending story.