Title: Ruth: 3:10-13; A community without lies. The God who cannot lie; the Christian who cannot lie.
RUT 3:11 And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence.
RUT 3:12 And now it is true I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I.
RUT 3:13 Remain this night, and when morning comes, if he will redeem you, good; let him redeem you. But if he does not wish to redeem you, then I will redeem you, as the Lord lives. Lie down until morning."
Boaz does things according to the Law of God. He loves God’s law. He then vows on the name of the Lord that if the closer kinsman will not redeem her than he will.
We noted that God did not command vows. Vows were already in practice and God regulated them amongst His people.
Vows were used by all cultures because the human race is full of liars.
God’s regulation of vows backed up the broader doctrine of being faithful to one’s word. This is key to our study of the Lord’s teaching on vows. The big picture is faithfulness to one’s word as God is to His word.
MAT 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.”
The Law was fulfilled by Christ when He died. When He was crucified, the believer was crucified. When He was raised, we were raised. When He fulfilled the Law, we fulfilled the Law. We are not called to follow the Mosaic Law. Believers have been called to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who fulfilled the Law. The ethics of the Law are raised to their heavenly level in Christ and that is what we follow.
Part of the law of Christ is to be faithful in what one says.
MAT 5:33 "Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, 'You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord.'
MAT 5:34 "But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,
MAT 5:35 or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
MAT 5:36 "Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.
MAT 5:37 "But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes' or 'No, no'; and anything beyond these is of evil.
The ramification of lies in the world and in ourselves is tremendous. Enormous damage is done by them. It is amazing to think of the damage that words alone can do.
The Christian community is to be only full of truth. It is to be full of God’s glory. There is to be no hypocrisy, lying, false witness, or anything of untruth. We are born of the truth and so the truth and nothing but is to be amongst us.
At the fall we stumbled into the world of good and evil without the inherent resources of discernment. Lying became a way of professing good without character.
Without divine revelation in grace, we were hopelessly lost. God started off by giving us the Adamic Covenant and the blood sacrifice as a sign of redemption in the coming Messiah, the seed of the woman.
It was quickly apparent that only God could be trusted. It would be difficult to determine which people could be trusted.
We long for honesty from others, but do we always find it in ourselves? We learn early on that rather than admitting a wrong done and facing the consequences, we can lie and face none, unless we get caught in the lie.
Lying about our character and ability is prevalent.
We can desire a certain heroic or admirable image for ourselves. We soon find that the true image requires a lot of dedication, discipline, and hard work. We can circumvent all of that work by faking the image. We pretend to be something that we’re not and we live a lie. The introduction of social media makes this mask wearing easier than ever.
Reaching far for the character of Christ is not hypocrisy since every believer has been made for it. Hypocrisy is pretending to be something that you’re not.
There is something to be said for reaching ahead for divine virtue, though you may not as of yet have the maturity for it. This is not hypocrisy, but faith in who you are in Christ reaching out to hope. A sincere attempt to walk worthy of your calling is not hypocrisy because you are a child of God possessing eternal life and the Holy Spirit within. For an unbeliever to attempt it would be hypocrisy, as Satan attempts to portray himself as an angel of light. Hypocrisy is pretending to be something that you are not.
Interestingly, we long for truth in ourselves. We long for the comfort that comes from being true, meaning that the charade, the acting, the pretending is hard work in itself, but it also bothers our conscience. We long to be that within which we want others to see without. We long for character, virtue, and righteousness. This is the image of God in us. It is smothered in pride and laziness.
We could investigate the lies in politics, entertainment, chemical addiction, marketing, advertising, etc. and with the proliferation of lies in our world we might despair of hope for the truth. But then, we can rejoice, for the bread of life, the word in the flesh, has come down from heaven.
God is our only hope for a life of truth.
Balaam’s second speech before Balak to Israel is the valley below:
NUM 23:19 "God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent;
Has He said, and will He not do it?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
TIT 1:1 Paul, a bond-servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness,
TIT 1:2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,
TIT 1:3 but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior
What if God could lie? What would His promises become if it were possible?
The only place where we can find the truth that our souls long for, truth about all things and truth within in purity of character without masks, is in God.
We can see, as children of God, as the bride of Christ, and as the body of Christ, there is no affinity for lies in us or our community. The lie is from the flesh which has been crucified in us. The believer is a child of light who is privileged to walk in the light. The blood of Jesus has completely cleansed us. We have been delivered from the Law of condemnation and have been brought into His marvelous light and life in the Holy Spirit. No longer do we have anything to do with lies.
By telling us to make no oaths at all, Jesus is taking away the option to lie. He is destroying untruth in the believer.
He takes it off the table completely.
The lie causes the oath and Jesus seized on the lie by forbidding the oath. The lie can hide in the oath as it so often does. The lie can actually be the oath, which is perjury.
The lie can be hidden in the oath itself.
But what about the one who designs the oath? In Israel it was customary to swear an oath by the temple or the gold in the temple and they actually classified one oath above another in importance.
MAT 23:16 "Woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obligated.'
MAT 23:17 "You fools and blind men; which is more important, the gold, or the temple that sanctified the gold?
He in no way is making a point about keeping vows made on the temple. All vows should be kept. He is pointing out their blindness in that they imagine a vow on the gold of the temple to be more binding. If they are so foolish and so blind then how could they see the importance of the faithfulness of their words before God, which is in everything said, vowed or not vowed.
MAT 23:18 "And, 'Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering upon it, he is obligated.'
MAT 23:19 "You blind men, which is more important, the offering or the altar that sanctifies the offering?
MAT 23:20 "Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it.
MAT 23:21 "And he who swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells within it.
MAT 23:22 "And he who swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.
Eventually, every vow leads back to a promise before God. The hairsplitting of the religious in Israel over the centuries did not undo that fact.
Every promise made and every word given is before God ultimately.