Are You Known For Virtue, Pastor Phil Sessa

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Ruth 3:8 reads, “In the middle of the night something startled the man, and he turned and discovered a woman lying at his feet.” And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All my fellow townsmen know that you are a virtuous women.”

Boaz, who the Scriptures says was a relative of Naomi’s on her husband’s side, from the clan of Elimelech, was a man of wealth spoke these powerful, encouraging and defining words of the life of this one women named Ruth. Ruth had been told by Naomi to wash and put on her best clothes although it is unlikely that an impoverished Ruth would have had best clothes; the Hebrew [word] means only a “garment.” Her outer clothing was not defined by wealth by any means. This is going to be an important issue which we will see in a moment.

After instructing her not to fear, what did he focus on about Ruth? He focused on her character, her reputation. He said for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a virtuous women. How did everyone know this about her? This was quite a reputation to hold. Not just a few people close to Ruth had this testimony of her, but all in the town. Now we don’t know how many lived in the town of Bethlehem at that time, but we do know that her character NOT her clothing called attention to her. Why is that important? This is important to know because her character represented her heart while her clothing represented her outer appearance.

Remember when God was approving of David and disapproving of Saul. 1Samuel 16:7 reads, “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1Samuel 16:7) We as human beings are easily impressed–and therefore often deceived–by what our eyes tell us, while God looks at the “heart.” God sees everything within us. Ruth would surely have answered the question that Proverbs 31:10 poses when it asks, “A wife of virtue who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” A beautiful woman by (her outward appearance) is easy to find. But a virtuous women is worth, is priced, or valued FAR MORE THAN RUBIES. The more rare a stone is the more precious it becomes. A woman of such high caliber is worth FAR MORE than any precious stone, diamond, gold, silver. Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 3:11, “If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones…, since valuable metals and precious stones were used to adorn ancient temples (Revelation 21:18-21), to portray that a life built with Christ as the foundation is like a life built by things that matter and are costly. Ruth’s life was built by things that really mattered, godly character, and everyone saw that godliness in her. The outer shell will fade away with age. Everything on a woman that perhaps is firm right now, will sag and become wrinkled one day. If all a woman possess was her outer beauty when that is gone, what will she have left?

It is believed that Ruth was in fact a beautiful women outwardly as Ruth 2:5 tells us,” Boaz asked the foreman of his harvesters, “Whose young woman is that?,” suggesting a beauty and an attraction toward her. But in the end when they married yes her outward beauty played a part, but it is her inner beauty that kept this man desiring to marry her. (Ruth 4:13). Ruth would become mother to Obed, father of Jesse, father of David. Wow, what a godly heritage!

Application: Perhaps you know some women of such character, but are they know by so many for their character. If you are a woman, yes, keep your beauty outwardly, but let God develop that inward beauty or keep that inward beauty if it is already present in you. When you stand before the Lord, the outward shell that caused the eyes of the opposite sex to start will be gone, and only your character will stand before God.

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