Calvary Road Baptist Church

“ON BEING AN APPEALING CHRISTIAN” Part 3

 

Sometimes a Christian feels trapped by the strength of an authority figure’s position over her, or the force of his intractable and unreasonable personality. However, a quick review of God’s Word shows that being in such an apparently hopeless situation is not new for the child of God. It is not as if your boss is the worst boss who has ever lived, or that your dad is the most stubborn and pigheaded father in history. When in history have we not seen God’s servants in seemingly impossible situations? Isaac bound by his father Abraham on a pile of wood on Mount Moriah, Joseph enslaved by his brothers and then imprisoned by his master, the Jewish slave girl who told her mistress the wife of the Syrian leper Naaman about the prophet Elisha, Jeremiah cast into a dungeon, Ezekiel losing his wife in Babylonian captivity, Daniel subject to the tyrant Nebuchadnezzar and then to the even more oppressive grandson Belshazzar.

In our communion services some months back, we reviewed the imprisonment of the 17th century English Baptist John Bunyan. However, do not forget the public flogging of Obadiah Holmes in Boston in 1651, and the imprisonment of Adoniram Judson. Then there are the wives of unreasonable men, the children of unreasonable parents, the slaves of unreasonable masters, the employees of unreasonable bosses, the subjects of unreasonable kings and lords, and the citizens of unreasonable governments.

Keep in mind that I am talking about Christian men and women in each of these situations. People who trust Christ for the forgiveness of their sins own God as the One who controls every event in our lives by means of His providential watch care over us, so we can glory in knowing “that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” Romans 8.28. As well, the child of God knows that his actions demonstration this conviction. Though we find ourselves in impossible situations, as those before us have been throughout Bible and church history, there are three things we cling to.

First, we cling to the fact that God never places us into situations that are too difficult for us to handle. Therefore, if the child of God says, “Pastor, I just can’t take it anymore,” I respond by empathizing and doing my best to be an encouragement. However, at some point I am duty-bound to point out to the Christian who says, “I can’t take it anymore,” that what he says is simply not true. In Romans 3.4, the Apostle Paul writes, “. . . let God be true, but every man a liar.” Therefore, if you make a claim or declare as true something that God says is false, I must contend with you. I must be true to God. Therefore, be careful you who think, or who claim, that you cannot take it any more, that you are at the end of your spiritual rope, that life is too hard for you in your present situation. You are calling into question the very character of the God you say you trust. Turn to First Corinthians 10.13: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Either you can take more than you think you can, or God has made provision for you that you are not taking advantage of (and it will not be sin, I can assure you). Oftentimes Christians think they are at the very end of their endurance, only to look back from the distance of years to sadly admit that they ruined lives and opportunities because they did not trust God’s goodness, compassion, and mercy to provide a way. I submit to you that that way is sometimes a godly appeal.

Next, we cling to the fact that everything we do is in front of bystanders, onlookers, witnesses, unsaved friends and loved ones, children, and even angels. My friends, if you claim to know Christ as your Savior then you are one who has this treasure of the gospel in an earthen vessel, Second Corinthians 4.7, your own body and life. You are an epistle, Paul wrote in Second Corinthians 3.2, “known and read of men.” However, it is in Hebrews 12.1-3 that we are shown to be central figures in an arena, with the grandstands surrounding us filled to capacity:

 

1      Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

2      Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

3      For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

 

With God looking on, with the Savior looking on, with your unsaved family members looking on, with the younger Christians who know you looking on, with unsaved co-workers and neighbors looking on, as with the angels of heaven looking on, as well as other witnesses, how can we not do right, run our races with patience, and do our best to follow the example of our blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Enough of this satanic nonsense of looking out for ourselves. We have been called upon to die to self and to live for Christ.

However, there is no benefit to the cause of Christ for the child of God to suffer needlessly, or for our lives to be unnecessarily miserable. This is why the child of God seeks God’s wisdom, pleads for God’s wisdom, values God’s wisdom, and then employs God’s wisdom in appropriate steps to seek relief from suffering. How is this done? The biblical appeal, which is the third thing we cling to. There is usually an opportunity to appeal. Until the child of God has attempted to appeal to the person exercising authority over him, he does not really know the will of God concerning his predicament. For all the believer knows, the difficult bind she finds herself in could conceivably have occurred in God’s plan for her life for two reasons:

First, it is possible that God’s plan for your life is suffering, living in an impossible situation. Why not? The ultimate goal of God for you is not your happiness or pleasure in this lifetime, but His own glory. That is precisely what Paul had in mind when he wrote these words to the Romans, in Romans 8.17-18: “. . . if so be that we suffer with him [Christ], that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

However, what if God’s immediate purpose in your difficult straits is not suffering? What if God’s immediate purpose in your difficult straits is to produce a sense of urgency that will force you to pray for and acquire wisdom from God, to formulate a Biblical appeal to present to that person in authority who troubles you? You will never know which of these two purposes God has in mind for your life until you prayerfully, carefully, and judiciously, present the best appeal you can muster to that person in authority over you. That person’s response to your appeal will reveal God’s purpose in your suffering, in your difficulty, in your desperate situation you find yourself in. If your appeal fails, it is God’s will that you suffer. If your appeal succeeds, you have relief without sinning against God or anyone else. You will never know some things until you take your best shot at making an appeal. You do not really know how unreasonable your parents are until you properly appeal to them, which is to say that you carefully craft a request that they make a new decision based upon new information or old information seen in a new light. You do not really know how unreasonable your husband is, or your boss is, until you have implemented God’s tool for dealing with authority figures without challenging or undermining their position or their authority. Until you do it the right way, you simply do not know how hard and callus that person really is.

This evening, to encourage you to resort to this approach when dealing with a mom or dad, when dealing with an intractable husband or boss, to exhort you to use God’s means of seeking relief by making an appeal that honors God, I urge you to consider,

 

The Second Main Division of Our Consideration of this Matter, THE POWER OF AN APPEAL

 

Have you ever studied the effectiveness of a properly presented appeal in the Bible? I think you will be astonished at how wonderfully God blesses the efforts of the child of God who prayerfully trusts God enough to submit a properly designed appeal.

First, there is a woman’s ability to convince a man to do right. One of the delusions Satan blinds a woman with is the idea that, if she submits to her husband’s authority, she will no longer to have the freedom to follow her best judgment in a given situation, and that this will result in her spirit being crushed. Actually, the opposite is true. When a woman has a truly submissive spirit, she has far greater power to appeal than most people realize, and her spirit is anything but crushed by the adverse circumstances she finds herself in. Here are several Biblical illustrations of this truth: First,

Ruth’s appeal to Boaz

 

In the days of the judges of Israel, after Joshua led them in the conquest of the Promised Land, but before they had their first king, every man did that which was right in his own eyes.[1] Because of one Jewish man’s sin of marrying a Moabite woman named Ruth and then dying, leaving her a widow, Moabite Ruth returned to Israel with her Jewish mother-in-law Naomi. Turn to Ruth chapter 2. As we read together, notice how Ruth’s appeal takes advantage of the Mosaic Law’s allowance for one man’s barren widow to be married by his surviving relative. Boaz is the name of the man who was cousin to Ruth’s now dead husband. Ruth 2-3.

 

1      And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz.

2      And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.

3      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.

4      And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.

5      Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this?

6      And the servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab:

7      And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house.

8      Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens:

9      Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.

10     Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?

11     And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.

12     The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.

13     Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens.

14     And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.

15     And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not:

16     And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.

17     So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley.

18     And she took it up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed.

19     And her mother in law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned to day? and where wroughtest thou? blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee. And she shewed her mother in law with whom she had wrought, and said, The man’s name with whom I wrought to day is Boaz.

20     And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.

21     And Ruth the Moabitess said, He said unto me also, Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest.

22     And Naomi said unto Ruth her daughter in law, It is good, my daughter, that thou go out with his maidens, that they meet thee not in any other field.

23     So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law.

1      Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee?

2      And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.

3      Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking.

4      And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do.

5      And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do.

6      And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her.

7      And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down.

8      And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet.

9      And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman.

10     And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.

11     And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.

12     And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.

13     Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman’s part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the LORD liveth: lie down until the morning.

14     And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor.

15     Also he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city.

16     And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her.

17     And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law.

18     Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.

 

Though scripture does not specifically say, it was possible that a man of Boaz’ prosperity and age who was free to marry was a widower, probably with grown children. If such was the case, Boaz would then have had grown sons to establish his inheritance and would not risk being unable to pass on his own inheritance should he marry again and sire a child by Ruth. It was also likely that Boaz would take an emotional beating from his tribesmen for marrying a Moabite woman. However, also remember that Boaz’ own mom had been a woman named Rahab, according to Matthew 1.5. Therefore, Boaz was perhaps more sensitive to the plight of a stranger like Ruth than someone with a Jewish mother might have been. However, because of her own virtues and faithfulness, along with timely advice and counsel from Naomi, Ruth fulfilled all the requirements to make an appeal. How masterfully, with Naomi’s advice, the appeal was made. That wise old woman, Naomi, sure knew how to structure Ruth’s appeal. Beloved, that is how aged women are supposed to help young women. Boaz’ response to Ruth’s appeal to be her kinsman redeemer assured him a place in the ancestry of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Review with me the Biblical appeal ingredients and determine if we can find where each of the seven aspects of an appeal are suggested.

Did Ruth have a right standing with Boaz? There are all kinds of indications that she did. Ruth 2.5-16:

 

5      Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this?

6      And the servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab:

7      And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house.

8      Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens:

9      Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.

10     Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?

11     And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.

12     The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.

13     Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens.

14     And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.

15     And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not:

16     And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.

 

Boaz was impressed by Ruth’s willingness to take care of Naomi. As well, he was certainly pleased by her decision to forsake Moab for Israel, to turn her back on idolatry and to embrace the God of Israel.[2]

How about a right basis for the appeal? When Ruth appealed to Boaz to redeem her, was the request in Boaz’ best interests? Ruth 3.8-11:

 

8      Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens:

9      Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.

10     Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?

11     And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.

 

It surely seemed that way to Boaz.

Next, there is the right timing. Going to Boaz after a hard day’s work, in the middle of the night, might seem to us to be a bad time. However, following Naomi’s advice, Ruth’s timing ensured that Boaz would not then be occupied with the young men that worked for him, and that he would be able spend the quiet hours of the night thinking about how he would fulfill her request. Remember, Boaz was an older men, and sometimes older men have difficulty sleeping. Thus, Boaz could spend that time of the late night and early morning when he was not asleep giving his attention to that urgent matter. Ruth 3.2-9:

 

2      And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.

3      Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking.

4      And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do.

5      And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do.

6      And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her.

7      And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down.

8      And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet.

9      And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman.

 

Fourth, she communicated the right information. As you read, notice, though Ruth gave to Boaz the best information she knew of, he had more information than she had. This is often the case when making an appeal. The person you appeal to will frequently have access to important information that you are completely unaware of.

 

9      And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman.

10     And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.

11     And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.

12     And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.

 

Fifth, did Ruth have the right attitude? We will not presently read, but think about what we remember from the book of Ruth. First, she came back to Israel with Naomi expecting nothing. Second, she showed humility by serving Naomi and working hard to feed her mother-in-law. Third, when the critical appeal was made, Ruth did exactly what Naomi told her to do. Therefore, it is very likely that Ruth’s attitude was in every way correct.

Were right words used? This is the sixth ingredient of a successful appeal. Remember, we have already seen that Naomi gave explicit instructions to Ruth. No doubt, she included in those instructions even the precise words to say to meet the requirements of Israelite culture and accomplish her goal.

Finally, did Ruth demonstrate the right response to Boaz? Well, once she arrived at the threshing floor she seemed to follow his instructions, Ruth 3.13-15:

 

13     Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman’s part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the LORD liveth: lie down until the morning.

14     And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor.

15     Also he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city.

 

Thus, we see evidence that all the necessary ingredients of a Biblical appeal are found in this example of Ruth appealing to Boaz to do the right thing for him, and the right thing for her.

 

What you men need to consider from this example of Ruth and Boaz is the likely scenario that would have unfolded if Boaz had been an unapproachable man. I mention this because for those women to plan and execute their appeal they had believe that at some level Boaz was a reasonable man who could be appealed to. The question is whether you are such a man? Do those under your authority have sufficient confidence about your spirituality, about your reasonableness, about your love and tenderness, and about your humility, that they are so convinced that you will at least honestly consider an appeal, that they will actually submit an appeal to you? On the other hand, are you so hardheaded that those under you are left to despair that you will ever consider an appeal from those who have your interests at heart?



[1] Judges 17.6

[2] Ruth 1.16

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org