HWMR – Crystallization-study of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth (Week 11)
Boaz and Ruth Typifying Christ and the Church
Ruth 4:10 Furthermore Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, I acquire as my own wife so that I may raise up the dead man’s name upon his inheritance and the dead man’s name may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his place. You are witnesses today.
The book of Ruth tells us that Boaz redeemed Ruth; he also redeemed the birthright for her. This means that Christ, as our real Boaz, has redeemed both us and the birthright.
Boaz redeemed his kinsman’s inheritance and married the man’s widow (Ruth 4:1-17); hence, he became a notable forefather of Christ, a great associate of Christ. As a brother and a Boaz, you should take care of others’ birthright of Christ….In other words, you should not only take care of your own enjoyment of Christ, but also others’ enjoyment of Christ.
Ruth and Naomi had lost the enjoyment, the birthright, but according to God’s regulation there was a way to restore the birthright, to redeem it. But it had to be redeemed by someone else. The principle is the same in the church life today….Quite often, some dear ones lose their enjoyment of Christ. In a sense, they become Naomi or Ruth. If so, you need to be a Boaz, able to redeem the lost birthright and marry the redeemed one.
To lose the husband means to lose the enjoyment of the birthright….Thus, I need you, as my brother, to redeem my birthright. But you need to be somewhat richer in Christ….Then you pay the price to regain my birthright, and you also marry me. This means that you become involved with me. This kind of spiritual involvement will produce Obed, the grandfather of David. Boaz became one of the great forefathers of Christ. In a spiritual sense, he was the one who enjoyed the largest and richest portion of Christ. If a brother becomes a Boaz to me, he will be the one with the greatest enjoyment of Christ. Because he redeemed my birthright and became so involved with me, our involvement in the Lord will eventually bring forth the full enjoyment of Christ.
In the church life today we need to have a number of Boazes….Some brothers should take care of me, the poor Ruth, but they are selfish in the spiritual enjoyment of Christ. Even in the spiritual enjoyment of Christ it is quite possible to be selfish. However, a Boaz will be generous and pay the price to redeem my birthright. All this indicates that we should take care of not only our own birthright, but also others’ birthright. Day by day we should take care of others’ enjoyment of Christ. The more we do this, the better. (Life-study of Matthew, pp. 32-33)
Life-study of Colossians (Message 55)
Not Defrauded of Your Prize of the Enjoyment of Christ
Col. 2:18 Let no one defraud you by judging you unworthy of your prize, in self-chosen lowliness and the worship of the angels, dwelling on the things which he has seen, vainly puffed up by his mind set on the flesh,
In our daily living it is easy for us to be more concerned about our behavior than about the enjoyment of Christ. As those who love the Lord and seek Him, we have a natural desire to uplift our behavior. We earnestly desire to have an upright daily life. Whenever we fail the Lord in our daily walk, we are full of regret and we confess to the Lord and ask Him to forgive us and cleanse us. Although we may be very exercised in matters like this, we may not care adequately for the enjoyment of Christ. Oh, we need to enjoy Christ in our daily living!
We have seen that we need to enjoy Christ in the daily matters of eating and drinking. The fact that we eat and drink a number of times during the day indicates that we should not be content to enjoy Christ just once a day. Eating and drinking are shadows. If we eat and drink more than once a day, then we should also enjoy Christ more than once a day. We should experience Christ not only daily, but many times throughout every day.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Paul says, “Pray without ceasing.” To pray in a genuine way is to enjoy Christ. I regret to say that much of our prayer is not genuine, for we often do not enjoy Christ as we pray. Whenever we pray properly in the spirit, we enjoy Christ. To pray unceasingly actually means to enjoy Christ without ceasing. We need to enjoy Christ continually. However, not many of us have been helped to live a spiritual life in the way of constantly enjoying Christ. For this we need to pray that the Lord would grant us the grace to enjoy Him daily and throughout every day.
In Paul’s word about shadows we have a hint as to how we may enjoy Christ in a practical way. Since such things as eating and drinking are shadows of which Christ is the substance and reality, we need to be reminded whenever we eat and drink that the real food and the real drink are Christ. When you eat your food, you should simultaneously eat Christ. When you drink some beverage, you should also drink Christ. As you put on your clothing, you should be reminded that Christ is the real clothing, and you should experience Him as such. As you put on your material clothing, you should also put on Christ. It is easy to enjoy Christ in this way. Whatever we do day by day should remind us of Christ as the reality of that thing. Even our breathing should remind us of the necessity of breathing Christ spiritually.
If we follow the practice of taking Christ as the reality of all the material things in our daily life, our daily walk will be revolutionized and transformed. It will be full of Christ. When we eat and drink, we shall take Christ as our spiritual food and drink. Everything we do will remind us to contact Christ, to enjoy Christ, to experience Christ, and to have Christ as our everything. To practice this day by day is truly to enjoy Christ.
Life-study of Colossians (Message 56)
Holding the Head, Out from Whom All the Body Grows with Growth of God
Col. 2:19 And not holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God.
To understand properly what it means to hold the Head, we need to consider 2:16 and 17, where Paul tells us that Christ is the body, the substance, the reality, of all the shadows. Eating, drinking, Sabbaths, new moons, and feasts are all shadows of things to come, whereas Christ is the body, the reality, of these shadows. Based upon this fact, Paul warns us not to allow anyone to purposely defraud us of our prize. His warning in 2:18 and 19 is based upon the fact, revealed in verses 16 and 17, that Christ is the reality of all positive things. Those who seek to defraud us are the ones who stand on things which they have seen and who do not hold the Head. Thus, there is a connection between Christ as the body of the shadows and holding the Head. In other words, the very Christ who is the reality of all positive things is the One who is the Head of the Body. If we would know what it means to hold the Head, we must know what it is to enjoy Christ as the reality of all positive things. Without enjoying Christ in this way, we cannot experientially hold Him as the Head. With this as the background, we can now say that to hold the Head is simply to enjoy Christ as the reality of all positive things.
The genuine Christian life is a life of enjoying Christ. We need to enjoy the Lord all day long. We have seen that in speaking of eating, drinking, Sabbaths, new moons, and feasts Paul refers to matters of daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly enjoyment. Actually, we eat and drink several times a day. In Paul’s use of illustrations in 2:16, he covers the whole span from the hourly enjoyment of Christ to the yearly enjoyment of Him. This indicates that we should enjoy Christ continually. When I drink a glass of water, I should remember to drink Christ. When I eat my food, I should enjoy Christ as the real food. Whenever we enjoy Christ in this way, we automatically hold Him as the Head. Thus, the best way to hold Christ as the Head is to enjoy Him. There is no better way to hold Christ than to eat Him. Just as we hold food by taking it into us and eating it, so we hold Christ by eating Him.
In 2:16-19, Paul takes a great leap, from Christ as everything for our enjoyment, which is on the ground floor, to Christ as the Head, which is the top floor of our experience. As we enjoy Christ as food, drink, air, and everything to us, we are uplifted by a divine elevator to the very height, where we hold Christ as the Head. But if we stop enjoying Christ, we immediately stop holding Him as the Head. Only when we enjoy Him do we also hold Him. This is not a doctrine learned from theology books. It is a fact of Christian experience. From my experience throughout the years I have learned that to hold the Head is to enjoy Christ continually. We are vessels made to contain Him, and we hold Him by eating, drinking, and breathing Him. By this we see that holding Christ as the Head is a very subjective matter.
In 2:17 Paul says that the body is of Christ, but in verse 19 he speaks not of Christ, but of holding the Head. The reason for the change in terminology from Christ to the Head is that our enjoyment of the Lord causes us to become conscious of the Body. If we are those who enjoy Christ continually, we shall not continue to be individualistic. The saints who are individualistic are those who do not consistently enjoy the Lord. The more we enjoy Christ, the more we become Body-conscious. We should touch the Lord in the morning, but in the evening we should come to the church meetings. It is not normal to enjoy the Lord during the day and neglect the meetings of the church, which is His Body. Even if your environment does not allow you to attend all the meetings, inwardly you should have the sense that your whole inner being is with the saints in the church meeting. This consciousness of the Body comes from the enjoyment of Christ.
What we enjoy of Christ day by day is actually something of Him as the Head. This is the reason that when we enjoy Christ, He causes us to become conscious of the Body. According to our experience, we know that the more we enjoy Christ, the more intense is our desire for the Body. However, if we fail to contact the Lord for a period of time, we shall automatically neglect the church life or lose interest in the meetings. The less we contact the Lord, the more critical we become of the church or of the saints. We have an eye for the faults and shortcomings of others. This shortage of the enjoyment of Christ opens the door for the enemy, Satan, to come in to make us critical of other members of the Body. But if we begin again to enjoy the Lord, the door will gradually close. Eventually, if we are constant in our enjoyment of Christ, the door will be completely shut. Then, instead of criticizing the church, we shall praise the Lord for the church life, and we shall testify how much we love it. What brings about such a change is not admonition or correction, but the recovery of the enjoyment of Christ.
The dear, precious One whom we enjoy as our food, drink, and breath, is the Head of the Body. Because Paul had a thorough realization of this, he could leap from Christ as the reality of all positive things for our enjoyment to the matter of Christ as the Head. Since the Christ we enjoy as our everything is the Head of the Body, the more we enjoy Him, the more we become Body-conscious. This indicates that the enjoyment of Christ is not an individualistic matter. It is a Body matter. We need to enjoy Christ as members of the Body in a corporate way.