“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.” (Ruth 3:18)
This was the instruction given to Ruth by Naomi in hopes that her kinsman, Boaz, would be willing to perform his family duty and marry Ruth, whose Jewish husband had died in Moab. Ruth’s behavior had been honorable, and she had done what she could to let Boaz know she was willing to be his wife, but now she could do nothing except to sit still and wait.
This lesson needs to be remembered by Christians today. All too often we rush ahead of the Lord, fearful that things won’t work out unless we take matters into our own hands. When the Jews were being invaded by the Assyrian armies and felt they needed an alliance with Pharaoh, God warned: “The Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose: therefore have I cried concerning this, Their strength is to sit still. . . . In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:7-15).
Long before, when the children of Israel were in even more desperate circumstances, with the Egyptian armies pursuing them and the Red Sea in front of them, Moses had said: “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD” (Exodus 14:13). Soon, Pharaoh’s chariots were at the bottom of the sea, just as, in due time, Boaz did marry Ruth, and as, 600 years later, the hosts of the Assyrians were slain by the angel of the Lord (Isaiah 37:36).
There is, certainly, a time to work—and work hard—in the service of the Lord. There are spiritual battles to be fought and races to be run. But when we have done the best we know how, according to the Scriptures, and still don’t see the answer, there comes a time when we must simply sit still, and wait for the Lord. He would have us “be still, and know that [He is] God” (Psalm 46:10). HMM