The Lord Our Recompense
adapted from PCC Prayer Meeting Exhortation on 11 Sep 2009

“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”(Ruth 2:12).

The book of Ruth records some historical events in the lives of a few individuals who lived during the time of the judges. The events in this book occurred about eleven hundred years before the Lord Jesus Christ was born.

There are only four chapters in this short book. We may subtitle the 1st chapter as “The hand of God”. Here we see how a Jewish family migrated into Moab because of the famine. But the husband soon died. And not long after that, her two sons died too. They left behind two daughter-in-laws to take care of their mother. Naomi decides to return to Bethlehem, bitter that the hand of the Lord had been heavy upon them. One of the two daughter-in-laws decided to return to her parents, whereas the other, Ruth decides to stay with her.

The 2nd chapter may be entitled “The Goodness of God”. Here we see Naomi and Ruth settling in Bethlehem. They had no food. Ruth decided to do her duty as a good daughter-in-law. She decided to glean for grain as provided under the law of God. By the providence of God, Ruth was brought into the field of Boaz and experienced the goodness of God through him.

In the 3rd chapter, which we may entitle “The Redemption of God”, we see Ruth discretely proposing to Boaz in the threshing floor, and how he responded by taking steps to redeem her and to marry her.

We may entitle, the final chapter “The Grace of God” because it reflects the grace of God which we experience in our redemption, for here we see Boaz marrying the Moabitish stranger of the covenant, and how she would bear the ancestor of the Lord.

This short book, as such, reveals us to us both the graciousness of God in keeping His promise to His people to be their God to bless them, and how the Promised Messiah would descend through a gentile convert.

It is hard to find a specific verse of promise that will adequately represent the book. But the words of Boaz to Ruth in chapter 2, verse 12 would come close:

“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.”

These words were spoken by Boaz to Ruth because he was quite impressed with her for he had heard of how she had embraced Jehovah and followed her mother-in-law into Bethlehem to look after her, and how she had worked very diligently to make sure that her mother-in-law had sufficient.

What kind of statement is this? Notice that it is not exactly prophetic, or it should be translated “The LORD shall recompense thy work…” Neither is it actually a prayer, or it should be translated “May the LORD recompense thy work…”

Well, I would suggest that this is a promissory benediction. Boaz is pronouncing a benediction based on the character and promise of the LORD.

But these words may no doubt be applied to every child of God that has come under the wings of Jehovah, who would faithfully serve the Lord like Ruth.

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.

Consider two simple thoughts arising from this promise. First, the LORD owes us nothing. Secondly, the LORD rewards us nevertheless.

1. The LORD Owes Us

Our text does not say anything about the LORD owing us nothing. But every time the subject of reward comes up it is essential for us to remind ourselves that the Lord owes us nothing.

In the first place, He is our Creator. The Creator owes nothing to the Creatures He made.

In the second place, all our righteous deeds are tainted with sin and are filthy rags in the sight of God.

In the third place God’s benevolence towards us for our day to day life in terms of life, food, water and sunshine more than compensate for what we may do for Him. What more if, like Ruth, we are come under His wings to find protection, grace and life everlasting.

With this in mind, our attitude towards the Christian life should be like that of Ruth. It is clear that Ruth was not looking for reward when she accompanied Naomi back to Bethlehem. In fact, if she had thought about temporal benefits, she should have gone with Orpah to look for another husband in Moab.

And not only so, but because she realised that she did not deserve the kindness that Boaz was showing her, she responded with gratitude: “Why have I found grace in thine eyes…” (Ruth 2:10).

Let us, beloved brethren and children, imitate her. Let us understand that all the blessings that we receive from the Lord really are extended graciously. Let us respond to the Lord the way that Ruth responded to Boaz: “Why have I found grace in thine eyes that thou shoudest take knowledge of me?”

And let us serve the Lord out of gratitude and love, rather than out of a desire for reward.

This was how Ruth was serving the Lord.

Nevertheless, secondly…

2. The LORD Rewards Us

This is what Boaz was promising Ruth:

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.

As I mentioned, this is a benediction based on God’s promise. And God’s promise to reward those who serve Him is taught all over the Scriptures:

·         Prov 13:13—Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.

·         Isa 40:10—Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.

·         Mt 10:42—And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

·         Lk 6:35—But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

·         Col 3:23-24—And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

·         Heb 11:6—But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

·         2 Jn 8—Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

·         Rv 22:12—And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

The case is clear isn’t it? God does reward His children even though they fall short of His glory. God will begin to dispense reward even in this life. Many of the Psalms, such as Psalm 37 and 122 reflect this truth. But there will also be eternal, everlasting reward, even “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1Pt 1:4).

It is this everlasting reward of grace that will apparently make the difference between believers in heaven.

Though every cup of blessing will be full in heaven, some cups will be bigger than others.

Beloved brethren and children, man may not see or appreciate your good works, but God does.

“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Heb 6:10).

Though those who understand the doctrine of grace and justification by grace through faith will serve the Lord out of gratitude and love, God has given us an extra incentive to labour on, to encourage us that we do not become weary of well-doing. Blessed be the Lord.


Tonight, our message is short and simple: God does not owe us anything. Nevertheless, He will reward us when we serve Him.

Beloved brethren and children, this is the God we serve. Some of you have been much discouraged as you serve the Lord. Some of you are apprehensive about laying down your life to serve the Lord. I trust that the words of our text will afford you a measure of encouragement:

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.

The Lord will not deal “with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities” (Ps 103:10) because He dealt with His Son for them already. But He will reward us for our labours of love though our love for Him is cold and frigid if it can be called love at all, when compared against His great love for us. May we be spurred to continue to serve Him gratefully and cheerfully, constrained by the love of Christ, despite all the difficulties we may face.

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor 4:16). Amen. Ω