Do you remember what the theme of the book of Ruth? The book of Ruth is a beautiful, redeeming love story, but its beginnings were rooted in tragedy, which we’ve learned about these last couple of weeks. But this week, the story takes the turn of redemption and in a very unexpected way. That’s often how God works, isn’t it? The Lord creates good in unexpected ways so that we absolutely recognize it is Him. I’d love to hear how God has orchestrated good in your life with an unexpected twist. Our family has certainly experienced the unexpected by God, and my husband wrote about it here if you’d like to read about our personal situation.
1 Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you? 2 Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. 3 Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what you should do.” 5 And she said to her, “All that you say to me I will do.” 6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law instructed her.
- A beautiful point to realize is that Ruth could’ve married another – younger – man (see verse 10). But Naomi knew that only Boaz, her kinsman, could redeem her. According to Bakers Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, a kinsman-redeemer is a male relative who, according to various laws of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible), had the privilege or responsibility to act on behalf of a relative who was in trouble, danger, or need. The Hebrew term (go el) for kinsman-redeemer designates one who delivers or rescues (Genesis 48:16; Exodus 6:6) or redeems property or person (Leviticus 27:9–25, 25:47–55).
- My friends, this world will try to offer you many suiters to improve your life, but there is only One who can satisfy all the nooks and crannies in your heart.
- Make note of the preparations Ruth went through prior to meeting Boaz (adapted from Wiersbe):
o Wash. Ruth was to take a bath, just as we are to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh…” (2 Corinthians 7:1). Whether we’re a seasoned follower or fresh to the faith, a good spiritual scrubbin’ is necessary.
o Anoint. Anointing oil speaks of the presence and the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives (Wiersbe). Just as wearing a fragrant perfume makes you pleasant to be around, so does the Holy Spirit. 2 Corinthians 2:15 says, “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.”
o Change. Ruth was told to change her clothes. We don’t need to go around wearing our grave clothes like Lazarus wore and was told to take off in John 11:44. Instead, we need to clothe ourselves in God’s grace and anxiously await the day we are given “fine linen, bright and clean” (Revelation 19:8).
o Learn. The way in which Ruth presented herself to Boaz was not improper or inappropriate. It was the way in which she could offer herself to her kinsman redeemer – by laying herself down at his feet. It takes time to learn how to fully be a “living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God” (Romans 12:1). Sinners are free to come to Jesus, but as believers, it is a process of sanctification which requires trials to learn.
o Promise. Ruth made a promise to obey Naomi. Obedience must become a habit for us and habits are formed through the daily choices we make.
7 And after Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was cheerful, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain; and she came softly, uncovered his feet, and lay down.
8 Now it happened at midnight that the man was startled, and turned himself; and there, a woman was lying at his feet. 9 And he said, “Who are you?”
So she answered, “I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.”
- Note how Ruth identified herself to Boaz. It was not as a Moabite, but as his maidservant. As we walk in this world, be certain you identify yourself as a servant of the King!
- Ruth asked Boaz to take her under his wing. Essentially, she was asking Boaz to cover her. In Matthew 23:37 Jesus says, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Lord, make us willing to find refuge under Your wings like it speaks of in Psalm 91:4!
10 Then he said, “Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich. 11 And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman. 12 Now it is true that I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I. 13 Stay this night, and in the morning it shall be that if he will perform the duty of a close relative for you—good; let him do it. But if he does not want to perform the duty for you, then I will perform the duty for you, as the Lord lives! Lie down until morning.” 14 So she lay at his feet until morning, and she arose before one could recognize another. Then he said, “Do not let it be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.” 15 Also he said, “Bring the shawl that is on you and hold it.” And when she held it, he measured six ephahs of barley, and laid it on her. Then she went into the city.
- Ruth had done her preparation and obeyed Naomi. She then laid at the feet of Boaz in submission and listened to what he said. May our hearts be obediently prepared and submitted as we listen to our Lord.
- Boaz first and foremost blessed Ruth. Out of the overflow of his love for her, he chose to accept and not reject her. What a gracious picture of how our God loves us and spreads His wing over us to cover our shame (Ezekiel 16:8).
- Boaz knew the law and that he had to follow the procedure of the kinsman redeemer (Leviticus 25:25). But he made a faithful promise to her that he would redeemer her should the closer relative not desire. Boaz had to fulfill the process of law first – just as Christ had to do the same, and that’s why He said in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Boaz was a type of Christ.
16 When she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “Is that you, my daughter?”
Then she told her all that the man had done for her. 17 And she said, “These six ephahs of barley he gave me; for he said to me, ‘Do not go empty-handed to your mother-in-law.’”
18 Then she said, “Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.”
- Verse 16 can seem a bit out of place, but essentially, Naomi is asking Ruth, “Are you my daughter or are you the future Mrs. Boaz?”
- Wiersbe puts it like this, “Boaz not only calmed Ruth’s fears and gave her assurance for the future, but he also met her present needs in a gracious and generous way.” What a wonderful foreshadow of what Jesus did for us – He secured our eternal future and while we are still on this earth, He meets all our needs according to the riches of His glory (Philippians 4:19).
- Naomi’s words were assuring to Ruth as well – “…the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day…” The same was true of Jesus and His work, just look at Hebrews 10:12: “But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then He sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.” Let’s praise Him for the work He did so that the law was fulfilled and we could rest in Him for all eternity. God is a God who finishes. Amen.
This Weeks Bible Study Videos