“So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do. When Boaz had finished eating and drinking, and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. In the middle of the night something startled the man, and he turned and discovered a woman lying at his feet. “Who are you?” he asked. “I am your servant Ruth, she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are my kinsman-redeemer.”(Ruth 3:6 – 9)
Odd. Really odd. I had to read these verses a couple of times, and then go back and read the entire chapter to understand what this was all about. How often events and circumstances in our lives seem odd—confusing. We can’t quite see what God is trying to do for us through them. This is exactly how Ruth felt when Naomi told her to go to where Boaz would be that night and then do some things that seemed really bizarre—at least from the perspective of a humble Moabite woman like herself.
She knew that Naomi was determined to get her a husband. Naomi was thrilled when Ruth started working in Boaz’s wheat field. Ruth didn’t mind that her mother-in-law was scheming to get her married off to an Israelite man; Ruth figured it couldn’t hurt. Who knows? It might even work out. Ruth was a Moabite. She did not know the laws of God’s people. She had probably picked up on a few Jewish traditions over the years as her relationship with her mother-in-law grew closer. But Naomi was instructing her to do some very odd things. I am sure that Naomi prepped her by giving her a crash course on Jewish laws concerning marriage. Ruth began to see how critical it was for her to obey every word Naomi told her. Even though she didn’t understand exactly why each step was important, she did grasp the fact that her entire destiny in this new land, as well as Naomi’s future wellbeing, depended on Ruth’s faithful obedience.
Now, I am still wondering why Naomi would instruct Ruth to sneak into the threshing room, uncover Boaz’s feet while he was sleeping, and then lie down by his feet. As a modern Christian woman, I have to admit that this freaked me out just a bit to read. I mean, in today's world it makes no sense at all. However, as Chris Baxter explained in yesterday's post, to an Israelite woman, this made perfect sense. Naomi was actually getting Ruth to ask for Boaz’s hand (or, no pun intended, feet) in marriage—and it was all prim and proper. I am NOT kidding! There was an obscure law in Old Testament tradition, the Law of the Kinsman-Redeemer, that said that a single woman had the right to ask a male relative to act as her “kinsman-redeemer” and marry her. Each step that Naomi told Ruth to perform had symbolic significance in that tradition, and Boaz understood exactly what Ruth was trying to say. She was asking Boaz to obey the law by marrying her. Which, to Naomi’s delight, he did.
By obeying Naomi, Ruth was obeying God. He, in turn, blessed her by placing her into a multi-generational plan of His: Through Boaz, she became an ancestor of Jesus. Life hits all of us with tough choices, and if we are faithful to obey what God is urging us to say or do, we can be reassured that we are fitting into His plan for us. And... as we operate within God’s plan for us, we see that it affects God’s plans for others, too. Ruth is living proof of that!
Because of her faithful obedience, Ruth received the blessing that God had planned for her and experienced a brand new beginning. Sisters we will all be blessed too when we choose to trust God and obey Him when He speaks to us. Every detail of our life doesn’t have to make sense. You and I just need to be sure…to the best of our ability…that each detail lines up with what God is saying in His word. That is how we can live in “faithful obedience” to Him.
Has God ever laid it on your heart to do something for Him, like talk to a perfect stranger or take a meal to a grieving co-worker? We have no way of knowing at that moment how our one small act fits into God’s plan for that person—or for us. Obeying God’s prompting at that moment may not make sense, but God has a reason for asking us to do it. When God prompts you, do you act in “faithful obedience” the way Ruth did?
For further reading: Proverbs 3:5 - 6; Proverbs 22:17 - 18; Psalm 119:33 - 35
I want to live in “faithful obedience” to You every day. Let me reach the level of trust that Ruth had to obey You even when the details don’t make sense. I believe that You know what needs to be done even if I don’t. Thank you that as I obey You, Your plan for me will come to pass and I will experience Your blessings. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.