We’ve been on an incredible adventure, from the towns of Moab to the fields of Bethlehem. We’ve seen the power of God to direct and control each small detail of life and orchestrate all things according to His plans and purposes. We’ve watched the faithfulness of Ruth, bitterness and sorrow of Naomi, and the mercifulness and graciousness of Boaz. We’ve witnessed an unlikely marriage, the redemption of a former outsider, and the blessing of new life. All this rolled into a single, brief book!
Redeemed. Loved beyond measure. Called by name. Children of God. Co-heirs with Christ. This is our new position, new identity, and new place. We are no longer strangers and enemies of God, but part of His family. And while God brought this reconciliation through Christ, we also have a responsibility in this work, not to facilitate our salvation—Jesus did that—but to accept it.
We’re coming to the end of our time together in this wonderful book of Ruth. Having methodically traveled through the entire book, we’ve learned and gleaned much from this moving narrative in the faithfulness of one Moabite, the power of love, and the blessings given when one waits upon the Lord for all good things.
So as we spend this last week reflecting on all that we’ve learned, let’s take some time to turn our eyes to the One whom this book is really about.
Over nine months after the scene at the city gate, Boaz and Ruth are happily established as man and wife, and are welcoming into the world their firstborn son. They seem to have achieved a fairytale ending, but one of the characters in the story appears to still be unhappy.
The redemption was finalized. The cost was paid. Details settled. Legal work completed. It was finally official: Ruth, formerly known as the Moabite widow of Mahlon, was now the wife of Boaz and honored citizen of Bethlehem.
However, before the union of Boaz and Ruth, the people and elders of Ephrathah wanted to bestow a special blessing upon the new couple.
Last time we learned that one kinsman redeemer considered the cost of redemption too great, and therefore, gave up his right of redemption. But thankfully Boaz, the next of kin, did not view marriage to Ruth as an undue burden; rather he takes full responsibility for her and brings about her redemption.
Before we get into our first study in Ruth 4, let’s take a look at the beginning of verse one.
“Now Boaz had gone up to the gate and sat down there.
And behold, the redeemer, of whom Boaz had spoken, came by.”
Sound familiar? It should. We’ve seen this phrase before in chapter two and looked at the difference between coincidence and providence, and we’ve seen that in God’s kingdom nothing falls to chance. Now here we have the same phase again as the other redeemer came by the gate at the right time and Boaz was able to promptly settle business with him. God’s timing is always perfect!
Now on to today’s study…
“And when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, ‘How did you fare, my daughter?’ Then she told her all that the man had done for her, saying, ‘These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said to me, “You must not go back empty-handed to your mother-in-law.”’ She replied, ‘Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest but will settle the matter today.’”
As we look at these last few verses from Ruth 3, the word that pops out at me is wait. No one likes waiting. It carries with it a need for patience and a sense of lacking. However, our lives are full of waiting for both small and large things.
“You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men,
whether poor or rich.”
Before we wrap up chapter three with our final post, I have some bonus material for you. We have studied Boaz’s character in depth and from various angles over the last few weeks and seen his strength of character and how the Lord blessed him because of it. However, there was one thing he lacked—a wife. Of all the ways God had blessed and prospered Boaz, the only thing He withheld was a life partner.
Why? Why wasn’t Boaz married when Ruth met him?
Okay, we’ve finally come to the big moment, the pinnacle of the entire story of Ruth. The part where Ruth steps out in faith and seeks redemption at the foot of her redeemer. She had time to prepare for this moment, and we know what’s about to happen. But one of the main characters had no clue what was about to unfold. Can you guess who that was?
Naomi, the matchmaker, was at work. After thinking long and hard about how she could facilitate marriage between Boaz and Ruth, she finally instructed her daughter-in-law on an unusual plan. Here’s what Naomi proposed:
Some of you may recognize this line from Fiddler On the Roof*. While I only watched this musical once and remember just this one little line from the entire movie, it came to mind as I was reading and studying Ruth 3.
Take a look at chapter three, and the introduction to another one of Naomi’s great ideas…
Grace: favor, blessing, and goodwill bestowed upon one who has not done anything to deserve or merit it. It’s the outpouring of unexpected, unearned literal or figurative gifts from one in authority or power over us. This was what we received from Christ in the forgiveness of sins and life eternal He offers, and as we learned last time, what Ruth received from Boaz in his extremely generous provision of protection and food. But for Ruth, did that mean she no longer needed to work? Did Boaz’s outpouring of grace provide for Ruth in such a way that she no longer needed to glean in the field?
Let’s find out…
The providence and perfect timing of God never fails to amaze me. We’ve seen how God brought Ruth to Boaz’s field and sent Boaz out from Bethlehem so that they could meet among the barley. However, what was Boaz’s response and reaction upon meeting Ruth? Did he look down upon her in judgment because she was a foreigner? Or did he look upon her with kindness as a widow protected by the Lord and a kinsman? What did Boaz do next?
Well let’s go back to Ruth 2 and find out!
Throughout our lives we often experience series of events that statistics and probability say should never have happened. These events, chance meetings, or unexpected opportunities are called by the world as coincidence, chance, or really good luck. But as Christians, we should know better. We should know that it is God who moves in the affairs of men, and is the One who orders the timing of the events in our lives.
But sometimes we forget.