A story of redemption, love, hope, and restoration
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:
“Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.”
You read that and are probably wondering, “What kind of plan is that?” Well, Naomi was thinking of the levirate marriage and Boaz’s responsibility as a kinsman redeemer. As a relative of Elimelech, Ruth’s father-in-law, it fell upon Boaz to perform the duty of redemption, but he wasn’t acting. Now later on we’ll see why, but all Naomi was seeing was an eligible bachelor who wasn’t doing his duty to her and her family. So she takes action!
Poor Ruth! Not being an Israelite by birth or growing up with the customs and laws of Israel, what was going through her mind when she heard this proposal plan? Was she filled with incredulity? Nerves? Anxiety? Put yourself in her shoes. Ruth was a young foreigner who had only been in Israel for a matter of months, and now she was supposed to approach a leading man of Bethlehem at night and propose marriage! And Naomi didn’t give her instructions on what to or not to say, but just the actions she was to take. Can you imagine her trepidation, fears of rejection, and awkwardness?
Nevertheless, Ruth responded with complete obedience.
“And she replied, ‘All that you say I will do.’ So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her.”
Although Ruth did have the right to approach Boaz with a marriage proposal due to the levirate law, the usual method for taking care of this was by approaching the elders of the city not by joining the man at night while he was sleeping. So what took place on the threshing floor put Ruth in a very compromising position. She was putting her reputation and future on the line by joining Boaz that night. But Ruth explicitly trusted him. Because of his past kindness to her and honorable reputation, Ruth was willing to place herself in a vulnerable position and trust in the goodness and grace of Boaz. What a testimony to Boaz’s character and reputation!
So what about you? What’s your reputation among those looking on? Would those in your life be confident that should you be placed in a compromising position, you would act honorably and right? Does your character and reputation rival Boaz’s?
Now remembering that Christ is our Kinsman Redeemer, let’s put ourselves in Ruth’s shoes. Are we willing to place ourselves at the mercy of our Redeemer? Will we step out in faith even when our reputation is on the line and trust the goodness and grace of God?
May we be those who are known by everyone as trustworthy, honorable, and righteous people. And may we bring honor and glory to our Redeemer by fully trusting in His goodness and grace!