“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.
Small things, like standing in line at a checkout register, being placed on hold while on the phone, and sitting on the freeway during rush-hour traffic, while the big things could include waiting for God to bring a help mate, seeking God’s will for the future, waiting for the blessing of children, or waiting for the call back about a recent job interview or adoption application. Throughout our lives we will experience periods of waiting, sometimes the answer will come back quickly and other times it will not. But no matter the duration, God still asks us to wait—and to wait patiently, trusting in Him.
Look at Boaz. Yesterday we delved into his story and long season of singleness, a lengthy period of waiting on God. But his waiting paid off, and God brought Ruth into his life. Now it’s Ruth’s turn to wait. Back to Ruth 3…
Boaz sought to protect Ruth’s reputation and didn’t want word getting out about her visit to the threshing floor, so he sent her home early, while it was still dark. So she returned to Bethlehem and found Naomi up and waiting for her. It was the wee hours of the morning, long before the sun was even close to rising, but Naomi was still up, waiting to hear the news about how things went.
Therefore, Ruth tells what happened during the night, about Boaz’s promise, and how he acted on his promise by giving her six measures of barley. Although the exact measurement of six measures is unknown, this was still a generous gift! Probably more than her first day’s gleaning, and it was barley fully processed. No additional work needed. How blessed Ruth must have felt! After three months or so of backbreaking labor gleaning and processing those gleanings during the harvest, this ready-to-eat offering must have been such a luxury!
So Ruth did her part, she went and did all that Naomi told her; now everything was up to Boaz and what he could arrange with the other kinsman. There was nothing more Ruth could do, she had already placed her requests at the feet of her redeemer and it was up to him to act. So now she had to patiently wait.
I wonder if she got anxious, excited, or curious about how things were going. It must have felt like a really long day. And though it was only one day, it could have taken a week or month. What if the other kinsman was out of town or ill?
Fortunately, Ruth got a speedy answer to her question, but that’s not always the case. God operates on His own timetable and most often it does not run in sync with our schedule or timeline. No, generally waiting encompasses an indefinite period of time that God uses to shape and build our character.
Therefore, are we willing to wait on God? After we’ve placed our needs at the foot of our Redeemer, are we willing to patiently wait for Him to act in His time? Do we trust that He will do what He promised and bring about our redemption?
Just as Boaz gave Ruth a gift during her waiting period, so also the Lord graciously bestows upon us gifts and blessings while we wait for Him. Tragically, we often miss these blessings because we’re too focused upon the one thing we want God to do. So let us be men and women who patiently wait upon the Lord, and who have eyes that are open and ready to see the gifts and blessings He gives to us while we wait upon Him.
“I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.”
“The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.”
More on this concept of waiting here.