(June 12, 2020)
“He said, ‘Who are you?’ And she answered, ‘I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.’”
Read Ruth 3.
Now with the scene fresh in your mind, what do you make of Ruth’s behavior? Think about this: in the middle of the night, she sneaks out to the place where all the workmen are sleeping so that she can go visit the man she wants to see. She lay down next to him. Boaz awakens during the night and is shocked to find a woman there! When he asks, “Who in the world is this?!” She responds that she is “Ruth” – not “Ruth the Moabite.”
To be clear: Ruth is not practicing culturally appropriate social distancing. I still recall reading Ruth in Hebrew with my college professor who suggested some interpreters think some proverbial “hanky panky” is going on here. I do not think that is the case; for one thing, the point about Boaz’s character is his great integrity. More on this later, but for now clearly romance is in the air.
So here is the essence of the scene: Ruth’s actions and her request for Boaz to spread his garment over her boldly declare: “Will you marry me?” Ruth proposed. Ruth proposed to a much richer, older man of a higher social standing.
Needless to say, none this was not the cultural norm.
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In fact, this is far from any norm. For this to happen, Naomi had to shake off her bitterness and give Ruth sound advice. She had to give up her apathy. She had to stop playing the victim.
Ruth had to be set the fear of rejection aside and be bold. She had to see with eyes that valued God’s plan more than what her neighbor thought of her. She had to pursue being a part of God’s family above all else.
Boaz had to be generous and gentlemanly as not lord his worldly power and take advantage over another – even when no one else was watching.
In a word, this scene is saturated by a miracle: We are seeing three hearts that have been touched by God. It all had to be brought together by the God who pours out grace upon us and meets us in the real events of our daily lives. And this God who woes us. Know us. Loves us. This God invites us to be the Bride of Christ at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. In other words, this God who wants to marry you. This is not normal at all; it’s the most amazing thing ever told. It’s the Gospel.
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Father, help us soak in your deep love and grace today. The fact that You love us so much – feels like a miracle. But it is true. Thank You. Amen.