My Message Notes

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February 18, 2024

While chapter 3 starts out with a Naomi trying to trick Boaz into marrying Ruth, Boaz (and God) have another plan. Unlike Naomi, Boaz trusts the story God is writing for him and we'll see if it pays off in chapter 4.

Ruth 3

Part 3 - Risky Business

Ruth 3:1 ESV

1 Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, "My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you?

Two Points from chapters 1 and 2 to recap:

Elimelech (and Naomi and their family) may not have abandoned his faith but he was't being obedient

Naomi thinks that her (their) rebellion has led to God's rejection

Ruth 3:2-4 ESV

2 Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor.

3 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.

4 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."

 There's a lot going on here that we are gonna miss because of the cultural distance we have. But from what I can gather Naomi is devising a plan to trap Boaz and force him to have to marry Ruth.

Ruth 3:7-9 ESV

7 And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down.

8 At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet!

9 He said, "Who are you?" And she answered, "I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer."

Boaz is drunk, or was when he headed to the end of the heap of grain and fell asleep. 

Then Ruth came as Naomi had said and uncovered his feet and lay down - my guess is that it was about midnight. It doesn't take long for him to wake up. Part of the reason is that the term for "uncover his feet" may be a euphemism for uncover his circumcision, or to open his robe all the way. 

That would startle you I think, and so he wakes up and there's this woman at his feet. And he asks, who are you? Because 1. he'd been drinking, 2. he has only the moon for light 3. she has dressed up, maybe like a prostitute. Boaz wants to know what is going on. 

However, whether it was planned or not consider that when Baoz looks down at Ruth with his robe undone, he is figuratively looking past or "through" the sign of his covenant with God, his circumcision. The covenant in which he as an Israelite made promises to obey God even if it was difficult. 

Ruth 3:9 ESV

9 He said, "Who are you?" And she answered, "I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer."

Naomi's plan doesn't exactly work the way she hoped because 

  1. Ruth doesn't wait for Boaz to tell her what to do, she just blurts out, "I want you to marry me because you are a kinsman redeemer." 
  2. While Naomi has no problem opposing God's law, Boaz does and it turns out there is a redeemer who is actually first in line and Boaz is not willing to cheat to get what he wants (and make no mistake he wants Ruth)

There is even some indication that maybe Boaz wasn't making the first move because Ruth was a Moabite and she was much younger than him. He thought she may be looking for a younger man who would have a greater chance at giving her children. 

Faith for Boaz is a matter of character not convenience - Boaz is willing to lose Ruth because of his love for God

Ruth 3:16 ESV

16 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,

In the middle of your rebellion against God and feelings of rejection He is working to redeem your story

Naomi seems to finally come to this conclusion at the end of the chapter as she tells Ruth to Wait - something she herself was not good at doing... wait, because Boaz will not rest until the matter is settled today. 

And in chapter 4 next week we'll see that while Naomi is no longer a co-star of the story God is still working to redeem her and bring her back into the story He is writing - but let's leave that for next week. 

observations about love and romance from chapter 3 as we wrap up: 

When we try to force the outcome we desire, to write our own story, it rarely goes the way we plan, like for Naomi, and we usually cause more problems for ourselves than we solve. 

And while doing the right thing often seems risky - like Boaz being willing to risk Ruth in order to do the right thing and give the closer next of kin the option to redeem, it's in taking the risk that we prove our obedience to God and let Him write our story. 

We also see that while lots of people will have their opinions about how we should act or behave, like Ruth we have to decide what's right for us and then be willing to stand up to our friends or family in order to do what we believe is right

NEXT WEEK: Part 4 - A Crisis Arrises

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