As with the previous installment, this one will also be a combination of chapter two and chapter three. At the start of the previous post, I pointed out in the beginning of chapter three that God used Naomi to tell Ruth that it was time for Ruth to marry again. Afterwards, Naomi told Ruth to get dressed and go to the threshing floor where she will find Boaz (Ruth 3:2-4).
Ruth’s response in the following verses is interesting. She said, “‘I will do whatever you say,’ Ruth answered. So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do” (Ruth 3:5-6). As I read these verses this time around, I wondered why was it that Ruth was so willing to go to Boaz. Was she so trusting of Naomi’s choice? I do believe she was. Even so, I also believe (and this is a theory not necessarily fact) that Ruth had already had a fondness for Boaz.
Let us go back to chapter 2. Back to when Ruth has her first encounter with Boaz. In summary, Boaz told Ruth to continue working in his fields, to stay close to the other young women in his field; and, he informed her that he told his men not to be rough with her (Ruth 2:8-9). Ruth’s response to Boaz I believe gives an indication into her thoughts about him. It says, “Ruth fell at [Boaz’s] feet and thanked him warmly. ‘What have I done to deserve such kindness?’ she asked. ‘I am only a foreigner’” (Ruth 2:10). As I said earlier, there are no heavy details expressing that Ruth liked Boaz in that way.
Nevertheless, I do think she found him to be a special man, for he was open-minded and openhearted toward her despite her nationality. I would venture to say that Ruth would not have been treated as generously had she worked in another person’s fields. Another moment in chapter 2 that could possibly give hints about how Ruth felt for Boaz was when Ruth gave Naomi the details of what happened in Boaz’s field (Ruth 2:19-22). It does not say how she relayed the details to Naomi, but I imagine she told it with excitement.
We now find in chapter 3, Ruth at the threshing floor doing exactly what Naomi instructed. Ruth explains to a startled Boaz why she has come. Boaz responded by saying, “You are showing even more family loyalty now than you did before, for you have not gone after a younger man, whether rich or poor” (Ruth 3:10). I think Boaz’s words exude his respect and his high regard for Ruth. That just as Ruth might have paid attention to Boaz’s character; I believe that Boaz took note of Ruth’s character.
Boaz’s words also reveal to us what God wants us ladies to do during our season of singleness. We should not search for the man God has for us, and we should not settle when it does not look like the man with the character we desire is not on the horizon. Instead, we need to wait because God WILL bring our future husband and our paths together at the proper time just as God did for Ruth and Boaz, so many other couples in the Bible, and those in our lives such as parents, siblings, friends, etc. Boaz then made it clear what he intended to do next. He stated, “I will do what is necessary, for everyone in town knows you are a virtuous woman (Ruth 3:11).
However, in verse 12, Boaz provided an unexpected twist to Ruth. Another man is a closer relative that can redeem her over Boaz. Boaz even said, “If he is willing to redeem you, very well. Let him marry you. But if he is not willing, then as surely as the Lord lives, I will redeem you myself!” (Ruth 3:13). Think for a moment what your reaction would be. Naomi said it was Boaz; Ruth agreed and has seen the character of Boaz. She knew nothing about this other man; and yet, there was a great chance that she would become this mysterious man’s wife.
How would you respond? Would you be confused? Would you feel uneasy? Would you try to fix it yourself? I believe that sometimes God might reveal parts of our story to us and then, something may contradict it or hinder it.
What Naomi told Ruth, when Ruth returned home is poignant. She said, “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today” (Ruth 3:18). Notice Naomi did not tell her that Boaz must not be it. Notice that she did not tell her to take matters into her own hands to ensure the outcome they desire occurs. Because oftentimes, when we try to help we end up HURTING rather than helping. Naomi said to wait for Boaz to handle it.
Now here is something that I had realized about verse 18 until I prayed about my own situation months ago. The “he” in our situation(s) is God. We do not need to go and fix whatever it is ourselves; we must pray and wait, go on with our lives, pray and wait, and go on with our lives until God settles the matter. So, whenever you are in those moments of doubt, read and meditate on a verse that has been one of my personal favorites. It has helped me through my own doubtful moments. It says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). No matter what we are going through, or what we are waiting for God to change in our circumstance, we must trust that God will use the situation to build our character and our trust in him.
All Bible Verses are from Holy Bible: New International Version and New Living Translation