In last week’s post in the Book of Ruth Devotion Series, we talked about Chapter 2 and how hard work is rewarded. As we move on to Chapter 3, we find that Naomi is getting Ruth ready to propose to Boaz. This is a risky thing because it could go wrong and destroy the provision that Boaz had given Ruth in Chapter 2. But Naomi knows the law that establishes a redeemer.
What is a Kinsman Redeemer?
Some commentaries that I have read tries to portray what Naomi is doing as scheming and I just do not believe this is so. A plan, yes but to say it is a scheme is a bit harsh.
When Ruth decided to go with Naomi, Ruth agreed to love Naomi’s God. Since Ruth was not raised as a Jew, she had a lot to learn about the customs and laws. I believe that Naomi was instructing her about the law of the Kinsman Redeemer (found in Deuteronomy 25) and since Boaz was a relative he met that criteria.
According to the Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, A Kinsman Redeemer is a “Hebrew term that designates a male relative who delivers or rescues, redeems property or person; avenges the murder of a relative as a guiltless executioner; and receives restitution for wrong done to a relative who has since died.” As a close relative of Naomi’s husband, Boaz could be considered their redeemer.
Why there is a Plan
Naomi began by instructing Ruth to prepare (Ruth 3:3) and maybe this is why it can seem like scheming. But Naomi knew the ceremonial laws that were in Genesis 35, where Jacob was instructed to prepare himself before presenting himself to the Lord.
Naomi is preparing Ruth to do things in the way that would represent her love of God. Naomi is educating her on Jewish law because she knows that Boaz is under no obligation to accept his role as their redeemer. If he did not accept, he would be shamed for a short time but there was no real consequence if Boaz declined. But Naomi knew that Ruth needed to find a husband that would care for them both and the kinsman redeemer law provided for that.
Because Ruth prepared by washing and anointing herself, she was ready to meet her redeemer, Boaz.
Why Lay at His Feet?
Naomi instructed Ruth to go to the threshing floor and watch Boaz and when he went to sleep to uncover and lay at his feet.
When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet!Ruth 3:7-9
“Who are you?” he asked.
“I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.”
Yes, it seems weird to us that Ruth would go lay at his feet but if you put that aside it is simple to see the point of this exercise. Ruth is basically letting Boaz know that she wants him to be her redeemer. This is in essence a proposal of marriage.
Protecting Ruth’s Reputation
Boaz told Ruth that there is another man that is a closer relative that is also entitled to be her kinsman. He told her that he would go in the morning and ask if he wanted to accept that role and if he did not, that he would be her redeemer.
Boaz then told Ruth to stay for the night. In the early morning, he gave her a good portion of Barley to take home to Naomi. Boaz told Ruth that it was important that no one must know that she was there.
When Ruth was back home, she told her mother-in-law what happened. Naomi told her to be patient because Boaz would do what he had told her.
There is a lot of this story that is symbolic of the way that Christ is our Redeemer. The way that Ruth prepared herself, how she humbled herself and asked for the corner of his garment to be over her. Then there is the sacrifice of the barley, the acceptance of the gift and being patient for his return. It is easy to see the symbolism woven into this story.
1. Prepare Yourself
Just as Ruth prepared herself to meet with her redeemer, we must prepare to meet our Lord. We must pray and read our Bible in order to prepare our hearts for God’s message and relationship.
2. Humble Yourself
Falling on our knees before the Lord is an important part of receiving God’s gift of salvation. This is an outward sign of our submission to God’s will for our lives. This ability to give ourselves over to God is required for God to work fully in our lives.
3. Ask for God’s Protection
When Ruth asked for Boaz to put the corner of his garment over her, she was asking for his protection and provision. That is exactly what we are doing when we ask God to come into our hearts and guide our lives. We are asking for God to cover us in our weakness.
4. Accept God’s Gift
When Boaz gave Ruth the barley, it was a symbol of his promise to her. His gift is much like Jesus is God’s promise to us. God doesn’t want to leave us empty, He wants to send us out with all that we need. God wants to provide for us, all we have to do is accept His gift.
5. Be Patient for His Return
As Naomi told Ruth to be patient, it made me think of how we have to be patient for Christ’s return for us. We do not know the answers just like Ruth did not know if she would marry Boaz or the other kinsman. Just like Naomi knew that Boaz would take care of this matter as he said, we also know that Christ will return because God tells us in His Word.
Chapter 3 of the Book of Ruth tells the story of a redeemer. For Ruth and Naomi it means security and for us it means salvation from our sins and everlasting life.
As we finish the Book of Ruth next week, we will discover how Ruth is tied to our salvation.
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