Virtue’s Reward

Healthy Simplicity - RuthLast week we saw that Naomi had a plan for getting a husband for Ruth. We also saw Ruth trusting Naomi and agreeing to her plan. Now it all begins to happen.

Ruth 3:6-13

6  And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her.
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 corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down.
8  And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet.
9  And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman.
10  And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.
11  And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.
12  And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.
13  Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman’s part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the LORD liveth: lie down until the morning.

We start by seeing Ruth do exactly as Naomi instructed her. Ruth has never once wavered in her loyalty and respect to Naomi – not when Ruth’s husband died, not when Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem, not when Naomi urged Ruth to return to Moab, not when Naomi spewed out bitterness at her homecoming, not when she had to go in the fields to glean to ensure that she and Naomi would have food to eat. Ruth is the kind of person I would like to pattern my life after and see my girls pattern their lives after.

So Ruth waited just as Naomi said. It’s never a good idea to start an important conversation with a hungry, tired man. Knowing Boaz’s character it is doubtful that he was actually drunk. After all he had work to do in the morning. Many people relied on him. I think the Bible is just referring to the fact that he had eaten and drunk something and was now ready to rest.

I wonder how hard it was for Ruth to creep forward quietly, uncover Boaz’s feet, lay down and wait. What thoughts were going through her head as she waited for Boaz to wake up? Waiting can be so hard. It can, in fact, be gut-wrenching. When we can do nothing to affect the outcome of coming events we are once again thrown back on trust. Trust is another big aspect of Ruth’s character – trust in God, trust in Naomi and soon (if not already) trust in Boaz.

Finally, uncovering Boaz’s feet had the desired effect. He was cold and woke up to pull his cover back over his feet. Imagine his surprise to find a woman laying at his feet. How he knew it was a woman we don’t know, but we can imagine how surprised he was to find her there.

It is obvious that Boaz did not recognize Ruth. What is more subtle is how Ruth named herself. She left off the term – “the Moabitess”. She is speaking as a Bethlehemite. She declares herself ready for Boaz’s protection through marriage and then waits for his answer. If he agrees to marry her then he has become the fulfillment of his own prayer! “The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.” Ruth 2:12. I find that really awesome.

Boaz is amazed with the character of Ruth. In the beginning she agreed to return with Naomi. Now she’s willing to marry someone she barely knows, someone who’s culture and language are different from hers. Also, from his statement about “young men” Boaz was apparently not so young himself anymore. He realizes Ruth could have married someone younger but she chose him.

It feels good when someone chooses us in spite of our shortcomings – perceived or real. God chose us. He even loved us when we were sinners without a Saviour. “We love him, because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19. Ponder that verse for a while. The reality of its truth is amazing. As humans we tend to give our love to those we deem worthy of it. God loved those who were unworthy.

Boaz assures Ruth that he will marry her if he can. Her virtue is known throughout the city and neutralizes any objections someone might have about her heritage. Ruth’s virtue compares well to Boaz being called “a mighty man”. They are a pair in terms of character – equally matched.

It all sounds almost too good to be true, to easy after all Ruth has been through. Well,  there is still one more obstacle, but we’ll leave that for next week.

Jennifer Schonhaar

Jennifer Schonhaar

Jennifer is the happily married wife of a pastor and the somewhat-tired-but-oh-so happy mum to eight beautiful children. She loves to try new healthy recipes, sew, read to her children, garden and play the piano.
Jennifer Schonhaar

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  1. Julie Geoffrion

    So clear she had this quiet, unwavering loyalty and faith to those she loved and a pure calmness that I’m sure was a blessing to her first husband, too.
    The trust she exhibited in Naomi and then Boaz shows a girl ready to give her complete trust to her new God! She clearly threw off her old ways for her new faith – seeing that when she didn’t say “Ruth the Moabitess” but just Ruth.
    Another thing that amazed me is that the city caught on quickly to her virtue! Her testimony was evident from the start.
    I believe WHEN you KNOW you are IN God’s will then no matter where He takes you (new culture, land, language, situation), He can give you the calmness and peace Ruth had! 🙂
    Waiting calmly on next week’s lesson 🙂

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