And now comes the waiting. Ruth has obeyed Naomi’s instructions. She met with Boaz. He has agreed to marry her, but there is someone who has a higher claim. So now Ruth has to wait – will this one with the higher claim give it up?
14 And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor.
15 Also he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city.
16 And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her.
17 And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law.
18 Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.
I don’t think Boaz wanted Ruth’s presence to be a secret because he was trying to be sneaky. I think he was protecting Ruth’s reputation. People did not think highly of Moabites, although everyone has seen Ruth to be a virtuous woman (3:11 – …all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.) Sadly, human nature being what it is it doesn’t take much for people to start gossiping.
He sent her away with a gift – grain that had already been threshed. Naomi had returned to Bethlehem with nothing, and God has abundantly provided through Ruth.
Ruth, a heathen woman, who saw that the God of Israel was the true God and one worthy of trust. I’ve often wondered what led Ruth to this point. After all, she had seen Naomi lose everything, even apparently her sweet temper. Someday I’d like to ask Ruth what changed her heart.
I read somewhere that this gift of see to fill the stomach was the promise of a seed that would fill the womb. Naomi and Ruth did not have to face a starving, childless future.
Naomi asks a strange question when Ruth comes home – Who art thou, my daughter? Of course, she knows it’s Ruth. She calls her “my daughter”. This is the third time this question has been asked about Ruth. Her status continues to change.
Boaz first asked this question when Ruth came to his field – Whose damsel is this? Then she was a poor foreigner.
Then on the threshing floor Boaz asked again – Who art thou? By this time Ruth was a woman whom everyone knew was a hard worker, a loyal daughter and a virtuous woman, but still a woman in need of a husband.
Now the third time – Who art thou, my daughter? How does it stand? Will Boaz marry you? What happened? So much emotion and hope hanging on this one question.
Ruth told her what had happened, and then Naomi gave her some of the hardest advice there is to follow – Sit still.
What is there about human nature that wants to be doing? To get out there and make it happen? I think because it’s a trust issue. It’s so hard to sit still and let God and others work on our behalf. I think it speaks to the proud part of us that wants to take care of everything, that doesn’t want to admit that we are only poor, weak humans.
The most important thing we have to sit still for is our salvation. Jesus did all of the work already. We don’t need to go to church, be baptized, do good deeds, etc. We just need to sit still and trust. Oh, how hard that is, but the blessing comes in the trusting. It’s something that we need to practice more regularly.
I know in my own life that God did not sent me a husband until I had learned to quietly wait and trust Him for one. It wasn’t until I put Philippians 4:6 into practice in my life that God sent me a husband – Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And then it happened in a flurry as described in this post. When the dust settled a couple of days after we were engaged, all I could think was – “What have I done? I’ve only just met this man, and I’ve agreed to marry him?” I needed a verse, a confirmation that I had made the right decision. That’s when the Lord brought Ruth 3:18 to mind particularly the last part – “the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.”
Then I knew God had given me my Boaz. Hugo had asked me to marry him on the first day that we really had together, and we’ve neither of us regretted our decision to marry. When God is allowed to work in your life, it will always be good.
So, as I said at the beginning – now comes the waiting, the sitting still, the trusting prayers.