Key Verse: Ruth 3:11 (ESV), “And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.”
Ruth and Naomi were no strangers to the harsh realities of life. They had traveled through many trials together, persevering by faith. Through Ruth’s endurance, love, and commitment to her mother-in-law, and to God, her character flourished. As a foreign widow, Ruth put her trust in the laws of the Israelites to provide for her and Naomi. Daily, she gleaned leftover grain from the perimeter of Boaz’s field, working diligently and showing respect for this kindness. Her actions were noticed by the harvesters and rewarded by Boaz.
Naomi was wise in her perception of Boaz’s extra kindness toward them both, prompting her to send Ruth in the middle of the night to make the request known. This Israelite custom must have been strange to Ruth, yet she honored Naomi’s request. Though Boaz was startled to find a woman at his feet, Ruth quickly revealed herself to him.
Ruth humbly acknowledged three things to Boaz:
Her position of humility. “I am your maidservant.”
Her relationship with him through Naomi. “I am Ruth.”
Her desire to marry him, thereby protecting Naomi’s inheritance. “Spread thy skirt over me.”
Boaz had been watching and noticing the way Ruth worked and interacted with the people around her. He respected the way she cared for Naomi. Because of her youth, he had expected Ruth to seek after a younger man. Boaz was honored that she had chosen to be loyal to Naomi’s lineage through him.
Ruth, a Moabite, was a picture of the Proverbs 31 woman as it uses the same Hebrew word, hayil, in Ruth 3:11 as in Proverbs 31:10 to describe her noble character. Boaz called her a strong woman of substance. Ruth’s courage, revealed through her virtuous nature, established her as a hero, or woman of valor. This recognition came after proving who she really was through her faithful conduct.
The courage to take big leaps of faith comes from walking faithfully in the daily moments of our lives. As Romans 5:3-5 says, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” While some may have questioned whether Ruth acted inappropriately toward Boaz, her character was already established, which led to the hope of a kinsmen-redeemer hearing her request. Boaz treated her with grace and respect.
Ruth had the confidence to approach Boaz because she had lived out her faith and character genuinely in front of him for a season. Naomi and Ruth had also watched the kind treatment of Boaz. Through their interactions, God revealed their next steps for fulfilling His plans for each of their lives. God was working out a story of redemption far deeper than they imagined.
Application: Are the daily actions of your life building a legacy of hayil (noble character)? What small step can you take to practice faithfulness in your current situation today?
It begins with me: Beginning my day talking to the Lord and asking Him to go before me in my thoughts and actions sets me up to live worthy. Like Ruth, I want to be faithful to honor my family and serve them well. Today, I will look for opportunities to honor the godly characteristics I see in my loved ones with a word of encouragement and blessing.
Additional context: The Israelite custom of Ruth’s time allowed for a servant to lie at the feet of their master, sharing the corner of their garment for warmth. When Naomi suggested Ruth approach Boaz on the threshing floor, it wasn’t odd. It signaled to Boaz that Ruth welcomed him as her goel, or kinsman-redeemer. She was seeking his protection.
Naomi might have wondered why Boaz didn’t step up on his own. In tomorrow’s reading, we will see that he already knew he wasn’t the first in the family line. Verse ten revealed that Boaz was surprised Ruth hadn’t sought after a younger man to suit her. He questioned whether she would start her own life over or help fulfill Naomi’s legacy. Regardless of the reasons, the law required two things:
Ability. Who was the closest in line?
Willingness. The redeemer had to buy back the land AND marry the widow.
This is a beautiful picture of Jesus being our covering and goel. Christ was able as the perfect, spotless lamb of God. He willingly went to the cross for our sins. Like Ruth, we reach for the wing of His garment, humbly asking Him to rescue and forgive our debts!
How would you answer the application question? Leave a comment below. 🙂