Friday 19 September 2014

Bible Book:

“‘I will do everything you say,’ Ruth answered.” (v. 5)

Ruth 3:1-5 Friday 19 September 2014


Two months have past since yesterday's passage - that's how longit took to harvest the barley and the wheat. Food was plentifulduring that time,  especially as Ruth could glean (pick thedropped corn) behind the servant girls of Boaz, but this would notlast forever (Ruth 2:23).

Determined to secure a future for herself and herdaughter-in-law Ruth, Naomi comes up with a plan. Although she saysit is for Ruth's own good (verse 1), it is obvious that Naomi willbenefit too. Ruth is told to clean herself up and get dressed, thengo to the threshing room and lay down with Boaz on the floor. ThenBoaz will tell her what to do.

These are the preparations that a bride would make (Ezekiel 16:9-12) and the sexual innuenedocannot be ignored. When Boaz is lying down, Ruth is instructed to"go and uncover his feet" (v. 4). Commentators offer differentexplanations for this - some say that revealing his feet to thecold will wake him up and Ruth will have his attention without thedistraction of others; others suggest that Ruth's position is oneof humility in preparation to the request she is making, and somesuggest that feet is a euphemism for sexual organs. Whatever is theintended meaning or meaning(s), we will never know. But what isclear to Boaz is that Ruth is proposing marriage as a part of hisduties as a kinsman (Ruth3:10-13).

Reading on in chapter 3, wediscover that Ruth is true to her word, doing everything Naomisaid. But as with many Bible stories, there's always more. WhenBoaz wakes in the middle of the night, Ruth doesn't wait to be toldwhat to do. She takes the initiative, and tells Boaz what he shoulddo (verse 9). Spreading the corner of a garmentover a woman is part of a wedding ritual (Ezekiel 16:8), so this is a request formarriage.

Reading this passage again, the question arises - to what extentdo we have to be obedient, just as Ruth was to Naomi. And then towhat extent do we have to take the initiative (as Ruth did toBoaz). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says "Ask, and it will begiven you; search and you will find; knock, and the door will beopened for you" (Matthew 7:7). It is up to each individual totake some initiative - asking, searching, knocking. And then in thenext verse Jesus gives the reassurance that"everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches will find,and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened". And if youread to the end of the book of Ruth, you will discover that thesewords hold true.

To Ponder

  • What part does obedience play in your relationship withGod?
  • To what extent do you have to take the initiative in yourrelationship with God? Or in responding to the love and care ofGod?
Previous Page Thursday 18 September 2014
Next Page Saturday 20 September 2014