Becoming Ruth (Part Two)
Who's That Girl?
In chapter two of the book of Ruth, we find Naomi and Ruth settling in to life in Moab. Soon after, we get the first mention of the man of the hour, the one we’ve all been waiting for. Ruth suggests to Naomi that she should go and work in the fields in an effort to find the grace or favor of Boaz (v. 2). As a man of standard and wealth, Ruth knows that Boaz might be both able and willing to help turn a seemingly bleak situation around for both her and Naomi. It is important to note that she doesn’t say to Naomi, “Let me go seduce this man so we can come up!” She simply wants to work in his presence. Naomi approves of her plan and Ruth takes to the fields.
#Baeaz comes along to see how things are progressing in the fields and notices an unfamiliar face. He says to a servant, “Whose damsel is this?” The servant guy plays wing man and tells Boaz who Ruth is. He explains that she’s returned with Naomi and is just looking for a little work to hold them over. Boaz, being the man of God he is, lays on the godly game…and lays it on thick! He basically tells her that she will never work another day in the fields if she chooses, that she can reside where he lives, that no other man will even touch her while she’s there, that if she becomes thirsty she can drink from the water that others have already drawn (v. 8-9). Ultimately, he’s telling her she never has to lift a finger if she doesn’t want to.
Ruth, overcome by this display of kindness, questions his motives…like we all do when someone is being a little too nice. She asks him why he would show such grace to a perfect stranger (v. 10). In short, he lets her know that the loyalty she’s shown to Naomi has not gone unnoticed; by him or by God. Ruth reports the pretty awesome day she’s had to her mother-in-law…and Naomi sends her on quite a mission in chapter three! Read verses 3-18 for yourselves! Ruth is obedient to Naomi’s instructions, and we arrive in chapter four.
Boaz basically wheels and deals and sets a little something up for both Ruth and Naomi, and in the process, expresses his desire to marry Ruth (v. 10). He was a man on a mission! Boaz and Ruth marry and have a son. Women in town begin to tell Naomi how blessed she is. “And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him,” (v. 15). The chapter, and book, ends listing the generations that will follow.
Wow! There are so many wonderful things to note here. First, remember that when Naomi returned to Moab she told folks to call her “Mara” due to her circumstances. Seemingly, no one listens. She is never referred to as Mara by anyone else. In true human nature, we often refer to ourselves by that which is much less than what and who we truly are: broken, hurt, used, shattered, worthless, unworthy, guilty, too old, and so on. We do this so much so, that like Naomi, we forget that we are covered by His grace, that we are who He says we are.
One of the other pivotal components of this book is Ruth’s behavior in all of this. Among other things, she is incredibly obedient. I mean imagine the look (and words) many of us might give our deceased husband’s mother if she told us to put on a robe and go lay at some man’s feet! Say what now???
I also have to give Brother Boaz a little credit here. When Naomi sends Ruth to lay in waiting in his bedroom while looking and smelling delightful, he doesn’t see it as an opportunity for a good time. He compliments her by calling her a virtuous woman, tells her to go to sleep, and sends her home with “six measures of barley” the next morning. I’m sure that is a heck of a lot better than the six measures of regret or embarrassment many of us have been sent home with. *cue walk of shame music*
Lastly, one simply can’t ignore Ruth’s spirit. So often we proclaim to be ready for or waiting for Boaz, while operating in the spirit of Jezebel, Delilah, or Bathsheba. Becoming Ruth requires the possession of the spirit of Ruth; a spirit of loyalty, kindness, obedience, and devotion.