Wednesday, August 28, 2013

ruth: the proposal and the anticipation (part 12)

So she (Ruth) went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do. When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. In the middle of the night something startled the man, and he turned and discovered a woman lying at his feet. "Who are you?" he asked. "I am your servant Ruth," she said. "Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer."

"The LORD bless you, my daughter," he replied. "This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. And now, my daughter, don't be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character. Although it is true that I am near of kin, there is a kinsman-redeemer nearer than I. Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to redeem, good; let him redeem. But if he is not willing, as surely as the LORD lives I will do it. Lie here until morning."

So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, "Don't let it be known that a woman came to the threshing floor." He also said, "Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out." When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and put it on her. Then he went back to town. When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, "How did it go, my daughter?" Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her and added, "He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, 'Don't go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.'"

Then Naomi said, "Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today." (Ruth 3:6-18)

OK, let's recap what has happened so far. Naomi has told Ruth to go to Boaz at the threshing floor to let him know she is interested in him taking on the role as her kinsman-redeemer. Ruth quietly does everything that Naomi tells her to do and waits for Boaz to wake up and notice her. And when he wakes up, Ruth does something that Boaz never expects, but is happy to oblige. She proposes.

Here was a widowed Moabite woman who had come to Bethlehem with no obvious intention of husband-hunting now quietly proposing to the most wealthy, renown man in town. Crazy? Maybe. For before this time, Ruth had placed herself below the status of Boaz's servants. But now, she makes her heart's desire for marriage perfectly clear to him and asks Boaz to symbolically spread his garment over her. In doing so, Ruth is officially requesting Boaz for his full protection and covering as husband - the same way we as Christians have asked Jesus to spread his wings of protection and love over us. Mind you, according to the Mosaic Law, Ruth could have called the elders of the city together and brazenly claimed Boaz in public as her kinsman-redeemer. But Naomi wisely instructed Ruth that their relationship must start more intimately, more privately, more modestly. Ruth was not brazen or puffed up. No, she loved Boaz and wanted him alone to know this.

The difference in age between the two must have been significant. Boaz was clearly and older, established man of integrity who obviously loved Ruth. But once he realized she loved him in return and desired for him to be her husband, Boaz enthusiastically blesses her and is ready to claim her as his wife. You see, to Boaz, Ruth was quite the catch. The "bee's knees," if you will. This was not to be a relationship based on pity towards a lonely Moabite girl. Boaz was not merely jumping at the chance to extend charity to a poor, young widow. Rather, once Ruth changed out of her mourning clothes, Boaz looked at her as a gorgeous free agent to marry... and boy, did he jump at the chance! Just imagine how happy and surprised he must have been to learn that Ruth loved him as much as he adored her? Equally, just think of how thrilled our Savior and Kinsman-Redeemer is when we intimately, privately, modestly and whole-heartedly informed Him of our commitment and love for Him?

So now what? Well, the ball is in Boaz's court. The text informs us that there is another relative who is technically allowed rights to claim Ruth. So, Boaz let's Ruth know that He wants to do everything she has asked of him (and more)... but He is respectful to do things according to the law to insure their union is acceptable in God's eyes. Similarly, Jesus knows that according to God's law, our sinfulness has sentenced us to an eternal death. Satan has snared us and we are unable to break free from him without Christ's intervention. But just like Boaz, upon hearing of our affection and commitment to be His bride and take on His family name, our Savior has enthusiastically responded with delight and is willing to claim us legally as His own. So much so, that He overcomes death in order to be with us... legally taking on the role as our Kinsman-Redeemer and making our union acceptable in God's eyes. Why? Because He loves us and longs to be with us THAT MUCH! His sacrifice to die on our behalf frees us from Satan and sin so that we may be married! Our beloved Jesus has made it possible to be together with him... forever! What a love story!!!

So now, just like Ruth, we will wait for our Love to handle all the details. We will lay our life at his feet and wait out the night of this cold, harsh world. He has promised to take care of us as he prepares a new home for us. So, just like Ruth, we can wait on on our Lord - trusting Him to feed us and cover us and protect us until he returns to claim us as His bride.

Our Beloved will not rest until we are together again. He has promised to redeem and restore us and has made a way to claim us legally as His own. He has done all the work of redemption and invites us to enter into His place of rest. Once we claim Him, Jesus will handle all the details. For it is Jesus who saves us. And He does not offer us a marriage based on pity. Although we are bankrupt and have nothing but ourselves to offer, our wonderful Savior views us as quite the catch. Why? Because He desperately loves us! He longs to be with us! We are precious in His eyes and He is jealous for our love!

So, dear Ruth, let us wait and trust our Boaz. Let us put our faith in Him to handle all the details of our marriage and prepare a new home for us. Let us allow our Kinsman-Redeemer to handle all matters and sit still and wait on our Lord. He has not left us empty-handed. He has blessed us with His Holy Spirit and provides for our every need. So, let's wait and see what He does next... let's rest in His promise and trust Him to make things happen! Let's endure the trials of this temporary place until He returns to us and leads us to our eternal home.

Wait patiently, dear bride... your groom will not rest until you are together forever! His kingdom comes!

I don't know about you, but I'm excited to read the conclusion of this love story in chapter 4! God is soooooo good!!! Until tomorrow, my DW loves! XOXOXOXXO ~Victoria

Blog Posting Written By Victoria Anderson