“Just be patient, my daughter, until we hear what happens. The man won’t rest until he has settled things today.” (Ruth 3:18)
Ruth returned to Naomi the next morning and told her all that Boaz had said. I love Naomi’s comment to Ruth. My translation of these words would be- “Honey, just sit tight; this man has got the tingles!”
Whenever I read scripture, a little movie screen is playing in my head. I see Boaz rising early and with great anticipation and excitement, trotting to the city gate. Though he tried to remain calm, he could hardly contain his emotions. “What if the other relative buys the land?” he thought. “What if he is willing to marry Ruth?” “What if I miss this opportunity?” Then perhaps the thought came into his mind, “You’re an old fool. Who do you think you are that you might marry such a beautiful young woman?” As Boaz sat there, absorbed in his thoughts, he was suddenly awakened by the greeting of his relative. Thus Boaz began his speech.
And Boaz said to the family redeemer, “You know Naomi, who came back from Moab. She is selling the land that belonged to our relative Elimelech. I thought I should speak to you about it so that you can redeem it if you wish. If you want the land, then buy it here in the presence of these witnesses. Then quickly he added, “But if you don’t want it, let me know right away, because I am next in line to redeem it after you…” (Ruth 4:3-4)
What would happen? Would the relative decline the offer, or being the shrewd business man that he was, would he jump at the chance to obtain more land? Thoughtfully he stroked his beard and said, “…All right, I’ll redeem it. (vs. 4)
Boaz’s heart must have sunk. The one thing he had feared the most had just happened. Yet Boaz was a shrewd man himself. “Then Boaz told him, “Of course, your purchase of the land from Naomi also requires that you marry Ruth, the Moabite widow. That way she can have children who will carry on her husband’s name and keep the land in the family.” (vs. 5)
One wonders if Boaz emphasized the words ‘marry’ and ‘Moabite.’ Apparently the relative already had a wife and he knew full well what would happen if he brought home a new young bride. To add insult to injury, this woman was a ‘Moabite!’ Not only would his wife give him the cold shoulder, so would half the neighborhood!
“Then I can’t redeem it,” the family redeemer replied, “because this might endanger my own estate. You redeem the land; I cannot do it.” (vs. 6) In other words, “Boaz, you’re a single man. You need a wife. You’ll make a beautiful couple. I’m so happy for you!”
The book of Ruth contains many valuable lessons, but perhaps one of the greatest has to do with the issue of – needless worry. Boaz was worried about what the relative might say, yet he should have considered to the counsel he had given earlier to Ruth. “May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully …” (Ruth 2:11) In other words, “Rest in God’s care.”
As the children of God, we should not let our hearts be consumed with needless worry. Instead, we should learn to rest in God’s care. I leave you today these words from Paul – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)