“The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.” (Ruth 2:12) Does God have wings? This is metaphorical expression used in the Bible to describe God’s protection and care. Psalm 36:7 says, “How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore, the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.” By saying what he said, Boaz recognized that Ruth was putting her life and future in God’s hands.
Yesterday we saw how Ruth humbly went to Boaz and asked him to act as their kinsman redeemer. “And he said, “Who are you?” So she answered, “I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.” (Ruth 3:9) Boaz replied to her, “…do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.” (Ruth 3:11)
The next morning, Ruth rose early and returned to Naomi. “When she came to her mother-in-law, she said, ‘Is that you, my daughter?’ Then she told her all that the man had done for her. And she said, “These six ephahs of barley he gave me; for he said to me, ‘Do not go empty-handed to your mother-in-law.’ Then she said, ‘Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.’ ” (Ruth 3:16-18) I love Naomi’s reply to Ruth. My translation of this would be- “Honey, just sit tight; this man has the tingles!”
Whenever I read scripture, a little movie screen is playing in my head. I can picture Boaz waking up early, full of anticipation and excitement, hurrying to the city gate. Though he tried to remain composed, he could hardly contain his emotions. “What if the other relative outbids me for 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 rehearsed speech.
Then he said to the close relative, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, sold the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech. And I thought to inform you, saying, ‘Buy it back in the presence of the inhabitants and the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am next after you.’ ” And he said, “I will redeem it.” (Ruth 4:3-4)
Boaz must have felt a sinking feeling in his heart as the very thing he feared had come to pass. “I will redeem it” the relative said.However, Boaz was also a wise and shrewd man. “Then Boaz said, ‘On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also buy it from Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance.’” (Ruth 3:5)
It’s possible that Boaz emphasized the words “marry” and “Moabite” when speaking to this relative. The relative, who was already married, likely understood the implications of bringing home a new young bride, especially one who was a “Moabite.” This would not only cause tension with his wife but also disapproval from the community.
And the close relative said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance. You redeem my right of redemption for yourself, for I cannot redeem it.” (Ruth 3:6)
As children of God, we should strive to avoid excessive worry and instead place our trust in God’s providence and care. I leave you today with these encouraging 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)
God bless you, Brethren.
* Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New King James Version.