Introduction: Ruth Chapter 3 is about Ruth’s preparation and her hope for redemption through her kinsman redeemer Boaz. Her actual wedding to Boaz does not happen until the final chapter. The love that Boaz and Ruth had for each other bears witness to the love of Jesus for all mankind. Boaz’s redemption of Ruth also foreshadows Jesus’ redemption of mankind on the cross: “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 10:43). Ruth’s redemption is recorded to give every believer hope in Jesus’ ability to redeem them as well. “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Ro. 15:4). From Ruth’s hope in her redemption through Boaz God reveals seven lessons on preparing yourself for the hope of Jesus’ redemption.
First, Naomi realized that she had an obligation to provide security or rest for her adopted daughter Ruth. From this, Jesus reveals that He also desires to provide you with both security and rest. Second, to give Ruth rest and security, Naomi encouraged Ruth to pursue her redemption through her kinsman redeemer. From this, Jesus reveals He wants you to pursue Him as your kinsman redeemer. Third, from Naomi’s plan for Ruth to court Boaz as her kinsman redeemer, Jesus reveals details for how you are to prepare yourself for your redemption through Him. Fourth, from Ruth’s promise to obey Naomi’s instructions, Jesus reveals that part of your preparation for Him should include your obedience to Him. It is a sign of your love for Him. Fifth, from Ruth's submission at Boaz’s feet, Jesus reveals that He wants you to submit to Him. Sixth, from Boaz’s encouragement to Ruth that she would be redeemed, He reveals that He wants you to trust in His promises as well. Finally, from the hope that Ruth had for Boaz’s return, He also wants you to hope in His return. Just as Boaz provided for Ruth and Naomi while they waited for his return, Jesus will also provide for you as you wait for Him.
Naomi’s desire to provide security and rest for her adopted daughter Ruth. After God’s love had melted the bitterness in Naomi’s heart from the loss of her husband and sons, she realized that she had an obligation to provide for her adopted daughter Ruth: “1 Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, ‘My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you?” (Ruth 3:1). Like Ruth, her transformation caused her to put the needs of others before herself. She could have just as easily worried about her own security as a window. Her desire for Ruth to have “security” or “manowach” is also translated as rest (Ruth 1:9). The rest that Naomi sought for Ruth foreshadowed the rest that Jesus seeks to provide for each person. But His rest is only available through Him.
Seek the rest and security that only Jesus can provide. Jeremiah gave the Jews a prophecy that God, their redeemer, would bring rest to the entire Earth: “Their [Israel’s] Redeemer is strong, the LORD of hosts is His name; He will vigorously plead their case so that He may bring rest to the earth, but turmoil to the inhabitants of Babylon.” (Jer. 50:34). Jesus came to fulfill this prophecy. For all you believe in Him, He offers rest from the struggle for salvation: “For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.” (Heb. 4:10-11). But Jesus does more than offer you rest at the time of your death, He also offers you rest from your struggles through the inner peace that only He can provide: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28). “For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes.” (Jer. 31:25). If you are feeling stress or anxiety, are you turning to Jesus to enter into His rest?
Provide rest and security for your children through Jesus. Just as Naomi was obligated to provide for her adopted daughter Ruth, Christian parents are also obligated to provide for the well-being of their children: “4 but if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God. 5 Now she who is a widow indeed and who has been left alone, has fixed her hope on God and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day. 6 But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7 Prescribe these things as well, so that they may be above reproach. 8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Tim. 5:4-8; Prov. 31:26-27). Are you providing for the spiritual, emotional, and economic needs of your children?
Naomi’s promise of a kinsman redeemer for Ruth. Naomi’s plan for providing for Ruth included having her marry a relative of her deceased husband, who could redeem her and provide for her: “ 2a Now is not Boaz our kinsman, with whose maids you were?” (Ruth 3:2(a)). As a relative of Ruth’s deceased husband, she saw it as Boaz’s duty to marry Ruth and provide her with an heir who could restore her property. Naomi would have known that there was a closer male relative to fulfill this duty (Ruth 3:12). Yet, as a transformed person, Naomi trusted in God’s providence in bringing Ruth to Boaz.
Naomi encouraged Ruth to trust God’s plan to redeem her through Boaz1
The law of the “levirate marriage” or yibbum between a widow and a kinsman redeemer. In a time before Social Security existed, God provided for the protection of widows and their inheritance by requiring a brother-in-law (later expanded to include cousins) to marry his brother or cousin’s widow under certain circumstances. The brother or cousin who married the widow acted as a “kinsman redeemer” to keep the property within the deceased brother’s family: “5 When brothers live together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a strange man. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her and take her to himself as wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. 6 It shall be that the firstborn whom she bears shall assume the name of his dead brother, so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel. 7 But if the man does not desire to take his brother’s wife, then his brother’s wife shall go up to the gate to the elders and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to establish a name for his brother in Israel; he is not willing to perform the duty of a husband’s brother to me.’ 8 Then the elders of his city shall summon him and speak to him. And if he persists and says, ‘I do not desire to take her,’ 9 then his brother’s wife shall come to him in the sight of the elders, and pull his sandal off his foot and spit in his face; and she shall declare, ‘Thus it is done to the man who does not build up his brother’s house.’ 10 In Israel his name shall be called, ‘The house of him whose sandal is removed.’” (Dt. 25:5-10). The marriage between the kinsman redeemer and the widow was known to the Romans as a “levirate marriage.” It comes from the Latin word “levir” for “husband’s brother”. But the Latin word did not accurately convey the full scope of how the law was later applied. For example, Ruth later married Boaz, a presumed cousin of her deceased husband. In Hebrew, the practice was more accurately called “yibbum.” In ancient times, the law allowed for property to stay within the family and provide for the widow. The kinsman-redeemer or “go el”, was translated as “the next of kin”. He had several duties. First, the go el was obligated to rescue another family member in distress (Gen. 48:16; Ex. 6:6). Second, the go el redeemed family property lost due to debt. This kept property within the clan or family (Lev. 27:9-25). Third, if a person was sold into indentured servitude due to debt, the go el redeemed the relative by paying off the debts (Lev. 25:47-55). Fourth, the go el also avenged wrongs as a blood avenger and received restitution if the family was wronged in some manner (Nu. 35:9-34; 5:8). Fifth, in any legal proceeding, he pleaded for the aggrieved family or clan member (Ps. 23:11; 119:154; Jer. 50:34). Sixth, as quoted above, the go el was responsible for marrying a family widow who died without children (Dt. 5:5-10). Finally, because the go el’s abilities to redeem were incomplete or limited, he pointed each person to look to God as the one true redeemer of mankind: “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.” (Job 19:25). “And they remembered that God was their rock, and the Most High God their Redeemer.” (Ps. 78:35). A brother (or possibly a cousin) who either refused or could not comply with his duties as a go el was publicly ridiculed by having his sandals taken and spit on (Dt. 25:9). This caused him to lose any rights to the estate. A failed “yibbum” took place in the book of Genesis. After Judah’s oldest son Er died because of his wickedness before God, Judah directed his next oldest son Onan to marry Er’s widow Tamar, who was his sister-in-law (Gen. 38:8). The yibbum would have allowed Er’s descendants to be the firstborn with a double inheritance. But to keep his deceased brother Er from having any offspring and to allow Onan’s line to receive Judah’s double blessing and inheritance, he pulled out whenever he slept with Tamar. For this reason, God killed Onan (Gen. 38:9). Judah then disobeyed the Law by withholding his third son Shelah from Tamar (Gen. 38:13). Tamar then tricked Judah into sleeping with her by dressing like a prostitute. This incestuous union gave her and her deceased husband Er an heir (Gen. 38:14-18). Chapter 4 of the book of Ruth contains the second recorded yibbum. Each yibbum pointed to Jesus, our redeemer.
Seek out Jesus as your kinsman redeemer. The yibbums in Genesis and Ruth played an important part in allowing for all of humanity to be redeemed by our kinsman redeemer Christ. He is a descendant of the yibbum between Tamar and her father-in-law Judah (Matt. 1:3). He also came as a kinsman redeemer as descendant of the yibbum between Boaz and Ruth (Matt. 1:5). More importantly for us, Boaz’ marriage to Ruth brought the gentiles into God’s spiritual inheritance for Israel (Ruth 4:21-22). He qualified as a kinsman redeemer because He humbled Himself into human form to become our “brother.” (Heb. 2:11). He became the second Adam who redeemed humanity to restore its lost spiritual inheritance (1 Cor. 15:45; 1:30; Rev. 1:5). But the yibbum will not be completed until the marriage is completed. He will fulfill the Law as a kinsman redeemer when He marries the Church through a spiritual yibbum in heaven (Rev. 19:7-9; 21:1-2). This was an unstated part of His explanation to the Sadducees for why a woman married to several brothers following several yibbum marriages would not be married to any of them in heaven. None of the brothers would be qualified to redeem the woman’s spiritual inheritance (Matt. 22:23-33; Mk. 12:18-27). Humanity was left as a spiritual widow when it died to sin. The Church can only have its spiritual inheritance restored through its yibbum to Jesus because only He is qualified to redeem us. Although a yibbum may sound offensive to people who preach independence and self-reliance, Jesus wants you to know that you cannot be self-reliant to be His bride.
Comfort others with Jesus’ plan to redeem them. Just as Naomi comforted Ruth with her plan for Ruth’s redemption, you can also comfort others with God’s plan to redeem them through Christ’s death at the cross: “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you will be comforted in Jerusalem.” (Is. 66:13). “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Cor. 1:3-4). He comforts you when you read His Word in faith: “For whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, that by endurance and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.” (Ro. 15:4). Jesus commands that every believer share the good news with others (Matt. 28:16-20). Are you sharing Jesus’ good news?
Naomi’s plan for Ruth to court her kinsman redeemer. Naomi’s plan for Ruth involved both purity and submission. She was to purify herself and then submit to Boaz for his instruction: “2b Behold, he winnows barley at the threshing floor tonight. 3 Wash yourself therefore, and anoint yourself and put on your best clothes, and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 It shall be when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies, and you shall go and uncover his feet and lie down; then he will tell you what you shall do.’” (Ruth 3:2(b)-4). While some might look to this as a forward proposition of a young woman to a rich older relative, it can also be interpreted as a sign that her period of mourning for her husband had ended and that she was ready for her kinsman redeemer to fulfill his duty to the family under God’s law: “On the analogy of 2 Sam. 12:20, it appears that Naomi is hereby advising Ruth to end her period of mourning over her widowhood and get on with normal life. According to the Samuel text, when David had been informed of the death of his son, he washed himself, applied perfumed oil, put on his simla, and then went to the temple to worship, after which he came back home and ate and drank. To David’s puzzled contemporaries this signaled the end of his period of mourning for his son. It may well be that until this time Ruth had always worn the garments of widowhood, even when she was working in the field. Perhaps this was the reason for Boaz’s inertia. As an upright man, he would not violate a woman’s right to grieve the loss of her husband nor impose himself upon her until she was ready. We know too little about how long widows would customarily wear their mourning clothes, but it may be that Naomi is now telling Ruth the time has come to take off her ‘garments of widowhood’ (Gen. 38:14, 19) and let Boaz know that she is ready to return to normal life, including marriage, if that should be possible.” (Daniel Block, The New American Commentary: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture, Judges, Ruth, Vol. 6, B & H Publishing Group 1999 p. 684). Each step in Naomi’s plan of courtship foreshadowed the courtship of every believer with Jesus, their kinsman redeemer.
Wash yourself in preparation for your marriage to Jesus. Ruth’s first step of preparation involved washing herself (Ruth 3:3). To be joined together with Jesus, you must also wash yourself of your sins through His blood. “[T]he blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 Jo. 1:7(b)). Jesus also makes clear that your cleansing is not a one-time act. You must constantly be washed of your sins, even after you have been saved. “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” (1 Jo. 1:10). At the Last Supper, Peter initially refused Jesus’ offer to wash his feet. Jesus responded by rebuking him: “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” (Jo. 13:8). Peter then asked Jesus to wash his feet, hands and head. Jesus responded: “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet.” (Jo. 13:10). In other words, Jesus died once for your sins, but your flesh gets dirty each day and must still be washed. This involves a two-step process. First, you must read God’s Word to expose your sins: “so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word . . .” (Eph. 5:26). Second, when He exposes your sin, you must confess it: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jo. 1:9). Are you reading the Word and confessing your sins daily?
Anoint yourself with the Holy Spirit. Ruth’s second step was to anoint herself (Ruth 3:3). Jesus also advises every believer to be anointed: “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face” (Matt. 6:17). “Then I bathed you with water, washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil.” (Ez. 16:9). While Ruth would have been anointed with perfume, every believer should be anointed with the Holy Spirit. Are you seeking out the Holy Spirit’s anointing through both prayer and fasting?
Be clothed in Jesus’ purity and righteousness. Ruth’s third step involved putting on new white clothes that symbolized her purity (Ruth 3:3). God clothed Adam and Eve after they sinned and needed to be purified (Gen. 3:21). He also instructed the priests to put on new clothes after they had become dirtied from animal sacrifices (Lev. 1:6; 7:8). You are also in need of new clothes. Your acts of righteousness are but filthy rags to God: “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; . . . ” (Is. 64:6). Like He did for Adam and Eve, Jesus also offers to clothe you in His fine clothes: “And He was also telling them a parable: “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and puts it on an old garment; otherwise he will both tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old.” (Lk. 5:36). “[W]e do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life.” (2 Cor. 5:4(b)). If you overcome in Jesus, He will give you white garments of purity and righteousness in heaven: “He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” (Rev. 3:5). ‘“Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold, you were at the time for love; so I spread My skirt over you and covered your nakedness. I also swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became Mine,’ declares the Lord GOD.” (Ezek. 16:8). “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, ‘Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’’ And he said to me, ‘These are true words of God.’” (Rev. 19:7-9). If you try to show up to His wedding without His clothes, you will be thrown out (Matt. 22:12-13). His clothes symbolize His purity and righteousness. Does your life exhibit the purity and righteousness of Jesus?
Ruth’s promise to obey Naomi. Naomi never asked Ruth what she wanted. Ruth, however, trusted Naomi and made a vow to obey her words: “5 She said to her, ‘All that you say I will do.’ 6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law had commanded her.” (Ruth 3:5-6). The Bible records both Ruth’s vow and her execution of each instruction to show her obedience to divine authority.
Ruth promised to obey Naomi’s instructions2
Obey Jesus’ teachings and His will for you. Just as Ruth made a vow of obedience, Jesus wants you to make a vow of obedience to Him. Your obedience to Him is a sign of your love for Him: “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.’” (Jo. 14:23). “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” (Jo. 14:21). “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.” (Jo. 15:10). He will bless anyone who keeps His Word in faith: “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.” (Jo. 8:51). Is there any area of your life where you are disobedient to either Jesus’ teachings or His calling for you?
Obey godly instruction from your parents. In addition to obeying Jesus, this account also highlights the importance for a child to follow the godly advice of his or her parents. Ruth obeyed her mother’s teachings: “Hear, my son, your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching;” (Prov. 1:8). “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” (Eph. 6:1). “Listen to your father who begot you, . . .” (Prov. 23:2(a)). When you obey godly instruction from your parents, you please God: “Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.” (Col. 3:20). Are you raising your children to understand the importance of respecting godly authority?
Ruth’s submission at the feet of Boaz. After preparing herself according to Naomi’s instructions, Ruth uncovered Boaz’s feet in his sleep and then sat submissively for him to instruct her: “7 When Boaz had eaten and drunk and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain; and she came secretly, and uncovered his feet and lay down. 8 It happened in the middle of the night that the man was startled and bent forward; and behold, a woman was lying at his feet. 9 He said, ‘Who are you?’ And she answered, ‘I am Ruth your maid. So spread your covering over your maid, for you are a close relative.’ 10 Then he said, ‘May you be blessed of the Lord, my daughter. You have shown your last kindness to be better than the first by not going after young men, whether poor or rich.” (Ruth 3:7-10). Boaz could have taken advantage of Ruth. But he instead showed himself to be a man of integrity. Each step in their courtship pointed to Jesus.
Ruth submitted to Boaz, and Boaz honored her3
Submit to Him by watching over His flock. Boaz slept on the floor to guard the harvest from thieves and wild animals. The barley symbolized the new believers in Jesus. Barley was the first food that came from the first of three seasonal harvests. Each of the three harvests represents a stage in a believer’s walk with God: (1) barley = justification, (2) wheat = sanctification, and (3) fruit = glorification. Barley was offered during the Feast of First Fruits (Lev. 23:9-14). This corresponded with Jesus’ resurrection and symbolized the offering of a new believer (1 Cor. 15:20). When Jesus fed the masses of followers, he used “five barley loaves and two small fishes.” (Jo. 6:9). When they were filled, He said unto His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” (Jo. 6:12). These believers were part of the masses. They were not close to Jesus. But they were saved and had overcome death. Like Boaz, Christians must also watch over all Christians from the attacks of the evil one: “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;” (Acts 20:28-29). “shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.” (1 Pet. 5:2-3). “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.” (Jo. 10:10-13). Are you watching over His people?
Submit by showing your deep-felt love for Him. As part of her courtship, Ruth uncovered Boaz’s feet (Ruth 3:7). In the parable of the two debtors, Jesus pointed to the love of the woman who submitted and washed His feet to show the love that every believer should have toward Him: “Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume.” (Lk. 7:44-46). Do you have tears of gratitude for what Jesus has saved you from? How are you showing your love for Him?
Submit yourself by waiting for His timing. As part of the courtship process, Ruth had to wait on Boaz. Like Ruth, believers must also wait for Jesus: “A Psalm of David. My soul waits in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation . . . My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him.” (Ps. 62:1(b), 5). When things are not going as you hoped they might, are you patiently waiting on Jesus’ timing?
Submit by being ready at all times. Boaz awoke in the middle of the night (Ruth 3:8). In the parable of the 10 virgins, the bridegroom also came at midnight: “But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.”’ (Matt. 25:6). Jesus will also come at a time that you will not expect: “Therefore, be on the alert-- for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—” (Mk. 13:35). “At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to You because of Your righteous ordinances.” (Ps. 119:62). Thus, like Ruth, you must submit to Him by being ready at all times for His return.
Boaz’s blessing to Ruth. Ruth symbolized the bride of Christ. Like Boaz, Jesus will bless His bride (the Church) for its faithfulness: “Then he said to me, ‘Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’’ And he said to me, ‘These are true words of God.’” (Rev. 19:9). Any wife who acts in a godly manner is also blessed: “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.” (Prov. 31:10; 12:4). “Your adornment must not be merely external-- braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” (1 Pet. 3:3-4). Have you given Jesus many reasons to bless you?
Boaz’s encouragement to Ruth that someone would redeem her. After blessing her, Boaz promised that either he or a closer male relative to her deceased husband would redeem her: “11 Now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence. 12 Now it is true I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I. 13 Remain this night, and when morning comes, if he will redeem you, good; let him redeem you. But if he does not wish to redeem you, then I will redeem you, as the Lord lives. Lie down until morning.” (Ruth 3:11-13). Boaz’s words would have let Ruth down. But she trusted in his promise of redemption. Jesus also wants you to trust in His promises.
Have faith in Jesus’ promise for you. Like Ruth, Jesus also wants you to trust in His promises for you. “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” (1 Thess. 5:24). “Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.” (Josh. 21:45). “Now behold, today I am going the way of all the earth, and you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one word of all the good words which the LORD your God spoke concerning you has failed; all have been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed.” (Josh. 23:14; 1 Kgs. 8:56; Ps. 4:5). Do you trust in Jesus’ promises to you?
Boaz’s promise of his return. Ruth had hope in the promise of Boaz’s return. He also rewarded her for her trust with a large portion of barley: “14 So she lay at his feet until morning and rose before one could recognize another; and he said, ‘Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.’ 15 Again he said, ‘Give me the cloak that is on you and hold it.’ So she held it, and he measured six measures of barley and laid it on her. Then she went into the city. 16 When she came to her mother-in-law, she said, ‘How did it go, my daughter?’ And she told her all that the man had done for her. 17 She said, ‘These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said, ‘Do not go to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’ 18 Then she said, ‘Wait, my daughter, until you know how the matter turns out; for the man will not rest until he has settled it today.’” (Ruth 3:14-18). Boaz showed that he cared for both Ruth and Naomi. Not knowing what the other potential kinsman redeemer might do, Boaz gave Ruth and Naomi between 180 to 300 pounds of barley (Block p. 698). His provision also pointed to Jesus’ provision.
Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (1606-1669) “Boaz Pouring Six Measures of Barley into Ruth’s Veil” (drawing - 1645)4
Maintain the appearance of purity while you wait for Jesus. Because Boaz was an honorable man, he did not want anyone to misjudge Ruth. Thus, he protected her from what others might assume. Believers are also to protect themselves from even the appearance of impropriety: “Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil;” (Ro. 14:16). “I mean not your own conscience, but the other man’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience?” (1 Cor. 10:29). “for we have regard for what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.” (2 Cor. 8:21). “And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” (1 Tim. 3:7). “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1 Pet. 2:12). Is your conduct a light to non-believers to follow God?
Wait with eager hope for Jesus’ return. Just as Ruth had to wait for Boaz, believers must also wait in anticipation for Christ’s return: “[W]e exult in hope of the glory of God . . . hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Ro. 5:2(b), 5). “The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the LORD.” (Lam. 3:25-6). “Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; . . .” (Ps. 33:7(a)). “But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” (Ro. 8:25). “so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.” (Ro. 9:28). “For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.” (Ro. 5:5). “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; . . .” (Phil. 3:20(a)). “so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.” (Heb. 9:28). “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,” (Tit. 2:13). “keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.” (Jude 1:21). “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Ro. 8:18). “Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (Ro. 13:1-12). “For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.” (Gal. 5:5). Are you waiting with eager anticipation for His return?
The Lord provides for those who put their hope in Him. The six ephahs of barley represented the six days of work that preceded the rest on the seventh day of the Sabbath (Ex. 20:9). Jesus promises to provide for those who labor for Him and put their trust in His return. “But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.” (Lk. 12:31; Matt. 7:7-8; Rev. 22:7). “Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope for His lovingkindness, to deliver their soul from death and to keep them alive in famine.” (Ps. 33:18-19). Do you trust in His provision while you wait for Him?