Thursday, February 24, 2011

One Woman's Journey - episode 7

Ruth 2:21-23
Then Ruth the Moabitess said, "He even said to me, 'Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.'"  Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, "It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with his girls, because in someone else's field you might be harmed."  So Ruth stayed close to the servant girls of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished.  And she lived with her mother-in-law.

While these passages seem somewhat boring (especially compared to what is coming), they are important to us.  Verse 23 indicates that some time had passed.  Perhaps it was a couple of months.  Ruth continued living with Naomi and continued going to Boaz's land to glean.  God continued to provide for both Naomi and Ruth.  That is so important to us to know that God is faithful.  He provides.  In fact what He was providing for them would have been sufficient.  However, He had bigger plans for Ruth.  His plans take time though.  It is important for us to remember that He provides for us.  What He provides is sufficient to meet our needs.  Some of us may be like Naomi and He provides what we need.  Others of us may be like Ruth, where He provides for us, but He plans to use us in bigger more exciting ways.  What could be more exciting than being the ancestor of a future king?  Then the King of Kings?  Either way, we need to thank Him for being always faithful to provide.

But now the story heats up...

Ruth 3:1-6
One day Naomi, her mother-in-law, said to her, "My daughter, should I not try to find a home for you, where you will be well provided for?  Is not Boaz, with whose servant girls you have been, a kinsman of ours?  Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor.  Wash and perfume yourself, and put on your best clothes.  Then go down to the threshing floor, but don't let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking.  When he lies down, note the place where he is lying.  Then go and uncover his feet and lie down.  He will tell you what to do."  "I will do whatever you say," Ruth answered.  So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.

That is some kind of trust right there.  Both trusting Naomi and God.  I know me and I can promise you that I am not humble enough to pull this kind of trust off.  Here is how this story goes.

Naomi is feeling renewed hope.  She decides she needs to provide for Ruth.  She knows that Boaz will be winnowing barley on the threshin floor.  It was customary for the landowner to spend the night near the threshing floor to protect his grain from theft.  Boaz was going to be eating and drinking as this was a time of celebration and festivities, for which women were not typically present.  To ask Ruth to be there during that time seems forward enough to me.  However, Naomi has bigger plans.

She instructs Ruth to wash and perfume herself, to wear her best clothes, to go to the threshing floor but not let him know she is there.  Then when he lies down, she is to go uncover his feet and lie down.  That may seem pretty innocuous, but this is where I, in my pride, would most likely have balked.  Uncovering feet and lying down doesn't seem like much in these days, but in Ruth's day, it was a marriage proposal.  Ruth was humble enough to do as Naomi says.  She, lower than a servant, did as Naomi said, and essentially asked the wealthy landowner with high social standing to marry her as her kinsman redeemer.  Thank God Ruth did as she was told. 

I can only imagine what Ruth was thinking as she walked to the threshing floor.  I know I would have been wondering what would happen if Boaz rejected me, where will I work, what will he do to me?  It doesn't say what Ruth thought or felt, just that she did as she was told.  I wonder, would I be so humble that I do as God tells me to do, if it means potentially embarrassing myself?  I'm afraid I would not.  Ruth would have altered history's plan if she had not done as Naomi said.  She wouldn't have been the ancestor of Kind David, or of Jesus.  What blessings am I missing out on because pride sneaks in and I don't do as I am told?

Father God, I pray for humility so that I am not so prideful that I don't follow your will when things might get uncomfortable.  Please do not let me be like King Hezekiah and let pride be my downfall, but give me a spirit of obedience like Ruth's, so that I may experience your many blessings you have in store for me.  You are a gracious God and I love you.

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