Friday, February 25, 2011

One Woman's Journey - Episode 8

Ruth 3:7-15
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.

So today's story starts with the actual marriage proposal.  Can you imagine?  A widow, a foreigner, a woman.  Asking a man during that time for marriage.  Boaz is reminded of his responsibility to Ruth's husband.  But what an amazing man, that Boaz.  Keep in mind, this is during the times of the Judges.  It was a dark time in Israel's history, where sin was rampant and morals were lacking.  And yet there was Ruth, at Boaz's feet.  He could have assumed she was there for any number of reasons.  But Boaz knew Ruth and Ruth trusted Boaz.  He knew she was there not for simple pleasures, but for something pure, something precious.  He promised to take care of her, either by the other kinsman-redeemer or by redeeming her himself.  Before she even left, he provided for her immediate needs with barley. 

What a great example Boaz is.  Sometimes we get wrapped up in "saving" someone that we forget to look for and assist with their great immediate need.  Does it matter how much we want to save someone's soul if he is starving?  A starving man is more concerned with his next meal than his eternity that seems so far away.  We cannot just look at the big picture all the time.  Sometimes we have to look down deep to find what that person needs.  Once we take care of the emergent need, that person is more likely to be able to focus on Christ's life-saving plan.

I imagine it is what the author had in mind when s/he penned "I don't care how much you know until I know how much you care".

The beauty of this section of scripture is that we are reminded that we can lead upright, moral lives even in this dark world.  Boaz and Ruth provide great examples of how we should live.  Both in their kindness to each other and to others, and the beliefs and morals they held.  Praise God for such strong examples!

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