10 “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. 11 And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. 12 Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family,there is another who is more closely related than I. 13 Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer,good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it. Lie here until morning.”
14 So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, “No one must know that a woman came to the threshing floor.”
15 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 placed the bundle on her. Then he went back to town.
16 When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “How did it go, my daughter?”
Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her 17 and added, “He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, ‘Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’”
18 Then Naomi said, “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.”
(Ruth 3:10-18 NIV)
As we recap the story from yesterday, we see Naomi beginning to trust the Lord again, looking past her shattered dreams and bitterness to God’s kindness and hope and provision.
Naomi knew that the Lord had provided a way for their family name to not die out, to carry forward their legacy to future generations. She trusted the Lord and explained the Lord’s provision to her daughter-in-law Ruth. In faith, Ruth followed Naomi;s instructions and asked Boaz to marry her and preserve her deceased husband’s legacy and family name.
As we pick up the story today, we see Boaz’ reaction to Ruth’s request. First of all, we see Boaz’ heart of kindness and compassion as he addresses Ruth. Imagine being in Boaz’ place – you have worked a full day in the heat, you have worked late at night on the threshing floor to separate the grain from the chaff, you have had the evening meal and some time with family and friends. At this point, you are dog tired and just want some sleep before another hard day tomorrow.
In the middle of the night, you wake up with a sudden realization that there is someone at your feet. With your adrenaline pumping, but still groggy, you try to make sense of what is going on. Is this a friend or foe? Is there an emergency? What is happening? Who is this person?
As Ruth identifies herself, you are relieved that you know who she is. But what is she doing here in the middle of the night? Is Naomi sick? No, all is well. Ruth is asking you to marry her and fulfill God’s provision for their family.
Boaz, still only half awake, treats Ruth kindly. He addresses her as “my daughter”, indicating to us that he was older than her, as much as a generation older. Boaz praises Ruth for living a life of integrity and faith, and not chasing after younger men her age.
Boaz agrees to her request but informs Ruth that he is not the closest guardian-redeemer in their family. He tells Ruth that he will take up the matter with the other man. Boaz assures Ruth that if the other man will not be her guardian-redeemer, that he will honor her request.
Boaz instructs Ruth to stay the night, for her protection. It would be too dangerous to send her back to town in the middle of the night. Boaz does send her off early in the morning, to protect both her reputation as well as his. Once again, Boaz shows his overwhelming kindness and generosity by sending her home with six measures of grain in her shawl. We don’t know exactly how much grain that was, but it was enough that Boaz had to help Ruth lift it onto her shoulders to carry it.
Notice that when Ruth headed back to Naomi’s home, that Boaz returned to town as well. They likely took separate routes, as Boaz was a man on a mission, following up on his promise to Ruth.
As Ruth returned to Naomi’s home, Naomi wanted to hear what happened. Ruth told Naomi everything showing her the six measures of grain that Boaz had sent for them as well.
Naomi’s heart was healing as she watched God’s hand of blessing and provision opening up before her. Naomi instructed Ruth to have faith in the Lord and in Boaz as he worked out the details of Ruth’s care and provision.
May we, like Naomi and Ruth, humbly and confidently step into God’s promises and provision and wait for Him to work out the details. Our Lord has a kind and generous heart towards His own, even more so than Boaz demonstrated toward Ruth and Naomi. May we look to Him as our ultimate guardian-redeemer, not only of our life but our very souls.