Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee? — Ruth 3:1
All people desire rest for their souls. Many years ago, a young girl from a troubled home was longing for such rest. Then she heard about a camp meeting being held in a large tent. She said, “The minute I entered, I felt a calm come over me.” At the end of the service, she knelt to pray, and before long God answered. Unrest and grief disappeared, and she had joy and peace.
After this salvation experience, Edna was severely persecuted and beaten at home. The day she turned eighteen, she was asked to leave, so she packed her few belongings in an old suitcase and departed. However, the God she served did not let her down. Before long, she had the opportunity to live in a Christian home — the home of Florence Crawford, the founder of the Apostolic Faith Church. She said, “My joy was almost more than I could contain.”
Later she married Florence Crawford’s son, Raymond, who succeeded his mother in the leadership of the church. Even though this young woman faced distressing circumstances and had to leave her family, she had joy and rest in her soul. She had found the Redeemer.(1)
Ruth also faced difficult situations. She forsook her family, her homeland, and the Moabite gods in order to follow the true God. Ruth did this with her whole heart, never looking back. By leaving her old friends and life, she found a new place with the people of God, and she was able to receive the redemption offered by Boaz as a near kinsman, and ultimately spiritual redemption by the Lord. In today’s text, Ruth presented herself to Boaz as a humble petitioner. She diligently followed Naomi’s instructions and laid herself at his feet. As a result, she found rest and protection.
In the same way, we are to follow the instructions of the Holy Spirit. By faith, we should lay ourselves at the feet of Jesus Christ. The Spirit invites us to this position of protection and rest when He says, “Come.” We, too, are to turn away from anything or anyone that would hinder us from fully following God. Through Jesus we find a new life and great reward, for He is the one who saves us from the old path of sin. True rest is found only at the feet of the Redeemer.
Chapter 3 tells how Naomi began the process of notifying Boaz that it would be in order for him to perform the part of a kinsman. Israelite parents arranged their children’s marriages, so Naomi was acting as Ruth’s mother. The instructions that Naomi gave Ruth were specific and appropriate according to the customs of that time.
Naomi told Ruth to wash and anoint herself, change her clothes, and go to the threshing floor. Fragrant oils were used at that time for both protection and healing, while making a person pleasing to those around. In essence, Naomi was suggesting that Ruth follow the Israelite custom, which would let Boaz know that as her kinsman-redeemer he should find someone to marry her or even marry her himself. Ruth may not have understood why Naomi gave all the instructions she did, but she promised to do as she was told (verse 5).
At the threshing floor, the kernels of grain were separated from the outside shell (chaff). To accomplish this, the harvested stalks were crushed by oxen or by beating on them, and then the grain was winnowed (thrown up so the chaff blew away and the grain fell to the ground). By threshing at night, these men took advantage of the evening breezes and also were then free to harvest during the day. Owners spent the night to ensure honesty and also to be there when their turns came to use the floor.
The uncovering of the feet of Boaz (Ruth 3:7) was a morally acceptable custom that alerted the woman’s kinsman to the fact that she sought his protection. The word “covering” is the translation of the same Hebrew word that refers to the “wings” of God. Boaz was the son of Rahab, the harlot from Jericho (Matthew 1:5). He was from the tribe of Judah, a wealthy farmer and an honorable man. He was a man of his word, sensitive to those in need, and cared for his workers. He was also surprised to find a woman at his feet!
Verse 10 indicates that Boaz was a number of years older than Ruth, and verse 11 shows that she had a reputation of being virtuous. Boaz’s response could indicate that he had given some thought to the kinsman matter, because he knew already that there was someone with a closer relationship. He promised to take immediate action, and sent Ruth home with a large gift.
Boaz’s redemption of Ruth was a picture of the redemption price Jesus paid for us, since we cannot pay it ourselves.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III. Ruth’s appeal (3:1-18)
A. The plan of Naomi for Ruth’s security (3:1-5)
B. The request of Ruth for Boaz to act as a kinsman-redeemer (3:6-15)
1. The request of Ruth (3:6-13)
2. The gift for Ruth (3:14-15)
C. The report to Naomi (3:16-18)
Boaz, Ruth, and Naomi knew it was the Lord who cared for them, guided them, and redeemed them. He was their rest. Jesus Christ extends a personal invitation to every person to enjoy the rest that only He can give. Have you found His rest?
1. Tract 33: Teenager Overcomes Persecution.