“I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.” Ruth 3:9 (NKJV)
“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Phil 4:8).This was Apostle Paul’s closing advice to the church in Philippi, to dwell upon things that are true, noble, just, and pure in nature. Paul wanted the believers to occupy their mind with positive thinking as there are many dangers in negative thinking. What purer and more noble object is there to dwell upon than the Person and work of Jesus Christ? Dwelling on Christ or better yet dwelling with Him is the fuel for our soul’s satisfaction.
Now what did Ruth, a Moabite have that she can dwell upon? Ruth was a young widow that had lost her husband, father-in-law, and brother-in-law. One can imagine the pain and the dark valley that she was walking through. Ruth had no lovely thoughts or “I feel good” songs to sing about. But Ruth had Naomi, her mother-in-law, a noble person to dwell with. If you can hold onto that very right person or a thought that gives you hope and leads you in the right path, hold onto it and chase it if you have to. This is exactly what Ruth did.
As Naomi was leaving for her home in her affliction as she had lost her husband, Elimelech, and two sons, Ruth clung to her and would not let go of Naomi. Ruth said to Naomi, “For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried.” Ruth was drawn to Naomi’s character, her beliefs and the truth that Naomi possessed. Sometimes in life, the path to righteousness and truth is obvious as we read in Psalms 19 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. God makes His existence obvious for all to see through His creation so that no one may have an excuse. Ruth saw the truth of God’s existence not just by the wonderful creations of God but through Naomi’s life testimony.
Ruth then leaving her own father and mother, and the place of her birth, traveled with Naomi and came to live with a people she did not previously know. Upon reaching Bethlehem, Ruth started to glean in the field of Boaz, a wealthy man, and a near relative of Naomi’s husband. Boaz took notice of Ruth’s excellent character and he said to Ruth, “The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”
Little did this young Moabite girl know the treasures beneath the wings of this mighty God that was waiting for her possession. With a nudge and some advice from Naomi, Ruth put on her best clothes and some perfume and went down to the threshing floor to see Boaz. Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down, a custom in those days. In the middle of the night something startled Boaz and he turned—and there was Ruth lying at his feet! “Who are you?” he asked. Ruth responded and made a request that etched her name in the Holy Scriptures, “I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative” Ruth 3: 9 NKJV.
The Law of Moses required that when a man died childless, a close relative should marry the widow, thus perpetuating the family name and keeping the land in the family. Although Boaz was a close relative or a kinsman redeemer, there was another kinsman redeemer who was closer to and had a prior claim to redeem Ruth. Boaz let Ruth know of this and Ruth stayed at his feet just before dawn. Boaz then filled her shawl with six ephahs of barley assuring Ruth of his deep love and gave evidence that he would follow through on the matter without delay.
The next morning itself Boaz went up to meet the close relative. Then Boaz gave the close relative the chance to buy back the land belonging to Elimelech and also marry Ruth. The kinsman-redeemer backed away as he learned he had to marry Ruth, a Moabite upon purchasing the land. The refusal of the closer relative freed Boaz, who was next in line, to marry Ruth. Boaz became the kinsman redeemer and married Ruth and she bore him a son named Obed, the grandfather of David. From David starts the royal lineage and ends with His great Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. God used Ruth as an important genealogical link to Christ, who would redeem His people from their bondage.
Ruth, came to seek refuge under the wings of the Lord God of Israel and she found it. She pursued goodness, truth, and sought God. She asked Boaz to redeem her and Boaz did. For unto us, God is good and can be our redeemer also. We can pursue Him and seek His refuge and God will cover us with His feathers. We can ask God to redeem us and Christ will redeem us. Redemption is instant upon our request as the work of redemption is done upon the Cross of Calvary. Christ has loved us with an everlasting love and drawn us with His loving kindness. In Ruth’s case there was more than one able kinsman redeemer, although only Boaz was both willing and able. In our case we have only One kinsman that is both able and willing to redeem us, that is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace”(Ephesians 1:7). Under God’s wings, there is immense grace, unending mercy, and unfailing love for ALL. Will you seek for it, will you ask for it? Knock and the door shall be opened to you, even you.
by George John
George John resides in Hawthorne, New Jersey with his wife Eirene and children Norah, Amelia, Daniel, and Gideon. He is in active fellowship with the believers in Elmwood Park Bible Chapel, New Jersey and serves as the Sunday School Principal. George is also a pharmacist by trade.
You can read other articles by George here.
(Image Ruth’s Wise Choice published by the Providence Lithograph Company)