Saturday, March 25, 2006

Daring to Move (Ruth Part 3)

Ruth 3:18- "Then Naomi said, 'Wait my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.'"

Its been a while since I've updated my Ruth study so I apologize, but I'm home for a little bit and thus thought I would continue my plight.

We left off in Ruth 2. Boaz had noticed Ruth...and Ruth had noticed Boaz for his kindness. Right from the start in chapter 3, Naomi begins to instruct Ruth about the next step. She basically tells her to go and propose to Boaz. She is to go to the threshing floor and lie down at his uncovered feet. This was a sign of total submission. She surrendered herself to his decision.

Now, I don't know about you, but for me, that is one intense confrontation. I can only imagine her heart rate. How excited/scared/vulnerable she must have been! But she obeyed Naomi. In this situation, Boaz could have easily taken advantage of her, but like we saw in the previous Ruth lesson (why are you noticed?), Naomi knew Boaz, and knew that he would do no such thing.

Let's unpack this for a brief moment. First, Ruth is taking action! So often in the Christian world, girls are encouraged to be humble and gentle, but we confuse that with passive. As you can see, Ruth is anything but that. If you recall the passage in Proverbs 31 about the "Wife of Noble character", in order for her to be wise, good with money, or any other characteristics listed...she must take action. She must trust that God has provided her with gifts...and the brains to remain true to herself.

So what does that peace mean for us? Well, let's look at the TYPE of action that Ruth took. She was advised in the other words, looked to someone who not only knew the customs of the culture, but also knew Boaz. She was not loud and obtrusive...obnoxious...she was quiet and patient. I know it would be extremely difficult for me to wait for him to discover me there. So even in her action, she waited. I love that those two qualities wed there.

Now for the exciting part...Boaz's reaction! She is at the most vulnerable place his feet. When he asks, she identifies herself as his servant and then proposes! "Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are my kinsman-redeemer." Next, he admonishes her! He praises her for, not her beauty, but her character. Sound familar? "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is too be praised!" (Proverbs 31)

He then explains the situation...that he is not the one closest to her in line, but he will take care of the situation. He provides for her and then protects at night and then does the same again in the morning. He protects her reputation and then gives her food to take back to Naomi.

She returns to her mother-in-law who then gives her words I think many of us need to hear..."Wait, my daughter..." and she reassures Ruth of his character...he will get the job done.

Now, how does this apply to us? While there are so many things we can take from this passage I want to focus on the Naomis of our lives. Who do you go to for advice? I'm not talking about just the chit chat, but who do you go to for guidance in life? Do you go to anyone? Do you think Ruth could have gotten this far without Naomi's help? I know in my case I often need a "Biblical push" from someone wiser than I.

We are not meant to walk this Christian life alone. Jesus had his is crucial for us to have those around us who 1)know us 2)know our situation and 3) know the Gospel. For in that, we are built up and encouraged in the ways of Jesus...not in our own passive or obtrusive patterns. We then dare to move in the steps of Christ with the cross before us.

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