Summary: Boaz had a "rude awakening" when he found Ruth at his feet on the winnowing floor. She had a need and Boaz was the answer to her need. In the same way, God meets our need for a redeemer.
A Rude Awakening
August 25, 2013
TEXT: Turn to Ruth 3
Life is sometimes filled with “rude awakenings.”
Illus. – I remember a newspaper story of a man whose bedroom faced a curve in a road that went by his house. He had a rude awakening one night when a drunk drove through the railing, through his bedroom wall, and halfway into his bedroom. The car stopped about two feet from his bed. Now…that’s what I call a rude awakening!
Some awakenings are PLEASANT and some are NOT SO PLEASANT.
• Adam woke up and discovered that God had created a wife for him. – That was one of the pleasant ones.
• Jacob woke up and discovered that he was married to the WRONG wife! His father-in-law, Laban, had pulled a fast one on Jacob and sent Lea instead of Rachael to his tent on their wedding night. I’ve never quite figured that one out. It must have been REALLY dark in that tent that night!
• In today’s text, Boaz woke up to one of those rude awakenings.
Let’s read about Boaz’s big surprise in Ruth 3:7-18 – “And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down. 8 And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet. 9 And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman. 10 And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich. 11 And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman. 12 And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I. 13 Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman's part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the LORD liveth: lie down until the morning.
14 And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor. 15 Also he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city. 16 And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her. 17 And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law. 18 Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.”
We saw last week how Naomi had given Ruth a plan to approach Boaz to see if he would be willing to perform the role of the kinsman-redeemer by buying back Elimelech’s property, marrying her and raising up their children in the name of her deceased husband, in accordance to stipulations in the Law of Moses.
So Ruth went to the winnowing floor where Boaz slept, presumably so that Boaz could turn down the plan he wanted to without the whole town knowing about it.
So here’s Ruth standing in the shadows, waiting for Boaz to go to sleep. And once he’s asleep, she tip-toes to the winnowing floor and lays down by his feet. It’s then that Boaz stirs in the middle of the night and has his “rude awakening”! Seeing someone in the dark at his feet, he says in alarm, “Who are you?” Following the plan, Ruth reveals herself and asks Boaz if he would consider being her kinsman-redeemer.
Remember that there is not a hint of anything wrong in what Ruth did. Her only indiscretion may have been in going to Boaz alone at night.
Now the key is to understand that Ruth acted out of FAITH—trusting in the grace of Boaz. And Boaz responded in grace.