Summary: Claiming Christ as our Redeemer/Savior.
Today’s message comes out of Ruth 3. Let’s take a quick review of what has led us to this point…
Chapter 1: Naomi and her husband and sons move from Bethlehem to Moab because of a famine in the land. Yet Naomi’s husband dies. Her sons marry, but 10 years later, they too die. Naomi sets out to go back to Bethlehem, and one of her daughters-in-law, Ruth resolutely comes with her.
Lesson: We have to come to the end of ourselves, to find the beginning of God.
Chapter 2: Once back in Bethlehem, Ruth begins to glean grain to sustain them. It turns out that she gleans in Boaz’ field, who very kindly and generously obliges.
Lesson: We are invited to come and find blessing under the wings of God.
According to 2:23, Ruth continued to glean in Boaz’ field through both the barley and wheat harvests. During these couple of months, it was probably becoming more and more apparent that Boaz and Ruth liked each other.
And this brings us to chapter 3…
Scene 1: Naomi’s Hopeful Suggestion (vv. 1-5)
But the relationship wasn’t pursuing any further… So Naomi makes a hopeful and somewhat bold suggestion to Ruth:
“…shall I not seek security for you…” (“rest” – KVJ, “a home” – RSV, NIV) (v. 1)
The word means a ‘settled spot” or “a place of rest,” meaning, “marriage.” Naomi wanted Ruth to be settled and secure in a home with a husband.
So Naomi suggests Boaz to Ruth – after all, he is a kinsman…
You will remember that Naomi made mention of the fact that Boaz was a close relative to Ruth back in 2:20.
· What’s going on here? Why would she want to marry a relative?
1. Boaz could be her Kinsman-Redeemer (Lev 25:25-28; 47-55; Num 35:16-21)
The Hebrew word is “goel.” A “kinsman-redeemer” was a relative who functioned on behalf of another person and his property within the family circle in times of crisis:
· He redeems property by purchasing what has been lost and returning it to the one who was forced to sell.
· He redeems persons, that is, a relative who was forced to sell himself into slavery.
· He redeems blood, by avenging the death of a relative who has been murdered. (not applicable in Ruth’s case)
2. Boaz could fulfill a Levirate marriage (Deut 25:5-9)
This provided for a childless widow to marry an available brother of her deceased husband to raise up children in her deceased husband’s name. If a brother was not available, then the next eligible closest of kin could marry her.
(Naomi had once suggested how utterly impossible it would be for her daughters-in-law to wait around until she bore more sons to grow up and marry them in Chapter 1)
Boaz was eligible on both accounts. Not only to serve as a redeemer for his family, but also to marry Ruth and raise up children in her deceased family’s name, that the name would not be lost forever.
But Boaz’ hands were “tied” in the matter of marrying Ruth. It was not up to him. He could not claim her for his wife. It had to be Ruth’s move.
· Seeing that an interest was developing between Ruth and Boaz, Naomi took a bold move of hope to suggest to Ruth to go and claim Boaz as her redeemer and request a marriage.
· Basically she said, “Ruth – I want the best for you. Boaz is available… make a move!”
So Naomi instructs Ruth to fix herself up all beautiful and irresistible and go down to the threshing floor where he will be working tonight…
Important notes about the threshing floor:
We need to not think of the threshing floor as being inside a barn or anything as such.
Customarily, a threshing floor was located on top of a hill to catch any wind that was blowing. The clay soil was packed to a hard smooth surface, and ordinarily, it was circular with rocks placed around it. Sheaves of grain were spread on the floor and trampled by oxen drawing a sled. The people took a winnowing fork (a pitchfork) and threw the grain up into the air so that the chaff would be blown away and the good grain would come down on the threshing floor.
When the wind died down, they held a great religious feast. And at this season of the year all the families came up and camped around the threshing floor, which meant that there were many people present. After the feast was over, the men would sleep around the grain. Since the threshing floor was circular, it was very typical for them to put their heads toward the grain and their feet would stick out like spokes. They slept that way to protect the grain, from thieves who might break through and steal.