Aragorn looked at the pale stars, and at the moon, now sloping behind the western hills that enclosed the valley. ‘This is a night as long as years’, he said. ‘How long will the day tarry?’
‘Dawn is not far off’, said Gamling, who had now climbed up beside him. ‘But dawn will not help us, I fear’
‘Yet dawn is ever the hope of men’, said Aragorn.
Where we’ve been:
Ch 1: Naomi is left destitute after the death of her husband and sons in a foreign land, Ruth remains by her side as they travel back to her native home
Ch 2 Naomi is despondent, Ruth seeks to provide for her by gleaning barley from the fields. Providentially ending up in Boaz’s field where she is shown favor. Naomi begins to see a glimmer of hope in this arrangement.
I. A Spark of Hope
Ruth 3:1–5 ESV
Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you? Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.” And she replied, “All that you say I will do.”
A. Naomi sees hope (God answers prayers in Unusual ways)
-Following the events of chapter 2 Naomi comes to the conclusion that there is hope for them after all. Boaz may just be the man who would marry Ruth and give them both a respite from their current brokeness.
Ruth 1:9 ESV
The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.
In chapter 1 Naomi prayed and instructed her Daughter in laws to leave and find rest with new husbands in Moab, for there was no hope for them with her. Now we see the wheels Turing in Naomis’s mind and she is taking on herself to accomplish the very thing she prayed for
-A key them in the chapter before us is the Lord answer the prayers of the characters in ways they would not have thought.
-The rest they sought would not come from some foreign man, but through a man of Israel.
-This is not what she was imagining when hey left Moab
-She was broken: MARA
Ill: God answering prayers in unusual ways:
Now in this hope Naomi now sets about a plan to bring things into being:
B. Naomi Has a Plan
-On the outside Naomis plan just seems shaddy:
-Spy on Boaz, see where he sleeps, wait til he is finished his meal and drink, uncovers his legs, and lie down next to him.
-The tex doesn’t tell us how much of his legs are uncovered, the text leaves in ambiguous agin to add a heightened tension, is it all the way up to his waist…. the structure of the text does leave this as a possibility
-By modern standards everything about this plan seems a little off, and yet to a degree it is meant to bring the reader in with some questions of what is Naomi up to.
-The instructions to Bath and anoint yourself , and get dressed, may seem normal to us, but in their day this was done for either marriage or for seduction.
-The initial interpretation is meant to be ambiguous.
-the author is luring us in with the question: Are Ruth and Boaz the people they appear to be, in the dead of night are they worthy or unworthy.
-A women traveling at night to a threshing floor was not safe or would be seen as as up to anything of character, and yet she agrees to Naomi’s plan.
C. The beauty of the text is it is meant to make you second guess everything you have been thinking about the Characters before us.
-How often do we make judgments about people based purely only cisumstational data and not on who they are.
-Again a moabite woman traveling at night to the threshing floor.
-Everything about this text will reveal to us the righteousness of the people we have before us. but first we have to get past the situation.
So she heeds Naomis advice and goes toff into the night:
II. Into the Night
Ruth 3:6–13 ESV
So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down. At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” And he said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman. And now it is true that I am a redeemer. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I. Remain tonight, and in the morning, if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the Lord lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.”
Ruth follows all of Naomis instructions, trusting here mother- in laws plan, mostly.
She followed him and waited til he slept.
Nothing about the text seems to directly indicate that He was drunk, but that he was Satisfied. He worked hard, ate and now was ready for a full nights rest:
After he is clearly fast asleep Ruth uncovers his legs and lies down. (again how much is not stated)
-But times passes it gets cold, he reaches to cover his legs and finds a woman instead.
Asks her to identify herself,
and here is where the plan deviates a bit, rather than simply answering and then leaving the situation in Boaz’s hands as to what to do, she straight up puts all her cards on the table, in no short way demanding he marry her.
Here request mirrors again the prayer Boaz had for her in Chapter 2
Ruth 2:12 ESV
The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!”
She now charges him to take her under his wing a sign of marriage in their day. She is asking fulfil his own prayer for her and Naomi.
His response is one of honor.
-The word he uses for Kindness is the Hebrew word Hesed.
-The term for covenant faithfulness. (Trace through chapters 1&2)
-Boaz here uses it to describe her faithfulness in seeking a redeemer rather than her own benefit.
-She doesn’t go after just nay man to provide for her needs, but rather goes to a redeemer who will be required to provide for her and Naomi, carrying on the family line and name.
-There is no one for one correlation for what Ruth is asking for, the Leverite marriages found in the Torah have to do with immediate family. A brother was required to marry his brothers widow, but even that had loop holes. However it is clearly a well established practice that the Redeemer was now more than just a family member, but was connected to one who could purchase and carry on the property of a deceased relative.
-He finds her request to be a humbling and honorable request. (She doesn’t just look after her self, but Naomi as well, she is honoring the covenant she made on the road from Moab)
She is a worthy woman:
Worthy Woman (Prov 31)
Ruth 2:1 ESV
Now Naomi had a relative of her husband’s, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz.
They are meant to be, and yet there is a snag in the plan: There is one closer who can lay claim:
-Thus the tensions rises again, who will Redeem. Boaz is faithful to God and knows if the other man lays claim and is willing then it is the Lord’s will, but if not he promises to make Redeem them.
-Upon giving her his word he instructs her to sleep til morning (Would not be safe to travel alone and night)
III. Into the Light
Ruth 3:14–18 ESV
So she lay at his feet until the morning, but arose before one could recognize another. And he said, “Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.” And he said, “Bring the garment you are wearing and hold it out.” So she held it, and he measured out six measures of barley and put it on her. Then she went into the city. And when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “How did you fare, my daughter?” Then she told her all that the man had done for her, saying, “These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said to me, ‘You must not go back empty-handed to your mother-in-law.’ ” She replied, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest but will settle the matter today.”
As the sun begins to rise, Boaz instructs Ruth to go, but not before giving her something Barley:
A sign that had a two fold purpose:
a. It would then appears to anyone who say her that she was out after having collated the barley (the exact amount given has no weight)
b. To Give Naomi assurance
Naomi will no longer be Empty, he will see to it. Here efforts have not been brought to naught.
Ruth 1:21 ESV
I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”
He does not tarry in fulling his promises:
This Advent we reflect on the first coming of Christ and in so doing we long for his second.
It is easy to feel as if he is taking his time, but we are reminded that he is at work until the appointed time, and in this we have hope that the darkness will not last for ever, but that Hope is coming.
Conclusion the Hope of God in the night:
-This coming week we will look forward to the great hope born in the night