A great love story - Ruth 3:1-5
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Our previous reading opened up a whole area that we didn't know about. There are those who can rescue these women and get them out of the precarious situation they are in. In this great love story, we can finally see 'the light at the end of the tunnel'. Our passage takes us to "one day", which is not specified, but which is close because it is the time when the barley grain is winnowed. Ruth’s telling Naomi that she was gleaning grain in Boaz's field made her see the situation from another perspective. In her mercy, God had provided a mechanism to prevent a widow from being helpless: there was a "redeemer" who could rescue her. Here we will see how Naomi begins to act proactively to restore her family.
1. Naomi is no longer bitter. How do we know?
Naomi knows the customs of God's people. She knows that there is a "rescuer" who can set them free from the present situation. It is evident that Mara has given way to Naomi's return, because here we see that she cares about Ruth's future. She decides to find for her "a safe home", a place where she would be protected. That safe place must be provided by the "rescuer."
We must praise Naomi here, she is not acting selfishly, nor has been dominated by her pain and bitterness. There is a lesson for all of us: If we allow our bitterness to control us, we will end up accusing God of our misfortune and will not see the many ways that God cares for us. If we want to be rescued by Christ, we must open our hearts to him and not deny his mercy because of our anger or pain.
2. What is Naomi's strategy?
Naomi's strategy is quite simple. She has interpreted Boaz's goodwill towards her daughter-in-law as a good sign. Ruth must invite Boaz to fulfill his duties as redeemer. The instructions are quite graphic, we can almost see Ruth preparing for the occasion relying on the judgment of her mother-in-law. What color was her dress? In heaven we can ask Ruth.
At the end of the barley harvest, all the grain was brought to the threshing floor. There the grain was threshed to separate it from the chaff. It was a moment of joy, since the fruits of so much work were received. Ruth must go there and inform Boaz that she wishes to be rescued. The way to do it is surely a custom of the people and that Ruth, a Moabite, did not know. That is why there is detailed instruction.
3. How does Ruth respond?
Ruth responds with an "I will do everything you have told me." What will happen? We all want to know what will happen in this love story. Given what we already know of Ruth's character, we must interpret all these facts as perfectly legitimate and moral.
The one who should rescue Ruth is her close relative, but Ruth is not passive in this. We can see in her behavior what God expects of us. Like Ruth, we are totally dependent on our rescuer, but we cannot be passive. There must also be on our part a concrete act of surrender to God. Have you opened your heart to God? Have you prepared yourself to be rescued by Christ?
Think: Circumstances made Naomi change her attitude. Now she is making plans, she must see Ruth married so that her family name does not disappear. What drives your attitude?
Ideas for prayer: Thank God for His faithfulness, even when we do not perceive it. Let us thank Him that in Christ we have been provided a way out, even if it is hard for us to see it. Ask him to always trust in Christ.
Translated from the Chilean Book of Common Prayer. Prayer for Good Friday.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
Almighty Father, whose blessed Son, by his only perfect and sufficient sacrifice, has opened for us a new way in your presence; grant us that by approaching you with a sincere heart, in full assurance of faith, we can find cleanliness and peace; and give us your grace so that we may hold firm to the profession of our hope and serve one another with love and good works; by the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Pray with us today's prayer request:
A Gafcon Collect for those taking their Bible College exams:
Our gracious Lord God, we know that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ Jesus. We pray for theological students in the southern hemisphere as they sit their final exams and complete their academic year. We pray that you will give them calm nerves and a quiet confidence in your sovereign goodness. Bless them with keen understanding and retentive memories. We pray that you will help them to keep their eyes fixed on the ultimate end of these exams and their study: that they may grow in the knowledge of you and be equipped to faithfully teach and proclaim the gospel of your Son Jesus so that your kingdom may be extended, and your name glorified. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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