Some background info for y’all:
Boaz was Ruth’s guardian redeemer. That meant that it was his responsibility to protect the interests of needy family members, redeem land that poor relatives had sold, and amongst other duties, the closest male relative was supposed to marry the widow. What stands out here is that Ruth asks for more than she (by law) deserves. When Ruth requests marriage by carrying out the instructions as given by Naomi, Ruth asks Boaz for more than he is obligated to do. We learn this when Boaz says v12-13 that there is another more closely related to her than he is and that he will first ask him first if he wants to carry out his guardian-redeemer duties.
This chapter is really all about entitlement and we can learn a lot from Ruth.
1. If you don’t know what you’re entitled to, you won’t be able to request it. V9 she says: ‘Spread the corner of your garment over me since you are a guardian redeemer of our family.’
If more of us knew what God had already promised us, we wouldn’t be comfortable accepting the hardships and ‘realities’ of life. I’m not saying that being a child of God will mean a life without suffering, I am saying that when there’s no food left in the fridge and the cupboards are looking bare, it’s time to remind God that his name is Jehovah Jireh and therefore is your provider. Life and death is in the power of the tongue, so we have to start speaking life into all our seemingly dead situations. Even something as frequent as the common cold, at the first sign of a blocked nose I’m there confessing scriptures and demanding my healing-ain’t nobody got time to be sick! He said his grace is sufficient to supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19), so stop accepting the situation and start claiming what you deserve. If you can’t ask for what you’re entitled to, how will you have the courage to believe for your heart’s desires?
2. Don’t be ashamed to ask for more.
Watching Oliver Twist puts most children off of being cheeky and encourages us to just accept what we’ve been given.(I think I was part of the minority because I have memories of a LOT of second helpings as a child #ChubbyCheeksDontMakeThemselve.) For all those who are part of the majority; NEWSFLASH: you serve a God who says he will do exceedingly above all that you could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). If that’s not encouragement to ask for the outlandish then I don’t know what is. Those who don’t ask don’t get, and miracles don’t just fall into people’s laps. Before Christ healed people he asked them what it was they actually wanted. The woman with the issue of blood actively reached out to touch the hem of Christ’s garment. You can be sweet and polite and manage what you have or you can be bold and call forth the things that be not as though they were (Romans 4:17). If you want it, go get it.
3. Fake it till you make it.
When Naomi was telling Ruth to dress up and smell good v3, it wasn’t to make Boaz lust after her, but because that’s the preparation that brides underwent. Ruth was seeking after marriage so she prepared herself as a bride. I think a lot of us are just waiting to receive what we’re praying for. Try something new and act like you already have it. If you want a job, stop leaving the house dressed like you’re unemployed and hopeless. You may not ‘feel’ like it but when did going with our feelings ever seem like the best motto to live by. God knows I rarely ‘feel’ like going to Uni, but missing all my lectures and classes does seem like a sure path to failure, if not a waste of £3.5 thousand a year.
So, in a nutshell Ruth shows us to; know what you’re allowed, ask for what you want, and act like you’ve already got it.
Ruth 3:1 One day Naomi said to Ruth, “My daughter, it’s time that I found a permanent home for you, so that you will be provided for.
Naomi did not take what Ruth has done for granted. Ruth stayed with her, and worked to provide for the both of them. Others may have kept Ruth a prisoner and exploited her loyalty and kindness, however Nai wishes to find Ruth a home so that she will be provided for. I guess this taught me that there is a way to treat those that have been merciful to you. Do not forget who carried you through your storm and do your best to bless them when the opportunity arises.
Ruth 3:5 “I will do everything you say,” Ruth replied.
Don’t get me wrong, this is great response. Ruth is a listener and she trusts Naomi to the point that she takes whatever Naomi says and does it with her whole heart. This works out for her in the end and God blesses Ruth abundantly.
Should you do everything an elder tells you to do? Imagine if Naomi had said “go and sleep with Boaz tonight and secure your man properly”, I’m pretty sure Ruth would have said “sure thing Mama Nai Nai, your wish is my command”. Not in those words, of course, but you get my drift (well I hope you do). It is so important to seek the counsel of women and men of God who are rich in experience because they can inform and better the choices that we make. However, in this modern age, we have access to God through prayer. We don’t have to make elaborate sacrifices and kill a goat, cow or young dove before we approach him with our thoughts, concerns and questions; that time has passed. We don’t have to rely on the Christian elder for everything because we have access!
I’m not saying every little thing you must get on your knees and consult God about i.e. your mum says go and shower and you decide to seek God first about it. No, that’s a little extreme and my belief is that God wants us to think for ourselves otherwise he would have made us robots without the ability to make choices. But I do believe that God wants us to seek his face, his will and his counsel before we seek advise from those around us. If someone tells us to go lay at a man’s feet or I guess now it would be “go and tell Barry that you two are destined to be together” it is your job to seek your Father in heaven first before you act. Obeying every elderly person you trust can be a dangerous path to walk because while their intentions may be pure and their experience priceless, they won’t always know what is best for you. The Bible says “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” and I honestly think that is the best thing to do – always.