“When he (Boaz) gets ready to go to sleep, take careful notice of the place where he lies down. Then go, uncover his legs, and lie down beside him. He will tell you what you should do. Ruth replied to Naomi, “I will do everything you have told me to do” (Ru 3:4, 5)
Naomi came back to Bethlehem as a bitter and disappointed woman. Ruth, her Moabite daughter in law followed her back home. Behind the scenes, God directs Ruth to glean grains on the field of Boaz, a relative of Elimelech, Naomi’s late husband. When Ruth comes back with a sack of grains telling Naomi about Boaz, Naomi suddenly becomes hopeful. This is the first time that she utters godly words of blessings: ‘The Lord bless him!” (Ru 2:20). The mercy of God is greater than the anger. The spell of bitterness starts to tear away from her soul. She acknowledges the long time kindness of Boaz. She forgot about this man and the authority he has to change their lives. Ruth also tells Naomi that Boaz counseled her to work only in his field. Naomi confirms the wisdom of Boaz in telling Ruth to stay only in his field where she can be protected from sexual predators. “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, and that people do not meet you in any other field.” (Ru 2:22). The command to stay in a particular place will test Ruth if she obeys his word or not. Going away from his field will mean sin, trespass and rebellion. We know that Ruth obeyed the counsel of both Boaz and Naomi and stayed in that field until the end of the harvest. This submission was a great point scored with Boaz when he decided to marry her. (This is a great lesson for them who plan to marry: if a single sister submits to her spiritual mother or other godly sisters, she will easily submit later to her husband. A rebellious single woman will not make a good wife)
The story continues. Suddenly Naomi is happy and she thinks of a way to bless her faithful daughter in law. She prepares Ruth for a possible marriage with Boaz. She tells her to dress well, to perfume herself and to go in the night to meet with Boaz, who sleeps in the open air in his field guarding his harvest. Naomi tells Ruth to go and to propose marriage to Boaz. This proposal is not a lustful manipulating act. It is based on a Jewish law. Naomi warns her to ‘take careful notice of the place where he lies down’. She should go there. She was to lift the blanket that covers his feet and lie down there waiting for him to wake up. Then he will tell her what to do.
This was a very dangerous assignment for a single woman, even a Moabite. It was dark and there were other workers sleeping on the field. If she went to lie down at the feet of another man, tragedy could have happened. Naomi tells her to mark the place where Boaz sleeps. She should lie down at the very spot where he lies down. The word ‘lie down’ appears two times in that sentence. In Hebrew it means to lie down to rest, to sleep, for sexual activity or death. The risk Ruth is taking is great. If Boaz was not a man of God, he could have taken advantage of Ruth who was alone, ‘available’, lying at his feet. Ruth is a woman of God. Ruth has faith in the word of Naomi. She promised to do ‘everything’ Naomi told her to do. As you know, Boaz too was a man of God and he decides to cover her with his ‘blanket’ of authority in marriage. The story ends well, thank God!
What are the lessons for those who plan to marry, especially for the single sisters? To marry well is risky. The devil will fight ‘a haven made marriage’. You need faith, wisdom, love and courage. Dear sister, to identify the very man who shall be your husband is risky. To submit to that man alone is hard. To be ready ‘to lie down’ were ‘he lies down’ is not easy. To agree to rest with him, to sleep with him, to be sexually intimate only with him, ‘until death do you part’, that is hard work. You need God to help you! No woman can submit to her husband unto death except she is born again and Spirit filled. No man is able to love and protect his wife unto death except he is born again and Spirit filled! Selah!
Boaz stands for our Lord Jesus Christ. Ruth stands for us the worshippers, the Church and the Bride of Christ. Mary of Bethany sat down at the feet of Jesus to listen to His Word. Her sister rebuked her for that. The former prostitute came to sit down at the feet of Jesus to anoint them with oil. If she made the mistake to do the same at the feet of another man in the room, she could have been insulted and rejected. John saw the resurrected Christ and fell down at His feet. He was afraid but Jesus laid His hands on him, encouraged him and lifted him up.
The place at the feet of Jesus is a special, holy and unique place. It is a place where you hear God’s Word free from the anxieties of life. It is a place of intimate worship. It is a place where you die to the world so that you live for Christ alone! It is a place where Jesus Himself will protect you from the insults, intimidation and rejection of men. It is a place where His love covers you. It is a place of revelation, of service and of strength to do ministry. It is a place where two become one. It is a place of prophetic new beginning. It is the place where God’s promises come true. Boaz proposed marriage to Ruth at mid night. The place at the feet of Jesus is the place of mid night mystery and romance. Your marriage to Jesus and to your Boaz starts at that very place. Mark that place well! Refuse any other voice to go astray! Seek the place thru fasting, prayers, tears and worship. Go there! Stay there! And you shall find your greatest treasure your soul shall desire. Marry well! And worship the Lord!