Life Lessons: Ruth: Dropping the Hanky (Chapter 3)
So, here we are still in chapter 3 when Ruth bravely walks into a situation that is bold at best but possibly crazy and I have to wonder… Did she hurry across town? Did she take her time? Was she scared or excited? Did she believe Naomi’s plan would work or was she blindly following her lead? How many times did she want to turn back? Did she turn back before steeling her courage?
If it had been me, that trek would have taken a LONG time and a lot of self talk. I probably would have vomited at some point as well but here’s the thing, the fact that Ruth went at all shows that she must have truly trusted Naomi and had some sort of faith in Boaz’s trustworthiness. She was putting her reputation on the line in a time when a bad reputation could mean abandonment and exile. (Think of the woman at the well. Life could be tough!)
So, what happens? Well, Ruth drops the hanky, of course, and Boaz responds just as Naomi had planned but what I love the most is this moment in chapter 3 verse 10 when Boaz shows true affection for Ruth. He remarks on how she hasn’t been running after the younger men which let’s me know that she had that opportunity. Ruth wasn’t choosing Boaz because she had no other option but because she was using wisdom and following godly advice. It also shows that he finds sincerity in her petition. Don’t you wonder if Boaz had been watching Ruth and growing fond of her while watching other men try to gain her affections? Maybe he felt he was too old for her or that because she had so many admirers she would surely choose someone over him? Or perhaps, just maybe, Ruth is the answer to a prayer that Boaz had prayed for years but had given up on?
Regardless of his initial thoughts (or reservations), Boaz goes on to tell her not to be afraid and makes comment again on her noble character and how the whole town was aware of her but being the man of integrity that he is, he also explains to Ruth that while he is a redeemer there is someone who has a stronger claim. He promises to go and see the other guy that next morning which shows intentionality and care on his part. He isn’t going to drag her along for weeks or months because she has made her affection known. He wants to put her mind at ease. A true gentleman at heart!
Ruth stays at Boaz’s feet until morning but left before she could be recognized. In fact, Boaz wanted to ensure no one knew he had a woman visit that night. Think how damaging that would have been for her reputation and then if they quickly got married...the gossips would LOVE to spill that tea! But being the chivalrous man we’ve come to expect, Boaz doesn’t send her home empty handed. He sends her home with tons of grain as provision and reassurance. Don’t you wonder if Boaz had the thought of impressing Naomi in the back of his mind? Like, how can I make a good “first impression” or reassure Naomi that I am true and not just chasing some young, beautiful woman?
Whether he was thinking about impressing Naomi or not, he does just that. Naomi understands exactly the type of man they are dealing with and reassures Ruth that he will settle the matter quickly and without delay. Once again, can we appreciate this godly man of action? It also makes me wonder again for he had been praying about Ruth or praying for a spouse and asking the Lord to direct him so when Ruth walked in it was like BAM! Answer!
Considerations for the Modern Ruth:
When Ruth left Moab as a widow and began gleaning in Boaz’s fields, she probably didn’t think this is how her prayers would be answered but she saw her story through to the end. Do you ever miss answered prayers because they look different than you expected or are you open to all the Lord can do in your life? Like Ruth, do your current actions reflect what you want in your future outcome? (Don’t forget, if you want a 1 Corinthians 13 love then you need to be a Proverbs 31 woman.)
“Father, help me to see your answers even when they are different than I expected. Also, help me to remember that my current actions are feeding into my future outcome. Thank you for writing every step of my story with care and love.”