happily ever after…

Ok….my information comes from The Believers Bible Commentary here….not mine….but you gotta hear this..

“Regarding chapter 4:7-8, In those days, all transactions concerning redemption and exchange were confirmed by one of the parties taking off his sandal and handing it to the other.  The law actually specified that the widow should take off the sandal of the refusing kinsman and spit in his face.  (Deut. 25:9) In this case the closer relative simply took off his sandal and gave it to Boaz.”

HAHA!!  Sorry….but spitting in their face? That is kinda funny to me and again I state…I’m really glad that I didn’t live back in that era because I am incapable of spitting.  I just can’t do it.  So the other guy would get a lot of wind and I would have spit running down my own chin.  (excuse the visual)

So here we are.  Boaz and Ruth get married.  She isn’t sleeping at his feet anymore….nope she gets to sleep in the KING bed!!  And they have a little bundle of joy on the way!  And all that happened in THREE SENTENCES!  Wow!  These people are shakers and movers!  They name their baby Obed and Naomi falls right into Grandma mode.  Obed later becomes the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David.

And we all know that David was a man after God’s own heart. (1 Samuel 13:14)…..

enter 2nd cousin…

Wow.  So far we have grain in our hair from sleeping on a threshing floor and we’ve left Ruth sitting paralyzed in her kitchen HOPING that Boaz will text her and tell her that they will marry!!

Meanwhile…Boaz goes into town and wouldn’t you know it…..GUESS WHO WALKS BY?  Yes!  It’s our mystery “close relative”!!  What a coinky dink!!  So Boaz puffs out his chest and says in a deep voice (ok, my version again) “Step aside, man…sit down…we need to chat.”  Then Boaz gathers up about 10 members of his posse and says, “Why don’t you guys sit down here for a sec.”  Then Boaz looks over at the cousin and says, “Ok.  Here’s the dealio….there is land that our relative Elimelech had that is being sold by his widow, Naomi.  I wanted you to know and you can buy it back….right here and now…but if you don’t want it then I’m next in line.”

Second cousin spits out, “I’ll buy it.”  He doesn’t know where.  He doesn’t know how big and he doesn’t know how much but he sure wants first rights.  Boaz says, “Cool…..and oh yeah, you also get a mother-in-law, a widowed daughter-in-law and the responsibility to have more kids to carry on the family name.  But, hey…..you want it, you got it.”

I imagine that Boaz gets up, winking at his peeps and starts to walk away when the cousin says, “Wwwait a minute.  I can’t jeopardize my OWN family inheritance …so….you can have it.”  Boaz gives him a high five and seals the deal.

PHEW!!!  I wonder if Boaz gambled much?  He sure had a poker face during that confrontation.  God is good…..all the time……all the time….God is good.

the threshing floor…

Ok, we are now in the third chapter of Ruth with only one more chapter to go, but there is so much to tell I don’t know where to start!  Well, how about the first verse…

Naomi and Ruth are talking (I’m thinking they are in the kitchen drinking coffee before Ruth has to get her gloves and go) and Naomi is a little anxious that Ruth should find a husband and a home.  So she tells Ruth to take a bath and wear a cute outfit, and go to the threshing floor and (get this..) uncover his feet and lay down….

Ok.  Let’s get this ‘threshing floor’ out of the way so we can move to the laying down thingy….

The threshing floor (according to my sources)  was flat and hardened by the passing of oxen over the sheaves, sometimes pulling a sled designed to separate the grain from the husks. After the threshing process, the stalks and grain were thrown up into the air so that the wind might blow the unwanted chaff away and leave the valuable kernels. This was known as winnowing. The threshing floors were important places and were often used as landmarks.

Anywho….this is where we find Boaz…at night.  Verse 7 says that Boaz had eaten and thrown back a few (wine, I’m sure) and felt great.  He went and laid down at the end of a stack of barley and this is where Ruth, like a ninja, slips in and uncovers his feet and lays down.  During the middle of the night Boaz sits up and says, “Whoa!  What the…?” And Ruth says, “Its me!  Ruth…remember?  You’ve been protecting me and I’m your close relative….so you’ve got the right to ask me to marry you and all…I’m jus’ sayin’….”  (I’m just sure that she said it like that)

Boaz sobers up pretty quick and instead of rebuking her he blesses her!  (Lucky).  He  is wowed by the fact that she could’ve had any guy out there and she chose him and he says, “Lookit.  Stay here and go back to sleep.  You’ve got a second cousin that gets first dibs and if he doesn’t want you, then I’ll take you.”  (ok, it sounds waay better in the bible, but you know what I mean).  So Ruth slept as long as she could, but hey!  She practically got engaged so she went ahead and got up so no one would see her.  Boaz is up muttering, “No one must know that Ruth came here…” and he tells her to bring her shawl and he loads her up with barley and sends her home.

She gets home and Naomi is about to burst wanting to know the details.  Ruth told her everything and showed her all that she brought home and how she had this cousin out there who might get first rights ….etc.  She’s probably pacing and talking really fast here.  But Naomi tells her to chill and just be patient.

It seems that the Law of Moses requires that when a man dies childless, a close relative should marry the widow (Deut. 25:5-10) so they can keep the family name and keep the land in the family.  So we’ll find out in the last chapter what the other cousin decides……………………….(thank you, God that we don’t have to marry like that today…..) :/

just a gleanin’…

Now we have found out that Boaz was a wealthy distant relative who owned the land where Ruth was gleaning.  Boaz has taken interest in her after seeing her working in his field.

When the lunch whistle blew, Boaz invites Ruth to the table to eat his bread.  (Doesn’t Jesus invite us to do the same?)  She is so moved and grateful and once she was filled she got up to go right back to work.  Ok.  Stop.  You know when you have eaten…and you are full…..don’t you just want to lie around and bloat?  Not Ruth.  She’s a worker bee and immediately gets up to get the job done.  Boaz sees this and tells his workers to let some of their grain fall to the ground so she will have more to take home.  (what a guy…think he’s already falling for her?)  So she gathers up an “ephah” which is a hebrew term for a bushel, and takes it straight to Naomi.

Naomi says, “Wowsers!  Where did all this come from?”  That’s when Ruth tells her of Boaz and Naomi cries, “SCORE! This man is a close relative!”  Ruth tells her mother-in-law that he wanted her to stay close to the other field workers until the harvest is complete.

Jimmy and I have had the privilege of traveling a lot and I find that when we go somewhere ‘foreign’ to us, how happy we are when we hear someone speaking english!  We feel a little more at ease when we see that we can communicate with foreigners.  I can’t imagine Ruth just taking off and going to glean after the workers.  At first I thought of her ducking down behind the grain in the field so no one would see her. Maybe doing a little serpentine move throughout the field to go unnoticed, but then I see that in Leviticus 19:9-10, God has already thought of this!  He says, “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest.  And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger; I am the Lord your God.”

He’s telling the people to leave some behind for the poor!  Well, who is poorer than Ruth and Naomi?  They have just moved into a different city and I’m almost positive that there isn’t a Costco around to get grain in bulk.   God had ALREADY PROVIDED.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Manna was God’s gift of life to the Israelites. Jesus Christ is God’s gift of life to all mankind. Without God’s gift of manna, the undeserving Israelites would have died. But without God’s gift of Jesus Christ, the bread of life, all the world would be condemned to death.

coming home…

So here we are, back in the Book of Ruth and about to jump head first into the second chapter.  So much happened just in the first chapter but we are down to two people.  Two grieving women in Bethlehem…..and right at the harvest.  According to the Webster, harvest (noun) means ‘a supply of anything gathered at maturity and stored’….hmm….that could come in handy later…

So it seems that these two ladies don’t just unpack, put up the fine china and air out the linens…nope…before the second verse is finished Ruth is putting on her sun hat and gloves and taking off to work in the fields!  Wait a minute!  Aren’t you tired?  Aren’t you dusty?  It didn’t matter to Ruth!  She had a divine appointment and it was in the field owned by a very rich man named Boaz.

I imagine that he was Trump-ish yet possibly without the hair-do.  So Ruth was hanging back behind the reapers (ha, Webster says that a reaper is ‘a person who reaps’….hey, thanks for nutin’!) and taking what was basically dropped or left behind.

So Boaz decides to come out to his field and check things out.  He sees the servant in charge of the reapers and says, “The Lord be with you!” (vs 4) and they give a shout back and say “And the Lord bless you!”  Evidently this Boaz was a stand-up guy.  He was respected by the people who worked for him and I get the feeling he was a really good employer.  So Boaz decides to find out who this woman was that was trailing behind the reapers.  Once he found out that she was Naomi’s daughter-in-law he goes to her and says, “Ok.  From here on out I want you to stay close to the women reapers…don’t go hanging out at the other fields and I’ve told the other guys to leave you alone. When you get thirsty, go to the water vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.”

Ruth falls on her face and bows down close to the ground and says, “OMGosh, why?  You don’t even know me!”  And that is when Boaz answers that he already knew how she had taken care of her mother-in-law, left her own family and came to a part of the country that she didn’t know anything about!  He was so impressed with her that before he left her he prayed for her!!  Wow!  Doesn’t that sound even a little bit familiar?  He knew about her before she met him, just like the Lord knows all about us even before we come to know Him! He responded to Ruth graciously and her needs were satisfied (v. 14) and granted her protection (v 15-16).  (Yeah, I like him).

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”

the journey….

So here we are around the seventh verse of Ruth and all of a sudden Naomi turns to da girls and says, “Hey.  Why don’t y’all go on back to your mama’s house….and God bless.”  (Ok, this is my version and we won’t know until the Rapture if they used southern slang or not…so just go with it.) Orpah and Ruth cried and said, “No, we would rather go with you.”  But Naomi was pretty persistent and said, “Lookit…..I’m old.  Even if I DID have more babies (eew) are you going to wait around and marry them?  Hmm? Now, go on!  Git!”

So this is where Orpah decides to go home.  (Hey, she has her own tv show now and seems to be doing pretty well).  Ruth is literally clinging to Naomi and says, “No.  Where you go, I go.  Where you die, I die.  Your God?  My God……and possibly ended her speech with “stick a needle in my eye ” but I can’t be sure…..  Naomi sees that she will NOT be swayed so she says, “K.”

So now they are in Bethlehem and it must have been really obvious that they were coming because everyone in the town is so excited! (verse 19)  I’m wondering if Ruth is still clinging…..  This is where the first chapter ends.  Naomi has returned home (hmm….like the prodigal son?) with her daughter-in-law, Ruth, and I’m sure they were just standing in the middle of the town with their hands on their hips, checking it all out and noticing that it is the beginning of the barley harvest.  (verse 22).

This is about to get good………..c’mon….its a WHOLE GRAIN…..

phew!!

Ok, yesterday found me a little too excited about reading the Book of Ruth.  Maybe it was the thought of the candy bar…I’m not sure but NOW we know that Elimilech and Naomi and da boys are heading out to Moab despite the fact that this is against what God had commanded them to do.

The Bible doesn’t tell us how Elimilech dies but he leaves Naomi with her two sons who marry Moabite women.  One was named Orpah (no that is not a typo) and the other is named Ruth.  (Finally!)  They lived there about ten years and her two sons then died.  Great.   So now you have Naomi, Orpah and Ruth standing around looking at each other, which is all they had left, and Naomi decides that it’s time to go back to Bethlehem.  It’s funny  that she didn’t suddenly see that they were wrong in going to Moab, but she wanted to go back because of their ‘physical’ circumstances. This little famine thingy was getting so OLD. (Ruth 1:6-7)  Now, it’s hard to find fault in someone that is driven by food…….yes, I’ve been there.  But they are being driven by their physical urges and not their spiritual.  God is not their reason for returning home.

How many times have I allowed my ‘physical’ circumstances to move me instead of allowing God to lead me?  Eeek!  I can identify.  But God still used Naomi to bring her back to Him by meeting her physical needs (food) and graciously awaited her in Bethlehem.  What a picture that is!  God is always ready for us to come back to Him and His food  is always available at the  table for those who decide to receive it.

I love that back in those days you could just change your name.  Naomi changed her name to ‘Mara’  which means ‘bitterness’.  Hmm…. I think if she said, “Say, why don’t you head on back?” I might have said, “You know, Bitter…..I think I might do that…Good luck with your attitude and all….”

ACTUALLY, I don’t think sarcasm would do here.  Here she was husbandless, childless and penniless and God was going to bless her for returning to Him.  So….maybe I am going to need to keep my sarcasm to a minimum……this is going to be harder than I thought……………………..