Monday 1st August 2022
So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before one person could recognize another; for he said, ‘It must not be known that the woman came to the threshing-floor.’ Then he said, ‘Bring the cloak you are wearing and hold it out.’ So she held it, and he measured out six measures of barley, and put it on her back; then he went into the city. She came to her mother-in-law, who said, ‘How did things go with you, my daughter?’ Then she told her all that the man had done for her, saying, ‘He gave me these six measures of barley, for he said, “Do not go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.”’ She replied, ‘Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest, but will settle the matter today.’
The Book of Ruth is one of my favourite Bible stories and it’s one I’ve come back to regularly over the years. There’s a great deal in it, some of it very moving and some of it very strange, particularly to us in these modern times.
But there is also much in it, especially thinking about today’s passage, which is wise and much we can learn from. Here, Ruth wakes up and prepares to return to her home. Before she leaves, Boaz offers her a gift of barley to take with her. It is a bargain of sorts that Naomi understands but there are a few things which have always stood out for me here.
First of all, when we come to God in trust, the gifts He gives us may not be entirely what we expected or even what we hoped for. Secondly, it is up to us to accept these gifts and use them in the best possible way under God’s guidance. Thirdly, we need to allow God room to do His wonderful work. Naomi does not worry or rush into immediate action when Ruth explains what has happened. Instead she waits for Boaz to act, knowing and trusting that he will, and it will all be done at the right time. Sometimes, we have to allow God to be God.
More than any of these and perhaps most moving of all is the fact that Boaz is prepared to draw Ruth into a relationship with himself – just as God draws us into a relationship with Him. In fact, that is what God is doing with us all the time. Relationship is what our loving Father most longs for.
Dear God, thank You for your deep longing to have a relationship with us, Your children. Thank You for the gifts You give us. Please give us wisdom to accept them with joy and to see Your love and Your longing for relationship behind them all. Amen.