By Debra Isenbletter
Ruth 3:4 – “And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do.”
Wait for him: After Naomi’s gives instructions to Ruth about what she needs to do to prepare to meet Boaz, Naomi goes on to tell Ruth to wait for Boaz to rest. Naomi says: “And it shall be, when he lieth down,” she knows what “shall be,” what will happen, she knows what Boaz will do after all his labors. Boaz will rest, the word “lieth down” speaks of “rest” or “sleep.” The lord of the harvest has finished his work, all has been harvested, threshed and winnowed. He will now rest from his labors and guard what is his.
Watch for him: Naomi tells Ruth to watch for Boaz and mark the place he picks to rest. “that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie.” Remember that this threshing floor, was large, it was used by the community, many were there that night threshing and winnowing and each person would set aside a place to rest and guard the grain that had been labored over. The threshing floor was probably filled with people and with activity. Ruth was to carefully watch Boaz and “mark” the exact spot Boaz chose to rest. The work “mark” can be translated “notice,” “note,” or “observe.” She will watch and follow him alone; she will know where he has chosen to rest so that when she comes later, it will be to Boaz and no other. There will be no mistake about the one that she chooses. Ruth will come to Boaz and reveal herself not veil herself. In the Song of Solomon the Shulamite cries, “Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest … for why should I be as one that turned aside (who veils herself) by the flocks” (Son 1:7). Ruth doesn’t have to ask “where,” she knows where Boaz has fed and where he rests and she knows that when she comes to this place it is where she too will find rest. Ruth will come quietly, secretly, softly in the night when all are asleep and she will know exactly who she is coming to, she has unveiled herself to the one her “soul loveth” and she has come to the place where he rests and there she will find rest.
Go to him: Naomi tells Ruth that once she marks the place where Boaz has chosen and waited for Boaz to eat and drink and lie down to sleep, that “thou shalt go in.” This is a personal and private entering in to his presence. Naomi tells Ruth to “go in” and she can only do that by faith. Ruth’s faith has been activated by the words of Naomi. Paul writes that “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Ro 10:17). The word has been presented; Ruth has heard it, now she exercises faith and must “go in” with boldness and claim what is hers. This is how we enter into the presence of the Lord Jesus, of our Boaz. Through faith “we have boldness and access with confidence” (Eph 3:12) and through faith we “come boldly unto the throne of grace and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:16). Ruth comes boldly and finds help to meet her need. She is to “go in” with faith and lay hold of God’s promises.
Rest with him: Naomi tells Ruth to “uncover his feet and lay thee down.” Ruth will do two things, and both are done by faith. She will “uncover his feet” – this is her Revelation. She will “lay down” at his feet – This is her Submission. This is the place she chooses, “his feet,” and there can be no other place and no better place. It is in this place that she will lay claim to the greatest blessings. The place at his feet is a wonderful place, this place reveals things about us and to us.
It is the place of a servant: In those days and even today it was the custom for the servants to lay down to sleep at the feet of their masters. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown writes: “Ruth lay crosswise at his feet, a position in which Eastern servants frequently sleep in the same chamber or tent with their master; and if they want a covering, custom allows them to benefit from part of the covering of their master’s bed.” The first thing you see concerning Ruth is the place she takes, and the place she claims, that of a servant, and not just any servant, but Boaz’s servant!
It is the place of petition and submission. It is from this place (at his feet) that Ruth will make her request and present her petition. We see examples of this throughout the Word of God. Abigail took this place before David to apologize for her husband’s behavior. When she saw David she fell “on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and fell at his feet” (1 Sam 25:23-24). She did this first before she spoke. Esther took this place before her husband when she came before him to petition for her people. She “fell down at his feet and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman…” (Esther 8:3). The woman called “a sinner,” that came to Simon’s house to see Jesus, came to the feet of Jesus. She “stood at his feet behind him weeping and began to wash his feet with tears and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet and anointed them.” (Luke 7:38). Mary, the sister of Lazarus, came in sorrow to Jesus and “fell down at his feet” (John 11:32) and declared in faith “if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.”
It is a place of learning: The man who was delivered of demon possession was found “sitting at the feet of Jesus” (Luke 8:35). He was clothed and in “right mind.” We don’t know how long he had sat there but what things he must have heard from the lips of Jesus before others came to interrupt that time of communion. Mary is seen earlier, before Lazarus’ death along with her sister Martha and her testimony was that she “also sat at Jesus feet and heard his word.” (Luke 10:39). She sat “also,” like the disciples did, she sat to learn and what a revelation she had! She saw things they did not and Jesus’ words concerning this place she chose was that she “hath chosen that good part (portion, better portion)” and that it “shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42). Paul testified later that he had sat “at the feet of Gamaliel” (Acts 22:3) as his student and been taught the law. Later he would sit at the feet of Jesus for three years in Arabia and there receive “the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal 1:12-18).
It is a place of worship: The leper who was healed took this place at Jesus feet, when he came to give thanks and worship he “fell down on his face at this feet, giving him thanks” (Luke 17:16). Again we see Mary, and this is the place she took when she came to anoint Jesus with that costly perfume that filled the room. She came “and anointed the feet of Jesus” (John 12:3). That is worship!
It is the place of a wife: Adam Clarke, a Biblical scholar and theologian writes: “It is said that women in the East, when going to the bed of their lawful husbands, through modest and in token of subject, go to the bed’s foot, and gently raising the clothes, creep under them.” Ruth takes this place through Naomi’s instructions, it is ultimately the place of a wife. Matthew Henry writes: “She was his wife before God and there needed but little ceremony to complete the nuptials; and Naomi did not intend that Ruth should approach to him any otherwise than as his wife.”
Wait on him: “and he will tell thee what thou shalt do.” She had waited for him, now she is to wait on him. This is the last thing Ruth must do. She must wait for Boaz to “tell” her or “explain” to her what she is to do. And he does! Boaz knows exactly what Ruth is asking and Boaz tells Ruth exactly what she is to do. It is nothing! From this point on Boaz will do everything and Ruth is to “sit still” and simply wait! She will wait with hope and expectation for Boaz to do what needs to be done, to go before her and act the part of a “kinsman-redeemer” and elevate her from the place of a servant to the place of a wife!
To be Continued