Ruth 3:7 – “And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down.”
We see the carefulness with which Ruth watches Boaz and all that he does, all in obedience to Naomi’s instructions. She saw him eat, drink, and his joy, she saw him rest, all from a distance, waiting for the moment she could draw closer to him.
Boaz ate and drank: His eating and drinking was a time of celebration, of the abundance of the harvest. The famine was over, the harvest showed the Lord had given “his people bread” (Ruth 1:6). This may have been the first good harvest after years of famine. The Targum (Jewish explanation of scripture) explain this celebration by Boaz – “He blessed the name of the Lord, who had heard his prayer, and removed famine from the land of Israel.” His eating and drinking were part of his reward for his labors. He knew his work was finished and had been accepted by God because of the harvest. Eccl 9:7: “Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.”
This time of eating and drinking pictures what sustained and satisfied Boaz, and is a picture of what sustained and satisfied the Lord Jesus. In John 4 there was a wonderful response to the testimony of the woman of Samaria that Jesus met at the well. She had gone into the city and told everyone about Jesus and “they went out of the city, and came unto him.” (v. 30). While this was going on His disciples urged Jesus to eat and His response was that He had eaten and He was satisfied (John 4:32) and they couldn’t understand where He had gotten the food. But it was the crowd that came to hear Him so eagerly that was His food and drink and Jesus told His disciples that doing and finishing the work of His Father was His food and drink, what sustained and satisfied Him. (vs. 32-34). The whole purpose and desire of Jesus was to do the will of God (Jn 6:38; Heb 10:9). This satisfied Him more than natural food or drink.
Finally, I see in this time of eating and drinking, a time of communion and conversation. Boaz looks like he is alone, but he is not, there is Another there with him. Boaz is giving thanks to God and rejoicing. It is a wonderful picture of Jesus alone with the Father, rejoicing in that wonderful time of prayer just before Calvary. There He told the Father, “I have finished the work” (Jn 17:4). Boaz had finished the work and rejoiced and was satisfied, Jesus finished the work and rejoiced and was satisfied!
Boaz rejoiced: his heart was merry (glad, content) knowing the work was finished. This is about the finished work, the end of the harvest. The storehouse would be full and he would “prove” the Lord and the Lord would “open the windows of heaven” (Mal 3:10) and pour out an unexpected blessing! His joy was part of his reward for his labors. Aren’t we glad when we complete a task? “There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and make his soul enjoy good in his labor” (Eccl 2:24). This joy at the end of his labor was a gift from God. “And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God.” (Eccl 3:13). His joy is a picture of the joy Jesus felt when His work was finished. He declared it (John 19:30) and knowing it was finished He saw “the joy that was set before Him” (Heb 12:2). He knew that “whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever” (Eccl 3:14).
Boaz rested: it is because his work is finished, it is all about the finished work. There is also another important point, notice where Boaz is resting. It is “at the end of the heap of corn.” He will not let it out of his sight; he will guard it and not let anyone steal anything. Jesus is resting for the same reasons, the work is over and He guards what is His, He guards us! Jesus is resting on the promise of the Father, on the Word of God, for God has said and this is His will, “that of all which He hath given me I should lose nothing.” (John 6:39). Jesus is resting at the right hand of God making intercession for us, that is part of how He guards what is His. The result of that intercession, that guarding is that none can condemn! (Ro 8:34). The result of that intercession and that guarding is that He saves “to the uttermost,” and He can do this tirelessly and eternally because “he ever liveth to make intercession” (Heb 7:25). Jesus is resting and waiting for that “good work” to be completed in us, it is being done until the day He returns. (Phil 1:6). Jesus is resting and waiting for His Ruth to come to Him and lay claim to Him!
Now our eyes turn to Ruth and what she does:
She came secretly: “came softly” The word “softly” means “secretly” or “quietly,” this is how she came into the presence of Boaz. Ruth has entered into a “secret place” and there she abides and waits. “For in time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion, in the secret (place) of his tabernacle (canopy, covering, tent, shelter)” (Ps 27:5). It is a place of shelter from the storm and a place of fellowship. “Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence” (Ps 31:20). It is a place of hiding. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow…” (Ps 91:1) This is the place she has chose to abide, she will not leave it! It is a place of refuge. (Song 2:14) “O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.” Can anything be more precious than entering into that secret place of watching and waiting and knowing in our hearts that our Boaz is also waiting to see our face and hear our voice!
This place Ruth came to so quietly, softly and secretly is a picture of a personal and private place. It is a place she will come to and gain everything. It is this same place we come to in our relationship with Jesus, our Boaz. We come into His presence to rest and to wait. We come to a place of shelter, a place of hiding, of refuge and a sweet place of fellowship. We come to a place of rest and promise, a place of security. We come to this place, knowing that our Boaz will both guard and reward us.
She came boldly: “uncovered his feet.” This was a bold action on Ruth’s part, it took faith and courage for her to do this. She comes close and she “uncovers” the feet of Boaz by faith. To “uncover” means “to reveal, to discover, to open.” It is this action that will ultimately wake Boaz up. To “uncover” his feet and lay down, she must take a portion of his garment over herself. She lays claim to what he has promised by faith. She will cover herself with this small portion of his garment. When he awakes, she will ask for the full garment, for the full blessing. This act of uncovering is a picture of laying hold of the promises of the Word and laying claim to them. This place at his feet is a place of submission and of subjection. It is the place Mary came to willingly and received abundantly (Lk 10:39-42). Mary’s testimony was that she did two things, she “sat at Jesus’ feet” and she “heard his word.” Jesus’ words concerning her action was that she did what was “needful,” it is what is needful to maintain that love. Mary made a choice and Jesus said she “hath chosen that good part (better portion).” Taking the lowest place will elevate us to the highest place! Finally, this place at his feet is a place of revelation. In the uncovering we see that something is “revealed,” “discovered” or “opened.” Paul experienced this as he waited on the Lord, he received a “revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal 1:12). It is the “revelation of the knowledge of Him” (Eph 1:17) that he prayed we would have. It is the “revelation of the mystery” (Eph 3:3,6) and this revelation is what will “establish” us. (Ro 16:25-26). This is the uncovering of “the depth of the riches” that Paul speaks of. (Ro 11:33). We see the fullness of this mystery revealed when we are at Jesus’ feet! We lay hold of the fullness of this mystery and revelation while we are at rest, waiting on Him to fulfill His promise to us!
She came submissively: “laid her down.” Ruth had been working all day, just as Boaz had been, now she was ready to rest. She rested at the right time, in the right place, according to the words of Naomi. We can find this same rest when we lie down at Jesus’ feet. It is a place of rest from our trials, our burdens, and our labors. It is the promise give to us by Jesus, He said “I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28) and only He can do this. It is a rest for the “people of God” (Heb 4:9-10). It is a rest for “you who are troubled” (2 Thess 1:7). It is a rest seen in “the patient waiting for Christ” (2 Thess 3:5). Finally, as Sister Mary Bodie writes, it is rest from sorrow:
“Observe too, beloved, that it was at night when Ruth slipped into the threshing floor, to the feet of Boaz. It pictures the time of sorrow which drives us to the feet of Jesus. There we learn more of His love and compassion in those few short hours of trial than in all the bright days, or years of prosperity which have proceeded.”
Praise the Lord for inviting us to come and uncover his feet and lay ourselves down and wait on Him!
to be continued