Ruth 3:8 – “And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet.”
In this verse we see Boaz waking up, and his reaction. The time was “midnight” and this means “middle of the night,” i.e. “mid-night;” it is translated “half of the night” or “the division of the night.” Midnight was the halfway mark between one day and the next. Midnight speaks of a time of change, a turning point. A new day was starting for Ruth; her life would be changed from this day on!
In the parable of the ten virgins each had their lamps and each went forth to meet the bridegroom, some were wise and some were foolish, some were prepared and some unprepared, all slept. But at a certain hour something happened and everything changed. It was at midnight, “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” (Matt 25:6). Midnight was a turning point, it proved and revealed the hearts of those waiting and showed those that were ready and prepared. The bridegroom had come unexpectedly! Ruth was ready and prepared; she was waiting for Boaz to notice her!
Jesus spoke of the unexpectedness of the master’s return (Mk 13:32) and the master’s words to his servants were an admonition to “watch” for the return of their master. His words were “watch and pray for ye know not when the time is.” Brother Carson Richards said while teaching the Four Gospels that we “watch through the Spirit in conjunction with the word.” Jesus went on to say that these servants would not know when the master of the house would return. He listed four times that the master could return and told them to watch. “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even (1st watch), or at midnight (2nd watch), or at the cockcrowing (3rd watch), or in the morning (4th watch).” (Mk 13:35). These times are a picture of the four divisions of the night, the four watches and “midnight” is listed. It is the end of the 2nd watch and the beginning of the 3rd watch. The four watches are: (1st watch: 6pm-9pm; 2nd watch: 9pm-midnight; 3rd watch: midnight-3am; 4th watch: 3am-6am). Ruth, a picture of the Bride of Christ watched and waited for Boaz to notice her.
Midnight not only speaks of a time of change, a turning point and a time of watching for something unexpected, it also speaks of a time of trials and suffering. It was at “midnight” that the Lord smote the firstborn in Egypt (Ex 11:4; Ex 12:29). Paul was in prison and it was at “midnight” that he and Silas “sang praises unto God” (Acts 16:25). The Lord “giveth songs in the night” (Job 35:10), even at midnight! I believe there was a song in Ruth’s heart as she waited for Boaz! It was at “midnight” that the ship Paul was in as a prisoner “drew near to some country” (Acts 27:27) during that storm. Prior to that, the Lord had told Paul not to fear, that none would be lost, that they would be “cast upon a certain island.” And at midnight, the darkest hour, they saw land; they were shipwrecked but all lived. Midnight may be a time of trials and suffering but it is also a time for our faith to be put to the test. Sister Mary Bodie writes:
“We pray for a closer walk; we pray that we may know Him better; we pray that we may grow in grace. Instead of the answer coming in the way we expect, it comes by way of deeper trials. We are sent to the feet of Jesus, to cling to Him.”
What was Boaz’s reaction? He was startled! “the man was afraid. The word “afraid” means “anxiety” or “to tremble.” The Amplified, NIV and New American Standard translate this was “the man was startled.” He wasn’t expecting anyone to be at his feet! What Boaz did was to investigate, to see who was there. He “turned himself” or “he turned over” or another translation is “he bent forward (so as to feel what was beneath his feet).” I like what Warren Wiersbe wrote:
“‘Life is full of rude awakenings!’ a famous cartoon canine likes to say, and more than one biblical character would agree. Adam went to sleep and woke up to discover he'd been through surgery and was now a married man. Jacob woke up to discover he was married to the wrong woman! Boaz woke up at midnight to find a woman lying at his feet.”
Boaz woke up and “behold a woman lay at his feet.” In chapter 2 we see Ruth at his feet when she “fell on her face” (2:10) overcome with gratitude at the grace he had shown to her. Now she is again at his feet, waiting to lay claim to and to experience the fulfillment of that promise of his grace, that wonderful grace she had a taste of that so stirred her heart with love. In chapter 3 of Ruth the word “feet” is mentioned four times (3:4,7,8,14). It is a place of waiting, a place of reward, it is a place that Ruth took and it is from that place she would be exalted. What a wonderful picture of the Bride of Christ!
To be continued