Pastor Debra Isenbletter
Ruth 3:16 – “And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her.”
After Ruth left the presence of Boaz, who did she go to? “And when she came to her mother in law” – we find that Ruth went home to Naomi. She came to the one who had sent her. She came to the one who had instructed her. She came with a happy heart! She came with Good News!
Though I see in Ruth a wonderful picture of the Bride of Christ, I can also see something else. In her returning home we can glimpse also the joy of the return of the remnant. Having heard the call of the Lord, they will return as a sign, with speed and with strength renewed. (Isa 5:26-27): “And he will lift up an ensign (banner, signal) to the nations from far…behold, they shall come with speed swiftly: None shall be weary nor stumble among them; none shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken.” They will return with singing, with gladness and joy: (Isa 51:11): “Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.”
This is about returning home after receiving the Promises of God. We can see the joy of the Bride laying hold of the promises of Christ. We can see the joy of the Remnant laying hold of the promises of God. Whether Jew or Gentile, whether Church or Kingdom, the joy is the same! The Bride of Christ will return with joy and the Bride of Jehovah will return with joy.
What question did Naomi ask Ruth? Naomi said: “Who art thou my daughter?” Naomi still calls her “my daughter,” she knows this is Ruth, but she is asking her something else. This question can be translated two ways: The CJB (Complete Jewish Bible) translates this as two questions: “Who are you? My daughter? It is as though Naomi is asking Ruth: Are you still my daughter, or do you belong to someone else now? The NVSV, Amplified, NIV and NAS translate this as asking Ruth how things went: “How did things go with you, my daughter?”
How it went reveals who she is, so both translations teach us something. Naomi wants to know how Boaz responded to her request. It is as if Naomi is asking: Are you still Ruth the Moabitess or something more? She asks: “How did it go?” and “Who are you?” How it went will tell Naomi who she is! Ruth will answer both of these questions! Naomi knows that if Boaz had become Ruth’s “kinsman-redeemer” that this was an important question. I believe she knows who Ruth really is and this question is a test for Ruth. Does she know? Does she realize who she is? Naomi knows if Boaz has accepted his responsibility as her “kinsman-redeemer” that this question needs to be asked. Ruth must know who she is and Ruth’s answer shows she does, and she will tell Naomi!
Ruth had left Naomi earlier in the evening as her daughter, but she has come back something more. Ruth had come to Boaz as his handmaid for she said to him, “I am Ruth thy handmaid” (3:9) but she left as something more, as his “espoused” or “betrothed” (2 Cor 11:2), as belonging to him in a personal way. She left carrying with her all the promises of Boaz. She left having laid hold of the full potential of her redemption. Boaz had given to her the desires of her heart (Ps 37:4) and by faith she had committed her way to him. (Ps 37:5). What a wonderful picture of those who come and lay at the feet of Jesus and wait for Him to pour out upon them all His blessings; of those willing to lay hold of Jesus is that deeper way, who truly commit to Him every aspect of their life and lay hold of Him as their Bridegroom! If someone was to ask us, “Who are you?” do we know who we are and what we are to Christ?
What did Ruth tell Naomi? She told her everything! “And she told her all that the man had done to (for) her.” The word “told” comes from “announce (by word of mouth to one present).” It means “certify,” “to declare;” “to explain” or “reveal.” Boaz had revealed to Ruth what he would do and now Ruth will reveal the same to Naomi. The word “done” means to “accomplish, appoint, bestow.” She will tell everything that Boaz has done and in her telling she holds nothing back, she tells “all” and she knows “all” that he will do for her. She knows how she “ought to answer” (Col 4:6) and gives an answer and her speech is filled with grace (about every word and act of Boaz) and her speech reveals her comprehension of and appreciation of that grace. Ruth’s answer points to all those that know “what is the hope of his calling.” She has heard and accepted that call. She knows the “greatness of his power” (Eph 1:19) and the depths of his “love” (Eph 3:18-19). She knows “him,” his “power” and his “fellowship” (Phil 3:10). She knows this because she has spent time in his presence, in communion and fellowship with him.
Ruth in her answer to Naomi uses the phrase “had done,” she sees it by faith as already done! The meaning of the word “done” shows this. It means “to accomplish;” “bring forth” – He has done this! It means to “appoint;” “bestow” – He has done this! It means to “perform;” “prepare” and “provide” – He has done this. No one else can, only Boaz can, and for us, only Jesus can do all these things! All of these meanings are different manifestations of grace in our lives! The good work that began (Phil 1:6) in her (and in us) has been accomplished. Now he will finish the work that has begun by claiming her. When his is done he will “bring forth” this woman as his wife. All that she receives from him are gifts that he “bestows” – they are gifts – they are manifestations of grace. He has “prepared” her and will “provide” for her. He will “perform” and keep his promise to her. Like Ruth, we can know what “the man has done” – that man is Christ and what He has done will take eternity to tell! But oh, the wonderful voices of those who proclaim it, of those who are able to tell what Christ has done for them!