“Stay here, my daughter, until you know how it turns out. The man won’t rest unless he settles this matter today.” Ruth 3:18 GW [see full devo text in NIV below]
Waiting is something most of us don’t do well. Come to think of it—I don’t know anyone who does it well in a consistent manner. We might like suspense in a story but not so much in real life.
American culture is focused on not waiting. We want things now not next week, next month, or next year. Conjecture about what could, might, or should happen fills online and mainstream media. This applies to politics, world events, sports, and the lives of celebrities.
When we send a text or email and don’t receive a timely reply—like, immediately—we’re either offended or wonder what’s wrong! Go to most stores and you’ll find more ready-to-eat or quick-to-prepare food available than the ingredients needed for making a meal from scratch.
Is the drive-through line to slow? Orders are taken before you get to the speaker and menu to order at some fast-food places. If that’s still too slow, there’s an App for that! to get your order in and done so you don’t have to wait at all!
Who wants to wait? No. One.
But the word wait or similar phrases about waiting occur throughout the Bible. Either as an exhortation or an observation of what people did.
Waiting to find out what will happen
This last segment of chapter three may not seem so important but it holds a valuable truth applicable in life for all of us.
After Boaz discovers Ruth laying at his feet in the dark on the threshing floor, he tells her to wait till the morning. He makes a commitment to resolve whether or not he can fulfill her request of taking her in as his wife and her kinsman-redeemer.
In the morning, before she leaves to return home to Naomi, Boaz sends Ruth back with six measures of barley. This is a wise move on his part.
Although we don’t know the exact amount, these six measures could weigh as much as sixty pounds, which is why Boaz tells Ruth—“Stretch out the cape you’re wearing and hold it tight.”
Why would Boaz do this?
Boaz knew Naomi set this situation up. He knew Ruth the Moabitess would not know or understand about the kinsman-redeemer provision in the Mosaic Law. Boaz wanted to reassure Naomi of the commitment he made to Ruth.
When Ruth returns home to Naomi, she shares what happened at the threshing floor, what Boaz said, and shows her the large amount of barley grain. Boaz sent a message to Naomi with this grain—a show of good faith on his promise to Ruth.
Naomi accepts this pledge from Boaz and advises her daughter-in-law to wait. She also assures Ruth of a quick resolve to the question of whether Boaz or the other man would be Ruth’s husband and the kinsman-redeemer of the family property.
Can you relate?
Obviously, Ruth wants to have Boaz for her husband. She knows him, respects him, and trusts him. But there’s a course of action that needs to take place. It can’t be hurried nor interrupted.
Ruth will just have to wait.
As the story continues in chapter four, we’ll see Ruth doesn’t have to wait too long. But it isn’t always that way in our lives. Not everything has a simple or timely resolve as Ruth’s wait.
As I reflect on my own life, I see many times where the wait was significant. Some of my requests and petitions and intercessions in prayer are still not answered. But I know to continue to pray and not give up (Luke 18:1).
Sometimes we wait for answers already given but they weren’t the answers we wanted or expected. This is where discernment is needed with a genuine trust in God as a Father who always has our best interest in mind.
Have you learned how to wait with a genuine trust in the Lord?
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:14 NIV)
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; (Psalm 37:7 NIV)
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. (Psalm 62.5 ESV)
When you come to a life situation where you need to wait on God, ask Him for the grace and confidence to trust Him, and thank Him in advance as an expression of trust.
Devo Scripture Text
So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, “Don't let it be known that a woman came to the threshing floor.” He also said, “Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out.” When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and put it on her. Then he went back to town.
When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “How did it go, my daughter?” Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her and added, “He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, ‘Don't go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’”
Then Naomi said, “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.”
(Ruth 3:14-18 NIV 84)