The evening air was chilled as Ruth covered her face and followed the sound of the noise and the smell of the smoke toward the threshing floor. It wasn’t hard to find because it was on the highest hill outside Bethlehem. As she looked around to make sure nobody recognized her she remembered the instructions Naomi had drilled into her head earlier that afternoon.
“Don’t let anyone see you. Wait until all the men have finished threshing the grain and have had their food and drink. When you see Boaz, watch where he lies down, but don’t go to him yet. Let him fall asleep and then when it’s dark, make your way to him. Lift his cloak off his feet and then lie down there.” Ruth had memorized every word, but when Naomi stopped Ruth had asked, “What do I do next?” Naomi smiled and said, “He’ll tell you what to do.”
That uncertainty was driving Ruth crazy. What WOULD he tell her to do? Would he say, “Get out of here, girl. Don’t you know nice girls don’t come to the threshing floor at night?” Would he try to take advantage of her? Would he just laugh at her and ignore her and go back to sleep? The uncertainty was killing her.
Three hours later Ruth was shivering behind the rock outcropping. She glanced toward the threshing floor and saw the fires were dying down and it was all quiet. Silently, she made her way through the rocks, being careful not to dislodge them and make a noise that would awaken the men. Finally, she reached the threshing floor and her nerves were tingling. So many questions remained. For a moment, she had the urge to turn around and run back to Naomi. She would just have to be content to glean grain as any other beggar. But her reluctance was soon replaced with a sense of resolve. She had trusted the God of Israel to protect her. She had asked Him to give her a husband. There were many to choose from, but only Boaz qualified as a kinsman-redeemer who could save her family.
Finally she arrived at Boaz’s feet. He was snoring gently as he lay there covered by his thick cloak. Ruth thought, “this seems crazy, but I’ll do what Naomi said.” She quietly bent down and grabbed the bottom of the cloak and gently folded it up until Boaz’ feet were exposed. Then Ruth curled herself on the hard ground at Boaz's feet. It seemed like hours before she heard Boaz move and then wake up. Ruth couldn’t sleep because she was so nervous as she rehearsed the words she hoped to say when Boaz awoke. It was so cold she would have thought he would have noticed his feet were cold before now. Finally he rolled over and sat up. In the dim light saw Ruth curled at his feet. He said in a loud whisper, “Whoah! What’s going on? Who in the world are you?” Ruth sat up. This was the moment. This would determine her future. She breathed a prayer asking Yahweh for strength. She said, “I am Ruth, your servant girl….” She paused for a moment and finally blurted out, “Please, Master Boaz, I desperately need a redeemer and a husband. Will you place your cloak of protection over me? Will you be my redeemer and husband?” She held her breath as she waited for his reply. The seconds seemed liked hours. She looked up at Boaz and he was rubbing his eyes. He said, “Am I dreaming this? Ruth, is that really you? It is! May God bless you, girl! You have shown me more kindness than I could have expected. There are plenty of younger men who would love to marry you, but I am humbled and honored that you would have me. Don’t be afraid, I will marry you and take care of you.”
She couldn’t believe her ears! He had said, “Yes!” She was swooning with delight when she heard him say, “But there is one problem ….”
“That’s it.” She thought, “I knew there was no way this could happen.”
Boaz continued, “There is another man who is a closer relative. But I will speak to him. If he doesn’t choose to be your goel, then as sure as the Lord lives, I will be your redeemer!”
Boaz told Ruth to sleep there for the rest of the evening. He covered her with his cloak and slept at a discreet distance from her. Ruth fell asleep dreaming of a wedding.
After several hours of blissful sleep, she felt someone gently shaking her, and she opened her eyes to see the smile of Boaz. He said, “Be quiet, my love. We don’t want anyone to get the wrong impression, so why don’t you return home before people arrive? And here, take a full load of grain home for you and Naomi. I promise that you’ll hear from me today about this matter.”
Ruth skipped home with her cloak full of grain and her heart full of hope singing, “Please, God, make a way!”
And God made a way.
And God can make a way for you.