With the pure innocence of a sleeping child, she lay at his feet…waiting. Her life’s journey to that dark place on the threshing floor had been exhausting and overflowing with loss. She had lost her husband, and with his death, her dreams of becoming a mother. Her family, friends and culture had all been lost when her love for her mother-in-law and the God she served called her to another country. But Ruth chose not to allow what was lost to consume her. She chose hope. She chose to believe in a God who redeemed the things she thought were lost.
I was just reading from Isaiah 54 in the Life Recovery Bible (New Living Translation). The chapter begins:
“Sing, O childless woman,
you who have never given birth!
Break into loud and joyful song, O Jerusalem,
you who have never been in labor.
For the desolate woman now has more children
than the woman who lives with her husband,”
says the Lord.
2 “Enlarge your house; build an addition.
Spread out your home, and spare no expense!
3 For you will soon be bursting at the seams.
The commentary on this passage is incredibly beautiful. It says, “Each one of us comes to God with a past. In turning our life over to Him, we give Him our entire self, including our past losses and shame. We hand over to Him every moment of disgrace, every tear we have ever cried, every word we wish we could take back, all the broken promises, the loneliness, all the dreams that died, the dashed hopes, the broken relationships, our successes and failures – all of our yesterdays and the scars they have left in our life.
Under Old Testament laws, if someone lost freedom, property, or spouse because of a disaster or a debt, the next of kin was looked to as “redeemer.” If property had been lost because of inability to pay, the redeemer would pay for it and return it to the original owner. If a woman lost her husband, the redeemer would marry her, providing her with protection and love. God tells us:
“4Fear not; you will no longer live in shame.
Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you.
You will no longer remember the shame of your youth
and the sorrows of widowhood.
5 For your Creator will be your husband;
the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!
He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
the God of all the earth.
6 For the Lord has called you back from your grief—
as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband,”
says your God.
7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with great compassion I will take you back.
8 In a burst of anger I turned my face away for a little while.
But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
says the Lord, your Redeemer. NLT
God is our Redeemer, the restorer of our losses. He is Lord of all, even of our days and dreams in the past. When we give God the past, he can make up for all we have lost. He can rid us of the shame and fill the empty places in our heart.” (Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop, The Life Recovery Bible, Colorado Springs, CO: Alive Communications, 1998 p. 861.)
Ruth chose to follow her mother-in-law Naomi’s suggestion to humbly present herself to Boaz, a close relative who had the means to provide for their future. As Boaz lay down beside a heap of grain on the threshing floor and went to sleep, he had no idea that he would awake during the night to find Ruth innocently curled at his feet.
Ruth 3:7-10 says, “Then Ruth came quietly, uncovered his feet, and lay down. 8 Around midnight Boaz suddenly woke up and turned over. He was surprised to find a woman lying at his feet! 9 “Who are you?” he asked.
“I am your servant Ruth,” she replied. “Spread the corner of your covering over me, for you are my family redeemer.”
10 “The Lord bless you, my daughter!” Boaz exclaimed. “You are showing even more family loyalty now than you did before, for you have not gone after a younger man, whether rich or poor.” NLT
Taking godly risks with our pain can feel terrifying at times. But when we are obedient to His call, He pulls us from our pasts and redeems us with a future more fulfilling than we could ever imagine. Through the lineage of Boaz and Ruth came King David and Jesus Christ. We can never underestimate the power of God to redeem the things we thought were lost!