Read – Ruth 3
Focus on verse 1-5
The stereotypical picture of a mother-in-law in our culture is typically not a pretty one. If I were to describe it in Disney characters, it might be somewhere between Cruella DeVille and Malificent — neither of which are remotely flattering. While there may be some mothers-in-law who meddle manipulatively in the lives of their grown and married children, there are also many who, like Naomi, use their connections and experience to direct and assist their children toward wise choices they would otherwise be unable to discern. I personally was blessed with such a mother-in-law, whom I dearly loved and highly respected. She was rarely manipulative, and often seemed to know just when to offer helpful advice and direction. In today’s reading, we find Naomi offing Ruth some helpful direction.
Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you? Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.” And she replied, “All that you say I will do.” (v. 1-5)
In this reading of the story of Ruth, we find Naomi giving Ruth some direction in regard to how this new culture that Ruth was learning to live in, operated. We also see Ruth continuing in her pattern of demonstrating a high degree of honor and respect for her mother-in-law by agreeing to follow the direction she is given. As we will find in tomorrow’s reading, this turns out to be a win not just for Ruth but for her whole family as Boaz agrees to redeem her and takes her as wife. Boaz turns out to be a man of significant wealth and influence in the community making this into somewhat of a Cinderella story that actually ends with a “happy ever after”.