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Surprised by Hesed … go down to the threshing floor

Wash and perfume yourself, and put on your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor…” Who are you?” he asked. “I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer.”
Ruth 3:3,9

Finally, Naomi has tossed aside her doldrums. Grief has been her companion these many months, obscuring the provisions in Jewish law for widows. Oh yes, we’ve seen a few hints along the way. She has connected the fact that Boaz is a close relative of her husband, in fact one of their kinsman-redeemers (2:20). Basically a kinsman-redeemer was responsible for the welfare of the clan and its property. Naomi has a plan!

Opinions vary as to the properness of the plan. To be seen at the threshing floor, in the middle of the night, with a man, under even the corner of his covers, was a no-no as far as Boaz was concerned (3:14). Why not approach him in broad daylight, Naomi?

Before we sell Naomi too short, let’s consider the times we live in. While the ancient Jewish traditions may elude us, we act much the same as folks in the time of the judges when every man did that which was right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25 KJV).

As it was, Ruth trusted her mother-in-law implicitly. She washed, perfumed herself, put on her best clothes, and went down to the threshing floor to wait. Fortunately for Naomi, Boaz took Ruth’s overture as a great kindness (3:10). (There’s that hesed word again.) He quickly allays her fears, commends her noble character, and vows to see what he can do even though he is not the nearest kinsman (3:11-12).

Fortunately for us, the plan of our amazing God was exponentially loaded with loving kindness. Forget our puny efforts to be presentable. Jesus did it for us:

1. Wash: But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ (Titus 3:4-5).
2. Perfume yourselves: You have an anointing from the Holy One…that teaches you about all things… that is real and not counterfeit (1 John 2:20-27).
3. Put on your best clothes: Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature (Romans 13:14).

Anyone need to get on down to the threshing floor and proclaim with Ruth, “I am your servant” (3:9), Jesus? There hesed waits, full of surprises.

 Nancy P

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