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Protected

So, I know I promised posts about characteristics of Ruth.  And I swear I will get there.  I have notes and plans and everything.  But first I think I have to post about what God is trying to teach me through Ruth right now.

There are just a couple of phrases that God’s been showing me today and yesterday.  They don’t really make or break the story; it would be the more or less the same without them, I suppose.  It’s just one detail, but for me, it’s one of the most important details of the story for understanding Ruth’s relationships.

Ruth is being physically protected from those who would cause her harm.

I don’t know what you think, but I find it…odd…that the fear of Ruth being molested or assaulted should make it into the story.  Not once, but twice Ruth is reassured that with Boaz, no harm will come to her body.

First, Boaz tells her himself that he is looking out for her well-being.  In chapter two, when they first begin to talk to each other, Boaz says to her, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.” (Ruth 2:8-9, ESV).

He makes sure she has food, he makes sure she has water and company, and he makes sure that the men don’t touch her.  It catches my eye every time I read that passage: Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? He protects her from the lustful desires of other men.

But Boaz’s character based on his words alone–is that really a valid argument?  How far would he go to stop an assault?  Can Boaz really be trusted with Ruth?  What’s to say that he himself won’t take advantage of her?  That’s the way I think, at least.

Naomi, however, comes to Boaz’s rescue at the end of chapter two.  After Ruth tells Naomi everything about the day, she says, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, lest in another field you be assaulted.” (Ruth 2:22, ESV).  If Boaz were not trustworthy, Naomi would not support Ruth’s working with him.  However, Naomi implicitly trusts Boaz.  Her faith in him shows him to be a trustworthy character.  Naomi also reveals her own concern for Ruth’s safety.

God keeps bringing these lines to me.  Ruth takes the first step of trust when she goes out to work, but other than that, she keeps to herself, stops working only once for a short rest.  If I had been Ruth, I probably would have been terrified of being assaulted, but God protects her through Boaz and Naomi.

God is telling me that I am protected.

I don’t feel protected.  I feel vulnerable and terrified of people.  Sometimes my fear of men incapacitates me to where I can barely function.  I know what it stems from, and if you don’t, feel free to read this post from April that I wrote called Asking For It?.

It intrigues me that God would put these sections into the book of Ruth.  I guess it’s a message to not just me, but every woman out there who has ever been abused or rejected.  God will protect you if you trust him and let him.

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3 thoughts on “Protected

  1. you have. some really insightful thoughts on scripture. there are so many ways to interpret a passage each way speaks to you in a special way. like you said, maybe God is protecting you, you just cant physically tell. You should fear nothing.

  2. If I may add just a little insight into the context (which, you may or may not already be considering…) Ruth opens “In the days when the Judges ruled…” which should immediately clue you in to the fact that the men of this time were doing what pleased THEM and not the Lord, which is why it is easy to believe that in any other field, Ruth would have been abused. What’s more, this story comes directly after the final chapter in Judges, which portrays Israel with the same language as Sodom, and if you haven’t read that chapter, you should. The trepidation in Ruth is not coincidental if you read the story of the concubine.

    That’s the beauty in this story, it is a DARK time in the days of Israel, men are lustful and don’t fear the Lord and in the midst of that you meet Ruth and Boaz who are, in every scene, portrayed as “better than good.” Where Ruth could have left Naomi, justifiably and not been wrong under any provision of the Law, she did better than good and stayed. Where Boaz could have let her glean only a little, he instructed his men to drop more, not only that, he instructed them to drop so much that she couldn’t catch up to the cart and glean directly therefrom, because that would be stealing, and while Ruth doesn’t know that custom, Boaz protects her from her own ignorance. He does better than good.

    Naomi knows him to be of their family, and an honorable man so she plays matchmaker, and on the threshing room floor, tipsy and startled in the middle of the night, completely capable of taking advantage of Ruth, Boaz does the honorable thing and not only doesn’t make any advances, he honors the laws and traditions of their land by making a deal the next day.

    All this to say, it is difficult sometimes to do the right thing, but the Lord does good to those that are better than good and He will protect you even though some men are evil and this world is harsh, courage and faith are rewarded.

    I know your point was personal, so I’ll tell you this: you will persevere, and you will trust again, it may take time for you to believe with your heart, but start first with your brain and know that you ARE protected and you ARE loved and there ARE honorable, decent people out there.

    • I am considering the context. The fact that the author considers it enough to add that detail, which becomes a timeless priniciple, is pretty fabulous to me.

      I’m not going to say that modern America is corrupt like Israel was corrupt when Ruth was alive, but I think that we do live in a spiritually dark and empty place today. Everybody does whatever he or she pleases, and our culture continually emphasizes the need not to be good, but to be permissive and non-confrontational. Ruth and Boaz set remarkable examples for a better way to live that transcends the boundaries of time and culture.

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