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.