Ruth 3:14-18 Six measures of Barley
November 1st, 2020

Ruth she rested in the assurance that Boaz had given her. 

Ruth was awake and got up early in the morning, before it was fully light, before a person could recognize another. If they were found like this, it could ruin both of their reputations, regardless of how innocent it was.

And now Boaz says something interesting:  Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.”  God has the power to make sure that they are not found out.  We’re given a kind of a little glimpse into the prayer life of Boaz, and that, even though he is rich and capable, he depends on God for his provision.

James 5:16 says The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. It is about whether the prayer is aligned with God’s will, and whether our heart is in it that counts, not the length of the prayer, or the specific words used. 

15 Again he said, “Give me the cloak that is on you and hold it.” So she held it, and he measured six measures of barley and laid it on her. Then she went into the city. 

If anyone spotted Ruth leaving the threshing floor, she could rightfully and truthfully say that she was getting grain for her mother-in-law.  They would have thought “oh, what a diligent Ruth, getting up this early to bring back more grain for her mother-in-law Naomi”.  And “how about that generous Boaz, always looking to find ways to provide for his family Ruth and Naomi”.  God turned something that could have been misunderstood as a bad witness of the characters of Ruth and Boaz, into a good witness.

God often seems to go out of His way to avoid any appearance of impropriety, even when there’s nothing wrong going on.  God does not want us to sin, in fact He want us to act in such a way that our light shines before men, and they give glory to God, and in such a way that we aren’t cause for people to discredit God.  If we have love for others, we don’t want to be a cause for them to have wrong ideas about God. 

Christians should avoid doing things that might make a brother stumble (1 Cor. 8:9, 13). We should not knowingly put an obstacle in anyone’s way (2 Cor. 6:3). 

Boaz was concerned about maintaining Ruth’s reputation and His reputation.

And similarly, God will not use us, his bride, in this way.  He will never entice us to sin. (James 1:13-14)

Even when God allows us to be put in a potentially compromising situation, where sin might be the easiest choice, like Ruth and Boaz were, God will always provide a means of escape without sinning (1 Cor 10:13).   Run for the exit.  Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.

Then she went into the city. 16 When she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “How did it go, my daughter?”

She asks the same question that everybody asks when they’ve sent someone on an important mission, on which their entire future rests.  She asks “How did it go?”

 And she told her all that the man had done for her.

All Boaz had done up to this point was talk.  He hadn’t done anything yet.  But to Ruth’s mind, once Boaz had said he would do it, then it was done.  She had faith in Boaz’ ability and willingness to keep the promises that he had made. If God makes a promise to us, then the moment He makes it, then it is fulfilled, because God cannot lie or make a promise that He won’t keep.  It is as good as done, as soon as He makes the promise.  (2 Cor 1:20)

17 She said, “These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said, ‘Do not go to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’”

It was a delivery for Naomi that was to be given to her.  The night’s conversation between Ruth and Boaz had been about redemption, and Boaz wants Naomi to know that she hasn’t been forgotten and that she has not been brought back empty-handed. 

These are the last words that Ruth speaks in the book.  Isn’t it fitting that Ruth, who has been such a link between all that’s happened to Naomi and the redemption that’s going to be provided by Boaz spends her last conversation delivering this message that Naomi hasn’t been forgotten in the redemption that Boaz has promised?  Isn’t it fitting that the last time she speaks, it’s in service to her mother-in-law.

Boaz, by sending this 6 measures of barley to Naomi, in the context of a promise of work to be done, is saying to Naomi that he will make sure that all of the work of redemption, including redeeming her and acting as her kinsman-redeemer will be accomplished.  Naomi interprets it for us in verse 18 when she says 18 Then she said, “Wait, my daughter, until you know how the matter turns out; for the man will not rest until he has settled it today.”

Boaz has let Naomi know, not only will he be the kinsman redeemer of both she and Ruth, but that there will be no delay in the completion of this work—it will be completely settled today

By calling to mind the creation account, Boaz is bringing to Naomi’s mind that out of her initial darkness, trouble and bitterness is going to come a great light of redemption.

Well, all of these promises in the Bible, are like the night’s conversation between Ruth and Boaz.  It’s a conversation between you and God about redemption—an account of God’s work to redeem you, and especially the culmination of that work accomplished by Jesus on the cross. God promises to you that will sustain you through the night.  Trust Him, as Ruth trusted Boaz.  Like those six measures of wheat, this book is a message saying you have not been forgotten and that you have not been brought back empty-handed.  Your kinsman-redeemer, Jesus, is going to make sure that you are complete and fulfilled.