God’s Use of Human Plans
Author: F. Duane Lindsey
Week of July 27, 2014
Ruth 3:1-4; James 3:13-17
Naomi prayed in the land of Moab that the Lord would “find rest in the home of another husband” for Ruth (Ruth 1:9). Now God began to use Naomi to answer her own prayer.
Naomi asked Ruth, “Should I not try to find a home [literally, ‘rest’] for you?” (3:1). Naomi was undertaking the parental responsibility of arranging marriage for Ruth. But for circumstances left unstated she proposed an unusual manner of seeking to arrange the marriage. Their kinsman-redeemer Boaz would be “winnowing barley on the threshing floor” that very night (v. 2). Perhaps the afternoon winds had just become sufficiently favorable to separate the husks, chaff, and stalks from the heavier kernels of grain as it was tossed into the air. At any rate, Naomi viewed this as the opportune time to enact her plan, which called for private conversation between Ruth and Boaz.
Naomi’s plan involved Ruth’s preparation to look (and smell) her very best for Boaz. It also involved secrecy until the right moment—after Boaz had finished dinner! And after he had then gone to sleep at the threshing floor (perhaps as a deterrent to any thievery). The plan called for Ruth to “uncover his feet and lie down” (v. 4). This was a symbolic action, not a sexual act. Yet Naomi was asking Ruth to enter a potentially compromising situation. The manifest purity of Boaz and the further outcome of the story confirm the wisdom of Naomi’s plan.
The last step in Naomi’s plan was left to Boaz (and the providence of God): “He will tell you what to do” (v. 4). The ball would be in his court!
Think about it: Like the lady who prayed for rain and began to carry her umbrella under a cloudless sky, we need to entrust our needs to God and then be available to accomplish God’s providential action. Naomi did just that.