HAVE YOU HEARD OF THIS WORTHY WOMAN?
With permission, The Journey has asked to publish a transcript of Mike Cope’s sermon about Ruth in four blog posts. There are links to the four parts at the bottom of each of four blog posts. The sermon was preached at the 2017 Pepperdine Bible Lectures, now called Harbor. You can also watch the sermon here.
And now chapter three and verse one. This is interesting, because Naomi now says, “All right Ruth, come in here. We need to talk. It’s time to take off those widow’s clothes. Take a bath, put on a little Chanel No. 5. Put on your best dress. Go to the field, and that night after Boaz has eaten and drunk all he wants, and after he gets into bed, then you just slip in there in bed with him.” And by the way, that is as awkward as it sounds. Just saying.
But in a way we don’t fully understand, it’s kind of awkward to us, but marriage proposal. She knows where they stand, he knows where they stand. It’s an invitation to take the action, to be the kinsman redeemer. Well I think it’s playful that the writer says, “He woke up in the night, and he startled because there was somebody there.” I guess he would be. And he says, “Who are you?” And she says, “It’s your servant, Ruth.” And then, we get some of the most beautiful language. Right in the middle of chapter three, on the screen you can see, this play that goes on here.
Because she says to him, “Why don’t you take,” and it’s undoubtedly a euphemism, “take the corner of your garment and spread it over me.” What’s interesting is, it’s the same Hebrew word that we’d had in chapter two: “kanap.” When Boaz says to her, “Dear Ruth may the kanap of God be over you.” The wings, the garment, the protection of God be over you. And now she thinks, possibly God is going to do that through me. Isn’t that interesting. Sometimes the very deliverance of God is in the people of God. You have this chance to step into the story, to redeem this, to make this right. It was for us, an awkward marriage proposal. But at least it’s an entering into the story of redemption.
And he speaks to her and says, “Look, everybody knows,” and my Bible says “your kindness,” but it’s the Hebrew word hesed. “Everybody knows about your loyalty, your steadfast, rock solid love.” Now our culture knows about preference. We do preference. We like, like, like this on Facebook and so on. But this is about promise, not preference . This is about covenant loyalty. It’s about being firm in commitments. And Boaz says, “Everybody around here knows about your hesed.” And then an interesting piece, “All the men in the village know that you are a . . . .” See if you’ve heard this phrase, “that you are an eschet chayil.”
Some of you’ve heard it because of Proverbs 31. It also appears in Proverbs 31. “You are a worthy woman, a noble woman.” And interestingly in many of the Hebrew Bibles, the book that came after Proverbs was Ruth. You want to know what an eschet chayil looks like? Here she is, this woman from Moab. And then we find out something we didn’t know before that, we didn’t know, that he is not the closest redeemer of all. There is another.
And so Boaz says let me go talk to this guy, and see if he’s in or out. If not, I will redeem this. But for now, we’re just, we’re gonna sleep. The next morning they get up, he make’s sure she’s got plenty of grain, and off she goes. And at the end of chapter three, I love this, Naomi says. “Ruth, I don’t think we’re gonna have to wait long on this.” Probably knowing the kind of man Boaz is, and maybe just generally knowing men. “I think this will be taken care of very quickly.”
Each year The Journey sends members to The Pepperdine Bible Lectures that Mike Cope directs. Check out the video below to learn more about it and consider going with us in 2019.