Naomi’s Instruction

Ruth 3:2-4, “And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor. Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking. And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do.”

Throughout the generations, God’s little children have called on their Father in heaven for help in their times of need. The Hebrew letter teaches us plainly that the children of God are able to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:16).

In reading the Book of Ruth, we find a damsel named Ruth who has suffered much in the way of worldly troubles. Her husband has died (Ruth 1:5) and she has no other option, but to resort to gleaning in the fields to prevent dire poverty. While gleaning, her near kinsman, Boaz (Ruth 2:20) who is a respected man in Israel, took notice of her need. It was Ruth’s mother in law (Naomi) who provided instruction to Ruth, that she may approach Boaz to ask for his help. What a great blessing it was for Ruth to have a person in her life who could instruct her in the way. When we consider Naomi’s instruction to Ruth, our minds are stirred to think on the child of God’s approach to the feet of their kinsman redeemer, Jesus Christ. Please consider:

(1) Naomi instructed Ruth to “Wash thyself”! We all should completely understand that the verse of scripture is referencing the cleansing of the body, but yet there is a spiritual lesson concerning the child of grace cleansing himself/herself from the filth of this world in repentance before they approach the Lord requesting help. The Bible teaches clearly that there is a cleansing that can only be done by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5), but there are washings the born again children of God are able to do in repentance and experiential sanctification. It is important for all of us to remember that while calling upon the Lord, we should “turn from our wicked ways…”(2 Chron 7:14).

(2) Naomi instructed Ruth to “anoint thee…”! The word “anoint” in this verse literally means to smear perfumed oil on the body. In 2 Samuel 12:20, it was David who “arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself” to show the kingdom his gladness concerning the victory, even though his son was dead. When Naomi told Ruth to “anoint” herself, she basically told her to go intending to be noticed and heard. The bible teaches us that when we approach the Lord, we should do so in faith if we expect to please God and be heard (Heb 11:6). When we call upon the Lord, we should be anointed with the strength of faith, as the woman of Canaan in Matthew 15:22, that we may please the Lord in our requests. In Psalms 84:8-9 we read, “O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah. Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.”

(3) Naomi instructed Ruth to “put thy raiment upon thee”! When Ruth returned from the fields, she without question was covered with the dirt and dust of the field. I remember vividly as a child working all day in the garden and my clothes being covered with dirt. Naomi tells Ruth to put on a different change of clothes. What a great lesson is found in these words for the child of grace. If we are to approach the Lord in prayer, it should be done with the proper raiment. The clothes of the world (worldly thoughts, ideas and works) are not acceptable with God. We are taught in James 4:4, “whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” Four verses later we read in James 4:8, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” Before we draw nigh to God, we should put off the old man, and put on the new (Eph 4:22-24).

(4) Naomi instructed Ruth to “get thee down”, and “lie” at the man’s feet! Naomi did not tell Ruth to go to Boaz with pomp and show, neither with pride and arrogance. Instead she told her to go “down” and “lie” at Boaz’s feet. The Book of Proverbs teaches us that God hates “pride, and arrogance, and the evil way… “(Prov 8:13). When we call upon the Lord, it should be in humility and contrition. Psalms 51:17 reads, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Whether we are considering Nehemiah, Daniel, Hezekiah or the countless other children of God who received from the Lord in the prayers, one thing is common, humility.

When Ruth ended her request to Boaz, she received the answer she longed to hear, “I will do to thee all that thou re-quirest…” (Ruth 3:11). I cannot imagine the happiness that flooded the damsel’s heart. Dear child of grace, if we are to experience the same during our troubles, let us receive this instruction of repentance, faith, separation from the world, and humility; that we may see the power of God in our own lives. The Lord is able! Amen!

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