To be sure, it’s not a custom that I know a lot about. But there’s something about the manner in which Ruth communicates her desire to be redeemed by Boaz that is intuitive. While Naomi’s instructions to Ruth might have been well understood in that day and in Jewish culture, even in it’s obscurity today there is a picture painted of how someone might approach their redeemer. And it’s got me thinking about laying at the feet of my Redeemer.
So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down. At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” (Ruth 3:1-3 ESV)
Naomi’s people had become Ruth’s people . . . Naomi’s God was owned by Ruth as her God (1:16). And this foreigner, once ” alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and stranger to the covenants of promise” (Eph. 2:12), now sought refuge according to the word of God. The Law of Moses required that when a man died childless, a close relative should marry the widow in order to perpetuate his name and retain his inheritance within his tribe (Deut. 25:5-10). And so, under Naomi’s guidance, Ruth appeals to Boaz, as a close relative, to be her redeemer . . . to willingly pay the price for her protection . . . to take her to himself as his bride. And in that day, and in that culture, it involved coming and laying at his feet.
Kind of a risky proposition. Talk about stepping out — and laying down — in faith. Ruth had to trust in Naomi . . . had to trust in the provision made in God’s word . . . and had to trust the one who she looked to as her kinsman-redeemer. What if Naomi had it wrong . . . what if God’s word couldn’t be trusted . . . what if Boaz wasn’t all that he seemed to be? Laying at his feet was putting it all on the line. Humbling herself . . . submitting herself . . . laying her very life at his feet . . . she was all in.
And I can’t help but find here a picture of another foreigner? Someone from outside the traditions of good religious people and absolutely ignorant as to the ways of God and His kingdom. A picture of a person who, like Ruth, was instructed in the ways of redemption from God’s word. Someone who was told of Another who had already paid the price for all who would seek refuge under His wings. Someone introduced to a Kinsman-Redeemer who is willing to take all who believe as His Bride. That someone is me. That Kinsman-Redeemer is Christ. And, in a sense, all that I had to do was lay at His feet.
To lay at His feet thus declaring, by faith, that I trust His finished work for my redemption and that my striving has ceased. To humble myself before Him in contrite submission desiring that His will be my will and His ways be my ways. To bow before Him in awe-filled adoration as I consider that He would long to share His riches with me and make His inheritance mine. To know that, unlike Boaz who could pay the price from his abundance, my Redeemer had to empty Himself completely . . . shedding His own blood as the price for my redemption . . . giving His own life as the wages for mine.
Laying at the feet of Jesus, my Redeemer. No safer place . . . no sweeter place.
Marveling afresh at His amazing grace . . . and at my wondrous redemption.
All for His eternal glory.