Ruth's actions must have taken all her courage. Imagine setting out at night, slipping in to the threshing floor unnoticed, lying at the feet of your sleeping benefactor, waiting for him to wake up and respond - one way or the other - to your request. When Boaz does awaken, she basically asks Boaz to marry her. In their Stewardship Study Bible Notes for Ruth 3, Generous Giving points out the similarity of Ruth's request to Old Testament language depicting God hiding Israel under his wing. And the words echo the words of Boaz to Ruth upon meeting her in the fields (see Ru 2:12).
Boaz responds graciously to Ruth's request, commending Ruth's faithfulness to Naomi and promising to use his position as Naomi's relative (and potential 'kinsman-redeemer') to bring Ruth security. This provision in Old Testament law (see Lev 25:25-28) enabled the poor and dispossessed to fall back on family members to help them regain property lost to financial disaster. For Ruth herself, security was a matter of gaining social status as a married woman.
Notice that Boaz doesn't ask Ruth to wait for his decision, doesn't scurry off to the house to agonize into the wee hours over a list of pros and cons. It goes without saying that we as Christians need to make informed decisions. But when the Spirit prompts, as we may assume he did with Boaz, we are to act without hesitation. Pastor and generosity consultant Brian Kluth makes this point in a brief discussion of the etymology of the English word opportunity:
Hundreds of years ago when people lived near the oceans the word opportunity was coined.
It came from the time when ships needed to wait until the tide was in before heading out to sea, otherwise the ship would run aground. In the Latin language, the words 'ob portu' describe the perfect moment when time and tide converged for a ship to get underway.
Into every person's life come some God-ordained opportunities.
You'll know it's the right time when an urgent, life changing need - something that has eternal significant value - converges with your ability. At just the right moment, urgency and ability come together. And at that exact moment, you have the opportunity to fulfill a divine purpose God intended for you. Is it time for you and your congregation to move forward in some special way?
As you reflect back on [the] journey you've been on, how is God working in your heart and the lives of others to move out into new waters of faith and service for His glory?
As you read today's passage reflect on how you can be more open to the Spirit's gentle nudges? What changes do you need to make in your life so that you can better respond to opportunities presented by God?