Ruth 3:16, “And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her.”
“Who are thou,” was the first question that Naomi asked after Ruth’s visit to Boaz in the threshing floor. Obviously Naomi knew who Ruth was. She was the faithful, Moabite widow to Naomi’s son. This was the committed, selfless woman who left her homeland to abide with her widowed mother-in-law who had also lost her children. She was the virtuous, hard-working, obedient convert to the true and living God. Naomi knew who Ruth was. Naomi’s question was one of hopeful anticipation.
In verse one, Naomi shows her care for this dear young lady who had shown great kindness toward by returning to Judah from Moab. Naomi was seeking the well-being of Ruth and wanted her to have a godly husband. The commands that Naomi gave to Ruth were in response to the favour that Boaz had shown to Ruth in the fields. Knowing that Boaz was a near kinsman, that he had already displayed his admiration for and kindness toward Ruth, and that he could be her kinsman redeemer, Naomi encourages Ruth to present herself to Boaz as his potential wife, (Ruth 3:2-4).
When Ruth followed Naomi’s instructions, (Ruth 3:5-8), lying down at the feet of Boaz, he also asked the question, “Who art thou?” Boaz’s question was, in fact, a question of confusion. “Who are you?! Why are you lying at my feet?!” Ruth responded, “I am Ruth thine handmaid…a near kinsman.” Essentially, she said, “I am Ruth, your servant, but also your relative whom you can redeem. And by lying at your feet, I am asking you to consider redeeming me, as your relative, to be your wife.” She had only become Boaz’ relative by her first marriage to her now deceased husband. He was akin to Boaz. Yet because Ruth had left her land and remained with Naomi, she had, by Jewish standards, remained in the family of Naomi and Boaz. Therefore, she could be redeemed by him if he chose to do so. Boaz was taken by Ruth’s offer and petition because he was an aged man. She had not sought for a young man, either rich or poor; she had sought him. Boaz determined that first thing in the morning, he would do all he could do redeem her.
It is upon Ruth’s return back to Naomi that our text is taken. Naomi, having sent Ruth the handmaid and kinsman of Boaz, wanted to know see if the LORD had shown favour, “that it might be well with [Ruth].” Who was Ruth now? Still a handmaid and kinsman? In fact, more description is given. Ruth was the handmaid and kinsman of Boaz, as well as, the daughter of Naomi. When Ruth told her of the events of the night, Naomi knew that Boaz would have the matter resolved as soon as he could.
Drawing our attention to the question, “Who art thou,” let me ask you that question: “Who art thou?” The responses we give may be as numerous as the people asked. When asked by Boaz, Ruth could have said, “I am nothing more than a poor, widowed, Moabite,” but she did not. She appealed to better truth. “I am your handmaid (servant) and your kinsman.” She was not dwelling on her past; she was resting in her present standing. When Naomi asked, “Who art thou,” Ruth could have said, “I had hoped to be the wife of Boaz, but there is another kinsman redeemer, who I do not know, and I have little hope that it will be well with me after all.” She did not. She simply told Naomi the truth and rested in the promise of Boaz to do all he could to make her his wife.
“Who art thou?” Are you dwelling in the past? Or, are you resting in your present standing in Christ? Do you tend to see only the heartache and suffering that has marked your past, or do you see that God is favourable to you and desires to be in close relationship and fellowship with you? Of course, we cannot be in this relationship or fellowship without first having been saved. You may be viewing your life and would answer the question, “I am a hopeless sinner with a sorted past.” Or you could say, “I am a sinner who is appealing to the mercy and grace of God for salvation.” God has done all that can be done to make you His own: He only waits for you to call upon Him for salvation.
You may be a Believer who would answer the question, “Who art thou,” by saying, “I am a Christian who has failed so many times and see no hope of being used by God.” Or you could say, “I am the servant of God. I am His child and He loves me. He knows that I am but flesh, but He is rich in grace and mercy. He can use me because I am one of His own.”
Brethren, do not dwell on your past; rest in your present standing as a child of God and lay hold of all of the promises that come with that high privilege.