By Guest Writer
“Take me under your protecting wing.”
To take someone under your protecting wing is to make an outsider an insider. I’m trying to think of the last time I asked someone to take me under their wing.
One of my black pastor friends has agreed to partner with the church I serve so our churches can do ministry together in our city. I always ask to meet him at restaurants he’s familiar with, but are off my radar. So we eat together in places I might never otherwise go. I start going to them myself after awhile. One of the effects of being taken under my friend’s wing is that I begin to feel like an insider.
In today’s text, Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi, wants to put Ruth under someone’s protective wing – someone who can give her a place among Israel’s people. Naomi says, “My dear daughter, isn’t it about time I arranged a good home for you so you can have a happy life?” (Ruth 3:1 MSG). Go get cleaned up. Put on your best dress and some perfume. Be at the right place and the right time. Signal your availability for marriage. Let’s get you married!
Naomi’s plan might not work for you, but it was a perfect plan for Ruth. It was exactly what she needed right then and there. She was ready. She just needed a push, a mentor.
What she really needed and wanted was a protecting wing — a true Redeemer. Husbands are imperfect redeemers. Wives are too. But they’re both a picture of one. They’re what we might call a type of redeemer, but they can’t fully bear the weight of what a perfect Redeemer is meant to be: someone who can give us eternal belonging. Still, they point us in that direction.
Ruth needed the Protecting Wing, the Redeemer, the Perfect Captain. And she had the courage and tenacity to put herself out there and actually ask for it. She didn’t pull back. She risked it all, and went for it. And she found in Boaz a man who could take her from standing on the outside, to a place of belonging.
But what God was doing through Ruth was even greater than what Boaz did for her. God was making her an eternal insider in the story our of Redemption. What God did—by working through Naomi to join Ruth and Boaz—didn’t just lead to Ruth’s redemption. It formed a link in the lineage of Christ Himself, who would bring us under God’s protective wing, making us insiders in the Kingdom of God.
This passage in the book of Ruth reminds us of what the gospel is: the story of outsiders being made insiders. When our faith is in Christ, that is what we are.
Written By Doug Serven