Widows in biblical times often faced a life of poverty. That’s the situation Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, were in after each woman lost her husband. But God had a plan to provide security for them while involving Ruth as an integral part of a much bigger plan.

Boaz, a wealthy landowner, knew of and admired Ruth (Ruth 2:5-12), but he was surprised when he awoke one night to see her lying at his feet (3:8). She asked him to “spread the corner” of his garment over her to indicate that as a close relative he was willing to be her “kinsman-redeemer” (v.9 NIV). This was more than a request for protection; she was requesting marriage. Boaz agreed to marry her (vv.11-13; 4:13).

Not exactly your typical romantic tale. But Ruth’s choice to follow Naomi’s instructions (3:3-6) set up a series of events that placed her in God’s plan of redemption! From Ruth’s marriage to Boaz came a son (Obed), the eventual grandfather of King David (4:17). Generations later, Joseph was born to the family, and he became the “legal father” of Mary’s child (Matt. 1:16-17; Luke 2:4-5)—our Kinsman-Redeemer, Jesus.

Ruth trusted God and followed Naomi’s instructions even though the ending was uncertain. We too can count on God to provide for us when life is unsure.