“My safe place.” “Security.” The NRSV translates Ruth 3:1 as Naomi saying to Ruth, “My daughter, I need to seek some security for you, so that it may be well with you.” What is security or safety? Where do you feel safe?
As a child the rule was established that our beds were our “safe place.” “You can’t touch me, I’m on my bed!” I would say to my sister. When facing the decision to restart public worship with all the protective guidelines in place, a leader in the church said, “Church is my safe place.” At home the person fell, received groceries on the doorstep and was isolated. The risk of infection after following all the guidelines was worth the security this person felt by being in worship. Naomi looked into the future and realized that as a widow with Ruth, a widow, something had to be done. The “long-term care plan” we called it yesterday.
Webster defines security as safety, free from anxiety, freedom from fear of loss like a job. It involves a degree of surety or trust and protection. Naomi presents a strategy for Ruth to alert Boaz that she is willing to remarry. Nowadays when divorce is so common, marriage may not feel like a very safe plan but still we often long to see our children married, loved and appreciated. Some people invest in insurance plans as financial security is always a question at the door. Medical insurance works similarly. As a youth in the 60s and the Cold War looming, there was a big push on Bible memorization so that in the case of nuclear war or if taken as a prisoner, the Word of God would be in our hearts. Fears drive our search for security; fear of loneliness, of illness, of helplessness, of “the enemy.” Psalm 91 speaks to my heart during fearful times. The plans we create provide a sense of security but a true long-term plan lasts beyond marriage! Psalm 91.
You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
2 will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress;
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence;
4 he will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
or the arrow that flies by day,
6 or the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
or the destruction that wastes at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord your refuge,[b]
the Most High your dwelling place,
10 no evil shall befall you,
no scourge come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder,
the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.
14 Those who love me, I will deliver;
I will protect those who know my name.
15 When they call to me, I will answer them;
I will be with them in trouble,
I will rescue them and honor them.
16 With long life I will satisfy them,
and show them my salvation.