Day 2 - Ruth 2:1-12

As It Turns Out

When reading the old testament, it’s a good practice to look for Jesus in it. Although Jesus hasn’t come to earth yet in the book of Ruth, he is weaved into God’s story from the beginning. It’s not hard to see the hint of Jesus when Naomi and Ruth arrive in Bethlehem and the women there recognize Naomi. This is God saying, “Stop here. I have big plans for you and for this place.” And another coincidence? Naomi has a wealthy relative there.

2:1 Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, a man of standing from the clan of Elimelek, whose name was Boaz.

2 And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.”

Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” 3 So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek.

4 Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The Lord be with you!” 

“The Lord bless you!” they answered.

5 Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, “Who does that young woman belong to?”

6 The overseer replied, “She is the Moabite who came back from Moab with Naomi. 7 She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.’ She came into the field and has remained here from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter.”

8 So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. 9 Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.”

10 At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me - a foreigner?”

11 Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband - how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. 12 May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” 

It’s Ruth’s idea to glean in the field. Gleaning is a practice designed by God to take care of the poor. In Leviticus 19:9-10, farmers are commanded to leave some crops behind when harvesting so those without food can gather it. Let’s not overlook the courage Ruth had to have to make such a request. She just arrived in Judah and yet, she’s willing to go find food to provide for herself and Naomi. Ruth truly went out of her way to put herself out there in the name of serving Naomi.

Has there been a time where you needed to step out in faith and trust that God was going to provide even though the circumstances seemed bleak?

Let’s key into Boaz for a moment.  If you want to see someone’s true character, look at how he or she treats subordinates. Verse 4 gives us some insight into who Boaz is. He greets his workers by saying, “The Lord be with you,” to which they answer, “The Lord Bless you”. As a reader, already rooting for Ruth, we give a sigh of relief with this introduction.

God has put people in your life who look up to you. How can you be more of a light to them so they can see God?

Boaz offers three things to Ruth:

  1. Companionship - “Stay here with the women who work for me.”
  2. Protection - “I have told the men not to lay a hand on you.”
  3. Sustenance -  “And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.”

Boaz in those three ways is to Ruth as Jesus is to you and I.  Jesus draws us near, promises his presence and protection, and is truly the well that never runs dry (John 4:14).

This provision is ultimately from Jesus, but God often uses people to do His work. Other than a parent, who has God used in your life to help provide for you? 

Boaz didn’t just notice Ruth’s courage and work ethic, he had heard through the grapevine what she gave up to take care of Naomi. A man of good character knows when he sees it in someone else. The phrase “as it turns out” suggests that all of this is a coincidence, but we know and can see God’s hand in it. Just like Ruth, God is at work in your life. Take time today to thank Him for his plan for your life and His provision to make it happen.

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