We opened the book of Ruth last week and were reminded of the power of fresh beginnings and the desire God has to call us home, even when we’ve made choices of unbelief and disobedience. I hope you made that new beginning choice, and if you did, I’d love to hear from you and guide you through those next steps so you don’t turn back to Moab (the world). Feel free to write me or message me through social media!
As we begin chapter 2, we will meet Boaz – a shadow or type of our beloved Christ Jesus. As you learn about Boaz’s character, you’ll recognize how it is a descriptive reference to Christ’s character. Pay close attention of how Boaz speaks to and treats his workers and Ruth because it’s a direct correlation of how our Lord speaks and treats you, His bride!
1 There was a relative of Naomi’s husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz. 2 So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor.”
And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.”
3 Then she left, and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers. And she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.
- I admire Ruth’s willingness to work. Naomi and Ruth came back to Bethlehem with nothing – no family and no work. Yet, Ruth did not expect other people to provide for her while she steeped in self-pity. She immediately asked Naomi if she could glean the fields, as was the ritual for the poor. America could certainly take a lesson from this gal! How often we expect other people to assist us when we should first be doing our part. Ruth was exhibiting faith by going into the fields – trusting that the Lord would provide for her through the grace of others.
- Here, enters Boaz, “a man of standing” (NIV) in the community. Ruth “happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz.” I don’t believe in coincidence, but I do believe in God’s providence – His guiding hand over His children. Whether you are a “new believer” like Ruth, or a seasoned one like Naomi, God’s wisdom and foresight is ready to rise up to meet you where you are.
4 Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!”
And they answered him, “The Lord bless you!”
5 Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?”
6 So the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered and said, “It is the young Moabite woman who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. 7 And she said, ‘Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.’ So she came and has continued from morning until now, though she rested a little in the house.”
- Note how Boaz’s servants greeted him: with blessing. Whether you’re the leader in your home, work, or school, you must live a life in such a way that people see something different in you.
- Did you notice how Boaz took the initiative to recognize Ruth? Out of all the workers harvesting and the poor gleaning, he took special note of Ruth. She didn’t deserve that favor or earn it – it was simply a gift of grace out of his heart. Beloved, the Lord looks upon you the same way. As you are busy with your day, He watches you closely (Psalm 121:5) and speaks about you to His Father (Romans 8:34). Take comfort in knowing you are deeply loved!
8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, “You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women. 9 Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.”
10 So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”
11 And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”
13 Then she said, “Let me find favor in your sight, my lord; for you have comforted me, and have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants.”
14 Now Boaz said to her at mealtime, “Come here, and eat of the bread, and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed parched grain to her; and she ate and was satisfied, and kept some back. 15 And when she rose up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16 Also let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.”
- We saw previously how Boaz took initiative for Ruth and spoke to her. Now we read about Boaz’s promise to protect and provide for Ruth. Psalm 91 reminds us that, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Take some time this week to read the entirety of this Psalm; it will stir within your heart truth about His protection and provision.
- Ruth had no idea that Boaz had spoken to his servants about treating her with great care, but her response was that of humility and appreciation. May we, like Ruth, be on our face before our God in thanks, praise, and humility for the grace He has shown us repeatedly. Warren Wiersbe puts it like this, “Ruth neither looked back at her tragic past nor did she look at herself and consider her sorry plight. She fell at the feet of the master and submitted herself to him. She looked away from her poverty and focused on his riches.” This leads to a great question for each of us to ponder: Do you spend more time focusing on your poverty (sins/circumstances/stumbling) or on His goodness? “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).
17 So she gleaned in the field until evening, and beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. 18 Then she took it up and went into the city, and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned.
So she brought out and gave to her what she had kept back after she had been satisfied.
19 And her mother-in-law said to her, “Where have you gleaned today? And where did you work? Blessed be the one who took notice of you.”
So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked, and said, “The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz.”
20 Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “Blessed be he of the Lord, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!” And Naomi said to her, “This man is a relation of ours, one of our close relatives.”
21 Ruth the Moabitess said, “He also said to me, ‘You shall stay close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.’”
22 And Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, and that people do not meet you in any other field.” 23 So she stayed close by the young women of Boaz, to glean until the end of barley harvest and wheat harvest; and she dwelt with her mother-in-law.
- Ruth came home to her mama and Naomi said, “Look at that crazy load of food you’ve brought! What did you do today to earn this?” I’m paraphrasing, of course, but the truth was that Ruth didn’t earn any of it; she simply stepped out in faith, took action, and humbly received what was given to her. Practical applications here, folks! Don’t miss it!
- We left Naomi in the last chapter in a state of bitterness. But look at her response in verse 20! “BLESSED!” She not only spoke of Ruth being blessed, but Naomi blessed her Lord. The sure cure for a bitter heart is this: opening our eyes to His blessing.
Naomi’s heart grew stronger because of Boaz’s goodness through Ruth. What a beautiful example of how we can bless others through what Christ has bestowed on us. As you finish out your week, may your blessings spill into the lap of others. Amen.