Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth arrive in Bethlehem widowed and impoverished. They both lost everything in Moab and came back to Bethlehem broke.
Ruth gets up one morning and asks her mother-in-law, “Let me go to the fields and glean…?” By “glean” she was referring to a certain provision in the law of Moses for the poor and the foreigner in the land (see Leviticus 19:9). Ruth, being of the industrious type, was saying, “Well there is no use starving to death, let me see what I can do.” However, being a Moabite in a land she had not known before with laws she did not fully understand, she asks her mother-in-law for the assurance that these strange Israelite laws might actually work.
Her mother-in-law says, “Go.” Where does Ruth end up? The original Hebrew literally translates, “A happenstance happened to her to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz.”
The narrator sets up irony here. In the eyes of Ruth, she just happened to wonder into this field. But, in reality, God placed her there. As one commentator put it, “…In the jumbled patchwork of subdivided property, she just happened to find the piece of farmland belonging to Boaz, the very individual” who could redeem her deceased husband’s land back to her. This was not by chance; this was of the Lord.
In the seemingly jumbled patchwork of our lives God is more involved that you and I presently know. We spend much of our lives groping in the dark, trying to find our way. We make plans that sometimes succeed and sometimes fail. We think our lives will go this way, but then things change; people die, businesses close, pandemics happen. However, in it all, God is doing things we at best have only begun to perceive.
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