We Know Who Holds the Pen (Ruth 2:17-23)

Ruth 2:17-23

Story tellers tell stories in certain ways for certain reasons. The Bible is no exception. When the narrator of Ruth tells the reader, “Now Naomi had a relative of her husband’s, a worthy man of the clam of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz,” before Ruth tells Naomi, her mother-in-law, where she gleaned the food she brought back, he is making a point.

The reader is given a piece of information that Ruth, at that moment, was unaware of. According to the Levitical law, she found great favor in the field of the one man who could redeem both her and her mother-in-law from dire straits (Ruth 2:1). Her good fortune went well beyond the ephah of barley she brought home.

When Ruth tells her mother-in-law, “Boaz,” is the man whose field she gleaned in, her mother-in-law breaks out in praise. Naomi realized what happened, and we the reader do to. God was providentially working in Naomi’s and Ruth’s lives in ways they never could have comprehended before.

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Reflect your Redeemer like Boaz (Ruth 2:4-23)

Ruth 2:4-23

Do you want to hear a joke? What was Boaz before Ruth? Give up? Ruthless.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Boaz was neither ruthless before nor after he met Ruth. At a time when many had turned away from the Lord (Ruth 1:1), Boaz reflected his Redeemer.

The first thing we see Boaz doing in the Book of Ruth is blessing his workers. We have a God who never ceases to bless us. Who could you bless today?

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Forget not the sun rises in the morning (Ruth 2:1-4)

Ruth 2:1-4

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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Have you followed in the footsteps of Ruth? (Ruth 1:16-17)

On the road to Bethlehem, Ruth said to her widowed mother-in-law, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” (Ruth 1:16–17) Every Christian is called to follow in the footsteps of Ruth.

Ruth said, “where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge.” Rather than making the sensible, safe decision, Ruth made the sacrificial one. Christ left the glory of heaven to lay down his life to give us new life (Philippians 2:1-8). Christ often calls his followers to choose the road of sacrifice.

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The wiser choice is sometimes not the practical one (Ruth 1:16-17)

Ruth 1:16-17

They were living in times of moral chaos and religious confusion. A famine came over their homeland. This family of four sought shelter in a foreign land. They hoped to eke out a meager existence working as migrants. Elimelech, Naomi, and their two sons traveled from their home in Bethlehem to Moab, hoping for something better. But what they found was not hope, but more tragedy.

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