Sit Still – Ruth 4

Let’s recap where we are so far. Naomi is a widow, who with her daughter in law Ruth is also a widow. They have returned to Bethlehem poor and destitute. Ruth has been shown incredible kindness from a relative named Boaz. I response to his kindness Ruth has humbly asked Boaz to ‘redeem’ her in a gentle marriage proposal.

Boaz responds:

    And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.
    Now it is true that I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I.
    Stay this night, and in the morning it shall be that if he will perform the duty of a close relative for you—good; let him do it. But if he does not want to perform the duty for you, then I will perform the duty for you, as the LORD lives! Lie down until morning.”
    ~ Ruth 3:11-13

Boaz has replied that he would welcome her hand in marriage, but there is another relative who is closer and has the first rights. By law, that relative must be given the chance first. What an honorable man Boaz was!

    Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there; and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz had spoken came by. So Boaz said, “Come aside, friend, sit down here.” So he came aside and sat down. ~ Ruth 4:1

Guzik: “The gate of the city was always the place where the esteemed and honorable men of the city sat. For an ancient city in Israel it was a combination of a city council chamber and a courtroom. The city gate was ‘A kind of outdoor court, the place were judicial matters were resolved by the elders and those who had earned the confidence and respect of the people … a place for business and as a kind of forum or public meeting place.’ ” (Huey)

    And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down. ~ Ruth 4:2

Whenever big decisions are being made or possible conflicts are being resolved, having eyewitnesses there is always a good thing. It doesn’t leave much room for argument later if there are witnesses to the discussion and decision. This idea is taught all through God’s word.

    But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established’. ~ Matthew 18:16

Matthew Henry: “Why was Boaz so hasty, why so fond of the match? Ruth was not rich, but lived upon alms; not honorable, but a poor stranger. She was never said to be beautiful; if ever she had been so, we may suppose that weeping, and traveling, and gleaning, had withered her lilies and roses. But that which made Boaz in love with her, and solicitous to expedite the affair, was that all her neighbors agreed she was a virtuous woman. This set her price with him far above rubies.”

    Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. ~ Proverbs 31:10

It’s beautiful to see that while Boaz is an honorable man, Ruth is also a virtuous woman. A match made in heaven 🙂

    Then he said to the close relative, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, sold the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech. And I thought to inform you, saying, ‘Buy it back in the presence of the inhabitants and the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am next after you.’ ” And he said, “I will redeem it.”

    Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also buy it from Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance.”

    And the close relative said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance. You redeem my right of redemption for yourself, for I cannot redeem it.”

We read in the Mosaic law last week (Leviticus 25 and Numbers 27) that The Lord had provided a way for a property to pass down to relatives and for the family line to pass down as well. God provides for a family member to ‘redeem’ property and/or marry a widowed family member to continue the family and inheritance of the deceased. Here we see Boaz begin the conversation by proposing to his relative that the man redeem the land of Elimilech. That means this cousin would buy back the land from Naomi to keep it in the family. This land sale would no doubt provide money for Naomi to live on.

Buying land would have been a fairly simple business decision in those days. The man either has the money or he doesn’t. He either wants the property or he doesn’t. Easy squeezy. But then Boaz reminds the man that with the land comes the responsibility of taking Ruth as his wife.

At this point Naomi and Ruth are in absolute suspense. They may very well have been sitting there watching the entire exchange wondering how it would turn out.

When I used to get stressed out as a kid, my dad would tell me “Don’t worry about the things that you can’t control”. It seems like good advice. However, God doesn’t want us to worry about anything at all.

    Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
    Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
    Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
    So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
    Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
    Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
    For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
    But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
    Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. ~ Matthew 6:25-34

Remember, Ruth was new to the God of the Israelites, but Naomi was raised in faith in Jehovah. For most believers, faith and trust in God are learned over many, many years through lots of trials and trouble. Back in chapter 3, after Ruth has proposed to Boaz that he redeem her, Boaz replied and tried to calm her fears:

    And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.
    Now it is true that I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I.
    Stay this night, and in the morning it shall be that if he will perform the duty of a close relative for you—good; let him do it. But if he does not want to perform the duty for you, then I will perform the duty for you, as the LORD lives! Lie down until morning.
    ~ Ruth 3:11-13

Upon Ruth’s return to Naomi after meeting with Boaz, Naomi also sees Ruth is stressed about the situation and reassures her:

    Then she said, “Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.” ~ Ruth 3:18

Sit still. Right.

I confess to you: that is so hard for me! I can imagine Ruth coming back to Naomi all worried or in tears. God has developed Naomi’s faith over many years. She has the wisdom of a godly older woman. Ruth has probably learned to be a ‘virtuous woman’ from the beautiful example that Naomi reflects. We see Naomi’s wisdom and faith so wonderfully summarized in that simple statement: Sit still.

    Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
    ~ Psalm 46:10

    “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
    ~ Lamentations 3:24-26

One of my favorite examples of this is in Exodus 14 when the Israelites had left Egypt in the Exodus and had their backs up against the Red Sea with no way of escape. I love what Moses says to reassure them!

    And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.
    The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
    ~ Exodus 14:13-14

Do not be afraid. Stand still. Those are soothing words to my own soul.

    Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging, to confirm anything: one man took off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was a confirmation in Israel.
    Therefore the close relative said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself.” So he took off his sandal.

    And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, from the hand of Naomi.

    “Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from his position at the gate. You are witnesses this day.”

    And all the people who were at the gate, and the elders, said, “We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman who is coming to your house like Rachel and Leah, the two who built the house of Israel; and may you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. May your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring which the LORD will give you from this young woman.” ~ Ruth 4:7-12

What a love story! “All the people who were at the gate and the elders” were witnesses to this redemption. Notice that the people proclaim blessing on them using the lineage of Christ. I love how the word of God consistently points us to Jesus! (See Matthew 1 for the genealogical line from Adam to Christ.)

    So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son.
    Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel!
    And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.”
    Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him.
    Also the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “There is a son born to Naomi.” And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
    Now this is the genealogy of Perez: Perez begot Hezron;
    Hezron begot Ram, and Ram begot Amminadab;
    Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon;
    Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed;
    Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.
    ~ Ruth 4:13-22

God uses each of us in such incredible ways! We cannot possibly know what the future holds for each of us, and certainly we can’t know how God will use our current choices in His future plan. God used Naomi’s decision to return to Bethlehem. God used Ruth’s choice to propose to Boaz. In all of this, God had a plan for Israel’s future king – King David.

    And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. ~ Romans 8:28

Adrian Rogers:
“God can take things that are bad and put them in the crucible of His wisdom and love. He works all things together for good, and He gives us the glorious, wonderful promise that He will do so. We know that we have victory over sin and over Satan, but this verse in Romans teaches us that we also have victory over our circumstances. It says that all things work together for good.”

Rest in that today. Sit still.

Why Do We Need a Kinsman Redeemer? (Ruth 3)

Remember what has happened in Ruth so far:
Naomi was a wife and mother of two sons. Her husband and two sons all passed away leaving her a widow with two daughters-in-law. One daughter-in-law left and the other, Ruth, stayed with Naomi. They returned to Naomi’s homeland, Israel, where Ruth promises to take Naomi’s God and people as her own.

Ruth and Naomi are destitute in Israel and so Ruth takes on a role as provider of food for the household. She leaves the house every day to glean food from a local farmer named Boaz. The wheat farmer shows incredible kindness to Ruth. He not only allows her to glean but he also provides her meals and protection while she is working in the field.

Boaz provided for Ruth and Naomi, and in doing so he allows God to use him. The love and concern Boaz offers is an example of God’s own love for each of us. His love isn’t something we earn or we deserve. He gives it to us out of His own goodness. In chapters 3 and 4 we will see God provide a redeemer for Ruth and how Jesus’ sacrifice for us is His act as a redeemer for you and I.

    1 Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you?
    2 “Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. ~ Ruth 3:1-2

Naomi would love nothing more than to provide a long-term solution for Ruth’s well-being. Not only does Ruth NOT have a husband to provide for her financially, but she and Naomi also have no way of continuing the family-line of Elimilech. There is no husband for either of them with which to have a son. I think of Abram who was promised a son and believed God’s promise.

    For all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever.
    And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered.
    ~ Genesis 13:15-16

The Lord had promised to Abram in (Genesis 13) that He would not only give him a son, but make the number of his descendants so vast they couldn’t be counted.

    After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
    But Abram said, “Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”
    Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!” ~ Genesis 15:1-3

Even in spite of the earlier promise, and having heard it directly from the mouth of God, Abram had doubt. Don’t we all?

I love this story from Mark, and I have prayed this prayer so often in my own life:

    Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
    Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” ~ Mark 9:23-24

David Guzik says it so well:
“There is a difference between a doubt that denies God’s promise and a doubt which desires God’s promise. Abram wants to believe and is looking to God to strengthen his faith.”

Naomi knew the Word of God that tells us that He cares for His people, and she believed God’s promise and is looking here for God to somehow fulfill that promise.

    3 “Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking.
    4 “Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what you should do.”
    5 And she said to her, “All that you say to me I will do.”
    ~ Ruth 3:3-5

This Hebrew God is all new to Ruth. She may be thinking that her mother-in-law is crazy, but nonetheless she trusts and obeys her. God loves to bring us to those places of putting our trust in Him! Those times become opportunities where God builds our faith. This is a chance for Ruth to see the God of the Hebrews fulfill His promises.

    Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
    ~ Psalm 37:4

Ruth was learning and growing in faith just as we do today when we trust God to work in our lives.

    6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law instructed her.
    7 And after Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was cheerful, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain; and she came softly, uncovered his feet, and lay down.
    ~ Ruth 3:6-7

The threshing would be done at night after the long days’ work. Threshing required the thresher to use the wind to separate the grain from the chaff by throwing it up into the air over and over again, sifting out the junk and letting the grain fall onto the threshing floor. Boaz would have been exhausted from the days work, and then still worked into the evening to get the threshing done.

After this long day, Boaz collapses in sleep. He is so sound asleep that he never notices Ruth sneak in, uncover his feet, and laying down over his feet.

(We have a cat that comes into our bedroom at night and often lays at my feet and I don’t even notice. I’d like to think that if a strange woman came in and laid on my feet, I would notice. That’s how tired Boaz is!)

This would have been an incredibly submissive act on the part of Ruth and certainly one that required much faith. In this moment, she was completely putting her life into the hands of Boaz, and trusting that the advice of Naomi would not bring her harm or embarrassment.

    8 Now it happened at midnight that the man was startled, and turned himself; and there, a woman was lying at his feet.
    9 And he said, “Who are you?” So she answered, “I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.”
    ~ Ruth 3:8-9

We talked a little bit last week about the Hebrew law regarding strangers and how Boaz in showing kindness to Ruth was obeying the law. There was another Hebrew law given by God to Moses which allowed a close relative to ‘redeem’ another out of slavery or poverty.

    Now if a sojourner or stranger close to you becomes rich, and one of your brethren who dwells by him becomes poor, and sells himself to the stranger or sojourner close to you, or to a member of the stranger’s family, after he is sold he may be redeemed again. One of his brothers may redeem him; or his uncle or his uncle’s son may redeem him; or anyone who is near of kin to him in his family may redeem him; or if he is able he may redeem himself.
    ~ Leviticus 25:47-49

We also find yet another Hebrew law which dictates how property is to be inherited within the family. Many of the inheritance laws that we use in the United States today that prescribe how property is passed down within a family were written based on this very Mosaic law.

    And you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘If a man dies and has no son, then you shall cause his inheritance to pass to his daughter.
    If he has no daughter, then you shall give his inheritance to his brothers.
    If he has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his father’s brothers.
    And if his father has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to the relative closest to him in his family, and he shall possess it.’
    And it shall be to the children of Israel a statute of judgment, just as the LORD commanded Moses.
    ~ Number 27:8-11

When a man dies, his estate passes first to his children, sons first and if no son, to the daughters.
No daughters then to his brothers.
No brothers, then to his uncles.
No uncles, then to the nearest relative in the family.

David Guzik:
“This amounts to a marriage proposal from Ruth. This shows that this was not an inappropriate thing for Ruth to do towards Boaz. It was bold, but not inappropriate. Ruth understood this as she identified Boaz as her close relative (literally, you are a goel, a kinsman-redeemer).

Though deceased, Elimelech had the right to have his family name carried on and as goel, Boaz had the responsibility to do this for Elimelech. This could only happen through Boaz marrying Ruth, and providing children to carry on the name of Elimelech. Ruth boldly, yet humbly and properly, sought her rights.

Don’t lose sight of the larger picture: Ruth came to claim a right. Boaz was her goel, her kinsman-redeemer, and she had the right to expect him to marry her and raise up a family to perpetuate the name of Elimelech. But Naomi wisely counseled Ruth to not come as a victim demanding her rights, but as a humble servant, trusting in the goodness of her kinsman-redeemer. She said to Boaz, ‘I respect you, I trust you, and I put my fate in your hand.’ ”

    10 Then he said, “Blessed are you of the LORD, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich.
    11 “And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.
    12 “Now it is true that I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I.
    13 “Stay this night, and in the morning it shall be that if he will perform the duty of a close relative for you—good; let him do it. But if he does not want to perform the duty for you, then I will perform the duty for you, as the LORD lives! Lie down until morning.”
    ~ Ruth 3:10-13

Naomi and Ruth have recognized in Boaz a man who is honorable, loving, charitable, and kind. This kind of act was probably not something Ruth could have taken with other men in Bethlehem as Boaz even warned Ruth about them earlier in Ruth 2:8-9.

Boaz is honored that Ruth would choose him, an older man, out of all the men in the area. He recognizes that she is an honorable woman and is doing this out of respect and not out of greed or dishonor. Even so, Boaz also knows that there is another man, another heir to Elimilech, that is closer to his family line than he is. We know that Elimilech’s sons died, so this other heir may be a brother, uncle, or cousin. He honors that man’s right to claim Ruth first and in doing so he is trusting the Lord.

    14 So she lay at his feet until morning, and she arose before one could recognize another. Then he said, “Do not let it be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.”
    15 Also he said, “Bring the shawl that is on you and hold it.” And when she held it, he measured six ephahs of barley, and laid it on her. Then she went into the city.
    16 When she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “Is that you, my daughter?” Then she told her all that the man had done for her.
    17 And she said, “These six ephahs of barley he gave me; for he said to me, ‘Do not go empty-handed to your mother-in-law.’ ”
    18 Then she said, “Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.”
    ~ Ruth 3:14-18

Even though Boaz and Ruth don’t do anything inappropriate that night, he doesn’t want Ruth to suffer in her reputation as honorable. He is sending her away while it is still dark out. In her return to Naomi, Boaz wants to show them both how much he cares for them. He does that by sending her away with lots of grain for them to share.

Naomi receives Ruth and recognizes the kindness show by Boaz toward both them. We recognize in this story the incredible picture of Jesus as our own redeemer. Check it out:

Jesus is our relative in that He was born as a son of Adam, of human flesh. (Hebrews 2:14)
Jesus calls us, the Church, His Bride. (Ephesians 5:25)
Jesus is wealthy as God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. (Psalm 50:10)
Jesus offers to take us under his wing as our protector. (Ruth 2:12 and Psalm 36:7)
Jesus provides us with every good thing including our daily bread. (Matthew 6:11 and James 1:17)
We are in poverty and in desperate need of a wealthy redeemer. (2 Corinthians 8:9)

Boaz becomes the great-grandfather of Kind David. Jesus was born in the family line of King David (of the tribe of Judah) to fulfill prophecy and to further reveal to us that he is God’s ‘kinsman-redeemer’ for each of us. What an incredible Savior we have!

Love Your Neighbor as Yourself – Boaz and Ruth

Naomi and Ruth – two widows with virtually no means of supporting themselves and no plan.

    1 Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons.
    2 The name of the man was Elimelech, the name of his wife was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion—Ephrathites of Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to the country of Moab and remained there.
    3 Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left, and her two sons.
    ~ Ruth 1:1-3

Ruth is the daughter-in-law to Naomi. Naomi and Ruth were each widowed in Moab when each of their husbands passed away. When left with nothing, they returned to Bethlehem in Israel where they are still destitute but at least near family. In Ruth chapter 2, we will see that “the LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18) We will read of God’s glorious provision!

We will also see Boaz give us an incredible picture of the love of Christ for us, and we will see Ruth demonstrate the proper response of undeserved favor upon her life.

    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.
    ~ Ruth 2:1-3

Verse 1 tells us that Boaz is “a man of great wealth”. When Naomi and her husband and her sons had left Israel because of the famine, Boaz stayed behind. God took such good care of them that Boaz was now wealthy. When we studied the Book of Joshua, we learned that God says over and over in His Word that He will never leave us. This is an important lesson for each of us. But it is one that we can only learn in desperate and fearful times! Our human natural instinct is to rely on anything or anyone else other than God when the storms of life come. We can only learn to rely solely on God when there is none other to lean on.

    Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. ~ Deuteronomy 31:6

My guess is that Boaz had learned this lesson, and that would have only happened in a difficulty such as this famine that occurred. So often in the rocky and harsh conditions of life, we blame God for hat has happened. There were certainly some that blamed God for the famine. But in those times, God is simply trying to lead us and teach us through it.

    Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day. ~ Psalm 25:5

Notice while the psalmist is asking God to teach him and lead him, he also calls the Lord the “God of my salvation”. He knows that the teaching and the difficulty can go hand-in-hand.

Let’s talk about “glean heads of grain” and “gleaned in the field after the reapers”. The reapers were the workers that were actually harvesting. They were often hired by the farmer to work in his fields because during the harvest you would need lots of workers. You had to get the grain in as fast as possible before it over-ripens.

“To glean” means to pick up off the ground whatever is leftover. Ruth would be following behind them literally picking up scraps of grain.

    When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest.
    And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the LORD your God.
    ~ Leviticus 19:9-10

“Leviticus 19:9-10 commanded farmers in Israel that they should not completely harvest their fields. They were commanded to “cut corners” in harvesting, and always leave some behind. Also, if they happened to drop a bundle of grain, they were commanded to leave it on the ground and to not pick it up.

This was one of the social assistance programs in Israel. Farmers were not to completely harvest their fields, so the poor and needy could come and glean the remains for themselves.
This is a wonderful way of helping the poor. It commanded the farmers to have a generous heart, and it commanded the poor to be active and work for their food – and a way for them to provide for their own needs with dignity.” ~ Guzik

    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.”
    ~ Ruth 2:4-7

Boaz obviously notices this young woman gleaning in his field, and it sounds as though he may not have noticed her before. Bethlehem was a small little farming community, and a stranger working in the field would have been easy to spot. The law in Israel told them that they were to allow Ruth to glean. So these servants were following the letter of the law in letting her follow them.

    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.”
    ~ Ruth 2:8-9

Boaz recognizes Ruth’s obvious need. She may be malnourished, certainly she and Naomi had not been eating well. So she may have looked like she was poor and starving. Regardless, Boaz observes that she is in need.

As we look at Boaz and his actions and the way he treats Ruth, we see an incredible picture of the love of Christ for us and the love that He wants us to show to others!

Jesus instructs us to help the poor and those in need:

    For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in.
    ~ Matthew 25:35

Ruth’s response to this favor is much like ours is when God shows favor to us.

    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?”
    ~ Ruth 2:10

Ruth responds in humility exactly like Paul instructs us to respond when others are kind to us.

    Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
    ~ Philippians 2:3

The Hebrew law says that Boaz and his servants are required to allow her to glean. Ruth doesn’t act as though she even knows this law exists, and she may not. But her response is not one of entitlement, as though the food was owed to her. She replies “in lowliness of mind”, or in absolute humility.

This is the response we have when we fully realize that Christ died for us even though we were sinners who don’t deserve His free sacrificial gift.

    For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.
    But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ~ Romans 5:7-8

We don’t deserve the sacrifice that Jesus gave us in giving up His life for ours. Ruth realizes that she doesn’t deserve the kindness that Boaz is showing to her.

    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.”
    ~ Ruth 2:11-13

Ruth is a picture here of us as we choose to follow Jesus. When we leave our old ways and our old life and follow Christ, it is a whole new beginning. And in seeing this same choice in Ruth, Boaz asks God to give her a blessing! This blessing is the same for us today as we choose Christ.

“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.”

In choosing Jesus as our Savior, like Ruth chose the God of Israel, God will give us “a full reward” which will be our eternity with Him. When we follow Jesus, like Ruth followed Naomi and chose the God of Israel, we come under His wings for refuge. What a wonderful picture of love and protection!

    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.”
    ~ Ruth 2:14-16

Now in further extending his love and hospitality toward Ruth, Boaz goes the extra mile. He actually instructs his workers to leave some extra grain for her to pick up. This would make her job a little easier if she can find larger gleanings as she goes along. She picks up more grain with less effort.

    The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
    ~ Leviticus 19:34

In the New Testament we find this same lesson taught to us by Jesus when He tells His disciples to “love your neighbor as yourself” in Mark 12:31 and also in the lesson of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10.

    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.”
    ~ Ruth 2:17-22

Finally, in this chapter we see Boaz begin to truly care for Ruth in a loving and Christ-like way.
In verse 8 and 9 he tells Ruth:
“Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women. 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.”

In verse 14: “Come here, and eat of the bread, and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar.” Verses 15 and 16 show us he makes sure that Ruth stays to eat a really good meal and rest.

We see additional instructions from Boaz in verse 21: “You shall stay close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.”

Boaz provided for Ruth and Naomi, and in doing so he allows God to use him. The love and concern Boaz offers is an example of God’s own love for each of us. His love isn’t something we earn or we deserve. He gives it to us out of His own goodness.

I’m so thankful!