I have to admit that I have never read the book of Ruth in full before now, and I absolutely adore and admire Ruth and we are only on day two. Can’t you just feel some redemption coming for this family? Let’s see what the Lord reveals to us through her Naomi and a good man named Boaz today.
Ruth Meets Boaz in the Grain Field
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.”
13 “May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord,” she said. “You have put me at ease by speaking kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servants.”
14 At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar.”
When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over. 15 As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, “Let her gather among the sheaves and don’t reprimand her. 16 Even pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuke her.”
17 So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah.[a] 18 She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had left over after she had eaten enough.
19 Her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!”
Then Ruth told her mother-in-law about the one at whose place she had been working. “The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz,” she said.
20 “The Lord bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. “He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.” She added, “That man is our close relative; he is one of our guardian-redeemers.[b]”
21 Then Ruth the Moabite said, “He even said to me, ‘Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.’”
22 Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with the women who work for him, because in someone else’s field you might be harmed.”
23 So Ruth stayed close to the women of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law.
Which verse stood out to you as your read through this passage? Why?
Let’s look at verse two. What did Ruth tell Naomi she was going to do?
I want to explain this real quick, Ruth was not going to a field and stealing. In this time, when the fields were being harvested, any grain that was dropped was to be left for the poor to pick up and make food from. You will see the word gleaning, which was exactly this, picking up what was on the ground and using it for food. There was actually an Israelite law that harvesters could not harvest the the corners of the fields, as this was for the poor, it was a law created to feed the poor. (Our application tells us also to prevent the owners from hoarding!) And because Ruth was considered poor, after being widowed and having no one to provide for her, gleaning was totally acceptable for her to provide for her and Naomi.
On that note, in verse 3, don’t you just love Ruth’s initiative. She didn’t wait for Naomi to figure things out, she knew they were in need and knew she needed to do something about it. And when she went to work, scripture shows us that God was with her, providing for her; He had her go to Boaz’ field because he knew how she would be cared for there. Our application touched on this and gave us guidance for today, “if you are waiting for God to provide, consider this: He may be waiting for you to take the first step to demonstrate just how important your need it.”
Looking at verse 7, I had to quote what our application said on this as well, “Ruth’s task (gleaning), though menial, tiring and perhaps degrading, was done faithfully. What is your attitude when the task you have been given is not up to your true potential? The task at hand may be all you can do, or it may be the work God wants you to do. Or, as in Ruth’s case, it may be a test of your character that can open up new doors of opportunity.”
When we reach verses 10-12, how would you describe Ruth at this point? List out a couple qualities.
Now let’s look at Boaz, another person I’m a big fan of and in this story, one who is reflecting the faithfulness of God. What does he tell her in verse 12? (It’s today scripture) How does he treat her from verse 8-16?
He goes above and beyond for her, he had a lot, but instead of giving just the minimum that the law required of him, he gave her more. And I think that we can learn from him the importance of doing just that for others the Lord places in our lives.
How does Naomi react when Ruth comes back and shares with her about what had happened?
“Naomi had felt bitter, but her faith in God was still alive, and she praised God for Boaz’s kindness to Ruth. In her sorrows, she still trusted God and acknowledged his goodness. We may feel bitter about a situation, bit we must never despair. Today is always a new opportunity for experiencing God’s care.” (application) How could you take that and apply it your life today? Is there a place in your life where you could be more open to looking for the care of the Lord? Or a place you’ve been holding hurt or bitterness that has put a block in your way of seeing God. Journal it out and ask Him for a renewed sense of experiencing him in your day to day life.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for this chapter in Ruth, where we get to see your faithfulness reflected through other people. Lord, help us to be a reflection of your faithfulness to those you place in our lives. Help us to be able to go above and beyond for other, to give more and not just a minimum. Help us to bold, loving, kind, faithful and hard working like Ruth, help us to be this way consistently so others see us as such. Lord, we want to be a light for you. When the world seems dark, we desire to be your light. Guide us in how to do so Lord. Help us in the times of hard or bitterness to be able to see you clearly, to be able to see your faithfulness through it all. Thank you that your mercies are new every day and that we have an opportunity to start right now with praising you, trusting you and seeing your goodness. In your faithful name we pray, AMEN!