In our study of Ruth chapter two, we see how she finds favor from the Lord due to her obedience in chapter one.
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Na'omi had a relative on her husband's side, a prominent and wealthy member of Elimelekh's clan, whose name was Bo'az. Rut the woman from Mo'av said to Na'omi, "Let me go into the field and glean ears of grain behind anyone who will allow me to." She answered her, "Go, my daughter." So she set out, arrived at the field and gleaned behind the reapers. She happened to be in the part of the field that belonged to Bo'az from Elimelekh's clan,
In these days, the harvesting of the grain was done by hand instead of a machine. The harvesters would walk through the field cutting the stalks and taking it to the threshing floor. During the process, some of the kernels of grain would fall out and be left on the ground. According to Jewish law, the farmers were not to pick up this grain but it was to be left for the poor. That is what Ruth was doing here as she followed behind the harvesters. You could not get much humbler than being a foreigner and picking up this grain from the ground (gleaning). Ruth was doing this not only to provide for herself but she was also doing it to provide for Naomi.
when Bo'az arrived from Beit-Lechem. He said to the reapers, "ADONAI be with you"; and they answered him, "ADONAI bless you." Then Bo'az asked his servant supervising the reapers, "Whose girl is this?"
Now, we start to see Ruth enjoy the favor of God. When Boaz arrived back on his farm, he immediately noticed Ruth in the field and asked about her. God has shown her favor by leading her to the place where she would be noticed by Boaz. Surely, there would have been other fields that she could have been gleaning in but, by allowing God to lead, she ended up in a position where she could be noticed. The same is true for us today, if we choose to let God lead our every action he will put us in a position to receive his favor.
The servant supervising the reapers answered, "She's a girl from Mo'av who returned with Na'omi from the plain of Mo'av. She said, 'Please, let me glean and gather what falls from the sheaves behind the reapers.' So she went and has kept at it from morning until now, except for a little rest in the shelter." Bo'az said to Rut, "Did you hear that, my daughter? Don't go to glean in another field, don't leave this place, but stick here with my working girls. Keep your eyes on whichever field the reapers are working in, and follow the girls. I've ordered the young men not to bother you. Whenever you get thirsty, go and drink from the water jars the young men have filled."
In this passage we continue to see the favor of God unfolding in Ruth's life. It had to be God leading Boaz to show her favor because it would not have been acceptable for him. Jews were not to associate with Gentiles but God used Boaz to show his favor to her by protecting and providing for her. God's salvation is for all people who accept Yeshua Messiah and his favor is shown to those who walk in his ways. It was true in Ruth's time and it is true today as well.
She fell on her face, prostrating herself, and said to him, "Why are you showing me such favor? Why are you paying attention to me? After all, I'm only a foreigner." Bo'az answered her, "I've heard the whole story, everything you've done for your mother-in-law since your husband died, including how you left your father and mother and the land you were born in to come to a people about whom you knew nothing beforehand. May ADONAI reward you for what you've done; may you be rewarded in full by ADONAI the God of Isra'el, under whose wings you have come for refuge."
Ruth asks Boaz why she has found favor with him and Boaz quickly tells her that it is because of her obedience. He quickly points out that it is God and that is who she has came to take refuge in. What a beautiful picture this is for us today. Boaz reminds Ruth that she has given up all (her father and mother and homeland) to take shelter under the wings of God. If you have ever seen a female chicken take care of her young chicks, you can appreciate this picture of taking refuge under the wings. A hen will put her wings over the chicks to protect them from danger and to shelter them from a storm. That is the same picture that Boaz is describing and it is the same refuge that we have in Yeshua Messiah. God will protect and provide for his children just as the hen will for her chicks.
She said, "My lord, I hope I continue pleasing you. You have comforted and encouraged me, even though I'm not one of your servants." When meal-time came, Bo'az said to her, "Come here, have something to eat, and dip your piece of bread in the [olive oil and] vinegar." She sat by the reapers, and they passed her some roasted grain. She ate till she was full, and she had some left over. When she got up to glean, Bo'az ordered his young men, "Let her glean even among the sheaves themselves, without making her feel ashamed. In fact, pull some ears of grain out from the sheaves on purpose. Leave them for her to glean, and don't rebuke her."
Boaz continues to show her favor as he is being an instrument of blessing for her from God. He even tells his men to leave extra grain behind while they are harvesting to provide for her but to do so while preserving her dignity. We, as Christians, also have the opportunity to be an instrument that is used for God. He can use us just as he did Boaz to be a blessing to others. We must also remember to show people love but also to help to preserve their dignity.
So she gleaned in the field until evening. When she beat out what she had gathered, it came to about a bushel of barley. She picked it up and went back to the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned, and Rut brought out and gave her what she had left over after eating her fill.
In this passage we see that Naomi was blessed by Ruth and her obedience. Because of God's favor on Ruth, Naomi is provided with food. The same thing can happen today for us as Christians. If we are walking in obedience to God, others that come into contact with us may be blessed. This can be a way of sharing our faith by explaining where the favor is coming from (God) and why (because we are his children).
Her mother-in-law asked her, "Where did you glean today? Where were you working? Blessed be the one who took such good care of you!" She told her mother-in-law with whom she had been working; she said, "The name of the man with whom I was working today is Bo'az." Na'omi said to her daughter-in-law, "May he be blessed by ADONAI, who has never stopped showing grace, neither to the living nor to the dead." Na'omi also told her, "The man is closely related to us; he's one of our redeeming kinsmen."
When Naomi saw all of the grain that Ruth brought back, she knew that she had been blessed and started asking questions. When Ruth told her that she had worked in Boaz's field, Naomi explained that he was one of their kinsman-redeemers. In Jewish law, a kinsman-redeemer was a close relative who had the right and the obligation to purchase their relative back out of slavery or debt. He was also obligated to marry the widow to produce a son to carry on the family name. This is a beautiful picture of what Yeshua has done for us, as Christians. We were slaves to sin and the cost of our debt was death. Yeshua purchased our freedom and paid our debt.
Rut the woman from Mo'av said, "Moreover, he even said to me, 'Stay close to my young men until they've finished my harvest.'" Na'omi said to Rut her daughter-in-law, "It's good, my daughter, for you to keep going out with his girls; so that you won't encounter hostility in some other field." So she stayed close to Bo'az's girls to glean, until the end of the barley and wheat harvests; and she lived with her mother-in-law.
Naomi and Ruth decided that it was best for them to stay where they were as they realized that they were safe and were being provided for. Instead of going their own way, they remained where God had put them to show them His favor. It is a good lesson for us to remember as it is easy for us to start to think we know best and to try to go our own way. Many times this can cause us to miss a blessing from God or even cause others to not be blessed because of our decisions.