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Ruth Chapter Two, Favor From The Lord

In our study of Ruth chapter two, we see how she finds favor from the Lord due to her obedience in chapter one.

Ruth 2:1-3

Now Naomi had a relative on her husband's side, from the clan of Elimelech, a man of standing, whose name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabitess 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.' So she went out and began to glean in the fields behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech.

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.

Ruth 2:4 & 5

Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, 'The Lord be with you!' 'The Lord bless you!' they called back. Boaz asked the foreman of his harvesters, 'Whose young woman is that?'

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.

Ruth 2:6-9

The foreman replied, 'She is the Moabitess who came back from Moab with Naomi. She said, "Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters." She went into the field and has worked steadily from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter.' 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 my servant girls. Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the girls. I have told the men not to touch you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the 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 Jesus Christ 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.

Ruth 2:10-12

At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She exclaimed, 'Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me - a foreigner?' 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. 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.'

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 Jesus Christ. God will protect and provide for his children just as the hen will for her chicks.

Ruth 2:13-16

'May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord,' she said. 'You have given me comfort and have spoken kindly to your servant - though I do not have the standing of one of your servant girls.' 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. As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, 'Even if she gathers among the sheaves, don't embarrass her. Rather, pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, 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.

Ruth 2:17 & 18

So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah. 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.

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).

Ruth 2:19 & 20

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. '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 kinsman-redeemers.'

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 Jesus has done for us, as Christians. We were slaves to sin and the cost of our debt was death. Jesus purchased our freedom and paid our debt.

Ruth 2:21-23

Then Ruth the Moabitess said, 'He even said to me, "Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain."' Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, 'It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with his girls, because in someone else's field you might be harmed.' So Ruth stayed close to the servant girls of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. 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.

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