Ruth 2: Dead End Road Brings A New Journey
Ruth 2, Enter into our story Boaz, a man of faith, prominence, and wealth. Boaz is a distance relative of Elimelech. Ruth and Naomi reach Bethlehem during the barley harvest. There is a principle called “gleaning” in the Old Testament that provides for the poor to harvest the corners of the fields during harvest time. This is where Ruth finds her ability to get grain for her and Naomi. What a great testimony of Ruth, willing to not only follow Naomi, but then be the “bread winner” of the two for survival. Ruth knows who she is, she is the foreigner in this situation and must get the favor of the landowner to glean the fields.
I taught our two daughters to glean in the fields of Belgium. While we were foreigners there, we were able to go and glean the fields of potatoes. You would be amazed at the amount of potatoes we gathered. How did I learn of this gleaning principle? When I was a child, my sisters and I would use gunny sacks and glean the Joe Klaas family fields. We used the field corn to feed the hogs we raised. Gleaning is hard work and can be well worth the effort.
Of course, the gleaning principle seems to be lost in our age of computerized harvesting. In her working the fields, she is noticed by Boaz, who asks her to just glean in his fields. She is treated with great compassion and favor, knowing that she is in competition with the other women who actually have Israelite roots. Why would Boaz do this? Again, it is the testimony of Ruth and her faith. People notice how we behave and act towards each other. Boaz had heard of her care of Naomi.
Point of interest in the book of Ruth – the phrase “Found favor.” This phrase is stated at least three times in this chapter. Favor – grace is unmerited favor. Her we have Ruth an outsider being shown favor. He had no right to any of the privileges of the Israelites, yet here this widow from Moab finds the grace of not only man, but God. We have been shown this “unmerited favor” through the kinsmen redeemer Jesus Christ. He has redeemed us and made us heirs of the Kingdom. Now I am getting ahead of myself.
Boaz shows much character and compassion in dealing with Ruth. Ruth it seems has full access to the provision and protection of Boaz – could this not be seen as our position in Christ Jesus as well? When Ruth returns home that evening, she has between 20-25 pounds of barley.
I find that towards the end of chapter two, Naomi seems to have an attitude change. I wonder though is it because of the provision from Boaz’s field or is she returning to her own faith? This brings the point up do we excel in our faith when things go our way – or will we trust God during the difficult times too? This last year with Covid-19 has tested all of us, many have not passed the testing time. I know of pastors and church people who have walked away from ministry and the church. James 1:1-3 and Romans 5:1-5 tell us that the testing of our faith really and the perseverance during the trials really is a litmus test of whether we are in the faith at all!
This chapter ends with Naomi sort of beginning to play the role of “Match maker.” More on this later.
The Journey back for Naomi was the same New Journey for Ruth. We must remember that God does not work in a vacuum. Romans 8:28 – all things work together for the good, for those who are called according to His purpose. We are all walking through dark times – emotionally, mentally, physically, and most definitely spiritually. Stay the course – our heavenly Father knows what He is doing!