Tuesday, February 15, 2011

One Woman's Journey - episode 3

In today's scripture, we will read how God has more provisions in store for Naomi and Ruth.

Ruth 2:1-3
Now Naomi had a relative on her husband's side, a man of standing from the clan of Elimelech, 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.

As it turned out...  How funny is the writer of Ruth!  Those four words sure sound like the author is saying "how ironic!"  This isn't ironic.  This is divine providence at work.  Boaz was from the clan of Elimelech; a relative of Naomi's.  His name means "In him is strength."  This man was a sign of hope to Naomi and Ruth, whether they knew it at the time or not.  Boaz was a man of standing; he was probably wealthy as a land-owner and he had high social standing. 

Leviticus 19:9-10 describes the OT law pertaining to landowners regarding the harvest.  They were to not reap to the very edges of their field or gather the gleanings of the harvest.  This was to be left for the poor and the foreigner.  God loves and provides for those who are poor or a foreigner.  This is just another way that God provides for Ruth.

Ruth 2:4-11
Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, "The Lord be with you!"  "The Lord bless you!" they answered.  Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, "Who does that young woman belong to?"  The overseer replied, "She is the Moabite who came back from Moab with Naomi.  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 til 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 the women who work for me.  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."  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?"  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."

"Just then" - how remarkable yet again that it just so happens that Boaz shows up while Ruth is working away.  God's hand of providence was clearly at work in Ruth and Naomi's lives.  However, Ruth's work ethic set her up for a divine blessing as well.  She immediately set to work to care for Naomi and God blessed her loyalty, faith, and willingness to work.  God isn't going to just allow us to sit around doing nothing while He comes in to save the day.  We have to be willing to work to change our lives.  If Ruth hadn't stepped up and gone out to provide for Naomi or herself, "just then" wouldn't have happened. 

When Boaz inquired to whom she belonged, the foreman didn't say she belonged to Naomi.  He talked about where she came from and how hard she worked.  This passage reminds us that where we come from is not nearly as impactful as our character and reputation.  Colossians 3:23 reads that "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters".  Boaz saw how hard she worked and extended blessings (water, food, and protection) to her that he was not required to extend.  How amazing that Boaz showed Ruth the kindness and love that God shows to us.  When we work to change our lives by repenting of sin and walking in paths of righteousness, he extends to us kindness and love to which we are not worthy.

I am so thankful that God provides for us, sometimes directly and sometimes in moments that occur "just then".  I am thankful He gives us examples of Godly work ethic.  How I struggle with this sometimes.  But I can turn to Ruth and to Boaz as examples and know that if I follow in their Godly footsteps, my God will surely provide. 

No comments:

Post a Comment