Hi BCU Family!
Even if you saw the Periscope broadcast, review is a good thing! Please enjoy the podcast by clicking on the logo below or you can read through the written account at your leisure. We trust either format will be a blessing to you!
Okay, last time when we left off in Ruth chapter 1, Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi had safely journeyed back to Bethlehem, just in time for the spring barley harvest.
2:1-3 Chapter 2 opens and unbeknownst to Naomi, her late husband, Elimelich had a kinsman or relative named Boaz (meaning in him is strength) who wasn’t just an ordinary man, he was a MIGHTY man of wealth (we’ll get back to that).
Background: Rather than expect Naomi to provide, Ruth asked for and received “permission” from Naomi to go out and work in the fields gleaning. Let’s stop right here. Bethlehem had a very moderate climate and was full of lush fields, olive groves and farms, so there was plenty of work to be had at harvest time for reapers and gleaners.
Reapers were paid to cut down and bundle the wheat and barley stalks, but to leave the corners of the fields untouched and to NOT go back and pick up any harvest (olives, grain, etc.) that was missed. The Lord commanded so in Leviticus 19:9-10 and Deuteronomy 24:19-22 that the leftover grains and such were for the poor, stranger, fatherless and the widow–in other words the gleaners. In addition to helping the gleaners provide food for themselves, God promised to bless the work of the harvesters hands, and this also served as a reminder of the Israelites when they were bondsmen in Egypt–they were unable to plant and harvest at will and were now free to do so.
So spiritual gut check–are we leaving anything behind for the “gleaners?” In other words, how are we being a blessing to someone (as God leads us) who cannot bless us back? Remember then YOU were enslaved to sin, the creditors, a stronghold and God set you free?! GLORRAYYYY! Everyone has a little something they can give, even with the smallest salary. Maybe you are having a hard time financially or on a limited income…can you offer to babysit, sit with someone, cook a meal, buy a coffee, make a call to encourage someone, visit, buy/make a greeting card that says “I was thinking about/praying for you?” God can bless us with creative ways to share our harvest!
2:4-6. Ruth’s initiative landed her in the field belonging to Boaz– And while I’m sure he had substance, notice how he greeted his staff “the Lord be with you!”and they answer back “the Lord bless you.” This was a godly and well-respected man and that kind of character is worth MUCH more than money (that wealth mentioned in verse 1). Trust me, I have been close to people with money and the dispositions was “bowling shoe ugly” as my brother would say. Money comes and goes, but how you conduct yourself tells who you are. Proverbs 22:1 says “a good name is rather to be chosen that great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold”.
2:6-9. Getting back to Ruth, the Word says her hap (or destiny) was to glean in Boaz’s field. He noticed this foreign woman and after some inquiry found out who Ruth was, how she asked to glean AND the fact had been gleaning all day–just resting a little. In turn, Boaz approached Ruth and instructed her to 1) stay in his field 2) go with his maidens 3) the young men would not bother her AND 4) they would get her water when she was thirsty. Closer look time–this speaks to Boaz’s character once again.
Single ladies, take note–marrieds, please stay with me or relate this to a friend or your dating children. First, BOAZ went to seek out Ruth not the other way around. Nor was Ruth posing and cheesing by the well—acting all ” 7-11 Big Gulp thirsty” waiting to be noticed and rescued from gleaning. She was BUSY and godly!!! Men notice BUSY, godly, fulfilled women. They notice other types, too but for reasons we need to cover in another study. 🙂
Next, recall that Ruth is new in town, and a widow in this land and could very easily been taken advantage of (remember that from our first study–the widows were not always treated fairly). Boaz got in front of any potential foolishness by giving Ruth and his young men specific instructions that were followed without question. A godly man (single or married) will protect, rather than take advantage of your condition, manipulate or guilt you into doing something wrong, or just to fleece you.
I remember visiting a friend in Chicago a few years back, and when we left church it had snowed a bit. One of the deacons (around my age) cleared off my rental car without blinking an eye. Another time, as a group of us were leaving a venue, the deacons (again, these were not 80 year old men), happily made sure we got to our cars safely rather than just driving off. And there was NONE of this “well, since I did…you should” or “when can I expect a little payment in the special room later?” This was IN them and it came out. Boaz characteristics in full effect.
Conversely, I was talking with a young lady who had a boyfriend she “loved” but spoke roughly to her, was physical with her, cheated regularly and manipulated her into buying him an Xbox (whatever that is, I still rock my Wii) with the little money she did have. What was in him came out, stayed out and needs to be cast out!!!! Where is the Boaz in THAT situation? What’s attractive or wonderful about that?! I ask you single ladies–are you dealing with a Bozo? Clear the decks and wait on BOAZ! He’s out there!!!!
2:10-12. Ok, back to our study! Ruth, clearly overwhelmed at Boaz’s friendliness and favor, tells her he knows all about how Ruth took care of Naomi in Moab, and since, had left her own family and homeland to come into this strange land. Then he said “the Lord recompense for your work and a full reward be given unto you from God under whose wings you have come to trust.” This hearkens back to when Ruth took on Naomi’s one true God as her God–you can NEVER go wrong choosing Christ!
Also BCU family, know whatever you are doing from your heart is not going unnoticed, especially from God. Remember, He is NOT unrighteous to forget your labour of love which you have showed toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints and do minister (Hebrews 6:10).
2:11-14. Getting back to Ruth, as if the blessings from Boaz were not enough, Boaz’s favor continues as he INVITES her to eat. Singles women, Boaz did not ask Ruth for her gleaned grain, to go “half” or for anything in return. On top of that, Boaz served Ruth (he reached her the parched corn verse 14 ) as she ate until she got full with the reapers—the hired folks! How many other gleaners are recorded in the Ruth’s story as sitting at the owners table? None!
Also, what I love about Ruth in verse 15, was rather than hang around and make small talk, or otherwise take advantage of Boaz’s kindness, after dinner, she went right back into the field to work until evening. Ruth’s laser focus, intent and godly character stayed consistent–even with the new-found favor of Boaz. Ladies, let us never exploit anything a man does out of his heart for us. Nor should we get all silly and unfocused–ask the Lord to help you stay on task!
2:15-22. With Boaz’s instruction to his staff to purposely drop grain for Ruth and not to rebuke her, she brought about a bushel of grain–roughly about 64 pints or 50-odd pounds home to Naomi (another unselfish act–Ruth shared her grain), which prompted Naomi to ask, “where did you glean and work?” Once Ruth told her it was Boaz, Naomi went into a praise saying, “blessed be he of the Lord who was not left off His kindness to the living and to the dead. Boaz is near kin to us, one of our next kinsmen”. One of the most memorable moments from out last study was a grieving and broken Naomi who is now rejoicing in God–He knows just how to turn our mourning into dancing.
The chapter wraps up where Ruth tells Naomi of Boaz’s kind protection, their “verbal contract” for Ruth to glean till the end of harvest, and how Ruth stayed with her mother-in law. These women came to Bethlehem poor and unsure, and in one chapter were blessed and less stressed. Amen!!! Let’s see what our notes to self are:
- God blessed Ruth with a selfless heart, ambition, faith and the mind to be guided by the voice of the Lord to “hap” in the field Boaz owned. That would not have happened if she and Naomi sat around waiting. Faith without works is dead (James 2:20).
- Boaz may have been a man of wealth, but that extended far beyond money. His generous, selfless acts went above the law God provided. He protected and took care of Ruth without anything in return and taught his men to do the same thing. This type of character is what all men should exhibit. Examine any “Bozo’s” singles, you may be entertaining and ask God for a discerning heart and to use “clown repellant.”
- Likewise, Ruth remained humble, hardworking and a godly example of how a woman should behave #NotThirsty! She never counter-offered herself for any of Boaz’s favor (thereby protecting him), rather she thanked him and went back to what she purposed in her heart to do. Single men, if the women are offering up things, unless the Lord told you He has plans to turn things around, run as fast as your legs can carry you! That’s a Proverbs 5 woman–you’re looking for the Proverbs 31 woman!
- Whether you get recognized by people or not, God takes note of your work. Paul said, whatever we do, do it heartily and to God and not unto men, because we serve God and He is the rewarder (Colossians 3:23-24). Men may award, but God rewards.
I trust you were as blessed and challenged (whew!) by this word brought to you by God as I am. I thank God for His awesome illumination and now the application of what He said. We have to be doers of the Word, amen? Amen! God bless you for tuning in and until next time we meet #StayOnTheWall.