2 Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side of the family. Her husband’s name was Elimelech. The relative’s name was Boaz. He was a very important man. 2 Ruth, who was from Moab, spoke to Naomi. She said, “Let me go out to the fields. I’ll pick up the grain that has been left. I’ll do it behind anyone who is pleased with me.” Naomi said to her, “My daughter, go ahead.” 3 So Ruth went out and began to pick up grain. She worked in the fields behind those who were cutting and gathering the grain. As it turned out, she was working in a field that belonged to Boaz. He was from the family of Elimelech. 4 Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem. He greeted those who were cutting and gathering the grain. He said, “May the Lord be with you!” “And may the Lord bless you!” they replied. 5 Boaz spoke to the man who was in charge of his workers. He asked, “Who is that young woman?” 6 The man replied, “She’s from Moab. She came back from there with Naomi. 7 She said, ‘Please let me walk behind the workers. Let me pick up the grain that is left.’ Then she went into the field. She has kept on working there from morning until now. She took only one short rest in the shade.” 8 So Boaz said to Ruth, “Dear woman, listen to me. Don’t pick up grain in any other field. Don’t go anywhere else. Stay here with my female servants. 9 Keep your eye on the field where the men are cutting grain. Walk behind the women who are gathering it. Pick up the grain that is left. I’ve told the men not to touch you. When you are thirsty, go and get a drink. Take water from the jars the men have filled.” 10 When Ruth heard that, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked, “Why are you being so kind to me? In fact, why are you even noticing me? I’m from another country.” 11 Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about you. I’ve heard about everything you have done for your mother-in-law since your husband died. I know that you left your father and mother. I know that you left your country. You came to live with people you didn’t know before. 12 “May the Lord reward you for what you have done. May the God of Israel bless you richly. You have come to him to find safety under his care.” 13 “Sir, I hope you will continue to be kind to me,” Ruth said. “You have comforted me. You have spoken kindly to me. And I’m not even as important as one of your female servants!”
First we are introduced to the character of Boaz. A good man to know and even better to be related to. Then comes Ruth’s decision to go out and glean grain behind the harvesters to feed herself and Naomi. It was Jewish law that the widows and the poor be allowed to collect the left overs for themselves. Ruth goes to work and ‘as it happened’ v3, she winds up in Boaz’s fields. Boaz notices her and finding out who she is he offers her work and protection, firstly because of his Godly integrity and secondly because of what Ruth had been doing for his relative Naomi.
I don’t believe these things happened by chance. It was God’s plan to bless Naomi and Ruth by this kinsman redeemer and through their lineage to bring us Jesus. God works His plans through connections. Family connections and community connections. His instructions to us in His word revolve so much around inclusion and caring for others, and protection of families.
I also love the way Ruth was proactive, taking the opportunity at harvest time to adopt the Jewish custom of gleaning. She was not shy of hard work. In this action God was able to move and bring about His plan.
Sometimes, (often), we are not aware of God’s plans as we go about our everyday business but it exciting to think that God may be working something amazing through us, even if we never see it. This encourages me to keep on in the every day and get out and do life.
Thank you God for the way you care for us individually and at the same time work all things together for the blessing of all your people. Help me to be attuned to your leading. Amen
Written by Dimity Milne