Wednesday 20 October, 2021

Ruth 2:1-13

2 Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, a man of standing from the clan of Elimelek, whose name was Boaz. 2 And Ruth the Moabite 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.” 3 So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek. 4 Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The Lord be with you!” “The Lord bless you!” they answered. 5 Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, “Who does that young woman belong to?” 6 The overseer replied, “She is the Moabite who came back from Moab with Naomi. 7 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 till now, except for a short rest in the shelter.” 8 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. 9 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.” 10 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?” 11 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. 12 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.” 13 “May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord,” she said. “You have put me at ease by speaking kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servants.”

I could focus today on the return of kindness to Ruth, after she showed so much dedication and selflessness toward Naomi, as described in Chapter 1. This is a strong message coming through, but I am strangely more captured by a peripheral message.

When Boaz arrived from Bethlehem, he greeted the harvesters with “The Lord be with you” (NIV). They answered with “The Lord bless you”.

David Guzik writes “The LORD be with you: This shows us something of the heart and character of Boaz. Apparently, his workers loved him and had a good relationship with him. You can often tell the real character of a man in authority by seeing how he relates to his staff and by how they think of him.”

This principle applies to many situations of life and in many forms of leadership. Respect, care, humility, concern for wellbeing of others, kindness etc, are all traits of a Godly person in authority.

The harvesters returned the greeting with “The Lord bless you”, and so they obviously had great respect for Boaz, their employer, but likely because he respected them first.

Father, in all of my roles of authority and leadership, I pray that I might always reflect Your heart of love and care for those I lead. Forgive me for when I have not, and continue to transform me into the leader with character that You desire. Amen

Written by Steve Fell

2 replies
  1. Richard says:

    Thanks Steve for this insight.

    We quickly realise that Ruth and Naomi are poor – that was the reason for Ruth gleaning grain after the harvesters had gone through a field and was allowed for in the laws of the Israelites. It was part of their social welfare net, where harvesters were not allowed to go over a field twice so as the poor could ‘glean’ what was missed, not fully ripe, damaged or…

    What possessed a young woman to follow her mother-in-law to a strange land and strange people could easily be seen as an attempt at privilege or a ‘better’ life, but Naomi is poor, so poor that Ruth has to glean. Yet God is there. Their wealth or lack thereof doesn’t represent God’s blessing or not. Ruth’s attitude of love and service to Naomi is what catches both the eye of the foreman of Boaz and Boaz himself, who seems to have heard about Ruth and Naomi. On seeing Ruth’s diligence he makes explicit to his people that he wants her cared for and protected – “I have told the men not to lay a hand on you.”

    Providing opportunity to flourish, like Boaz did, is an important principle. Seeing someone’s station in life and allowing that to influence how we engage a person is problematic. May it be that I maintain a principle that sees people for who they are above the other markers that we so often view.

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