Thursday, August 22, 2013

ruth: gleaning in the fields of divine providence (part 6)

Now Naomi had a relative on her husband's side, from the clan of Elimelech, a man of standing, 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. Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, "The LORD be with you!"

"The LORD bless you!" they called back. Boaz asked the foreman of his harvesters, "Whose young woman is that?"

The foreman replied, "She is the Moabitess who came back from Moab with Naomi. She said, 'Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.' She went into the field and has worked steadily from morning till 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 my servant girls. Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the girls. I have told the men not to touch 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 exclaimed, "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."

"May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord," she said. "You have given me comfort and have spoken kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servant girls."

At mealtime Boaz said to her, "Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar." When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over. As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, "Even if she gathers among the sheaves, don't embarrass her. Rather, pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don't rebuke her."

So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah. She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had left over after she had eaten enough. Her mother-in-law asked her, "Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!" Then Ruth told her mother-in-law about the one at whose place she had been working. "The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz," she said.

"The LORD bless him!" Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. "He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead." She added, "That man is our close relative; he is one of our kinsman-redeemers." Then Ruth the Moabitess said, "He even said to me, 'Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.' "

Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, "It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with his girls, because in someone else's field you might be harmed." So Ruth stayed close to the servant girls of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law. (Ruth 2)

Well, here we are in Ruth chapter 2!!! Yea! If you recall, when we last studied the activities of Ruth and Naomi, they had just arrived in Bethlehem where the barley harvest was beginning. The two widows had traveled from Moab with nothing to claim except each other. They had returned seeking to find God's favor in His land of promise... in the place where He vowed to provide for His people.

So, as we begin reading Ruth chapter 2, let's be sure to look at the parallels of Ruth and Naomi moving from their old Moabite life filled with famine and death into a new life of promise and redemption. Such a transition sounds familiar, doesn't it? It should if you have also been redeemed.

You see, this parallel is no coincidence. For hidden throughout the Old Testament is the introduction to Jesus the Savior. Throughout the Bible, His message of hope is promised and displayed. Here in the pages of Ruth, God makes no exception... Here, we will be shown the love of our eternal Kinsman-Redeemer. We will witness Christ's love between Boaz and Ruth... a heartwarming romance filled with kindness, selflessness, and hope. But before we are introduced to the heart and character of our Heavenly Husband, let's first stop and take note of God's blessed barley harvest.

Let's notice the condition, the abundance, that awaits Ruth's arrival in God's promised land. It is key to consider her helpless, hopeless situation and then realize the significance of her choosing to glean in Boaz's field. For no other field would produce the same abundance (lineage to the Lord Jesus Christ). No other crop would introduce Ruth to Boaz or offer her a secure, blessed future and the love of a lifetime.

Don't you find that interesting? Can't you picture Ruth going out that day... walking down the road - seeking a fertile place to find food to feed her and Naomi. So, how in the world did Ruth end up in Boaz's field?

Did God put up a billboard with a big, neon arrow pointing to Boaz's place?

No.

Did Ruth wake up and hear God's voice like Jonah did when God told him to go to Nineveh?

No again.

"As it turned out..." Here in scripture, we find Ruth in the exact place and before the exact person she needed to meet in order to be nourished and blessed beyond measure. Here, we watch Boaz as he notices Ruth and inquires about her security and future. Could this happenstance be attributed only to chance... or something - someone more?

Ladies, many of us claim Almighty God as our own. Many of us believe that He is the only Way, Truth, Life. But in our average, hum-drum, human life, we don't necessarily feel "led" to walk in one direction or another. Sure, if we love Him, we make every effort to know and obey His Word. We memorize and claim His promises while seeking and trusting the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and strength to stay true to God's commandments. But, let's face it, do we regularly receive personal texts from Jesus informing us which specific grocery store we should shop at? No, not likely... at least not in our usual day-to-day.

That said, we can rest assured that God will guide His people to the right field to glean in. God will direct our steps to the places we are supposed to walk. God will put us before the people He wants us to meet. How do I know this? Because He tells us so in His Word.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. (Psalms 37:23, King James Version)

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)


All that said, let's not miss that Ruth never stops walking in faith. She lives her life trusting that her God will automatically lead her to the right field and provide for her (and Naomi's) needs. She is secure because she is walking in His Way. She has chosen to live close to her Master in His promised land. Because of this, Ruth believes that somehow, someway, God will indeed restore and renew her from her grief, famine, loss, sorrow, loneliness, heartbreak, barrenness, emptiness. Why? Because Ruth trusts God's character. She has taken the time to familiarize herself with Who He is and What He has promised to His own. Despite where she walks... irrespective of who she meets... no matter what happens... Ruth believes God will provide for ALL her needs... so she gleans. And rather than worry over another's favor, Ruth chooses to jump right in - spending her energy towards finding nourishment to share with others.
Such a lovely, devoted, Christian woman is this! One who is willing to get her hands dirty in order to replenish and strengthen not only herself, but others. One who is wise to listen and generous to care for her elders, her friends, her loved ones. One who is respectful of the boundaries and laws of men, yet still capable of displaying her testimony graciously, silently, prayerfully as she allows the Holy Spirit to direct her walk and use her works to capture the attention of those who may need to see Jesus in her life.

We have so much to learn from this wonderful book of the Bible, ladies. Today, let's pause and consider God's sovereignty in our own lives. Let's abide in His promises and trust that He will direct our steps... every step. He is in complete control and will continue to show us what is good for us in His eternal, unchanging Word.

Yes, as we live out our daily lives, let's do so with complete devotion to Jesus - always displaying His grace, reflecting His humility and, sharing His love to everyone we encounter. His favor is all we need seek. He will provide His harvest and redeem and nourish those who love and trust Him. So, love and trust Him, ladies. Glean! This is the day.

Blessings!
Blog Posting Written By Victoria Anderson

4 comments:

  1. Thank You Lord for Your assurance and confirmation in Your lesson today... Ordain my feet unto Your ways and let Your will be done... Amen

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  2. extremely woo hoo worthy!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. order my steps oh Lord and help me to unselfishly get my hands dirty for the sake of another. Amen

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  4. Thank you Lord that you order my steps and I can rest assured that you will provide for all my needs. Thank you for looking upon my estate and being My kinsmen redeemer! Thank you for giving me favor!

    ReplyDelete

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