Sunday, February 27, 2011
Ruth Chapter 2
Ruth Chapter 2
- Ruth and Naomi arrive in Bethlehem in the early summer just in time for the barley harvest.
- footnote- “When the wheat and barley were ready to be harvested, harvesters were hired to cut down the stalks and tie them into bundles. Israelite law demanded that the corners of the fields not be harvested. In addition, any grain that was dropped was to be left for poor people, who picked it up (this was called gleaning) and used it for food (Leviticus 19:9, 23:22; Deuteronomy 24:19). The purpose of this law was to feed the poor and to prevent the owners from hoarding. This law served as a type of welfare program in Israel. Because she was a widow with no means of providing for herself, Ruth went into the fields to glean the grain.”
- So Ruth goes out to glean in the fields... if anybody will let her... she is a foreigner after all...
- Enter Boaz. Boaz owns the field that Ruth has decided to glean in. He's a pretty influential man in Bethlehem... and by the sound of it, this wasn't the only field he owned... So Boaz comes to check on things in the field... and he sees Ruth. First thing he does is ask who she is. Maybe he knows everybody in Bethlehem and he knows she's new or realizes that she's a foreigner... or maybe she caught his eye... who knows... but something in Ruth stood out.
- The foreman had also taken notice of this woman... because she was a hard worker. Once given permission to glean in the field, she hadn't stopped work except for a few minutes' rest. She wasn't taking a break every few minutes. She was there with one purpose in mind and going at it with all her might.
- Proverbs 13:4
- Ecclesiastes 5:10-20
- Romans 12:11
- Galatians 6:4-5
- II Timothy 2:15-22
- When Boaz learns who she is, he goes over to talk to her. “Listen, my daughter. Stay right here with us when you gather grain; don't go to any other fields. Stay right behind the young women working in my field. See which part of the field they are harvesting, and then follow them. I have warned the young men not to treat you roughly. And when you are thirsty, help yourself to the water they have drawn from the well.”
- Wow. Either Ruth REALLY stood out, or Boaz was REALLY taken with her, or Boaz was just THAT nice of a guy...
- Ruth is blown away. “Why me? I'm a foreigner! Why should I deserve any kindness from someone like you?”
- “Because I have heard about everything you've done for your mother-in-law. How you left your family and country behind you. You came here to a country of strangers to take care of your mother-in-law...” Character. Boaz saw a woman of strength and character.
- “May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.”
- I wonder if Boaz even had an inkling that he himself would be a very big part of bringing that reward to fruition.
- Jeremiah 29:11-14
- How surprised Ruth must have been. If she is as unassuming as I think she was... such praise probably came as a surprise. And yet, she was deserving of it.
- Proverbs 31 talks about the wife of noble character. I like to think that this chapter is also for men in regards to character... but it was written with a woman in mind... When we look at the characteristics of Ruth, or in Proverbs 31, we should see characteristics in our own lives.
- Proverbs 31 talks about a woman who brings good, not harm. She goes about her work to the best of her ability. She is capable. She is energetic and strong. She is a provider for her house. She extends her hand to the poor and needy. Her husband is looked up to. She respects him, and he respects her. She laughs without fear of the future. She speaks with wisdom and gives instruction with kindness.
- When people look at us, do they see a faithful worker? Do they see loyalty? Do they see strength of character and someone who is willing to stand up for a cause? Do they see wisdom? Faith? Hope? Love and genuine concern for others? Do they see in our relationships a respect for others? Do they see a life lived without fear of what the future may bring?
- Our walk with Christ should be reflected in our daily lives. As we get to know Christ and allow Him more and more to have influence in our hearts, His light should shine out of us.
- I Peter 1:13-25, 2:1-25
- Galatians 5:16-26
- Romans 13:8-14
- Ephesians 5:1-33, 6:1-18
- Boaz begins taking special consideration of Ruth. When the workers broke for lunch, he invited her over to eat with he and his workers.
- Then he tells his workers to be mindful of her as well. “Let her gather grain right among the sheaves without stopping her. And pull our some heads of barley from the bundles and drop them on purpose for her. Let her pick them up, and don't give her a hard time!”
- Now, I don't know if Ruth knew the ins and outs of all the gleaning laws... When she goes back to Naomi, I feel like Naomi is explaining things to her. Ruth tells her all that happened, and Noami tells her what to do next.
- So maybe Ruth didn't realize how special Boaz was making her... but I guarantee everybody else did... I wonder what the Boaz's harvesters thought about having to leave grain behind for this Moabite woman. Maybe they saw the same thing Boaz saw... or maybe they just saw an annoyance... but either way, they followed orders.
- Ruth gathered an entire basket full of grain... but not just the grain... the basket full was AFTER she had beat out the grain. Plus she had the leftover food that she couldn't eat at lunch time...
- Naomi was shocked to say the least. Things have been bleak for Naomi... and all of a sudden, here comes her daughter-in-law, not only with grain, but a lot of it... she has been shown special favor by the owner of the field... and that owner, just happens to be a close relative of Elimelech... close enough to be eligible to be a redeemer for the family. (but that's a story for next week... : )
- Boaz has offered to let Ruth continue to glean in his fields throughout the barley harvest. Noami agrees to this plan because who knows if Ruth will have the same good fortune in another field. No one else is going to treat her so well... if they would let a foreigner glean in the first place...
- So Ruth continues in Boaz's field... not only through the barley harvest, but through the wheat harvest as well.
- II Corinthians 9:8-15
- I Kings 17:8-24
- Psalm 111, 147
LOVER OF MY SOUL
- I love this picture. Consider that we are the foreigners. We are living in a land not our own. We are dependent upon circumstances, upon ourselves, upon whatever good will other people happen to have towards us...
- And one day we happen upon this man who says “hey! Here you can work over here! Come join my harvesters. Work side by side with them.” And whether we know it or not, He is constantly blessing us. Constantly giving us more than we could ever have hoped for.
- However, it's not because we deserve it. We are not perfect examples of anything worth saving... But God sees something in us. God sees something in us that maybe others don't see. Maybe even our fellow harvesters don't see what the boss sees in us... but nonetheless, He makes us special. He puts us in a place of honor.
- Ephesians 1 talks about God planning out beforehand how He would adopt us into His family. vs. 4-5 says “Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.”
- Isaiah 55
- Colossians 1:11-14
- Romans 3:23-31
- Ephesians 2:1-22, 3:1-12