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Ruth Chapter Two (ESV)
8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. 9 Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.” 10 Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” 11 But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” 13 Then she said, “I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.”
- Ruth’s words and posture (face to the ground) in response to the generosity of Boaz indicate the social distance between the Israelite man and the Moabite woman. Ruth identified herself as a “foreigner”, a person of lesser status than that of the socially disadvantaged like widows, orphans and aliens. The kindness of Boaz helps us understand the “second great commandment”: loving our neighbor as ourselves (Matt 22:39).
- The sovereign and purposeful hand of God is behind each of the scenes in the Book of Ruth. When Ruth sought to glean in the fields after the reapers, she “happened” to come to the portion of the field belonging to Naomi’s kinsman Boaz. Impressed by what he had heard about Ruth’s commitment to her mother-in-law, Boaz promised to protect her. In addition, Boaz provided for her through his instructions to his men, and it was obvious to Naomi when Ruth returned from the field that someone took notice of her. When she heard it was her kinsman Boaz, the formerly embittered Naomi blessed the Lord for His kindness.
Lord, this wonderful story reminds me that You are at work in ways I cannot predict or imagine. When I am tempted to be embittered at my circumstances, let me remember that You are working all things together for my good and that the only safe refuge is under Your wings.