just a gleanin’…

Now we have found out that Boaz was a wealthy distant relative who owned the land where Ruth was gleaning.  Boaz has taken interest in her after seeing her working in his field.

When the lunch whistle blew, Boaz invites Ruth to the table to eat his bread.  (Doesn’t Jesus invite us to do the same?)  She is so moved and grateful and once she was filled she got up to go right back to work.  Ok.  Stop.  You know when you have eaten…and you are full…..don’t you just want to lie around and bloat?  Not Ruth.  She’s a worker bee and immediately gets up to get the job done.  Boaz sees this and tells his workers to let some of their grain fall to the ground so she will have more to take home.  (what a guy…think he’s already falling for her?)  So she gathers up an “ephah” which is a hebrew term for a bushel, and takes it straight to Naomi.

Naomi says, “Wowsers!  Where did all this come from?”  That’s when Ruth tells her of Boaz and Naomi cries, “SCORE! This man is a close relative!”  Ruth tells her mother-in-law that he wanted her to stay close to the other field workers until the harvest is complete.

Jimmy and I have had the privilege of traveling a lot and I find that when we go somewhere ‘foreign’ to us, how happy we are when we hear someone speaking english!  We feel a little more at ease when we see that we can communicate with foreigners.  I can’t imagine Ruth just taking off and going to glean after the workers.  At first I thought of her ducking down behind the grain in the field so no one would see her. Maybe doing a little serpentine move throughout the field to go unnoticed, but then I see that in Leviticus 19:9-10, God has already thought of this!  He says, “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest.  And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger; I am the Lord your God.”

He’s telling the people to leave some behind for the poor!  Well, who is poorer than Ruth and Naomi?  They have just moved into a different city and I’m almost positive that there isn’t a Costco around to get grain in bulk.   God had ALREADY PROVIDED.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Manna was God’s gift of life to the Israelites. Jesus Christ is God’s gift of life to all mankind. Without God’s gift of manna, the undeserving Israelites would have died. But without God’s gift of Jesus Christ, the bread of life, all the world would be condemned to death.

coming home…

So here we are, back in the Book of Ruth and about to jump head first into the second chapter.  So much happened just in the first chapter but we are down to two people.  Two grieving women in Bethlehem…..and right at the harvest.  According to the Webster, harvest (noun) means ‘a supply of anything gathered at maturity and stored’….hmm….that could come in handy later…

So it seems that these two ladies don’t just unpack, put up the fine china and air out the linens…nope…before the second verse is finished Ruth is putting on her sun hat and gloves and taking off to work in the fields!  Wait a minute!  Aren’t you tired?  Aren’t you dusty?  It didn’t matter to Ruth!  She had a divine appointment and it was in the field owned by a very rich man named Boaz.

I imagine that he was Trump-ish yet possibly without the hair-do.  So Ruth was hanging back behind the reapers (ha, Webster says that a reaper is ‘a person who reaps’….hey, thanks for nutin’!) and taking what was basically dropped or left behind.

So Boaz decides to come out to his field and check things out.  He sees the servant in charge of the reapers and says, “The Lord be with you!” (vs 4) and they give a shout back and say “And the Lord bless you!”  Evidently this Boaz was a stand-up guy.  He was respected by the people who worked for him and I get the feeling he was a really good employer.  So Boaz decides to find out who this woman was that was trailing behind the reapers.  Once he found out that she was Naomi’s daughter-in-law he goes to her and says, “Ok.  From here on out I want you to stay close to the women reapers…don’t go hanging out at the other fields and I’ve told the other guys to leave you alone. When you get thirsty, go to the water vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.”

Ruth falls on her face and bows down close to the ground and says, “OMGosh, why?  You don’t even know me!”  And that is when Boaz answers that he already knew how she had taken care of her mother-in-law, left her own family and came to a part of the country that she didn’t know anything about!  He was so impressed with her that before he left her he prayed for her!!  Wow!  Doesn’t that sound even a little bit familiar?  He knew about her before she met him, just like the Lord knows all about us even before we come to know Him! He responded to Ruth graciously and her needs were satisfied (v. 14) and granted her protection (v 15-16).  (Yeah, I like him).

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”