A story of redemption, love, hope, and restoration
The providence and perfect timing of God never fails to amaze me. We’ve seen how God brought Ruth to Boaz’s field and sent Boaz out from Bethlehem so that they could meet among the barley. However, what was Boaz’s response and reaction upon meeting Ruth? Did he look down upon her in judgment because she was a foreigner? Or did he look upon her with kindness as a widow protected by the Lord and a kinsman? What did Boaz do next?
Well let’s go back to Ruth 2 and find out!
“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. 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.’ 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?’ 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. 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!’”
There are so many wonderful tidbits in this passage that we’re going to pull them out one-by-one.
This is a term of fatherly endearment and definitely not used in a romantic sense. So Boaz was obviously not viewing Ruth as a prospective bride. In his eyes, she was merely a young woman in need of protection and provision and a relation of his through marriage. His feelings for her were purely platonic and akin to an uncle with a favorite niece.
“All that you have done…has been fully told to me.”
Boaz knew all about Ruth, her background, and why she returned with Naomi. So obviously in a little town like Bethlehem, Ruth was one of the central points of gossip and news. And like most gossip, I’m sure that not all of what was said about Ruth was pleasant or positive. There were probably whispers like “Can you believe who Naomi brought back with her?! A Moabite!!! She allowed her good Jewish son to marry a foreigner!”
Yet despite possible negative reports, Boaz chose to look upon the details and decisions of Ruth’s life as a trust and belief in the LORD, God of Israel. He didn’t look down on her for what she had done, but rather praised her and pronounced the Lord’s blessing upon her. This was something Ruth was obviously not accustomed to receiving from the local people, because she immediately questions the words and motives behind Boaz’s gracious offer. Wasn’t she surprised when Boaz answers her question by revealing that he already knew all about her and then pronounced a blessing upon her in the name of the Lord!
Boaz poured out much grace upon Ruth by noticing her and then providing for her needs. And doesn’t this sound like our life story? Weren’t we at one point scavenging among the leftovers and meager share the world offers, when Christ stepped into our lives, noticed us, and provided for us by giving innumerable treasures and provision in Him even though He knew about our sordid background? Were we not at one point the alien and foreigner to God who was shown unknown grace and mercy? Wasn’t that us not so long ago?
I know it was me.
So just as Ruth was humbled and floored by Boaz’s actions and blessing, we also should be amazed and humbled by our blessings in Christ. We must never loose the humility, wonder, and gratefulness that meditating on the boundless grace of God should ignite in our hearts. But our daily response to such amazing grace should be like that of Ruth:
“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?’”
Therefore, let us resolve to begin each day humbly bowed before our Father in wonder and awe that we, foreigners and aliens to God, should be seen by Him and welcomed into His kingdom as sons and daughters of the King of Kings. Now how’s that for an outpouring of grace?!