We left off with Ruth working in the field of Boaz. Boaz had returned from town and in his usual manner he addressed his workers with respect. As a result of his respect for them, the harvesters respected Boaz.
In verse 5, Boaz asks his foreman about Ruth. With all his harvesters in a field which I’m sure was very large, he noticed one person – Ruth. I’m sure God had a hand in making sure Boaz’s eyes were toned in on her. The foreman explained Ruth was a Moabite who came with Naomi and had asked him to glean in the fields.
Boaz spoke to Ruth in verse 8 but not with harshness or insult but with kindness and love. Boaz told Ruth to stay in his fields with his servant girls and not to glean in another field. He warned the men not to harm Ruth. He also told her whenever she was thirsty, to please get a drink from the water jars.
Boaz could have kicked this lady out of his field but he did not. He saw she was a good hardworking lady and he rewarded her. He also knew she was a Moabite woman who had accompanied Naomi who wasn’t. I’m sure he thought about what Ruth had given up for the mother of her deceased husband.
Ruth was humbled. We know this because in verse 10 she bowed her face to the ground and asked Boaz “why have I found favor in your eyes…. a foreigner.” Boaz replied by letting her know he knew all Ruth had done for Naomi and how she left her homeland to come live with people she did know. The final sentences show Boaz’s true character.
“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.”
Boaz knew the Lord. He knew he was the God of Israel. He knew God would reward her for her kindness and for following Him. Ruth knew whose wings to go to for refuge – the Lord God of Israel and no other God. Ruth replied with kindness by thanking him for giving her comfort and speaking kindly to her.
The story continues with Boaz’s kindness. He not only let her work in his fields, but at mealtime, Boaz had her come eat with him and dip her bread in the wine vinegar. She took the grain he offered and ate all she wanted and had some leftover. She then did not waver, she went back to work. When she had finished, Boaz gave orders to the men to be nice to her, not embarrass her and not to rebuke her.
Again, Boaz shows his kindness by offering her his grains and making sure she was not harmed. He had no obligation to feed her and offer her a safe haven but he did.
Ruth worked hard till evening and headed home. She had gathered about an ephah – which is about 3/5 bushel. Now, that sounds like a lot for one person to pick but to carry but she did it without complaining. When Ruth got to Naomi she handed her the barley and she also brought her what she had left from her lunch. She could have kept for herself, but she shared with her mother-in-law.
Naomi was curious as to where she worked that day and said, “Blessed be the man who took notice of you.” Ruth explained to her it was Boaz. Naomi then said, “Lord Bless this man.” She knew he had not stopped showing kindness to the living or dead because he was one of their close relatives. Naomi told her to make sure to go back to his fields because someone else may harm her. Ruth did as she said and stayed close and gleaned barley and wheat until the harvest was up while living with her mother-in-law, Naomi.
As I look back on this story, there are a couple things that pop out at me.
First, Boaz show much kindness and love to Ruth. She was a Moabite woman and Boaz probably did not have to show her any kindness because a stranger of another country had come to his field to work. But, He allowed her to continue to glean in his fields with his girls. He told the men not to harm her. Boaz also allowed her to eat with him.
Does Boaz not have some of the loving characteristics of the Lord God of Israel? Does Boaz not act as the Lord says in His Word we are to act and treat others?
- Spoke with kindness
- Gave her safety
- Fed and gave her water
Does not God offer us all these things?
God speaks to us with kindness. We know we have nothing to worry about. He says in His Word He will keep us safe. The Lord will feed and clothe us.
Boaz had the Lord in his heart and was giving to Ruth what the Lord had given to him. Boaz was sharing the Lord with Ruth.
Times have changed, but His Word has not and how we are to treat others has not!
Secondly, Ruth was a very humble lady. She spoke to her master with respect and thankfulness in her tone. Ruth worked hard. She did not go about her working half-heartedly or with evil in her heart. Not only was she picking enough barley and wheat for herself, she picked enough for her mother-in-law, Naomi. She could have been jealous or envious of Naomi because she was not in this field doing all the work. But she wasn’t
When Ruth ate all she needed, not all she wanted, at mealtime with Boaz, she left some to carry home to Naomi. She did not take it all for herself. Instead she shared with Naomi.
Ruth’s action portray characteristics Christians should have who have The Lord in their heart. She spoke to others in command with respect and thankfulness. She worked hard at her work. She not only provided for herself, she unselfishly provided for her mother-in-law without complaining!
Do we act like this in our daily walk? Do we treat others this way? Do we share what the Lord has provided us with? Do we share without complaining?
Boaz and Ruth’s actions and characteristics of respect, love, gentleness, compassion, and faith are prime examples of how we should love, respect and care for others.
Will you go out today and be a Boaz and Ruth??