I would love nothing more than to dig into Ruth 2 with you over a warm cup of tea. There are so many layers of this story, and this chapter is full of practical wisdom mixed with the invisible hand of God. Many times we read through the bible looking for ourselves within the pages. Where do I fit into this story? How does this apply to me? Chances are you are not a young Moabite woman, living in a foreign land with your mother in law, with no income and no plan. Don’t let that stop you from seeing the scarlet thread of Gods providence in this powerful chapter… this story appears to be about Ruth, but I propose that it is a story of a life lived in response to God. Let’s take a look.
Ruth and her mother-in-law are in Bethlehem, where we learned in Ruth 1:22 that they returned at the beginning of the barley harvest. I guarantee you this was not coincidence, but rather God’s goodness! Provision didn’t come to their doorstep, but presented itself in the form of knowing what the season had to offer- corn! Ruth takes it upon herself in chapter 2, to capitalize on harvest time.
So Ruth the Moabites said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor.”
And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.”
With approval, out Ruth went. The law required that farmers not reap the corners of their field or pick up the grains if they were to drop them. These were to be left for the poor and the foreigners. Ruth saw opportunity and took it! How many times do we pray for favor, finances, an open door… from our couch. Ruth doesn’t have an ungrateful or entitled outlook, and that makes her unstoppable.
Then she left, and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers. And she HAPPENED to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.
Do you see that thread of Gods invisible hand? Im sure there were many, many farms in Bethlehem. Many. Yet our girl, Ruth ‘happened’ to find herself on Boaz’s field? This is the purpose and plan of God in motion. He moves on in those who give Him something to work with.
Ruth didn’t waltz into her destiny, she worked it. By faith she stepped out and determined to serve what God had given to her… which was her health, and a mother in law. So she used her strength to serve. How many times do we walk into the field, expecting to be recognized, given opportunity and favor, based on our giftings or our last name. If that is our approach, the next season will not be one of favor, but of humbling. Because of Ruth’s fierce loyalty and pure heart, favor found her.
The story goes on and Boaz grants her great favor in the field. He promises her safety, the ability to get the most grain possible, and even rest. It wasn’t a fairy tale where at first glance he was mesmerized by her beauty and made her his wife. The beauty of this story is that favor had nothing to do with her face.
Ruth fell at his feet and thanked him warmly. “What have I done to deserve such kindness?” she asked. “I am only a foreigner.”
“Yes, I know,” Boaz replied. “But I also know about everything you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband. I have heard how you left your father and mother and your own land to live here among complete strangers.
May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.”
Faithfulness will bring you favor. Don’t store up your faithfulness and servant’s heart for when you are in a position or situation that you love, or will be noticed… you will waste the very scarlet thread of favor God has for you in this very season, to bring you to the next! In this chapter we know that Ruth began gleaning in the beginning of barley harvest, and in verse 23 we learn that she continued to glean until the end of barley harvest. She had favor, but that didn’t mean she stopped working, sweating, and gleaning. She didn’t get to shorten the season. Harvest season is months long. That means day in and day out, Ruth worked out her destiny. Staying faithful, serving her mother in law, not because of what she could gain, but because of what she could give, knowing that God was with her.
I pray that whatever season you may find yourself in, that you allow the fullness of your purpose overpower your desire to quit. Don’t find a shortcut, find hope. God is with you, for you, and as you work in gratitude and trust, He truly is working all things together for your good! This is not the end of the story. Stay in your season. You are being found faithful.
Featured image by Alex Vans Colina