The first chapter of Ruth ends on the hope of harvest time. Naomi is in the midst of suffering, having lost her husband and two sons and wants to be called Mara – bitter. In today’s reading we see the mercy of God so obviously that even Naomi will recognise it.
Boaz cracks open the cloud of Naomi’s bitterness. He is a wealthy man, a worthy man v1 and passionate about the Lord too. Look at how he greets his employees – The Lord be with you! He is such a God saturated man, that it overflows over into his everyday life and business. His farming business is shot through with the Lord.
Has taken initiative. It is Ruth’s idea to go glean in the field. She is humble, asking permission even though the right to glean is enshrined in the Old Testament Law (Lev19:9-10 – it was a command that farmers left the edges of field un-harvested to allow the poor to come and gather with dignity). She is a hard worker, working all day v7,17.
She “happened” to come to Boaz’s field. God is at work providentially. Prov 16:9 “The Lord establishes his steps”.
Boaz provides protection v9, forbidding his employers to molest her v9, he provides her with water to drink too. At lunchtime, she is invited to have bread and wine. Boaz also ups the gleaning blessing by getting his employees to leave more sheathes for her.
Ruth asks why he is looking after her. The answer is that sh loves Naomi and left here family and land to look after Naomi. But more critical is because the Lord is rewarding Ruth because she has come under God’s wings for refuge. That is the Gospel, the good news, of the Old Testament and New Testament that God will have mercy on anyone who humbles themselves and takes refuge under the wings of the Lord.
Naomi can finally see the Lord is at work. The bitterness is cracking open and she remembers that Boaz is a close relative who may be able to do more to help. A cunning plan will unfold tomorrow!
Psalm 139 teaches us that we cannot get away from God’s presence (and therefore even more his providence) Whether we are in a mountain top season, or down in the valley of the shadow of death. God is with us. Look for him and His providential leading as you just “happen” along today.