Today: [Ruth Chapter Two]: Gleaning in the Fields of Boaz. In this chapter Ruth meets Boaz. She goes out to glean a few grains of wheat for herself and her mother-in-law Naomi. They are hungry and in need. Ruth was not a person to sit back and wait for the answer to come to her. She took action even though she didn’t have all the answers for her life. Many times we are in need and cry out to God. We also must be willing to step out with incomplete answers in the absence of full instruction from God. Ruth didn’t know the field she gleaned in was that of her future spouse. She was just doing what she could to address the needs in her life and the lives of those she cared about. If she had waited nothing would have happened. You have to take action. What God has already said to you is much greater than what you are waiting for Him to say and do further in your life. We must learn as Ruth did to take action and trust God for breakthrough in the midst of our efforts.
[Rth 2:1-23 KJV] 1 And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name [was] Boaz. 2 And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after [him] in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter. 3 And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field [belonging] unto Boaz, who [was] of the kindred of Elimelech. 4 And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD [be] with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee. 5 Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel [is] this? 6 And the servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It [is] the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab: 7 And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house.
Who was Boaz, other than a kinsman to Naomi? Jewish source say that Boaz was the man identified as Izban who judged Israel seven years after Jephthah. We know he was significant because he is described as a mighty man of great wealth. The book of Ruth is often read during Shavuot because it is a harvest festival and the events of Ruth take place during the time of harvest. The harvest for us is a metaphor of the “kairos” timing of God. There are two understandings of time in the things of God. There is “chronos” time which is linear time on the clock. Then there is kairos time which is described in the bible as the fullness of time. This is when God brings one season to a close and begins another. There is always a reaping of that which is sown during this time. Things which you have waited upon God for are brought to fruition and harvest in God’s fullness or kairos timing.
Ruth meets Boaz during the barley or early harvest. When the bible speaks of early and latter rain it refers as well to barley (early) or wheat (later) harvest. Who is Jesus to you in all of this? You will know you are in the kairos timing of God when He becomes a Boaz to you. During the harvest Boaz pays more attention to Ruth than he does the business of harvest. He instructs his workers to leave extra handfuls of grain for her. He gives her permission to drink from the vessels of water for the workers. He admonishes the workers not to harass her in any way. There are times that God deals with you as a Father. Other times He will deal with you as your kinsman redeemer showing you unusual favor for the purpose of blessing what you put your hand to.
In the parable of the sower (Matt. 13:39) Jesus identifies the reapers as angels gathering in the harvest. The interaction of Boaz as Lord of the Harvest with the works is a figure of the relationship of the Lord with the angels assigned to our life. Boaz doesn’t at first talk to Ruth directly. First he gets a report from the angels that are working in proximity to Ruth. He wants to know what they say of her and what their opinion is of her. All of us are surrounded by angels. Angels are there as a ministers of God for our good (Heb. 1:7; Psa. 104:4). What is your angel saying about you? Matt. 18:10 tells us that the angels assigned to you always behold the face of the Father. What are they doing? They are talking about you. They are giving a report that God responds to.
8 Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens: 9 [Let] thine eyes [be] on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of [that] which the young men have drawn. 10 Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I [am] a stranger? 11 And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and [how] thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore. 12 The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.
What was Ruth supposed to hear? Boaz didn’t want Ruth gleaning in fields other than his. He wanted Ruth to know that the workers had a good report concerning her. He wants us to know that the angels are there working for our good – to give the good report concerning us.
Why was Ruth allowed to glean in Boaz’ fields in the first place? In Moses’ law in the time of harvest they were not allowed to cut the corners of the field or to gather every single grain. This was for the sake of the poor. Care and generosity toward the needy is a strong theme of the book of Ruth. If Boaz didn’t care for the poor he wouldn’t have met Ruth. Remember that when you give to the poor you are making a loan to the Lord (Prov. 19:17). In Boaz’ life the repayment came in bringing his future wife into his life. Many people come to us for prayer desiring a spouse, or some other great need of their lives to be met. If Boaz asked for prayer or consulted a prophet he would have been instructed that what he made happen for others God would make happen for you. What are you doing for others? Are you absorbed only with yourself? What you are crying out to God for will be arranged for in your life as you become OTHER’S ORIENTED and pour out your resources to meet their need.
13 Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens. 14 And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched [corn], and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left. 15 And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not: 16 And let fall also [some] of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave [them], that she may glean [them], and rebuke her not.
Boaz instructs the workers to be kind to Ruth. He invites her to drink from their vessels of water. He allows her to eat the food prepared for the workers. Do you see what this suggests? If as Jesus said the angels are the reapers – it is an invitation to us to be sustained and maintained in our strength with the same resources that God makes available to angels. In 1 Kings 14:4-9 Elijah literally ate angel’s food and went for 40 days without eating. What was the condition Boaz put upon Ruth for this blessing? She was not to glean in someone else’s field but only in his fields. In your needs are you looking only to the Lord and what he leaves for you in the corner of His fields? Or are you resorting to other resources that don’t arise from what God has chosen for you? Boaz was calling upon Ruth for a commitment. Be satisfied with what he had for her. To willingly restrict herself to only the things that Boaz a type of Christ had for her in life. If she had chosen otherwise Boaz may not have chosen her to be his future spouse.
When Ruth agrees to this commitment the reapers (angels) receive a further instruction – leave more for Ruth to gather. How many of us cry out to God for more? We want more of Him, more blessing, more breakthrough. It will come by the hand of the angels assigned to us. It will come as we make a commitment to restrict our pursuits and our fidelities to God alone and not to stray into the temptations of what the enemy entices us with. What does this mean for you? You will know in the moment you are tempted. Make a choice to stay faithful to God in the time of your need and your hunger. Notice also that there was work involved. Ruth was doing what no doubt was backbreaking work at the end of the day. She was not laying up in the shade a Naomi’s house waiting for the workers to bring the grain to her. The angels of God work in our behalf – but we are to work alongside them. How can you do that? By applying yourself to tasks that would be unfruitful unless God sends the angels to assist. The kingdom doesn’t come with observation. If Ruth just stayed behind without a mind to work and put forth effort she would never have met Boaz.
17 So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley. 18 And she took [it] up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed. 19 And her mother in law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned to day? and where wroughtest thou? blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee. And she shewed her mother in law with whom she had wrought, and said, The man’s name with whom I wrought to day [is] Boaz. 20 And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed [be] he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man [is] near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen. 21 And Ruth the Moabitess said, He said unto me also, Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest. 22 And Naomi said unto Ruth her daughter in law, [It is] good, my daughter, that thou go out with his maidens, that they meet thee not in any other field. 23 So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law.
Ruth did not initially go out to find the field of a near kinsman. Naomi sees this as the sovereignty of God. Ruth did not have full information. When we are in need we tend to require full information and instruction before we will put forth effort. We ask the question “what does God want me to do” or “what is God’s will for our lives”. It is fine to ask the question but waiting on an answer is not a substitute for going out and getting to work applying yourself in the direction that meets your need. Act now. Take action. Go do something and trust that in the end God will be made known in the process. If Ruth refused to go until she had more information she would have never met Boaz. Boaz is a type of Christ and a relationship to God where deep favor and blessing are found. We cry out for this all the time. It will not come until we become people of action even at those times that we don’t have all the answers.
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