Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. When she threshed out what she had gathered, she ended up with nearly a full sack of barley! She gathered up her gleanings, went back to town, and showed her mother-in-law the results of her day’s work; she also gave her the leftovers from her lunch.
Naomi asked her, “So where did you glean today? Whose field? God bless whoever it was who took such good care of you!” Ruth told her mother-in-law, “The man with whom I worked today? His name is Boaz.” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “Why, God bless that man! God hasn’t quite walked out on us after all! He still loves us, in bad times as well as good!” Naomi went on, “That man, Ruth, is one of our circle of covenant redeemers, a close relative of ours!”
Ruth the Moabitess said, “Well, listen to this: He also told me, ‘Stick with my workers until my harvesting is finished.’” Naomi said to Ruth, “That’s wonderful, dear daughter! Do that! You’ll be safe in the company of his young women; no danger now of being raped in some stranger’s field.”
So Ruth did it—she stuck close to Boaz’s young women, gleaning in the fields daily until both the barley and wheat harvesting were finished. And she continued living with her mother-in-law.
Naomi, once sweet but changed by the Bitter Sojourn, is astounded by the amount of grain Ruth brings home. Gleaning grain typically provided just enough to meet the need of these two widows. As Ruth shared the details and the leftovers of her lunch with Boaz, Naomi came to a joyous conclusion.
There is hope!
It’s not clear if Naomi had selective amnesia concerning the circumstances of her widowhood. It was true, during this time; widows left with no male heirs lived in a pitiful state. Jewish law provided for women in this situation. Naomi knew this provision. Elimelech’s family could help these two widows.
Perhaps Elimelech had sold his parcel of land before he took his family on the bitter sojourn to Moab. Maybe circumstances seemed too complicated for Naomi to undo. After a life filled with despair, perhaps despair was all Naomi could perceive. It could be Naomi’s bitterness blinded her to the reality of her situation.
Naomi admitted to her old Bethlehem friends, I went out full and came back empty. Bitterness has a way of taking over your heart. When you make yourself the focus of your attention, when the hardship you face becomes personal; bitterness is often the result. Bitterness pushes out hope as it take residence in your heart. Bitterness taints your perception of God’s motives. Bitterness makes you large and God small.
Naomi allowed her circumstances to cloud her vision of a faithful God who has pure motives.
Boaz’s love and kindness to Ruth not only changed Ruth—his love change Naomi.
If you have experienced adversity, if suffering has changed your heart, let Christ’s love soften the hardness. If, in the course of dealing with the circumstances of your life, you’ve moved God off His throne and placed yourself there, step down and let God have His place back. If you were once full but now find yourself empty, Christ can fill the emptiness in your soul with all you really need.
Jesus has more than enough. He loves you in the good times and the bad. He will provide what you need, guard you and help you.
You have a Boaz of your very own—His name is Jesus.
Father, thank You for the all You provide for me in Jesus. Forgive me for my self-centered preoccupation. Forgive me for placing myself before You. Replace any bitterness in my heart with the hope that only come from you. Thank You for Your love.