WEDNESDAY, MAY 16
SCRIPTURE: RUTH 2
The Lord is much more interested in changing our character than he is changing our circumstances. It would have been impossible for Naomi and Ruth to know what was coming in the short term (Boaz) and even more impossible for them to know what was coming in the distant future (Matthew 1:5 puts Ruth in the physical genealogy of Jesus). All Naomi and Ruth would have known is they had been through some most difficult circumstances and unless things changed drastically, their immediate future was bleak. But God was at work.
In fact, in many places in the Old Testament we read about God’s concern for the poor, for the fatherless, for the widow, and even for the alien or non-Jewish person living in Israel. (Deuteronomy 10:18). And true to His Word, God was working in the back story to bring about a great story with an incredible ending that wouldn’t be revealed for a long, long time. And in it all, God was working on Ruth’s and Naomi’s character.
Ruth, by divine providence, ended up at one of the fields owned by Boaz. Boaz will be a Kinsman Redeemer for Ruth in this story. This is a particular title of great importance. We will develop this as we get further into the story.
Before we get to that, there are some other cool things happening in this chapter. In verse 2, Ruth goes out to glean (gather up the leftovers from the harvest) believing that she will find favor with some landowner. We would say that she was looking for someone who would show her grace. She would find grace in a man named Boaz – a good man of good standing in a culture that had turned away from God. God always has good people living in bad times.
In many ways Boaz is a Christ figure. There is much that he says and does that points us to Jesus. For example, Boaz took the initiative. He reached out to Ruth first. That is a picture of the Gospel. Jesus comes to us. Jesus reaches out to us first. Then we reach back to Him.
Another example is found in the fact that Boaz spoke to Ruth first. Culturally, a widow and foreigner would have no right to speak first to a great man like Boaz. But Boaz could speak to her. We have no right on our own to speak to the Lord. But He has already spoken to us and continues to speak to us. And He has invited us to speak with Him.
A third example is found in Boaz’s promise to protect and provide for Ruth. In fact, his provision for her included his handing her food during the noon meal. It is easy to miss the significance of this. Typically, the master (Boaz) would never serve the servants. Instead the master would be served. But Boaz takes on the role of servant and provides for Ruth. What a great picture of Jesus!
Another example is Boaz made sure that Ruth had all she needed and more. She ate until she was satisfied. And she was allowed to keep what was left over. (She would share that with Naomi when she got home.) True, lasting satisfaction is found only in Jesus. Other things or people might provide a temporary feeling of satisfaction but lasting satisfaction is found only in Jesus.
And the final example is Boaz gave Ruth and Naomi hope. When they left Moab they were pretty hopeless. When they arrived in Bethlehem, they were pretty hopeless. But now because of the grace and generosity of Boaz, they had hope. Never forget that 1 Peter 1:3 teaches us that Jesus is our “Living Hope”.