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. — Ruth 2:12
A young woman (also named Ruth) faced a choice. She had been saved, sanctified, and baptized with the Holy Spirit, but she knew that God wanted her to consecrate more. She said, “I was afraid if I completely surrendered my life to the Lord, my own plans might never materialize. My desires were not sinful, but they were not God’s plan for me.”
This Ruth battled internally for over a year. Finally, one Sunday she knew she had to make a decision. She found a place to be alone with God, and the conflict raged between her ambitions and the deep feeling within her heart that she must do God’s will.
Then the Lord showed her two paths. One was sunny and sheltered with trees, had lovely homes and children playing, and the Lord stood at the end of it. The other was rutted and muddy, unprotected and hard, and the Lord stood at the end of that path also. She realized she could have her ambitions and still make Heaven, but she also knew that the Lord wanted her to take the difficult path. That day, with all her heart, she told the Lord she would take His way. Years later, she said, “The path God chose for me far surpassed any ambitions or dreams I ever had.” God opened the door for fulltime service and used her to write countless letters to people in Africa, helping them find the Lord and continue in their Christian walk.
Ruth in the Bible also made choices. She chose to go with Naomi to Israel. In today’s text, when she decided to glean, she made a choice to get busy and do something about her situation. As a result, Boaz spoke the words of blessing that are recorded in our focus verse.
God was unfolding a wonderful plan for both of these women named Ruth, but His plan was only possible because of the choices they made. The Ruth of the Bible did not fret about who she would marry or if she would ever marry again. She could have worried about how she would make a living and survive. All those things were unknown to her, but in spite of that, she stepped out in faith and made the right choice.
Sometimes we worry about things down the road that we have no control over. Careers, marriage, and family, are big decisions to be sure. But the best way to have those choices turn out right is to make the right choices now. If we follow God day by day, we too will find a “full reward” from the Lord.
Ruth, a Moabite widow, had to trust in God for her well-being. She demonstrated determination to do her part and work as hard as she could, by looking for a field in which she could glean. Gleaning was picking up the loose stalks from the fields after the wheat and barley had been cut and tied in bundles. Israel’s law provided for gleaning as a method of helping the poor (Leviticus 19:9-10).
Ruth took a chance, because as a stranger she did not know who owned the various parcels of ground that made up the fields. Also, being an outsider as well as a woman, she was vulnerable. The poorest people gleaned, so she was among the lowest socially.
Verse 3 indicates that she “happened” to work in a portion of the field that belonged to Boaz. Boaz took an immediate interest in this stranger, and promised her protection and provision (2:9, 14-16). He instructed his servants regarding where she should glean and even told them to let some extra grain fall for her to pick up. She was allowed to eat and drink with his workers. Boaz himself ate with her and even handed her food (verse 14). Some Bible commentators believe that Boaz was attracted to Ruth from the start.
The Lord was taking care of Ruth! She “bowed herself to the ground” in response to Boaz’s kindness. An ephah of grain was approximately half a bushel, which was enough food for Naomi and Ruth for about five days.
Upon hearing Ruth’s good news, Naomi took heart because of who Boaz was, and the kindness he had shown to Ruth. “Next kinsman” (verse 20) indicates that Boaz was one of Elimelech’s closest relatives, and therefore, he could redeem Elimelech’s inheritance. The order of next kinsmen was brothers, uncles, and then male cousins. The kinsman’s responsibility was to be sure the property stayed in the family. Included in this responsibility was marrying the widow if a man died childless, and raising up children for his name. No wonder Naomi was excited and thanked God! On her first day, Ruth had become acquainted with a man who could redeem both of them. Nothing was “chance” about these events, but God’s hand was in it all.
Naomi instructed Ruth to stay in Boaz’s field for the barley harvest (March and April) and the wheat harvest (June and July).
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. Ruth’s unselfishness (2:1-23)
A. The request to glean in Boaz’s field (2:1-7)
B. The provision of Boaz (2:8-17)
C. The report to Naomi (2:18-22)
D. The continued labor of Ruth (2:23)
We cannot possibly know what tomorrow will bring. In her wildest fancies, Ruth of the Bible could not have imagined what God would do for her. Her decision to trust Him was rewarded beyond what she could have even known to ask for. We, too, will be rewarded if we choose to fully commit ourselves to God.