8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Listen carefully, my daughter. Do not go to glean in another field; furthermore, do not go on from this one, but stay here with my maids. Boaz no longer seems very concerned about all of the harvest activities going on around him. The first command, “Do not go to glean in any other field” is really a promise of provision and protection. he’s treating her like one of the other young women that work for him, like someone he is responsible for. 9 Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Indeed, I have commanded the servants not to touch you. When you are thirsty, go to the water jars and drink from what the servants draw.” It’s as if he’s saying, “don’t even think of looking at another field, this is where you belong”. And more than that—when the servants move onto another field to harvest, this is saying that Ruth should move along with them, and just keep gleaning. He also provides for her immediate need, saying “when you are thirsty, go to the water jars and drink from what the servants draw”. Boaz knew how hot it was working in those unshaded fields, and he’s making sure that Ruth has enough water to drink. Also, this means that she could glean much faster—not having to stop to go draw her own water throughout the day. Boaz provided for Ruth in a way that was better than she could have hoped to find any other way. Jeremiah 2:13-14: “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Now, a cistern was is an artificial reservoir which was dug in the earth or cut out of the rock for the collection and storage of water. This message was given as a rebuke to people who had turned away from God in their hearts—had lost their commitment to God, and had turned to all sorts of other sources for fulfillment. But the people of Judah found that the cisterns of their own making were broken cisterns that could hold no refreshing water. This is always the way when we try to design our own holding tank for spiritual refreshment. (Example: Rich man Jesus describes in Luke 12:17-20). Self-made attempts and schemes designed to find spiritual fulfillment apart from the Lord will inevitably result in failure. Only God Himself can quench our spiritual thirst. Ref: Isaiah 55:1-2, John 4:13-14, John 6:35 and John 7:37-38.) So, where do you find your fulfillment? What gives you the most Joy in life? What do you love most in life? What do you turn to when times are tough? What is the foundation of your life? If you’re being honest, and have to say anything but I find my fulfillment in God. God gives me the most joy in life. I love God most in life. I turn to God when times are tough. And God is my foundation, then that other thing is really your God, and you need to turn back toward the Living God. Because Ruth has turned away from her idols, and turned to worship the Living God. Because she has chosen to be counted amongst the people of God, and serve God and His people, she has been provided for by God. We as Christians have been given Living water that we didn’t have to draw—it was provided for us freely by Jesus; and God has promised to meet all of our needs. Like Boaz taking the initiative in providing for Ruth, God has taken the initiative and sent Jesus His Son to provide for all of our needs. And our reaction to God providing this living water for us, should be the same as Ruth’s reaction in chapter 2 verse 10 10 Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your sight that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” She’s overwhelmed by his generosity. Falling on her face was for their culture the kind of thing that one would do for a king. She’s asking him “why her”? We could all ask God this question. “Why have I found favor in your sight?” Why did you save me? And we should walk in humility before our God, knowing that we don’t deserve what He has done for us. And we should turn away from the cisterns of our own making, and keep drinking from the river of living water. 11 Boaz replied to her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband has been fully reported to me, and how you left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and came to a people that you did not previously know. Ruth had made a hard decision to do what was right, even though the cost to Ruth was probably going to be not being able to have a family of her own. He does not forget kindnesses done because we love His People. When you minister to someone’s needs because you love them as a Christian brother or sister, Jesus will not forget it, even though everyone else might. 12 May the Lord reward your work, and your wages be full from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge.” Boaz is talking here about the labor of love that Ruth has been performing by taking care of her mother-in-law Naomi. Boaz is saying that her work motivated out of love is worthy of reward from God. 13 Then she said, “I have found favor in your sight, my lord, for you have comforted me and indeed have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants.” Ruth received the grace that Boaz had shown her with humility and gratitude. She paid all possible respect to him, and gave him honor. She didn’t do anything to earn the grace and she doesn’t deserve the grace, but she accepts it with thankfulness and humility.
22 So Naomi returned, and with her Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, who returned from the land of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.
God uses the ___________________ of Ruth to __________ hope in Naomi’s heart and life.
Naomi returned with Ruth, arriving in Bethlehem at the beginning of __________ harvest.
The spring harvest
Barley matured faster and would be _______________ sooner. The firstfruits of grain offered during the Festival of Unleavened Bread would have been _______________ because it was ripe by the time of the Feast of First Fruits.
Newly harvested grain could not be ____________ until the firstfruits of grain had been offered on the “day after the Sabbath” of the Festival of Unleavened Bread (Lev 23:9-1, 14). Foreigners, such as Ruth, were specifically _____________ in the rejoicing and celebration taking place after the offering of firstfruits.
The purpose of firstfruits is to demonstrate that God is ____________ of all our wealth. He gives us the ___________ to attain success by returning to the Lord the “___________” of our produce. We are acknowledging the ____________.
The firstborn son was also to be redeemed according to the law, which is why in Luke 2:22-23 we see Joseph and Mary bringing baby Jesus to the ____________ in Jerusalem.
So, why is this important to us as Christians?
Well, it was on the __________ day of the week, Sunday after passover, that some disciples visit Jesus’ tomb and find it ___________. Resurrection Sunday, of course followed the sacrifice of our Passover lamb, and so was on the day of the feast of First Fruits. (see 1 Cor 15:20-21).
As Christians, as the Body of Christ, we are also part of the firstfruits. James 1:18says He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. We, the Church are the ones who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, as Romans 8:23 tells us, we should live our lives as those who wait ___________ for Jesus’ return.
So why is this important to the story of Ruth?
Ruth, this gentile bride is symbolic of the ____________as firstfruits. These two women, who have endured such hardship and difficulties, arrive at the _____________ of a grain known for enduring difficult growing conditions. When God leads us His timing is _____________.
Ruth Gleans in Boaz’ Field
2 Now Naomi had a kinsman of her husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz.
Literally, the verse says, “To Naomi, there was a close ______________ who she knew through her husband”. He is a ________________, as well.
Boaz’ name is often taken to mean “in him is strength”. Solomon, when he built the temple several generations later, named the two supporting pillars “Jachin and ___________”
2And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after one in whose sight I may find favor.”
The abruptness of Ruth’s request implies that Ruth ______________ no time in asking the question. Despite a long journey, instead of _____________ and recuperating, Ruth went immediately out to begin making a living for her and her mother-in-law. The word Glean, which is the Hebrew Laqat means “to ____________ together” or “to pick up”. It means to pick up the left-overs after someone has harvested a field. And the only reason why there were left-overs is because God had _______________ it back in Leviticus 19:9-10. So Gleaning was God’s way to take care of the _________ people of the land and make sure that they survived.
3 So she departed and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers; and she happened to come to the portion of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.
Now it’s interesting here, because the Bible says that she _______________ to come to the portion of the field belonging to Boaz. God has ___________________ directed Ruth to Boaz’ field. God was in _____________ of sending Ruth to this field and God is in control of the circumstances in our lives. Proverbs 3:5-6 says Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Well, she has been trusting in the Lord for her future, and not doing the practical, sensible thing, but following God even when it’s ___________. She’s ____________________ God in the way that she’s living her life—living in humility, displaying lovingkindness to those around her. And we find that God has made her path straight—____________ into the field of Boaz, who is the ________ person who can set everything right that has gone wrong in her and Naomi’s life so far. And there’s a lesson here for us in ________________ the Lord, _____________ Him, doing things _______ way-He will direct _______ path
4 Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem and said to the reapers, “May the Lord be with you.” And they said to him, “May the Lord bless you.”
Just while Ruth “happens” to be out in Boaz’ field, it’s just at that _________that Boaz comes out to check on his workers. Boaz’ first words are a _______________ to those working for him. In this greeting Boaz shows both that he ___________ about his workers and that he is a ____________ of the Lord.
5 Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?”
Boaz ___________________ notices Ruth. Boaz is going to be the instrument through which grace is shown to Ruth. Notice that from this point on, Boaz doesn’t really seem ________________ about the harvest, he’s concerned about how Ruth is ____________.
6 The servant in charge of the reapers replied, “She is the young Moabite woman who returned with Naomi from the land of Moab.
When the servant mentions that Ruth is the Moabite who’s returned home with Naomi, his close friend’s __________ and that she is caring so ______________ for one of his family members, it says worlds about Ruth’s character.
7 And she said, ‘Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.’ Thus she came and has remained from the morning until now; she has been sitting in the house for a little while.”
She’s asking ___________________, even though she technically doesn’t have to.
Emphasized: Ruth’s lack of ___________ all morning until now. The implication is that she has been _______________ in her determination to provide for herself and Naomi, and despite her desperation, has been exceptionally courteous. Ruth is exhibiting a lot of “grace under pressure”. We experience hard circumstances and difficulties in our walk with God, and as Christians, we should also demonstrate “grace under pressure”.
14 And they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
At this point that Orpah agrees with Naomi, that the best course of action is for her to return to her people
What Ruth does, goes above and beyond any obligation that she has to Naomi, and demonstrates that Hesed, that loving-kindness, that covenant, self-sacrificing love for her mother-in-law.
15 Then she said, “Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law.”
Naomi uses a kind of subtle peer-reminding her that Orpah has already gone back.
The reminder that returning meant returning to the false gods of Moab made Ruth realize the importance of her decision, and why she must go with Naomi. And the One True God is going to use this heathen Moabite woman Ruth to outdo the Israelite Naomi, when it comes to faith.
16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.
In verse 16, we have these words that stand as a monument to the kind of overflowing lovingkindness, self-sacrificing, covenant commitment, the above and beyond love, kindness and compassion, the Hesed that characterizes God’s relationship toward us, and should characterize our relationships with each other.
Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.
Ruth is renouncing her people, her past, her family, and her former gods, and is adopting Naomi’s people as her own, and choosing to serve Yahweh, the God of Israel from then on. This is the moment of choice—the choice that every human being must make—are you going to serve the One True God, or are you going to make something else your God?
Ruth has chosen this path to follow God and emulate His love for us in the way that she treats others. In choosing to follow God, Ruth is one of the few gentiles in the Old Testament that we see choosing to renounce their old life and serve God.
Rahab in Joshua 2:11, Naaman in 2 Kings 5:15 (and v.17), and Ruth. And Ruth’s profession is by far the strongest in terms of a statement of faith!
This is the decision upon which the whole book of Ruth revolves. This one decision affected the destiny of these two women, and not only of these two women, but of all of us.
Salvation came to this gentile because of the witness of Ruth. Who is it in your life who needs to see your good example? Who are you affecting as you lead your life. Are you pointing people toward the Lord or away from the Lord by the way that you live your life?
17 Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried.
What Ruth is saying is that she’s going to be a part of the people of God, and worship God, and live amongst the people of God until she dies, even if Naomi dies many years before her. She’s going to stay where Naomi has died and live out her life among the People of God, worshipping God, throughout her life, and be buried with the people of God. The covenant-relationship that’s brought to mind here isn’t just the marriage covenant of until death do we part, but it pictures salvation—which goes beyond death.
Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.”
But Ruth saying this tells us two things. First, and most obviously, Ruth is very serious about the vow that she is taking.
In the very same breath that she’s claiming God to be Her God from then on, and making a covenant with Him, she’s calling to mind the covenant that God had made with Abraham, promising him a son, who was the forefather of the very people she’s binding herself to, and saying are her people from now on. She’s joining herself to God and to his people permanently, and she’s doing it in a very Hebrew way.
It was a believing family, and in particular Naomi, who was living in a land full of idol-worshippers who showed Ruth how to be saved.
18 When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.
Naomi had nothing left to say. What could Naomi say after Ruth had put it into the hands of God? While Naomi had seemed resolute, like an immovable rock determined to make sure that Ruth did what was “best”for her” and returned to her own people; With one step of faith in God, Ruth outmaneuvered Naomi, and the conversation was over.
Salvation came to this gentile because of the witness of Naomi. Naomi had introduced Ruth to God, but it is Ruth who will introduce Naomi to the Kinsman Redeemer.
19 So they both went until they came to Bethlehem. And when they had come to Bethlehem, all the city was stirred because of them,
Notice that now they are treated as equals—the Bible says “they both went”, no longer saying Naomi and her daughter-in-Law Ruth. They are bound together, and are travelling toward Bethlehem.
And the women said, “Is this Naomi?”
It may be that the years had changed her—and it is likely that they did. Grief and stress can age a person beyond their years.
20 She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me [h]Mara, for [i]the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.
She’s blaming God for her reaction to what He has allowed. This is kind of the classic example of letting our bitterness define us—she actually is asking that her name be changed to bitter—and by saying this, she’s saying that what has happened to her is the end of her story. This is how she “ends up”.
21 I went out full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has witnessed against me and [j]the Almighty has afflicted me?”
She says that she went out full-with a husband and two sons-but the LORD has brought her back empty. But, is that really true? She has Ruth, who, although she overlooks her, and takes her for granted, demonstrates a loyalty that is probably above that of most children toward their parents.
She has a lot of bitterness and lack of hope and lack of faith to work through at this point, but the healing has already begun—even if she doesn’t realize it yet.