“As It Turned Out…”
Lord, teach me to trust You whether I am in plenty or in want. Teach me Your secret of contentment.
Read RUTH 1:19—2:13
19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”
20 “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”
22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.
Ruth Meets Boaz in the Grain Field
2 Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, a man of standing from the clan of Elimelek, whose name was Boaz.
2 And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.”
Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” 3 So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek.
4 Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The Lord be with you!”
“The Lord bless you!” they answered.
5 Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, “Who does that young woman belong to?”
6 The overseer replied, “She is the Moabite who came back from Moab with Naomi. 7 She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.’ She came into the field and has remained here from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter.”
8 So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. 9 Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.”
10 At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?”
11 Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. 12 May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”
13 “May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord,” she said. “You have put me at ease by speaking kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servants.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhen I needed it most, a friend gave me $400. Give thanks for those who generously support those in need.
Ruth and her mother-in- law have journeyed back to Bethlehem, to general surprise. One is a returned exile; the other has become a foreigner in a strange land. They are both potentially vulnerable people. Naomi is a widow; although she does own some land, she has no husband to protect and provide for her—and without Naomi, Ruth would be lost. They need to do what the poorest of the poor did—glean from the harvest, for which provision was made in the Law (Leviticus 23:22). And in the fields of Boaz, Ruth impresses the overseer with her hard work. Moreover, when Boaz arrives, it’s clear he already knows about Ruth and her circumstances (11,12) and is minded to be generous.
People in vulnerable situations often attract negative attention. The way asylum seekers or migrants are portrayed can be unsympathetic at best, and the lengths to which they go to find safety from their desperation is regularly met with suspicion and tragic results. In this simple story about individuals, Boaz’s response to Ruth’s situation provides an example many churches are following in their care for the vulnerable and needy.
What does your church do—food banks? drop-in centers?—to reach out to those in the community who have the least?
Father, I pray for all those involved in serving You in these ways. Strengthen all of Your servants.
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