Read Ruth 2:1-13 (Click here for full reading)
1Now Naomi had a relative on her husband's side, from the clan of Elimelech, a man of standing, whose name was Boaz.
2And Ruth the Moabitess 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." 3So she went out and began to glean in the fields behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech.
4Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, "The Lord be with you!" "The Lord bless you!" they called back. 5Boaz asked the foreman of his harvesters, "Whose young woman is that?" 6The foreman replied, "She is the Moabitess who came back from Moab with Naomi. 7She said, 'Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.' She went into the field and has worked steadily from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter."
8So 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 my servant girls. 9Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the girls. I have told the men not to touch you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled."
10At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She exclaimed, "Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me — a foreigner?" 11Boaz 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. 12May 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 given me comfort and have spoken kindly to your servant — though I do not have the standing of one of your servant girls." (NIV)
As we look at the first part of this third scene in Ruth, the fields in Bethlehem. The narrator sets up the scene by telling us the relationship between Boaz and Naomi. Ruth then asks for permission to go glean the fields. We are not told if Ruth knows all the relationships, and if she does, does she know which fields belong to whom. But Naomi does give Ruth permission to go and glean. One can infer that going out alone could be dangerous. Otherwise, why does Boaz tell his men not to touch her.
What I love is there are times that we must make a decision and the clear answer is not before us. But God guides us if we will listen to that still voice inside us. As I look back over my life, I see so many times I ended up in the right place at the right time. I have seen it in funeral messages I have given where I did not hardly know the person, but the words and stories that seemed random to me, became so meaningful to the family. I still marvel out how God is working in our lives without us even seeming to know it until we look back.
The next thing that is wonderful about this scene it the reaction of Boaz. He knows his fields and he knows who is gleaning in them. He notices someone knew and inquires. When he is told that this new person is Ruth, the Moabite who came back to Bethlehem with Naomi and sees how hard she works, he exclaims a common theme in Scripture about Christ and God. We see this in verse 11. Boaz tells Ruth what he has heard about her. And now he sees it. It is the same reaction of the townspeople to the woman at the well once they meet Jesus. The reaction is we have heard, but now we see.
This is why we read that when the disciples were questioned about Jesus sometimes, their response was simply, “Come and see.” This is why our witness is tied so much to our actions. As some have so oft said, “Do we walk the walk.” People are watching us and they do respond when our actions match our words.
Have you had times where you needed to make a decision and were not sure of the best way to go? Have you looked back after making the decision to see where God was leading you? What do you think about the idea that people are watching how we behave to determine the validity of Christianity? Do your actions bring people to God or push them away? It can be a fine line sometimes.
Blessings and Peace