Chapter One of the Book of Ruth ended with Naomi and Ruth returning to Bethlehem, Naomi’s hometown. Other than the glimmer of hope sparked by the barley harvest, our beloved girls..Naomi and Ruth were still husband-less and broke.
Chapter two of the book of Ruth begins with a man! Well of course it does! Don’t all love stories involve a prince charming? The first verse in chapter two says the following: Now there was a wealthy and influential man in Bethlehem named Boaz, who was a relative of Naomi’s husband, Elimelech (Ruth 2:1).
Aren’t we reading about Ruth and Naomi? What does this Boaz person have to do with anything?
Just like a great movie my dear divas, lets just call this description of the mystery man “Boaz” foreshadowing for God’s providence.
Verse two of chapter two begins very abruptly with Ruth asking Naomi’s permission to go out into the fields and “glean” for left over grain. Naomi must have shared with Ruth God’s law for landowners which required that they not harvest all of their fields but leave the edges and the grain their harvesters missed to provide for the poor and alien (Deuteronomy 24:19-22).
Are y’all seeing what I am seeing? I sure hope so…uh hun…God’s providence.
So, Ruth goes out and found a field to glean in and “by chance” (yea right), she began to glean in none other than our mystery man Boaz’s field. As Ruth was diligently working, Boaz “just happened” (double yea right), to visit his field. When Boaz arrived, he greeted his harvesters by saying: “The Lord be with you” and they called out to him: The Lord bless you!” (Ruth 2:4).
What would our workplaces be like if bosses and their employees genuinely greeted each other this way every day?
Ok, I digressed..back to the story!
Be still my heart…not only is Boaz a wealthy and influential man (Ruth 2:1), he is also a man of God! Now, the plot truly thickens.
After Boaz’s arrival and greeting, Ruth returned to her work. As she worked, Boaz noticed her and asked his laborers who she was. They informed him that she was Naomi’s Moab daughter-in-law. Boaz went over and talked to Ruth! He told her how impressed he was with the way she treated her mother-in-law Naomi. During their conversation, he offered her protection, water, and an opportunity to glean at his field exclusively for the entire harvest. Ruth’s response was one of extreme gratitude.
Then they had their first date….well not really. At mealtime, Boaz asked Ruth to eat with him. Ruth ate until she was full and even had enough prepared food to take back to Naomi. In addition to left overs, Ruth took home about 30 pounds of grain (enough grain for a few days).
A glimmer of hope sparked in Naomi’s eyes when she saw all the grain Ruth brought her and the realization that Boaz was related to her deceased husband. She called Boaz their kinsman redeemer.
Key the Jefferson’s theme song…”Well we’re movin’ on up”.
Food for thought questions:
1. Why did Boaz admire Ruth?
2. How did Boaz show kindness to Ruth?
3. How can you show kindness to others?
Homework: Read Ruth Chapter 2 and complete Session 1 questions in the “Esther and Ruth Group Curriculum” by North Point Ministries. (Located HERE)