Read Ruth 2
Ruth’s story is so charmingly simple and beautiful — a tale of kindness and connection, family and faithfulness. The thing that stands out to me the most, however, is the blessing that comes from living a simple life of faithfulness and seeing how God often shows up in it.
Ruth is out in the fields working alongside the men. She’s in a foreign land. She’s a young widow trying to work to take care of her mother-in-law who is also a widow.
And as you enter into her world, not having read the book of Ruth before, you can see she is probably tired, hot, and in for it. She’s in it for the long haul. She is going to have to work and keep working day in and day out. She will have to work alongside the farming men of a foreign land and depend on the kindness of strangers to let her glean in their fields, hoping she won’t be harmed.
Some guy named Boaz shows up and starts asking her a bunch of questions. Then, he not only gives orders to ensure her safety but also sees that she is sent home with provision for her family. The reader thinks, “This guy is A-OK.”
We like Boaz even more when he tells Ruth it’s because of her faithfulness in staying with Naomi that she has found favor in his eyes. And even though there is a famine in the land, he shares his meal with her and tells his workers to leave extra barley stalks for her to pick up as they’re working.
Ruth finds out when she gets home that Boaz is a distant relative poised in such a way that he could take Naomi and Ruth into his household to be their kinsman-redeemer (The Hebrew word goel).
Boaz’s treatment of Ruth reminds me of God’s faithfulness. The grace of God has shown us that we live in an upside-down economy with Him; the relationship we have with Him is not due to our winning a good standing with Him, but rather His faithfulness to us: to love us and redeem us. Our alignment with the God of the universe positions us to be at the central focus of His rays of care and concern. We’ve stepped into the light where He is and where He works.
In Ruth’s story, she remained faithful to serve and love her mother-in-law even though all hope was lost. Naomi changed her name to mean “Bitter” because she felt the Lord’s hand had turned against her. But even so, as Naomi’s faith faltered and waned, God was working out a rescue plan (to borrow from Sally Lloyd-Jones). He had in mind a kinsman-redeemer for Naomi and Ruth all along, not because of their faithfulness to Him but because of His “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love” (Jesus Storybook Bible).
I wonder, has your expectation of God’s faithfulness to you waned? Do you feel you have been waiting too long? Have you perceived the world around you to be a terrible land ravaged by metaphorical famine?
I want to tell you to hold onto that thread of faith left inside of you. God has put it there, and as He tugs on it, He will surely bring you out into His fields and bless you. God is already your kinsman-redeemer, giving up His only Son to save you from your sins. Why would your daily provision or any other earthly blessing be too much for Him to accomplish? As Romans 8:32 says, “He did not even spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all. How will He not also with Him grant us everything?”