Ruth 2:2: “And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.”
In this verse we see several things concerning Ruth. Her Past, Her Subject, Her Need, Her Faith, and finally Naomi’s Permission, which reveals Her Commission and Her Relationship.
Her Past: “And Ruth the Moabitess …” This is how she is first seen by others, as “the Moabitess.” It will be what she does next that will change how people see her. This is what she was, not who she is. By faith she is no longer a Moabitess and no longer an idolater! She had told Naomi, “thy people shall be my people and thy God my God.” (1:16). The moment she said that she let go of her past and stepped forth in faith into another relationship and another world. But those in Bethlehem Judah didn’t realize this, it will take her testimony of love for Naomi and Naomi’s God and her willingness to labor in the fields to show people who she really is. This shows how important our testimony can be, how it can change how people see us.
Her Subjection: “said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field.” Here she asks Naomi’s permission first before doing anything. She has been instructed in what to do. Now she is willing to do what is needed, no matter how hard it is. She is also showing honor to Naomi as her mother and her teacher. She is fulfilling the command of “Honor thy father and thy mother” (Ex 20;12). She is willingly submitting herself to another, to her elder. Peter says, “Likewise ye younger, submit yourselves to the elder … be clothed with humility.” (1 Pet 5:5). She is showing true humility of spirit, and also a willing obedience. “Obey them that have the rule over you.” (Heb 13:17). She has put on as a garment a “humbleness of mind” which is seen in her “kindness” and “meekness” (Col 3:12). This is the testimony of the “elect of God” and it is her need and her willingness to meet the need, no matter how hard the labor that brings forth this testimony. Her actions reveal a “meek and quiet spirit” (1 Pet 3:4). What a glorious testimony of the Bride of Christ. The potential is there, His life and nature are there, it is the circumstances, the hardships that bring forth for all to see this glorious testimony, this testimony that describes the Bride of Christ.
Her Need: “and glean ears of corn.” Here we see her need, it is a need to “glean” or “pick up what is left.” She and Naomi have nothing, they are dependent and Ruth is going to lay hold of the provision for the people of God. She can do this because of her testimony of faith to Naomi earlier. She claimed Naomi’s people as her own and Naomi’s God as her own. She also meets the criteria listed for going out to glean, it is her right. She is a widow, she is a stranger and she is poor. (Lev 19:9-10; Lev 23:22; Deut 24:19). There were no free handouts; this was not a welfare society. The poor were provided for but they had to work for their food. The promise was that both the one in need and the one who provided for that need, the one who had an abundance, would be equally blessed.
Her Faith: “after him in whose sight I shall find grace.” Here is Ruth’s declaration of Faith. She says “I shall find grace” – how does she know this? By faith! She finds grace when she goes looking for it! She looks for grace and finds a man who shows it! The word “grace” means “favor” or “kindness.” Looking at the provision made for the poor mentioned in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, we see what the Lord wanted His people to do in providing for the needs of others. But as in any law there could be and would be those who might not obey it. Ruth was dependent upon the attitude and response of whoever’s field she came to glean in. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown write: “The right of gleaning was conferred by a positive law on the widow, the poor, and the stranger. But liberty to glean behind the reapers was not a right that could be claimed: it was a privilege granted or refused according to the good will or favor of the owner.” That granting of the right to glean is grace. Ruth trusted that there would be someone who would overlook the fact that she was from Moab show “favor” or “grace” to her in letting her glean in the field. One commentator says that “Some generous landowners were known to have left as much as one-fourth of their crop for the needy.” But there also were others that could have refused, could have disobeyed, who could have been more concerned about their own wealth than the needs of others. Some would only see “the Moabitess” but there would be one man who would only see “Ruth”! Grace is God’s provision for those in need. Ruth knows she is dependent upon grace; she is willing to look for and lay hold of it. She is trusting in the grace of a man she has never met! She can do this because she is first trusting in the grace of God! She trusted there would be someone obeying God’s command for the poor. And every though the provision was there and she reached by faith for it, she was still surprised by it! (2:10).
This grace will come through one man, Boaz, who is a type of Christ showing grace! His grace has many facets and touches all areas of our lives, from the first moment we lay hold of it as sinners to afterwards when we lay hold of it as saints. His grace saves us and justifies us (Ro 3:24, Eph 2:8), it is through grace that our sins are forgiven (Eph 1:7) His grace empowers us. We live by grace because it is Christ living in us that empowers us (Gal 2:20-21). We are taught by grace how to live in this present world (Tit 2:11-12). His grace enriches us. We are enriched by His Sacrifice, he who was rich became poor for us that he might make us rich (2 Cor 8:9). We are enriched by His Word. It is “the word of his grace” that will build us up and give us or show us our inheritance. (Acts 20:32). We are enriched in every way through his grace, in our speech and in our knowledge (1 Cor 1:4-5). And that grace that saves and empowers and enriches us comes through Jesus Christ, He is the channel. He is our Boaz. We go forth in faith and say: “I shall find grace”!!
Naomi’s Permission and her Commission: “And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.”
Naomi says: “Go” and in that word is the permission because she has asked and it also shows Ruth’s commission, her task, her duty, her job, her charge. She is to go find grace, go forth and go and don’t tarry, go labor, go and learn to submit to another. Finally we see Ruth’s Relationship: “my daughter.” Naomi knows who she is, now others will know who she is! Naomi is saying, I have taught you what I could, now go and put it into practice! Grace brought her out of Moab and into Judah. Grace will take her into a greater blessing and relationship! Grace will bring her to Boaz!
There is such a contrast between Ruth and the man she will meet, Boaz. She is poor and he is wealthy. She has nothing and he has everything. Her need will bring her to him and he will meet her need. Jesus is our Boaz, He is “a mighty man of wealth” and our need brings us to Him and He meets that need in every way! Praise the Lord!
To be continued
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