Ruth 2:3 - “And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.”
In this verse we see the obedience of Ruth to Naomi’s instructions and her obedience to the Lord. She “went” (departed), she “came” (arrived) and she “gleaned” (gathered). Her life was filled with activity! It is filled with faith because she is exercising her right to glean. It is filled with love because she is providing for Naomi. She is stepping out into the unknown. This was a Jewish custom, not a Moabite custom and she knew no one, she was truly a “stranger.” This was also something only the poor did, not the wealthy. Ruth may have come from a middle class or wealthy family, when Naomi left and first arrived in Moab she said she went out “full.” It sounds like besides having a family, they had wealth. Jewish tradition says that Ruth was the granddaughter of Eglon, king of Moab. There is no scripture supporting that, but if we was royalty, or wealthy, what a humbling experience this was.
The sweetness of this testimony is that Ruth chose to glean, she chose to work for her living, and she did this diligently and quietly. Once she started, she didn’t stop, she didn’t talk, she simply worked. Verse 7 says that she continued to glean from morning until the time Boaz arrived, taking only a brief moment to rest. Paul teaches the importance of a quiet, honest, hard working testimony. He wrote the Thessalonians to “study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing…” (1 Thess 4:12) and “that with quietness they work…” (2 Thess 3:12). There was a problem in the church among believers of not working and living off the generosity of other saints. Ruth did not do that! She worked and she was a quiet worker, she didn’t gossip, she didn’t dally or dawdle, she didn’t waste time. Ruth worked and she was rewarded at the end of the day because she labored!
We can ask ourselves this question, “What made Ruth stop and choose a field?” I’m sure there were many fields around to choose from, she had no idea of where to go; she just went forward. Naomi said “Go” (2:2) but didn’t tell her where to go. Naomi left the choice to Ruth. I believe Ruth prayed as she “went” forth. I believe she asked the Lord to lead her to the right field. This should be the cry of every child of God; it is the cry of the dependent heart. We ask to be led, by the Lord, by His Spirit, by His Word. “… for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.” (Ps 31:3)
“O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me” (Ps 43:3). “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Ro 8:14) she went until she came to a field that was being harvested. She saw “reapers” in the field reaping. She saw the gleaners and made a decision, she “gleaned in the field” behind the reapers. Was this the first field she came to or was it the second or third? We don’t know. There may have been fields everywhere. Behind the time of departure when she “went” and the time of arrival when she “came” there is a time-frame. It is a time of trusting the Lord. Sometimes we don’t know how long in our own lives that we have to wait until we arrive at the place the Lord wants us to stop. But we know that when we go forward in faith, trusting the Lord, we will arrive at the place where He wants us!
There is a word used in this verse that makes it sound like it is an accident that Ruth finds this particular field. It is the word “hap:” “and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz.” The word “hap” means “happened” or “chance.” The word “light” means to “come to” or “stop” (chiefly by accident). This looks like an accident from our view and maybe even Ruth’s but not Naomi’s! Naomi knows this is no accident. Brother Art Eggers writes: “The word hap (happened) is how man views life but to God there is nothing haphazard. God has all things planned way before we see anything taking place. In His due time, God puts us where He wants us. Have you decided to labor in His field? There is plenty of work to be done, just ask God what to do.” Sister Mary Bodie writes: “The was a hap that never would have happened if Ruth had remained with her gods in Moab.”
In the life of a child of God there are no “haps” or “happenings,” nothing is by “chance.” Whether we ask to be led by Him or not, He is in control of our lives. He knows our hearts better than we do. He knows the decisions and choices we will make. (Job 23:10; Ps 139:2; 2 Tim 2:19) And even despite those decisions we make, He looks ahead and works out what is best for our lives because He knows! (Ro 8:28).
I believe Ruth’s steps were guided by the Lord. Abraham’s servant at the end of his journey, when he found Rachel said: “I being in the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master’s brethren” (Gen 24:27). He prayed and he was led and he knew it! Brother Warren Wiersbe writes: “God’s working in our lives is both a delight and a mystery. God is constantly working with us (Mk 16:20), in us (Phil 2:13) and for us (Ro 8:28). We pray, we seek His will, and we make decisions (and sometimes make mistakes); but it is God who orders events and guides His willing children.”
Like Ruth, the Bride is willing to be guided and led and in the end, like Ruth, she will be rewarded!
To be continued