In the next two verses we have the servant’s answer to Boaz’s question: “Whose damsel is this?”
Ruth 2:6 – “And the servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab:”
It is a thorough answer, showing the obedience of the servant to his master’s request and the knowledge of the servant concerning Ruth. These two qualities show the character of the servant of Boaz. In type, these qualities and the testimony of this servant reflect the character of a servant of Christ, and in this case, especially the character of the Apostle Paul. This is the testimony of a good steward, he obeys and he knows! Paul described the character of a good steward: He is first of all a “bishop” (an overseer, a shepherd) and cares for the flock. He is the “steward of God” he knows who his Master is (1 Tim 1:7). He is “sober, just, holy” (1 Tim 1:8) – He is an example in his life. He holds “fast the faithful word” (1 Tim 1:9) – He is an example in his teaching. Above all, he is “faithful” (1 Cor 4:2). Paul was such a steward, and those who preach this gospel of grace are such stewards. Boaz is a picture of the Lord of the Harvest (Luke 10:2) who has sent forth his laborers and come to visit and he asks his servant to give an account of actions.
The servant begins with a description of Ruth, he tells what he knows about her, we see his first reaction and impressions of her. Her Race is mentioned first, “It is the Moabitish damsel.” He saw her past but he didn’t let that stop him because he allowed her to glean. He acknowledges her right to glean, he knew she was a “stranger” and a “widow” (Lev 19:10; 23:22). She was a Gentile but she had a widow’s rights just as much as Naomi, for she had been married to Naomi’s son. Her Youth: she was a “damsel,” a “young woman” or a “maiden.” This was used of a girl of marriageable age, usually in her early teens (Unger Bible Dictionary). She was a widow but she was young enough to marry and bear children, eligible for marriage. Her Love: “that came back with Naomi.” He tells of her relationship and her journey with Naomi and the reason behind this is her love for Naomi. Her Faith: “out of the country of Moab.” He tells what she did. She came “out of” a place of idolatry; she left her gods and her people. She came into the land as a stranger and laid hold of her rights. The servant saw her need and accepted her, this is grace!
In type, the servant’s answer could also show the pastor’s knowledge of the flock! Warren Wiersbe writes: “To create and maintain a familiar and intimate acquaintance with the members of the flock committed to him is a most important instrument of usefulness to a faithful pastor. The whole influence and value of his ministry will be greatly dependent on this knowledge of his people. Suppose I could say of all the youthful females in the field around me, as each one appeared for my account, “This also was a daughter of Moab, but she has come back.” How applicable to them would become Paul's account of the Corinthian Christians: “Such were you, but ye have been washed, ye have been justified, ye have been sanctified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor 6:11) She has come back.”
Ruth 2:7 – “And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house.” Now the servant tells of three things concerning Ruth: Her Request; Her Labor and Her Rest.
Her Request: She came before him with a plea and it was a gracious request: “I pray you.” The Amplified, Jewish Bible and New American Standard all translate this phrase: “Please let me.” We see a polite and timid request; she knows her rights but is not sure of the response. Grace will teach her not to be afraid to ask and grace teaches us the same thing! “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:16). We see her need, she was not afraid to express it: “let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.” She was hungry and willing to gather what is left, she will accept the crumbs like the woman who came to Jesus and simply asked “And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt” (Matt 15:27-28). Like the woman who came to Jesus, she knows where to go and who to ask!
Her Obedience: “so she came.” This is how easy it is, to simply come. She came at the bidding of the servant, he had give his permission. She came gratefully, eagerly, with no hesitation. This is all we have to do if we want more. All we have to do is feel our need and then come to the place where that need will be met. The permission has already been given to partake of all that we find and the promise is that we will be fed and nourished! “Ho (Oh!), every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy (admit your need), and eat (satisfy your need); yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Isa 55:1). It is the need satisfies the price!
Ruth was willing to come in order to receive, the blessing began the moment she did! How many do we see coming to Jesus with their need and the moment they come He meets the need! The leper came to Jesus saying, “if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean” (Mt 8:2). The centurion “came unto him” for his servant “beseeching him” (Mt 8:5). The woman “with the issue of blood…came…and touched his garment” (Mt 9:20). The woman “which was a sinner” came “to wash his feet with tears” (Lk 7:38). Our view of our lack of worthiness shouldn’t stop us from coming to Him!
Ruth asked a stranger, someone she didn’t know, all she knew was that there was a provision for her and this was the place. She also knew that even as a stranger and widow who was willing to lay hold of this provision, there was a responsibility and attitude that was due her, a reward for her willingness and faithfulness. “But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt…” (Lev 19:34). The reward was love and acceptance, her past is forgotten and forgiven. She is not ashamed or afraid to ask, she knew she could ask. Jesus tells us to ask (Lk 11:9) and He tells us He is willing to give (Lk 11:10). The brother of Jesus, James tells us that if we don’t ask, He can’t meet the need! (Jam 4:2). Ruth was willing to ask, this is an overcomer’s faith!
Her Labor: “and hath continued even from the morning until now”. Now we see the labor of Ruth, how she continued and didn’t stop, how she kept on and didn’t give up, how she toiled and she tarried. This is what the servant saw and what he told Boaz. She didn’t stop working until the time Boaz arrived, “until now.” For her this was a “labor of love” (1 Thess 1:3), she loved Naomi, she loved Naomi’s God and she was learning to love Naomi’s people and would one day love Boaz. She labored “to give to (Naomi) who needeth” (Eph 4:28), it wasn’t just for herself. She labored with her “own hands” (1 Cor 4:12) and her labor was “not in vain” (1 Cor 15:58). Ruth’s labor was a testimony of her purpose of heart. This is the Bride’s testimony also, and her labor will be rewarded.
Her Rest: “that (except) she tarried a little in the house.” Another translation is: “except when she rested a little in the house.” (Amplified) or “except for a little rest in the shelter.” (Jewish Bible). She “tarried” or rested, only a little, it was not a lot. She labored more than she rested. She didn’t abuse the privilege given her. She also knew where to rest: “in the house.” She rested in the place provided for her! This is the house of fellowship, this is the house of others who labor. She is not alone! The Lord gives brief moments of rest before we go on to enjoy a greater rest. She took “the yoke” and was “meek and lowly.” She found “rest” for her “soul” (Mt 11:29). Paul tells us about this rest, it is the reward for labor, to be fully enjoyed we must first labor: “let us labor to enter into that rest” (Heb 4:11). It is appropriated by those who believe: “for we which believe do enter into rest” (Heb 4:3). It is God’s promise to His people: “there remaineth a rest for the people of God” (Heb 4:9).
What a wonderful blessing Ruth began to enjoy, she had a small taste that day of a greater rest that awaited her, a rest that would come at the side of Boaz! I look forward to with longing that day when I shall see my Boaz, my Bridegroom and rest in His presence, but now I can rest in His promises until that day!
To be continued