Ruth 2:12 – “The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.”
In this verse we see the wonderful Reward that is promised Ruth, it comes through Boaz. How wonderful a type this is, showing the promise of reward comes from Jesus, He tells us what lies in store for us. Boaz makes three statements about Ruth’s actions, and the decision she has made. He tells her of her Work, her Reward and her Trust. This is a revelation on the part of Boaz, of what she did and what God will do. It points to what Ruth has yet to realize, to what is already hers!
Her Work: “The Lord recompense thy work.” The first thing that Boaz says, it is the “Lord” and not man who will recompense her work. Only the Lord can do this, He can see her heart and her motive. Only the Lord can truly measure her work according to His Word. Jesus said: “…thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly” (Mt 6:4). There will be an immediate reward, where her needs will be met. Paul experienced this and told the saints at Philippi “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19). There will also be an unexpected ongoing reward, that changes her. She will be changed by her labors, by her fellowship, by her submission. She will be changed by the Spirit of the Lord, like those today who serve and submit and are changed as Paul says, “from glory to glory” (2 Cor 3:18). Ruth may not see it or feel it, but the change takes place, she will “grow up into him” (Eph 4:15) and “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord” (2 Pet 3:18). That is a reward that is ongoing that we don’t often think about. Many are concerned with only how their needs are met, but there is so much more going on in our lives, there is a work being done in us, as we like Ruth, go into the field and labor for the Master!
The word “work” comes from “to do” (habitually) or “to practice.” It speaks of an “act” or a “deed.” This began with her commitment to Naomi and to God and this work continued with her care for Naomi. This is her “work of faith” and “labor of love” (1 Thess 1:3).
The word “recompense” means “to be completed” or to “make perfect.” It also means “(make to be at) peace,” “to restore and reward” and “to pay in full.” Boaz says that it will be the Lord God of Israel that will “recompense” her. Her reward will be her growth because it is through her trial that the Lord is able to “make (her) perfect.” Her reward will be a “peace” both within and without. Her reward will be “paid in full” in an unexpected way – she will be joined to Boaz! This is her greatest reward. It will be through Boaz that God will “restore” and “reward” and fully bless Ruth.
Her Reward: “a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel.” Boaz tells her the extent of this reward, it is “a full reward.” The word “full” is the Hebrew word “shalem” which is similar to “shalom” (peace). It means “quiet” (peaceable), it means “complete” or “just.” Peace is the foundation of her reward, everything rests upon this. Despite her labors and trials, she has already begun to experience this “quiet.” Peace expresses what she feels in her daily life and spiritual life. And along with this “quiet” is a “fullness” or a “completeness.” She is letting the Lord complete her education. She shows she is “just” or righteous and there is a reward promised for the righteous (Ps 58:11; Isa 3:10).
Just as Ruth is in training, the Bride is in training, the Lord is completing her education. She is brought to a place of “completeness” through trials and labors and she is brought to a place of “fullness” of Christ in her (Eph 4:13).
The word “reward” speaks of “wages” earned. This reward is based on God’s grace for Boaz says it is “given thee.” It is “the Lord God of Israel” who gives this reward. In the phrase “Israel” we see she is no longer identified with Moab but with Israel, she is brought into the family of God. It is a “full” reward, a picture of the Bride’s reward. A “full reward” is to be “joint-heirs with Christ” (Ro 8:17); it is seen in the victor’s prize at the end of the race (1 Cor 9;24). It is seen in the “prize of the high calling” (Phil 3:14). It is seen in and culminates in “the marriage of the Lamb” (Rev19). What a glorious full reward is set before us!
Her Trust: “under whose wings thou art come to trust.” Finally we see the trust of Ruth. It is a wonderful visual picture, a picture of young birds fleeing from danger, running to their mother and being covered by her wings. There they find shelter from the elements. It is a place of rest and protection, a place she choose to “come” to. It is the “wings” of the Almighty that she has found shelter. These wings cast a shadow that is a great shadow, it stretches out and encompasses all of God’s people. The shadow of His wings hides us (Ps 17:8), becomes our refuge, a place filled with His mercy and love (Ps 36:7; Ps 57:1). The shadow of His wings are a covert or covering (Ps 61:4; Ps 91:4) that is both strong and tender. It is the place we can run to for help (Ps 63:7) and the place that Jesus used to described the tender love of God for His children (Mt 23:37).
These “wings” speak of God’s Power and Ability to Protect. It can be translated “overspreading” or “spreading over,” speaking of His Covering. It can be translated “an army,” speaking of His Might. It can be translated “a garment,” speaking of His Righteousness.
The final thought about Ruth and this wonderful place of refuge and safety, she chose to come to this place willingly. Boaz said “thou art come,” this is all we need to do, our faith, our trust shows us and draws us to this place and once we see it we run to it! Boaz tells Ruth she knew where to come and when to come to this place of protection. She chose to come and was not ashamed to do so. There is another’s “covering,” another’s “wings” that will “overshadow” her. Later Ruth will come and lay claim to this promise of a “covering” when she comes to Boaz and says “spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid” (Ruth 3:9). There we see her laying claim to Boaz and his ultimate protection, marriage. Let us joyfully and willingly and eagerly “come to trust” like Ruth in the “wings” of the Lord and lay claim to the covering of our Boaz, the Lord Jesus Christ!