Ruth 2:18 – “And she took it up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed.”
In this verse we see Ruth making her journey back home and bringing with her the fruit of her labors. Notice what she did: “she took it up” – Ruth carried it herself. The phrase “took it up” means “to lift,” “to bear,” “to carry.” Ruth “took up” this burden with gladness and joy, though she may have been tired. It was a burden that looked heavy but felt light. There are times we “take up” burdens in our lives. We “take up” His cross (Mt 16:24) and we bear the trials. But there are also times we “take up” His blessings, and receive them – Ruth did this. The trials and blessings go hand in hand in our lives, we can’t have one without the other. Ruth couldn’t have had the blessing without the trial of the day, without the labor. Ruth now “takes up” and receives the blessings from Boaz, they are hers! She has received “the abundance of grace and gift of righteousness” (Ro 5:17). She has received her “own reward according to (her) own labor” (1 Cor 3:8). She has “done the will of God” that she “might receive the promise” (Heb 10:36). And because it is a reward, that burden is light! Ruth “went into the city,” she walked home. We don’t know how long a journey this was, it may have taken some time, others may have seen her. But during this walk home, Ruth had time to think about all Boaz had said and did. She had time to rejoice and to give thanks. “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever” (Ps 107:1). After the trials and the blessings, we need time alone, time apart, time to give thanks. She gave thanks for both: “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thess 5:18). We need time apart, time alone with the Lord to tell Him all that is in our heart and to thank Him. “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (Mt 6:6).
When Ruth goes home, Naomi, “her mother in law saw what she had gleaned.” Can you imagine the joy and gladness of her heart? She had to wait in faith and in hope and in prayer, for she didn’t know what Ruth’s day would bring forth. Naomi saw the answer to her prayers in what Ruth had gleaned. Next we see the two things Ruth did, she showed Naomi what she had: “and brought forth” what she had gleaned. This is the fruit of her labor. She “spread it out” for Naomi to see. Ruth was eager to show Naomi how she had “found grace” (v2,10). Ruth is showing the blessings and emphasizing those and not talking about her labors. Next she shared with Naomi: “and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed.” This was an additional blessing, this is the fruit of her fellowship with Boaz. She gave what she had saved! The word “gave” means “to show, to bestow, to offer.” The word “reserved” means “preserved” and “set aside.” Ruth gave to Naomi of what Boaz gave to her. He had given her more than she needed. She shared from the abundance of what she had received. She shared with Naomi from the portion she had “set aside” or “reserved.” She knew Naomi would need this at the end of the day and made sure she was provided for. We share with others what we receive from the Lord!
This also shows that the Lord will always give more than we need, it is always “much more.” This portion that is reserved pictures the “five times” more Benjamin received from Joseph (Gen 43:34). It is like the “five much mores” of Romans 5 that Paul speaks of (Ro 5:9,10,15,17,20). It is the abundance from “his banqueting house” (Song 2:4) that the Shulamite speaks of. It is like the “fatted calf” (Lk 15:25) that the prodigal son enjoyed. There is always “much more” than we need from what the Lord gives us. Ruth shared her blessings and through Ruth Naomi would also be “sufficed” or satisfied. Nothing was wasted, it will be used later. Jesus taught His disciples this after the multitudes were fed. Jesus said, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost” (Jn 6:12). How precious this is, that Ruth made sure that nothing was lost, that she reserved what was left to give to her mother in law. Ruth saved and shared from the table of fellowship with Boaz. What an example for us, to share with others the richness of the bounty that we receive from Christ!
Ruth 2:19 – “And her mother in law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned today? and where wroughtest thou? blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee. And she shewed her mother in law with whom she had wrought, and said, The man's name with whom I wrought today is Boaz.”
In this verse we see Naomi’s reaction to Ruth’s return and the abundance Ruth brings back. Naomi asks Ruth where she has been! She asks two questions: Where did yhou glean: “Where hast thou gleaned today?” and Were did you work: “and where wroughtest thou?” We see here Ruth’s labor. She “gleaned” which means “to gather” (the grain) and this describes the type and purpose of her labor. She “wrought” which means “to be industrious” and “to labor” and this describes the extent of the labor. She worked hard, she worked all day, she was industrious and not lazy. Naomi through her questions points our eyes to Ruth, what an example she is! This is an important question that is asked of all of the Lord’s servants. It is: Where have you gleaned today? – Have you been in the Word, have you been reading and meditating on the scriptures? Have you been gleaning the precious truths the Lord of the harvest has set before you. Have you labored today? Have you put to use in your life the things that you have gleaned? Has the Word energized you? Have you gone out to labor for the Lord of the harvest, not for your own needs, but for others?
After Naomi saw what Ruth had done and brought home she said something. This is her second reaction, it is PRAISE! She said: “Blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee.” The word “Blessed” comes from “to kneel,” it means “to bless God, to praise.” Naomi blesses “he” (the man) who has blessed Ruth. “Blessed is he that considereth the poor” (Ps 41:1). Naomi does this before she even knows the name of the man! She knows why Ruth comes back blessed (she has gleaned and wrought), but she doesn’t know who has blessed Ruth, who has allowed her to do this. She acknowledges that (because of God) someone noticed Ruth: “Blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee.” The phrase “take knowledge of” comes from “to scrutinize, to look intently at.” It means “to acknowledge, to notice.” It also means “to deliver.” Boaz had looked at Ruth, examined her, noticed her, and delivered her! What did Boaz “take knowledge of?” What did Boaz see? He saw Ruth’s poverty and her need. He saw Ruth’s faith and her love. In response to that he met that need! What grace, what love, what blessing!
Next we see what Ruth did in response to Naomi’s questions. She testified!
She showed Naomi: “And she showed her mother in law with whom she had wrought.” She showed Naomi by telling her about what happened, by telling her about the man she met (she hasn’t name him yet). She showed Naomi by her testimony, she testified! It’s interesting that Ruth says “with whom” she worked not just “for whom” she worked. Ruth saw her labor not only for Boaz but also with Boaz. Was Boaz out in the field with his laborers encouraging them? Our labors are not only for the Lord but with the Lord, we are joined to Him and He is joined to us. The servant is linked to the Master, the Master is linked to the servant, they labor together. Our labors are not only for the Lord but with the Lord, our Boaz walks by our side, and He works with us and through us.
She told Naomi: “The man’s name with whom I wrought today is Boaz.” This is how Ruth ends her testimony, she tells “The man’s name.” She knows who she has labored for, he is no longer a stranger, he is her Master. Jesus is our Master, He is not a stranger, we know His Name and He knows our name. In 2:1 Boaz is mentioned but Naomi isn’t aware of him yet, now after Ruth’s testimony, she knows about him and knows what he has done for Ruth and for her.
“The last time we met Naomi, she was sharing her bitterness with the women of Bethlehem and blaming God for her sorrow and poverty. Now we hear a new word from Naomi's lips: "Blessed!" She not only blessed Ruth's benefactor, but she also blessed the Lord! We have moved from bitterness to blessedness. When Naomi saw the grain, she blessed the man who allowed Ruth to work in his field; and when she heard that the man was Boaz, Naomi blessed the Lord. What a change has taken place in the heart of this grieving widow! This change came about because of the new hope she had in her heart, and the one who gave her that new hope was Boaz.” (Warren Wiersbe)
Continued next issue