Ruth 2:21 – “And Ruth the Moabitess said, He said unto me also, Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest.”
After Naomi’s words concerning Boaz, the revelation and assurance that he was their “next kinsman,” their “Kinsman Redeemer,” Ruth goes on to tell Naomi what Boaz said to her. Previously Ruth had only shown Naomi what she had brought back from gleaning and told Naomi the name of the man in whose field she gleaned. She told Naomi what Boaz had done for her. But Boaz reinforces what he does with what he says. His gracious actions are backed with gracious words. What a wonderful picture of Christ, whose words were filled with grace. The Psalmist wrote: “… grace is poured into thy lips” (Ps 45:2); and those that heard Jesus speak “wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth” (Luke 4:22).
Ruth tells Naomi what Boaz told her to do, and his words are filled with grace and also show that Boaz is aware of his relationship as a kinsman, and even before being asked, he reaches out to meet their needs and he does this through Ruth, she become a conduit for the blessing of Boaz! So what does Ruth tell Naomi Boaz said to her? “He said unto me also, Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest.” Boaz tells Ruth to stay close to his servants. He tells Ruth what she needs to DO; she needs to “keep fast.” The word “keep fast” comes from “to cling.” Here clinging is a good thing and not a bad thing, it shows strength and not weakness.
It means “to cleave (hold) fast” (to Boaz, his word, his servants) – Dependence (Faith).
It means “to follow close” – Direction. (Walk). – She is to keep close.
It means “”pursue hard” – Desire (Race). – She is to keep up.
It means “be joined (together)” – Devotion. (Fellowship, Communion, Companionship)
Boaz tells Ruth who she needs to stay close to, he says “my young men,” and this can also be translated “my servants (male and female).” The emphasis is not just on the servants, but on whose servants she is to stay close to: Boaz’s servants. This is who she is to cleave to and follow and fellowship. They will lead her and teach her. This will be another test of her character and her faithfulness. If she does this, she shows Boaz her purpose of heart. If she does this, she shows Boaz her obedience. At the end of harvest time, Ruth will be a different person; she will not be the same person that walked into the field on the first day asking to glean. She will have grown in comprehension, fellowship, strength and endurance.
And how long was Ruth to do this? Boaz said: “until they have ended all my harvest.” She was to do this until the end of all his harvest, the barley harvest and wheat harvest. Boaz wants to keep Ruth close and safe. During this time he is watching her and watching over her. He is guarding and guiding her. He knows who she is and who he is and what his responsibilities are and exercises them before being asked!
The testimony of Ruth in obeying the words of Boaz should be the testimony of our lives as we serve Christ, who is our Boaz. We need to be Dependent: to “cleave fast” to Christ and to the Word. This was the exhortation Barnabas gave the church at Antioch, “cleave unto the Lord” (Acts 11:23). This was the exhortation Paul gave the saints at Rome, “cleave to that which is good” (Ro 12:9). We need Direction: We need to “follow close,” we need to follow Christ and follow the examples of godly men and women who have done so before us. Jesus said “My sheep hear my voice…and they follow me” (Jn 10:27). Paul said: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1), he said “follow us” (2 Thess 3:7,9) and “follow after righteousness” (1 Tim 6:11; 2 Tim 2:22). We need Desire: We need to “pursue hard” after godly things. We “run in a race” and we are to “run that (we) may obtain” (1 Cor 9:24). We are to “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:14). Paul tells us what it is that we should desire to obtain, it is the prize, Christ as Bridegroom. We need Devotion: We need “to be joined (together)” with Christ and with other saints. We do this when we don’t forsake “the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb 10:25). When we meet together and share our needs and burdens and blessings. When we worship together, pray together, labor together and suffer together. Think of all the shared experiences Ruth had during the time she labored in the fields of Boaz with others, followed after those men and women and sat and ate and fellowshipped with them! It is through Dependence, Direction, Desire and Devotion that we overcome and how we show that Jesus is our only love, our “first love” (Rev 2:4).