Ruth 2:22 – “And Naomi said unto Ruth her daughter in law, It is good, my daughter, that thou go out with his maidens, that they meet thee not in any other field.”
In this verse we see what Naomi says to Ruth concerning the words of Boaz. Naomi says that Boaz’s words were good: “It is good, my daughter.” One translation reads: “It will be a good thing for you” (NIV). The word “good” comes from “a good thing.” It means “kindness,” “better,” “beautiful.” Each of those meanings is a reflection of Boaz and what Ruth enjoys because of him. Boaz’s words showed his “kindness,” he didn’t have to say this, he could have let Ruth glean in his field and fend for herself (defend herself). His words make Ruth’s situation “better,” she is safer and more protected, and through Ruth Naomi’s situation. Ruth like the Psalmist could exclaim: “Because thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee” (Psalm 63:3). Boaz’s words were “beautiful” in their grace and their graciousness. Ruth has wondered at them when she said, “Why have I found grace in thine eyes” (Ruth 2:10). Each of these meanings is a description of Boaz and what she enjoys through him. Naomi examines all that Boaz has said and sees that it is a “good thing.” She sees that there is nothing bad, negative, or harmful in his words to Ruth. She sees that his words were “good” sound advice.
The first part of what is “good” has to do with what Ruth is willing to do. She must be willing to follow “good” words and sound advice. Ruth was a young woman; she had the independence of youth to overcome. Many times the young want their independence. Many times the young fail to listen to good advice. Many times the young fail to see the danger or ignore the danger and go ahead. If Ruth listened to what Boaz said there would be a cost, a loss of independence. She must be willing to be separated – separation is good. She must be willing to serve – service is good. It is only by following Boaz’s maidens that Ruth is taught these two things. They will show her how to please Boaz!
The second part of what is “good” is how Ruth will test Boaz’s promises. There is a promise, a reward if she “keeps fast” or close to his servants. There is a reward for separation and service and it is always good. There is a reward from Boaz for Ruth, a hidden reward; it is his grace for enabling, for service, his grace that helps her in her work, his grace that makes it a good work. Boaz will “make all grace abound” toward her and Ruth will learn to “abound in every good work” (2 Cor 9:8). But Ruth by faith must prove, must put Boaz’s words, his promises to the test. Paul says that we “may prove that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Ro 12:2). The “good” is there, it is her obedience that proves the truth of his words.
Boaz has said to stay close to his maidens: “that thou go out with his maidens.” Ruth can learn from the maidens of Boaz, they can be examples to her of behavior both in the field and out of the field. The word “go out” means to “go after” or “go forth” or “go with.” Ruth is given companions to labor with and learn from. This is also command from the master to his servants. It means “to send with commandment.” One translation is “to keep going out with his girls” (Complete Jewish Bible). Don’t start and stop, do this every day of the harvest. This is Ruth’s choice; her heart must choose to do this and to keep doing this. Boaz is asking Ruth to start with small steps, little steps of obedience that will have long lasting consequences.
Naomi ends with why these words of Boaz are so good, a very practical reason. Ruth will be protected: “that they meet thee not in any other field.” The word “meet” means “to strike or clash with (by accident) or violence.” It is translated “molested” (Amp); “harmed” (NIV) and “encounter hostility” (Complete Jewish Bible). This is a reminder of how precarious Ruth’s position was, she was a Moabite, they were hated and there was prejudice. Remember, this was the times of the Judges and “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6) There was a very real danger for Ruth out alone in the fields alone.
The final part of what is good is the consequences, the results. Notice that it is Ruth’s proximity to Boaz’s handmaidens that protects her. Boaz was “a mighty man of wealth” (2:1), he was respected and feared. Staying close to them, and serving Boaz identifies her as one of his handmaidens. Naomi recognizes that Boaz does not want Ruth to be harmed or hurt, but knows she might be. Ruth is under his protection only as long as she remains in his fields! Naomi recognizes there were those who might hate and hurt Ruth and until Boaz claims her and she is joined to him, she is vulnerable. We need to be aware of the danger outside the will of God. If we stray and don’t stay, there can be terrible consequences. The Lord, like Boaz, says to “go not” and “abide fast” (2:8) for our protection and blessing. It is by abiding in Him and in the place He puts us that brings froth fruit (Jn 15:4-5). Ruth will show she is faithful and abide and Boaz will see her fruit. Boaz will say “thou art a virtuous woman” (3:11). It is abiding in His Word that also enables us to ask correctly and receive (Jn 15:7). Ruth will come to Boaz and ask of him (3:9) and ask correctly and he cannot deny her, he will grant her request (3:11).
What a testimony of the Lord and his concern and care for us in the “good” words spoken by Boaz and what a testimony of the saints and their subjection to Jesus in Ruth’s attitude toward Boaz’s words, and what a glorious reward will be enjoyed after all the labor and service. Ruth, like the Bride of Christ is making herself ready. Let us do this, listen to those “good” words and stay close to those the Lord sets before us as examples. Let us embrace His protection and care and let Him take care of us and prepare us for the best place!
To be continued