Ruth 2:23 – “So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law.”
Here we see how Ruth responded to both Boaz’s and Naomi’s instructions. She obeyed! “So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz.” There was a double witness (Deut 19:15) from Boaz and Naomi that she should obey. Ruth listened to both and there was a double obedience on her part to both Naomi and Boaz. Ruth “kept fast,” she “kept close,” she “stayed close to” the maidens of Boaz. She took Boaz’s words and Naomi’s words to heart, listened and obeyed. She did what was asked without question, without argument, without complaint. One of the meanings for “kept fast” means “abide fast” and “follow close.” This shows the purpose and direction Ruth had for her life. She knew where she would go each day. She knew what she would do each day. She knew who she would follow and fellowship each day. Our lives need purpose, direction and structure and when we do as Ruth, follow close and keep close to those godly examples, and godly things, we will be truly content.
Another meaning for “kept fast” is “cleave (fast together)” or “to be joined.” This shows fellowship and companionship. These maidens became Ruth’s companions, she learned from them as she fellowshipped with them. They taught her wisdom: “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise” (Prov 13:20). Paul warned that those we walk with, talk with, fellowship can teach us good or bad habits. “Be not deceived: evil communications (companionships) corrupt good manners (morals and character).” (1 Cor 15:33). Ruth’s companions taught her good manners! She learned how to talk, how to dress, how to conduct herself as a godly woman. Here we see Ruth clinging tightly as she follows closely – she learned through fellowship!
We see also that this statement that “she kept fast” by his maidens speaks of Ruth’s obedience. This is what pleases Boaz! I think he cared more about that than the amount of grain she gleaned. Ruth’s life is filled with lessons of obedience and each taught her something. Her obedience in leaving Moab taught her to let go of her past. Her obedience in following Naomi taught her to embrace God and His promises. Her obedience in laboring in the fields taught her about provision and providing. She learned so many things in the fields of Boaz. She learned to provide for Naomi, to serve, to submit, to be faithful, to be separated. She learned about Boaz, she saw his grace in action. In each experience there was some suffering that she experienced. This was work! There are little trials and big trials and every day trials or trials every day. Suffering teaches, prepares and strengthens. Ruth’s obedience was seen by all, by Boaz, by his servants, by Naomi, by all Bethlehem! Her labors, her service, her submission taught her things and revealed things about her that could not have been revealed in any other way. There should be a visible testimony of our lives before the Lord, the saints and the world. We render that same obedience and submission to Jesus, who is our Boaz. This is obedience that testifies. Paul wrote the Romans “your obedience is come abroad unto all men” (Ro 16:19) and commends them for their “obedience of faith” (Ro 16:26).
Ruth continued to labor, to serve and obey “unto the end of the barley harvest” and then went on and continued until the end “of the wheat harvest.” Ruth would have gleaned from April through June, about four to six weeks. She gleaned until all the harvest was finished! And while she gleaned she “dwelt with her mother in law.” She stayed with and cared for Naomi. Ruth spent her days serving Boaz and her nights serving Naomi. What a testimony of service!