Boaz entered the scene and greeted his workers saying, “The Lord be with you.” This is Israel but in the time of the judges this godly gesture was probably the exception rather than the norm. Boaz’s good and godly leadership extended to the farmer’s field and his workers responded in kind. He was not someone who put on a spiritual front or façade of holiness, he was genuine. He did not separate his faith from his place of work, and neither should we. This often occurs because of our Greek way of thinking where different aspects of our life become compartmentalised rather than being harmonised. The field was his field of service and ministry. On occasions we speak of working in the field relating to a specific occupation as if that is isolated from either other sphere or domain of influence. Wherever you are stationed, pray that God will use you to be a blessing to others.
Boaz kept a keen eye on what was happening and quickly noticed Ruth and enquired after her. She was possibly dressed slightly differently coming from a different culture in the same way that we can sometimes recognise a stranger by their attire. Outwardly she was identified as the young woman from Moab who returned with Naomi.
Her character is revealed through her actions and industry as she quietly goes about her business diligently gleaning for a number of hours. Again Ruth exemplified the Proverbs 31 woman and she found a way to support her mother-in law even though the manners and customs may have seemed strange to her and she was learning the ropes.
She had a heartbreak having lost her husband, left her country, and having faced the unknown. Ruth perseveres with the task in hand. You never hear of Ruth complaining. Also, She was wise enough to take a short break instead of running herself into the ground and then continued with her task.
Is it any surprise that Boaz was immediately impressed and offered her both protection and provision? He referred to her as “my daughter”. Yes, he was older, but that was a term of endearment. Ruth is to stay close to his young women and the young men will not touch her. We should be wise concerning whom we keep company with since that will inevitably influence us for better or worse. As a foreigner in the field she would have been vulnerable. Think for a moment of those from overseas labouring in the fields and often being exploited. Boaz protected her.
When she was thirsty, she would be able to drink from what the young men had drawn. In our society we take taps and water for granted every day. However on World Water Day there were images of people lowering buckets with ropes into wells crowded with onlookers. Boaz is a type of Messiah and He offers living water so that we will never thirst again.
Notice that Boaz took the initiative and so does the Lord. We seek Him though He draws near to us first and initiates a work in our lives. We love Him because He first loved us. Boaz spoke to Ruth first. It is worth bearing in mind that in that culture and at that time it would have been unlikely for Ruth to speak with the ‘lord of the harvest’ first. Remember that God comes to our aid not because we deserve it but because of His grace.
Ruth had found grace as a foreigner. It is the same for many of us. The Gentiles were strangers from the covenants of promise but have now been brought into the commonwealth of Israel and Messiah Yeshua is the Chief Cornerstone. Ruth was not questioning but marvelling as she enquired “Why have I found favour in your eyes (Ruth 2:10)?”Countless believers have also asked “Why me lord? Why did you show grace to Me?”
Boaz had the full report of how Ruth had helped Naomi, left her father and mother and had been joined with his people. This is the cost of real discipleship which involves sacrifice, leaving and following (Matthew 10:37-39). When Boaz ‘answered’, the original rendering meant that he was excited and wanted to show that. Similarly for believers the Lord rejoices over us and keeps us for Himself. Boaz prayed for her and Jesus the Messiah intercedes continually on the behalf of the believer.
Ruth would find refuge under the wings of the God of Israel. This theme runs throughout Scripture and the psalmists carry the same idea. In Matthew 23:37, Yeshua spoke of Jerusalem in the same way. The classic illustration is that of the hen gathering her chicks under wings and in the blaze of a fire sheltering them and giving her life for theirs. That is exactly what the Lord did for us when His blood was shed in our place to make atonement for our sin.
Ruth was overwhelmed since Boaz had comforted her and spoken kindly with her. Ruth had been comforted following the loss of her husband, leaving her parents in Moab, and leaving her country behind. ‘Kindly’ in this instance refers ‘to the heart of’ and Boaz’s words left an impression upon her. God is the God of all comfort and speaks to our hearts in a personal and profound way. Ruth was amazed how Boaz treated her; not as a Moabite but rather spoke directly to her heart.
Boaz then invited Ruth to eat with her. In that culture that was a gesture of fellowship. The Lord brings us to His banqueting table and His banner over us is love. He was taking care of all her needs and God desires and enjoys close fellowship with us. We need to draw near to Him, and he will draw near to us.
Again Boaz went beyond the requirements of the law and extended grace to Ruth. Law would enable the gleaners to go over the field after the reapers; but grace permitted Ruth to glean before the reapers were through. If that was not enough Boaz ordered grain from the bundles to fall purposefully for her. Boaz was pouring grace towards Ruth and Messiah Yeshua lavishes His grace upon those who fear Him.
Ruth worked until the evening, took an ephah of barley and brought it home for Naomi. That would have been a long day in a hot climate and would have fed both of them for almost a week. We are to feed on the lord and encourage others also. Naomi needs encouragement and nourishing and Ruth did exactly that for her. Ruth did stop to rest and to eat and likewise we need to rest in Him and feed on Him, so that we can feed others too.