Today we’re introduced to a new character in the story of Ruth – Boaz.
1 And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz.
2 And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.
3 And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.
4 And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.
We start to feel hope for Naomi and Ruth. We find out that Elimelech has a kinsman who is a mighty man of wealth. “Mighty man of wealth” – such a contrast to the weak and poor Chilion and Mahlon. Although a widow would generally be expected to be supported by her father’s family, we can hope that this man of Naomi’s husband’s family will help her.
Ruth didn’t waste any time sitting around hoping for help to show up. Right away she decided to glean in the fields as was allowed for the poor by law. God is much more likely to bless us if we’re busy working than if we’re sitting around whining or just hoping for something better to happen to/for us. God designed us to be workers, and we are always happier when we’re working (at least I know I am ☺)
We are reminded at the beginning of this verse that Ruth is a Moabitess. Moabites were looked down upon by the Israelites. In fact, a Moabite was not to be allowed entry into Israel as a citizen. “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever:” Deuteronomy 23:3. Ruth could expect the cold shoulder or worse, yet she still got busy doing what she knew needed to be done.
Naomi called her “my daughter” showing a sweeter side but offered no advice or blessing. Maybe Naomi didn’t have much hope of Ruth being able to accomplish much.
I love the word “hap” in verse 3. She just “happened” to go to Boaz’s field. At least that’s how it seemed to everyone watching this story unfold. But we know that God is always working behind the scenes for our good. I don’t know how, but somehow God directed Ruth’s steps to the field of someone related to her (in a roundabout way). We continue to have a sense of rising hope.
Our focus is shifted back to Boaz as he comes out to check on his fields. I think his and the workers’ greetings reflect their positions. Boaz needs the Lord to be with the workers so they have the ability to reap. The workers need the Lord to bless Boaz so they can have a job. Again, there is an acknowledgement of God working in the background of our lives for good.
These first four verses really help us to focus on God and His provisions for us. God provided Naomi with a wealthy relative and a daughter-in-law who was not afraid to work. God provided Ruth with an internal strength to do the job that needed to be done no matter what the hardships might be. God provided Boaz with the wealth that put him in the way to be a help to Naomi and Ruth in ways none of them could have imagined.
That’s the wonderful thing about God. He can provide for us in ways we would never imagine. One of my favourite verses is, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,” Ephesians 3:20. And I’ve seen it happen so many times in my life. It’s one reason why a journal can be so beneficial so that in the hard times we can remind ourselves of what God has done for us in past giving us hope in the present and for the future.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. Psalms 42:5
And just in case you didn’t get it the first time, God repeats it again a few verses later…
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. Psalms 42:11