The verses we are going to look at today in Ruth are some of my favourites in the book. They show the seeds of a new love being planted. We learn more of the character of Boaz and Ruth. Being attracted to someone’s character is so much more important than looks. Looks can and will change and fade. Character generally only becomes stronger.
10 Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?
11 And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.
12 The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.
13 Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens.
Boaz has just unofficially hired Ruth. He told her to stay in his fields near his maidens, put her under his protection, and offered to drink from the water supplied for his servants.
Ruth responds with gratitude. Ruth had told Naomi that she was going to glean and she was going to look for someone who would show her grace. God answered that prayer abundantly. Not only is she allowed to “glean” from what has been harvested but she has also been offered protection and provision for physical needs.
I find it interesting that she says, “Why have I found grace in thine eyes?” How often are we unbelieving when God answers prayer. We pray for something and then are surprised by the answer. We forget that God delights in doing that which is “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).
Ruth didn’t expect much because she was a “stranger”. Such people were low in the Hebrew social status. They could be charged interest on loans (Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury…Deuteronomy 23:20), forced to pay debts (Of a foreigner thou mayest exact it again: but that which is thine with thy brother thine hand shall release. Deuteronomy 15:3), and generally avoided in daily life by the Israelites (And his master said unto him, We will not turn aside hither into the city of a stranger, that is not of the children of Israel; we will pass over to Gibeah. Judges 19:12).
Then Boaz shows his character by describing her character – showing her why she found favour in his eyes. 1) Her loyalty to Naomi. Ruth followed a penniless widow to a place that would show her no love. 2) She left her parents. The only other place in the Bible this phrase is used is in relation to a man leaving his parents to marry. In other words, Boaz knew Ruth was steadfast. She wasn’t going to desert Naomi if life became too hard.
Then Boaz prays a blessing over Ruth – “The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.” He recognized she now trusted in the God of Israel. She had left her Moabite idols behind. What he did not recognize yet was that God was going to allow them to be the answer to his own prayer. It is so beautiful the way God works out all the details of our life.
In chapter 1 Naomi had spoken as if God did not care for her. Here we see the seedlings of hope that God does care. He is working out His plan to make all things new and good for Ruth and Naomi. Soon, although she doesn’t realize it now, Naomi will be rejoicing. Her days of mourning and bitterness will be over.
Ruth now shows that she has two reasons for gratitude. First, her fears over being mistreated as a stranger have been lifted. She has a protector. Secondly, she has been spoken kindly to. Again, we see God’s exceeding abundance.
The dark times, which are so hard to go through, make the good times that much sweeter. Or at least they will if we don’t allow the dark times to embitter us towards life. Whether she realized it or not from this point on Ruth’s days of poverty are over. God is leading her into green pastures and quiet waters – providing for her needs.
If you are going through hard times try to hold on to the fact – not idea or wish but fact – that God has a plan for your life. He wants to do the exceeding abundant for you as well. Trust can be so hard, but in the end it is always better to trust than to try to work things out on our own. God does such a better job of giving us a good ending than we could ever do on our own.