The Rewards of Commitment
In this chapter we read the good results of a good decision made on a desert crossroads in one’s life.
Before the rewards always comes the commitment.
1 There was a relative of Naomi's husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech; his name was Boaz. 2 So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, "Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor." And she said to her, "Go, my daughter." 3 Then she left, and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers. And she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech. (NKJ)
BOAZ: Means “strength” and “quickness”
The expression in verse 1, “a man of great wealth” is “gibbor chayil,” a phrase which can mean either "a mighty man of valor" or else "a man of position and wealth."
It is even suggested that Boaz was a great military man.
Just at the point of weakness, God is going to send a man of strength and quickness to act upon Ruth’s behalf including also Naomi.
Ruth asks of Naomi permission to go to glean heads of grain in a nearby field, which Naomi consents to.
Notice Ruth’s faith in her statement, "in whose sight I may find favor."
Ruth was looking for a merciful person that would allow her to glean.
God is going to provide such a man in her life.
I am struck by the statement in verse 3,
“And she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.”
- Do you think that there was an accidental mistake here?
- Was there any scheming or planning on Ruth’s part?
- Do you think that the stroke of luck hit Ruth?
Is there such a thing as a “divine accident?”
Even if totally unaware, Ruth was being guided to the right place at the right time to meet the right man.
In God’s way of dealing with people who are trusting in His guidance,
God’s working in our lives is often undetected:
Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, "The LORD be with you!" And they answered him, "The LORD bless you!" (NKJ)
The field where Ruth gleaned was outside of Bethlehem, because Boaz is returning to his field after spending time in Bethlehem.
Boaz was a man who blessed his employees and they in turn recognized his graciousness and blessed him in return.
Highly unusual knowing that most employees do not bless their employer.
Boaz was a generous man and treated his workers kindly.
This is always a sign of quality of character.
If he can treat people this kindly that are under his command and control, he will also treat a future wife to be with graciousness and kindness.
5 Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, "Whose young woman is this?" 6 So the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered and said, "It is the young Moabite woman who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. 7 "And she said, 'Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.' So she came and has continued from morning until now, though she rested a little in the house."
When questioned by Boaz, the servant speaks very highly of Ruth.
- She is known for coming back with Naomi.
- She is known for being young (attractive).
- She is known as a foreigner who is caring for a Jewish woman.
- She is known for asking permission instead of intruding.
- She is known for her good work ethics, working from morning till now.
God’s provision also includes protection:
8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, "You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women. 9 "Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn."
Boaz extends protection to Ruth and also provides for her immediate needs.
It is very important to notice Boaz’s advice to her.
- Don’t go anywhere else; stay right here where I can take care of you.
- Stay close with the other young women that I have hired to work. (there is protection when women stick together)
- Keep your eyes on this field. Don’t go shopping anywhere else.
Now notice Boaz’s warning to the young men that could be tempted to take advantage of a beautiful foreign woman.
- Don’t touch her
- Don’t hinder her from my services (water, food, shade, rest, etc.)
Broken people’s response to graciousness overwhelms them. They are overtaken by deep gratitude.
10 So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, "Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?"
Ruth is overwhelmed by his graciousness.
She asks the big question, “Why????”
- Why are you being good to me?
- Why are you showing me kindness?
- Why the kindness? I’m a “nobody” here in Bethlehem because I’m a foreigner.
- Why even notice me?
- Why show me favor?
Even in our lowest point, our commitment is a witness:
Boaz is impressed by the commitment of this foreign woman.
Her good reputation was well known out in the town.
11 And Boaz answered and said to her, "It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before.
Boaz must have investigated the fact or was curious at least of this new Moabitess woman.
Boaz had received a good report about Ruth.
- She was known for her graciousness during Naomi’s most painful times. Gracious people will receive gracious treatment.
- She was known for her incredible sacrifice, leaving the land of her birth to adopt a new people.
- Ruth was known most of all for her commitment to the Lord (v.12)
Boaz’s prophecy over his future wife:
12 "The LORD repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge." (NKJ)
In this statement, Boaz realizes the mission of whoever would marry this woman.
- His mission would be to repay her for her good works.
- The Lord would give her a full reward, which would engulf Boaz.
It’s an honor to marry a woman like this.
In the middle of that barley field, that beautiful spring morning, a simple but wonderfully trusting young woman takes Boaz’s heart captive.
God rewards women who seek refuge in him, not in men.
A woman who seeks refuge under the Lord’s wings, not man’s, will always get the best kind of protection in the long run.
God is going to use the man, Boaz, to stretch his wing over her and protect her, but the source is from the Lord.
Too many women seek refuge from men, not the Lord.
Ruth is overwhelmed by this man Boaz, who God is sending into her life.
A. God will meet her emotional needs:
13 Then she said, "Let me find favor in your sight, my lord; for you have comforted me, and have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants."
She recognizes that Boaz is already satisfying several of her needs.
- She needed kindness and she found it in Boaz.
- She needed comforting and she found it in Boaz.
Have you ever passed through a time and you desperately needed comforting and kindness? Not preaching and lectures.
B. God will meet her survival needs
14 Now Boaz said to her at mealtime, "Come here, and eat of the bread, and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar." So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed parched grain to her; and she ate and was satisfied, and kept some back.
She is invited to the meal table to be satisfied.
She needs the strength to complete the task.
“Come and eat at my table of supply,” is Boaz’s invitation to her.
Not only did Boaz provide food for her, but he also served her.
He has servants, why didn’t they do it?
He wanted to specifically provide for her needs.
A good characteristic in a potential husband.
Did you notice that Ruth kept some back? For Naomi!
She is a woman who thinks of others in need.
Ruth nor Naomi would have to cook that evening.
C. God will meet her need for protection:
15 And when she rose up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, "Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her.
Boaz was always concerned about her emotional well-being. “Do not reproach her.”
Later he orders them, “…do not rebuke her."
D. God will meet her need of a sense of accomplishment
16 "Also let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her."
He allowed her to have the satisfaction of caring for herself and Naomi but facilitated her work to give her the sense of accomplishment.
Boaz is a facilitator of industrious people and he recognizes a very industrious woman.
“I’m going to help her get the job done, yet in a way where she feels good about her own accomplishments.”
At home that evening:
17 So she gleaned in the field until evening, and beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. 18 Then she took it up and went into the city, and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. So she brought out and gave to her what she had kept back after she had been satisfied.
Resourceful people are noticed:
“Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned.”
An “ephah” of barley. How much is that?
An “ephah” is really a liquid measurement that could also be used for something small like grain.
The volume of an “ephah” would be equivalent to ten gallons of liquid.
Can you imagine carrying ten gallons of milk home on your shoulders and also manage your mother-in-law’s meal.
- A. Ruth is not lazy.
- B. Ruth is self-disciplined.
Ruth was cautious about her diet.
She guarded part of her meal that she could have consumed if she wanted to, but gave part of it to her mother-in-law.
For her providing for Naomi was more enjoyable than eating the meal on her own.
Accountability is always a factor in God’s blessings:
19 And her mother-in-law said to her, "Where have you gleaned today? And where did you work? Blessed be the one who took notice of you." So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked, and said, "The man's name with whom I worked today is Boaz."
The problem with most people today is that they look for that special person without giving any kind of accountability for their actions to an older person in their life.
- Where have you been today?
- What have you been doing?
- Tell me your activities.
Those are not only good questions, but gives them an opportunity to rejoice in God’s goodness in your life.
The least it will provoke is prayer.
There is nothing wrong with accountability.
There must have been a different and more hopeful expression on Ruth’s face when she walked in the door.
Naomi sensed that Ruth had experienced something that would be life changing.
There must have been an interesting expression on Ruth’s face when she walked in the door.
Sure, she was tired, but something had changed.
Ruth was not the same Ruth that walked out early that morning.
Naomi’s heart leaped as she heard the name of the man who blessed Ruth so profoundly.
A bitter woman is being transformed as she sees the hand of God at work.
20 Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, "Blessed be he of the LORD, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!" And Naomi said to her, "This man is a relation of ours, one of our close relatives."
Do you remember the moment that a ray of hope flooded your soul?
Do you remember the second that you realized that God was at work?
Naomi’s whole countenance changed when she realized that a foreign girl had stumbled onto God’s future for their lives.
Accountability brings blessing:
Ruth had so much to share.
As Naomi ate her meal, Ruth told her everything.
21 Ruth the Moabitess said, "He also said to me, 'You shall stay close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.'"
I love Ruth’s statement, "He also said to me,”
Can you hear her sense that Boaz was only sharing these things with her alone?
'You shall stay close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.'"
Accountability brings good advice:
22 And Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, "It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, and that people do not meet you in any other field." 23 So she stayed close by the young women of Boaz, to glean until the end of barley harvest and wheat harvest; and she dwelt with her mother-in-law.
Ruth received advice from Naomi and followed her instructions explicitly.
It is important to stay in the field that God brought you to.
Ruth found her future in a harvest field.
When we concern ourselves with the work of the Lord, He will take care of our needs, including the right spouse for us.
While working in the harvest field, relationships develop and deepen.
Destinies are revealed in the harvest field.
When we concern ourselves with the work of the Lord in His Harvest, we find the greatest fulfillment in life.
God has a great future for you because it’s the dawning of a new and glorious day.