Scripture Reading ~Ruth 1:19 – 2:10
Fairy tales sometimes come true. Once upon a time there lived a bitter mother-in-law, a beautiful damsel in distress and a Prince who came to the rescue… and they all lived happily ever after. Happy Endings are not just for fairy tales.
As the curtain rises on Ruth 1:19, Ruth and Naomi have traveled from Moab, which is a picture of the world, and have now entered Bethlehem, which means, “place of Bread.”
Dear precious lady: Take time to relax in your favorite place with your Bible in hand and please join me in Part 2 of my Study of Ruth. One thing I have learned is to never read my Bible to gain knowledge. That is a sure found way for me to get puffed up and to get the big head. I ask the Lord to help me to know Him in a deeper way, to walk with Him moment by moment and to show me how to apply His Word to my life. I have underlined practical applications and questions to ponder. I desire Ruth-like character, so the character qualities I observed in Ruth are in bold print. May you be blessed as you glean treasures from God’s Holy Word.
Ruth 1:19-“And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?”
Entering into the new stage of life: As the curtain rises, picture the two widows entering into Bethlehem. All the city was in a buzz over these two ladies: Naomi and Ruth. One of the widows, initially caused quite a stir. Why are all the people of Bethlehem shocked about Naomi’s appearance? Ladies, we cannot afford to be bitter. Bitterness will soon show up on our face. Bitterness is the opposite of a face lift. When Naomi and Ruth entered Bethlehem, all the people were surprised at how much Naomi had aged. After 10 years, the people were shocked at the change in Naomi’s looks, and did not even recognize Naomi. Naomi explained her bitterness to the people.
See my post, “Exchange Bitterness For Kindness And Forgiveness.”
The culture of Bethlehem during this time: This was a very dark time in the lives of God’s people. The backdrop of the Book of Ruth took place during the time of the Judges (See Ruth 1:1). The Book of Judges ends with these words, “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)
The culture was the “Dark Ages” of Israel where anything goes. In the Book of Judges, there are written some horrendous stories of crimes against God and crimes against man. This was the time of mistresses and low moral standards even amongst God’s people. Sounds like the day we live in, does it not? As this true story unfolds, watch why Ruth stood out amongst the rest. Even if the Christians around her had low morals, Ruth did not go along with the crowd to fit in. It is possible to be pure when surrounded with impurity.
For the single young ladies: consider why Ruth gained the attention of the Godly man, named Boaz. Mothers, we need to teach our daughters about the character of Ruth. The world teaches a sensuous way to get a man’s attention. God teaches that being a lady of virtue is what counts to gain the right kind of attention.
The Bible clearly teaches that a lady should dress modestly. Do we allow our culture to define our clothing, or do we stand out in a good way in our culture by allowing the Bible to define our clothing. The
culture says to dress sensually. God clearly says to dress in modest clothing. “…women adorn themselves in modest apparel…” ITim2:9 This does not mean that a lady needs to dress in frumpy outdated clothes. A lady can dress in style, yet be modest. A good thing to remember when getting dressed is to ask this question: Does this outfit draw other’s eyes to my countenance? Photo: Jeremy and Melinda’s 2nd Christmas together~When Jeremy first saw Melinda, he liked that she was different from other Christian young ladies, because she dressed modestly.
Mothers, we also need to teach our sons to beware of worldly girls. I can remember a worldly girl, who set her sights on a nice Christian young man. The worldly girl said, “I am going to get him and marry him one day.” This worldly girl sensually enticed the young man and sadly, the young man fell. The worldly girl married him, they divorced, and today, the young man is still spiraling downward.
In order to teach our son to beware of wicked women, our family consistently read a Proverb for the day each morning. God warns the young men to be alert and avoid these types of girls in several Proverbs. Our family read the Proverb for the day, so our son heard about these types of wicked girls once a month.
To keep one’s son from sin, get God’s Word in his heart. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalm 119:11)
Have Family Devotions! We called our family devotions “Wisdom Searches;” a family time of seeking and applying the Wisdom of God. Our family devotions were consistent: Everyday! It was not a hit-or-miss time. Children need consistency in what is right. Adults need consistency too.
It did not take long for the entire city of Bethlehem to consider Ruth a virtuous woman. (Ruth 3:11) A godly young man, who is ready for marriage should look for the character of Ruth in a young lady. We already see that Ruth is saved, kind, loyal, devoted and faithful. What other godly character qualities do you see? The next two character qualities that pop out to me are Ruth’s initiative and her diligence. Ruth is definitely not a slothful lady.
In Bethlehem, during the Springtime, barley harvest begins. True love budded in the Springtime too.
A Romantic Love Story Unfolds~ Ruth had an idea of how to provide food for her mother-in-law and for herself. Ruth took initiative.
Have you and your husband talked about what you would do if either of your parents needed help? The Bible teaches that we have the God-given responsibility to help our aging parents if they have a set-back. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for neglecting their aging parents.
Ruth asked Naomi’s permission to glean the grains from corners of the fields which under the law, were to be left for the poor and the gentiles. (See Leviticus 19:9,10)
As it turned out, when Ruth, our damsel in distress was gathering the grain, she caught the eye of the most eligible bachelor of all Bethlehem. She just happened to be in Boaz’s field. We might think, “What luck!” Instead of luck, God is the Director in the symphony of life and God orchestrates all things to fulfill His good purposes. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) God loves you and me just as much as He loves Ruth. If we love God and desire to follow Him, no matter what hardship comes our way, He will orchestrate our symphony of life for His good purpose. God has a story line for us. No failure in our lives is final; no fear in our lives is fatal. We are His story, so let us trust Him! Remember, there is no such thing as chance.
The Bible describes Boaz as the “mighty man of wealth.” (Ruth 2:1) I looked up the word, “mighty” in the Hebrew and the description of Boaz intensifies: Boaz was powerful. He was strong like a champion. Boaz was a valiant man. He was physically impressive. Boaz had noble character. His name means, “In him is strength.” Boaz was no wimp. The no-wimp part was my addition. We have just been introduced to “our knight in shining armor” in this fairy tale that came true. Both Ruth and Boaz stood out as shining lights in a culture that was lacking both spiritually and morally.
In Ruth 2:4, Boaz is known to be a man of God and exalts God in his everyday language with others. Single Christian young lady, it is important to marry a Christian man who exalts the Lord in his everyday life. God cares for you! God wants the best for you, so that is why He does not want you to be unequally yoked with an unbeliever. (See 2 Corinthians 6:14) God has these types of commands in the Bible, so you will be protected. What love God has for you! Note: If a Christian young man does not exalt the Lord in everyday conversation, it is a red flag. Send him on his way, because he does not have a walk with the Lord. I taught my daughters, “As an unmarried lady, look at the fellow through spectacles. As a married lady, look at your husband through rose colored glasses.“
When Boaz sees Ruth, his interest is piqued. Boaz inquires about Ruth and likes what he hears about her. She has a good reputation. Ruth is known as a kind-hearted young lady of good character. She is known to have “forsaken all” for the love of her mother-in-law and for the love of God. I never read in the Bible that Ruth was a beauty on the outside. God makes mention of Ruth’s inner beauty which is what counts!
Ruth wowed Boaz when he heard about her Godly character! It seems that a little time might have elapsed before Boaz made his entrance into Ruth’s life. He needed time to work out just the right words to say to Ruth. Boaz needed time to make sure he made a good impression on her. It is obvious there was much thought that went into Boaz’s words to Ruth as they met for the very first time. Boaz had eagerly worked it out so Ruth would stay in his field, and he would take care of her. It was dangerous for a vulnerable girl to be in other men’s fields and Boaz knew that danger. He even warned his own men to protect her and to not touch her.
Picture the scene: This wealthy, powerful, valiant man rides up to the damsel in distress, who is working hard in the field gathering food. Boaz asks Ruth to only glean in his fields. In return, he would provide food, water and protection.
Turns out that not only is Boaz an eligible bachelor, but also, Boaz is Naomi’s relative, a kinsman redeemer. Coincidence? This is obviously the hand of God! I think of the Scripture, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” Proverbs 22:1 Ruth had a good name and loving favour. Do you and I have a good name and loving favour? If someone were to ask another about our character, how would the person respond? What areas need improvement? What action do I need to take to have better character? “Lord, work Your character in and through me.”
Notice, Ruth was diligent and not lazy. She had a good work ethic. God worked in Ruth’s life as Ruth went about doing the mundane, but tiring work of gathering food. When we are going about our daily routines of homemaking, God is working in our lives too.
I don’t picture Ruth as being a person who complained of the monotonous, tedious, tiring hard work of gleaning. She must have had a cheerful countenance while she worked, for Boaz to take note. I don’t think he would have been interested in a “grump.” Do you? What does my family note about my countenance while I am working in the home? What do I complain about? “Lord, I am so sorry for having a complaining spirit. Keep my focus on my blessings.” As another fairy tale line goes, “Whistle while you work.” Singing praises to the Lord during the day is a sign of being Spirit filled. “singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph 5:19)
Allowing the poor to glean the fields was the welfare system at that time. Notice how God planned for them to work for their food. Gleaning fields was hard work and the gleaners got paid with food they gathered themselves. Scripture teaches, “if any would not work, neither should he eat.” (2Thessalonians 3:10) Do we demonstrate and teach a good work ethic to our children?
Have you heard of love at first sight? God put it in Boaz’ heart to see with his spiritual eyes that there was something special about Ruth. He did not treat her as an inferior. A divorced lady who worked as a waitress once told our unmarried daughter to watch how a young man treats a waitress. “If a man treats a waitress badly, he will treat you badly.” What do you think about that advice?
I love to read about Ruth and Boaz’s first face-to-face meeting.
“Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens:
Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.
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? (Ruth 2:8-10)
1. She was allowed to follow the maidens of Boaz’s field, who had the job of gathering and bundling all the reapers had cut.
2. She would not be harmed, but would be safe in his field.
3. It was hot and tiring work, so Ruth was allowed to drink of the reaper’s water anytime she was thirsty.
Take note of Ruth’s humble and grateful response. Do we show humble gratefulness to our husband for being a good provider? How do we show him gratefulness? Do we tell him “Thank you?” Ruth had a thankful heart.
“Lord, Thank You for my husband. Show me how I can demonstrate to him ‘gratefulness’ for all he has done for me. Let me be a bright spot in my husband’s day today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”