Empowering the Needy
Key Verse: “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.”
NAOMI HAD A WEALTHY kinsman, Boaz, through her deceased husband Elimelech. As part of the Mosaic Law, Israelites were not allowed to strip the fields bare when harvesting, but were required to leave some of the grain for strangers, or the needy, to glean.—Lev. 19:9
Laboring to support herself and Naomi, Ruth took advantage of this provision by going out into the fields to glean, happening to come upon one owned by Boaz.—Ruth 2:1,3
Boaz came from Bethlehem to visit his fields and, seeing Ruth, inquired as to the identity of the young woman he found toiling on his land. Upon learning that she was Naomi’s daughter-in-law, he invited her to continue gleaning and also to share the water which was provided for his workers. He appreciated how much Ruth cared for Naomi, and now associated herself with the people of Israel.—vss. 4-11
Our Key Verse reveals something concerning the character of Boaz. Knowing of Ruth’s devotion to Naomi and her commitment to God, he kindly asked the Lord to bless her.
Boaz continued to show great favor to Ruth, and because he was so impressed with her, he invited Ruth to eat with his workers and also instructed them to leave extra grain in the fields for her to gather. By the end of the day, Ruth had gleaned a considerable amount of barley, and also brought home food for Naomi.—vss. 13-18
“Her mother in law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned to day? and where wroughtest thou? blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee. And she shewed her mother in law with whom she had wrought, and said, The man’s name with whom I wrought to day is Boaz. And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the Lord, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.”—vss. 19,20
Naomi then counseled Ruth to stay in the fields owned by Boaz who had been so gracious towards her, rather than to go elsewhere and spurn her benefactor’s protection and goodness. Ruth heeded this sage advice.—vss. 22,23
Believers who once were Gentiles, as Ruth was a Moabitess, were aliens and strangers from God’s favor. Ruth, having renounced her former condition, reminds us that, as believers, we have determined that our former way of life, interests, and pleasures should be no longer entertained if we would prove pleasing to our Master. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”—II Cor. 5:17
Just as Boaz, a man of great wealth, showed compassion upon Ruth, granted her protection, and supplied her necessities, so our Redeemer’s mercy has abundantly been manifested in our lives and brought us security and comfort. How thankful we should be!