“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,” 2:12.
How marvellous is this — rewards for sheltering in Christ!
1. This was something Boaz prayed for. So our heavenly Boaz prays for us. John 17:24. We shall see and also share with Christ in His glory, Psalm 17:15; 1 John 3:2; Col 3:4; Romans 8:18; 2 Cor 4:17; Phil 3:21.
2. God’s rewards are full rewards. The word “full” is often translated “perfect”, there will be a wholeness to God’s rewards. Our reward is God Himself. “After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward,” Genesis 15:1. In heaven we will enjoy God in a fashion we cannot conceive of here — S. Cat Q. 1. Men shall yet see that “Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth,” Psalm 58:11. It is a sure reward, Pro 11:18. God’s rewards are visible, Matthew 6:4.
3. Let it be noted that the wicked will also receive their rewards. Psalm 91:8; 94:2: Isa 3:11.
The relationship between Boaz and Ruth is deepening. He saw her at once upon entering his fields and soon he is talking to her. He called her a damsel at first, verse 5 but soon he was calling her daughter, verse 8, an affectionate and polite term. In speaking to her Boaz tells her to stay in his fields as it would be safer and she would be cared for, verse 9.
I. HOW THANKFUL RUTH IS
1. Ruth lived with an awareness of her sinful background. She was conscious of her unworthiness, verse 10. She was a stranger, an alien, a foreigner. What a feature of true grace this is!
Moses — “And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:11.
David — “And David said, Seemeth it to you a light thing to be a king’s son in law, seeing that I am a poor man, and lightly esteemed?” 1 Samuel 18:23. Paul — For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God,” 1 Corinthians 15:9 & “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,” Ephesians 3:8.
In heaven the saints abidingly recall from whence they came. “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation,” Revelation 5:9.
2. Ruth recognised the grace of Boaz. She realised that Boaz looked with favour upon her. This is how Christ looks upon His people, unworthy as they are. Mephibosheth — “And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually. And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?” 2 Samuel 9:7-8.
3. How unconscious Ruth was of her own graciousness. Verse 11-12. “Why have you been so kind,” she says. Her acting as she did toward Naomi was seen as a most virtuous thing by Boaz. Matthew 25:37-40. Boaz admired her faith, her love and her identifying of herself with the God of Israel and His people.
Christ loves those who have left all for Him. Luke 18:29-30. “And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb,” Revelation 7:14.
We have entered upon the second half of the story of Ruth. Her conversion and journey to Judah was the first part of her story but now, in chapter 2 onward, we come the second part, that of her meeting and marriage to Boaz and the birth of her son, Obed, a forebear of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the verses 4-9, we have the first meeting between Boaz and Ruth.
I. HERE IS FURTHER EVIDENCE OF THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD TOWARD RUTH
We have noted in verse 3, how that Ruth, by the grace of God, has been led to the field of Boaz. Now we note how that her arrival there coincides with a visit by Boaz, verse 4.
I want us to bear in mind that Boaz is a type of Christ and in his encounters with Ruth we have pictures of Christ’s dealings with His people and the spiritually fruitful union that ought to develop between the Saviour and His people.
1. Note from where Boaz came. Bethlehem. “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting,” Micah 5:2. Jesus, the “Bread of Life” came from the “House of Bread” to feed His people that they might never die. John 6:48-51.
2. Note the happiness of his household. “And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee,” verse 4. What a consciousness of Jehovah there was amongst his servants. It was uppermost. If there is one place Christians are tempted to forget God it is in the workplace. It ought not to be. The harvest field ought always to put us in mind of the bountiful goodness of God. Boaz was a gracious man to hold such fellowwship with his workers. He was a mighty man of wealth after all. As such, one might expect of him what was more common amongst such. “The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly,” Proverbs 18:23.
3. Boaz was a man concerned about the wellbeing of his servants. “The LORD be with you.” This was an expression of the highest concern. He had a concern for their souls as well as their bodies. Such a greeting was common in NT times as is seen from the commencement and close of the epistles. It is the last word in the Bible, Rev 22:21.
4. What a privilege to have believing workmates. The greeting of the workers was an echo of His gracious greeting. There was unity amongst them. There was no murmuring amongst them. Though different in rank they were one with Boaz in spirit.
II. BOAZ IMMEDIATELY NOTICES RUTH IN THE FIELD
1. Boaz knew all his servants. Likely he could call them by name. “He calleth his own sheep by name,” John 10:3.
2. The answer his chief servant gives. Here are lessons for us to note. He spoke kindly and courteously of Ruth. This ought to be expected of the leaders of God’s house. Please note that Ruth was invited to share in the refreshments by the workers. — “ . . . she tarried a little in the house,” verse 7. This was likely a tent to give shade to the workers when they took a break. How welcome we ought to make strangers in our midst!
3. The chief servant showed the same spirit as Boaz manifested. His attitude and actions had anticipated the kindness of Boaz. Ruth had not been chased but, in a field where the Law of God pertained, (Lev 19:9-10) she was allowed to glean. Indeed, all of the workers acted graciously toward the “stranger” within their midst.
In all our dealings with others may we show the grace of our Lord Jesus.
III. THE INSTRUCTIONS BOAZ GAVE TO RUTH
It should be noted that the term Boaz employs when speaking of Ruth changes from “damsel” in verse 4 to “daughter” in verse 8. The term daughter was an affectionate term. “Their heart cried unto the Lord, O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night: give thyself no rest; let not the apple of thine eye cease,” Lam 2:18.
1. In his affection, Boaz tells Ruth to stay in his field. Dear Christian, there are fields in which we may find all our souls desire and from which we must not stray. There was danger for Ruth outside of his fields. Note how he requests her careful attention to his words. “Hearest thou not, my daughter?” This is an important matter, John 17:14-16. Note “abide here fast.”
2. There was good company for her in his fields. “ . . . abide here fast by my maidens,” verse 8. Ruth was not even to look at another field. “Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them,” V. 9.
3. There was plentiful provision for her in the fields of Boaz. “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,” verse 9. The water was there to drink and that without any labour on her part. It was there just whenever she desired it.
Christian, listen to our heavenly Boaz today and heed His instructions and you shall find all your soul desires.
III. THE MEETING BETWEEN RUTH AND BOAZ WAS BY PROVIDENTIAL DECREE
“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,” Ruth 2:3. She did not know Boaz, 19-20.
1. Ruth felt her need. There was no means of eating other than by gleaning so she went looking for a supply.
2. Ruth felt her duty. The blessing of the gospel is for them that hunger and them that seek. John 6:35. We must place ourselves in the fields of grace, under the sound of God’s word.
3. Unwittingly, she came to the field of the redeemer. She was like the woman at the well, John 4 and like Zacchaeus, Luke 19:1.
Who is there that loves the Lord but can look back and see how He guided them to the gospel field in which they were fully supplied?
The Bible indicates that the mind and hand of God is upon His people from all eternity.
Before the world was formed – Rev 17:8
Before the time of conception – Jer 1:15, Ps 139:13-16.
When we glean the information given us here we discover a wonderful type of our Saviour.
1. He was the neglected, rejected redeemer. Boaz could have helped Elimelech in his earlier time of distress (1:1-2) but he was overlooked or rejected.
2. He was a man with a wonderful name. A true meaning for the Hebrew form of his name cannot be given, I understand. It is only when the Greek form of his name (Matt 1:5, Luke 3:32) is considered that a meaning can be offered — “In him is strength.” There is a mystery about Christ, Judges 13:18. “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory,” 1 Timothy 3:16. It is in the New Testament we are given a full revelation of the Lord. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14. In Him is strength and deliverance.
3. He was a man of great wealth. So it is with Christ. Famine will not hurt Him or any that look to Him. Psalm 81:13-16; 147:12-14.