Summary: Is it possible to walk through your day and see God? So often we get to the end of our day and feel empty, like we didn’t see God and we wonder if he cares about the details of our life.
I am really glad you are here with us today. Today is part two of our series Finding God’s hand. We are walking through the book of Ruth. I am really excited where we are in the story today, as it takes some new twists and turns. Today we are going to meet a guy named Boaz, which right off the bat, because of his name, you know he is going to be cool.
Have you ever gotten to the end of your day and thought, I didn’t really see God today? Kind of felt like an ordinary, nothing special kind of day. Maybe on the flip side of that, you lay your head down at night, and you are able to see God all over your day. You saw how he intervened for you, brought people into your life. But how do you get to that point? How do you live in such a way that you are constantly aware of the presence of God in your everyday life? Or, have you ever sat down to do your devotions and just didn’t learn anything, maybe you walked away from the experience feeling like you didn’t connect with God. How do you raise your awareness so that you connect with God in ways that make sense to you.
If you weren’t here last week when we talked about chapter 1, let me catch you up. The story of Ruth is one of the most well written stories in all of the bible. The story starts off by telling us that it takes place during one of Israel’s darkest days in their history and about 1000 years before Jesus was born in a time known as the days of the Judges.
We are told about this family, a very ordinary family of a husband, wife and two sons. The country they were living in was going through a severe famine. So, the family gets up and moves.
But soon after arriving in their new home of Moab, the father dies. A few years pass, their two sons get married, but then they die. The mother Naomi is left with her two daughter in laws. Naomi decides to return to her home, but only her one daughter in law Ruth returns with her.
This is where the story picks up in chapter 2. If you have your bibles, you can open them to the book of Ruth. Last week we talked about how we find God’s hand in the midst of our pain and tragedy. One of the things we ended with was thinking about it like this. That our pain and tragedy doesn’t necessarily come from the hand of God, but it must pass through the hand of God. It is the same in our everyday lives.
For many of us though, looking for God’s hand in our everyday lives is not a priority, just getting through our day tops our list. So the question has to be asked before we even talk about it, is there a point to finding God’s hand in our everyday lives? Does it really make a difference? Or should I just go on as business as usual?
I think it does matter, because I wonder how much pain and tragedy we would not live through if we saw God in our everyday lives. Look at the beginning of chapter 1 in the book of Ruth, why did Elimilech and his family leave Bethlehem? Because of the famine. What would have happened if Elimelech and Naomi saw God in the famine? Instead of looking for the easy way out. If they would have stayed in Bethlehem, I wonder how their story would be different.
So Naomi and Ruth get back to Bethlehem. As widows they are in a terrible position. They don’t have children or husbands to take care of them. They are at the mercy of other people. Enter Boaz. We are told about him in verse 1 of chapter 2, he is somebody that is related to Elimelech.
Instead of waiting around, Ruth is resourceful and says in verse 2: "Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor."
What is gleaning? Gleaning is something that was very important within the nation of Israel and to God. Out of concern for the helpless, the poor and the traveler, the law in the book of Leviticus required workers in the fields at harvest time to leave a portion of the crop, including the edges of the grain fields, to be collected by the needy. The workers were also not to go back for the grain they had missed or dropped.
So Ruth tells Naomi, I am going to glean. Naomi’s response, “Go my daughter.” She might as well have shrugged her shoulders and said, whatever. Naomi seems resigned to live in her despair. Let me say this so that you don’t think I am being callous here. When we go through pain and tragedy, we must grieve what has happened. We must let God heal us. This takes different amounts of time for different people. We have no idea how long it has been since the death of her husband and children. We know it has been at least 10 years since her husband died, but I think it is interesting that the author of Ruth puts this here. The angle that we are looking at, it is almost like Ruth is saying, let’s see where God is here. But Naomi doesn’t seem to care.