Summary: Ruth goes out into the fields to glean, and winds up in the middle of God’s will by her humility and obedience. We can learn from Ruth’s example.
I want to pick up with the though we ended with last time:
Lastly, a prayer (paraphrased from Tommy Tenny in the “God Chasers” :
Lord, break out of the box we try to put you in and destroy everything in our lives that is not of You. Mess up our schedules, plans, and preconceived notions of what a relationship with you should be and bring us into a real, vibrant, living relationship with You. God we are tired of knowing about You, we want to know You. We want more than just Your anointing, we want You, Your presence.”
The question is: are you willing to do what it takes to make this prayer happen?
Ruth started off well, she made the right choice. It was a hard choice but it was right. It is easy to stay in Moab. It is comfortable and familiar, and it is amazing how people will choose comfortable and familiar over what is different. Not wrong but different. They follow God as long as God agrees with them, but He dare not ask them to do something different! I have heard the cry before; the death knell of a church is something like this: we never done it like that before.
I was really in a church where the pastor said: let’s keep the Iron Gates open, the place looks like a prison when they are closed. Now mind you, we never actually locked the gates and there was no fence around the property, so these were strictly ornamental fixtures, but you think we were opening the entry to Fort Knox and inviting the criminals in! (or as my pastor use to say it was protecting the property from and blue rhinos that may be running around!) People would not listen and simply kept closing the gates. Yes we love you pastor. Yes you are the spiritual leader here, but I don’t like this change so even though it is not really a sin, we will not listen to you! After all we never did it that way before! Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft! What is in your heart will come out in the wash.
That is the difference between Orpah and Ruth. The time came for a change, to make the hard choice, Ruth said yes and Orpah went back. If we want to see positive changes we need to make the hard choices and follow God but it does not stop there.
And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz.
Boaz was a man of honor, wealth, chivalry. It is apparent the Naomi knew of him but chose not to make a burden of herself to him.
And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.
It speaks ill of those in Bethlehem who knew Naomi as a desolate widow woman without son or husband to care for her and Ruth as a new convert, as stranger in a strange land, that nobody seemed to offer help or support. It is sad to say that the greatest danger to the lost sometimes is the so called Christians who act like the priest in the Good Samaritan and just walk on by when they can help.
We note of Ruth that she does not complain in her condition. She could have longed to go back to Moab and her father’s house where she could have had bread to spare. She did not walk the streets demanding a handout. Instead she seeks to provide food for her mother in-law and herself by seeking to glean the fields. Apparently Ruth had been studying the Bible:
And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest.
And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.
When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands.
So while harvesting the fields, the landowners were not to reap the corners since that was for the poor and stranger. If a reaper dropped something, they were not to pick it up, it then belonged to the gleaners.