Summary: Naomi was bitter at God for the way her life turned out. In this sermons we see that "along came Jones" (to borrow from Ray Stevens) in the form of a man named Boaz who would change her and Ruth's destiny forever, turning Naomi's bitterness to blessing.
From Bitterness To Blessing
August 11, 2013
TEXT: Turn to Ruth 2
Illus. – One April day in 1945, Harry S Truman wrote to his mother: “I had hurried to the White House to see the president, and when I got there, I found out I was the president!” (Truman, of course, assumed the presidency at Franklin Roosevelt’s death.)
• Moses once began his day as an obscure shepherd and ended it as leader of a nation!
• David went out one day one day an unknown lad to take food to his brothers in Saul’s army; and before the day ended, he was a hero because he had slain Goliath—and his life was never the same after that day.
• Peter went to work one day in his fishing trade; and before the day had ended, he abandoned everything to follow the Lord Jesus Christ and become His disciple.
What a difference a day can make!
One day made a great difference in Ruth’s life too: She went into the fields one day to glean as a poor widow with no prospects for the future and by the end of the day she found herself the object of the special attention and affection of a man named Boaz, who would change her destiny.
At that time, Ruth did not know who Boaz was, but she certainly found out when she arrived home and gave the news to Naomi.
Let’s read our text: Ruth 2:17-23 – “So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley. 18 And she took it up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed. 19 And 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. 20 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. 21 And Ruth the Moabitess said, He said unto me also, Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest. 22 And Naomi said unto Ruth her daughter in law, It is good, my daughter, that thou go out with his maidens, that they meet thee not in any other field. 23 So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law.”
I want you to notice something in our text.
Did you notice the change in Naomi’s attitude?
She’s no longer the bitter widow we met in chapter 1. There her life was falling apart, but now God is putting her life back together again. What made the difference?—BOAZ arrives on the scene!
That reminds me of the old Ray Stevens song Along Came Jones about those old-timey westerns where you had a poor lady in distress who would be rescued from a nefarious villain by a tall, lanky hero. The lyrics went like this:
I plopped down in my easy chair and turned on Channel 2.
A bad gunslinger called Salty Sam was chasin’ poor Sweet Sue.
He trapped her in the old sawmill and said with an evil laugh:
“If you don’t give me the deed to your ranch, I’ll saw you all in half!”
And then he grabbed her [Female voice in background says, “Help! He grabbed me!”]
(And then) he tied her up [Femail voice says: “Help! He’s tying me up!”]
(And then) he turned on the bandsaw [“Help! Help! He turned on the bandsaw!”]
(And then…) [came the chorus:]
And then along came Jones
Tall, thin Jones
Along came long-legged, lanky Jones
The song goes on to describe nefarious deeds of this notorious bad guy: He ties her up in an old, abandoned mine threatening to blow her to bits; he puts her in a burlap sack and ties her to the railroad tracks. But each time she is rescued by tall, thin, slow-walkin,’ slow-talkin,’ long-legged, lanky Jones.
Now I know some of you are thinking, “Pastor, what in the WORLD does this have to do with the book of Ruth?” Well, here’s the tie-in: Boaz is the tall, thin, slow-walkin,’ slow-talkin,’ long-legged, lanky Jones of the book of Ruth. This will become more evident as we make our way through the book of Ruth