Summary: Emulate Ruth's godly characteristics. Outline: 1. We have to have a humble attitude. 2. We need to be hard workers. 3. we need to be wholly dependent on Him.
God Blesses Godly People – Ruth 2:1-23
May 5, 2013
If we become the people God wants us to be, then He will direct us in the path He wants us to take. Have you ever wondered if God made the perfect person for you? You may have heard the term, “a match made in heaven”. Let me show you a clip from the movie “Serendipity”. I actually watched it with Ruth and another couple in PNG. We had gone on a weekend away and we decided to watch a romantic comedy. So they had the movie Serendipity on a VHS tape. It was recorded from the TV. Well we watched the movie all the way through and then right at the end with 5 minutes left, the tape stopped. There was no more recording. And if you know how romantic comedies work, the last 5 minutes is when they resolve all of the conflict and the couple always ends up together. I remember Phil and I laughed and laughed at the irony. Well, I’m not going to show you the end, but a clip at the beginning. (Show Serendipity clip) Is it fate who is in charge of circumstances? Who is in charge? This second chapter of Ruth tells clearly who’s in charge. God arranges circumstances to bless those on whom His favour rests. We need to strive to be the kind of people that God blesses. If we become the people God wants us to be, then He will direct us in the path He wants us to take.
A couple of weeks ago we began looking at the book of Ruth. Let me review the story up to this point. During the time of judges, before Israel had a king, the land had a drought. One family decided to pull up stakes and leave to go to another country, the country of Moab. There was Elimelech the father, Naomi, the mother, and two sons, Mahlon and Kilion. They settled down in that foreign country, but disaster struck. First Elimelech died. After living there for 10 years, the boys married Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth. But sometime later both sons died as well. Naomi now had to make a hard decision. Where would she go and how would she provide for herself. She heard that the famine in Israel had ended and there was food. So Naomi again packed up and made plans to move back to her home country.
As she began her journey, her two daughters-in-law also accompanied her. But Naomi urged them to go back to their own mothers’ homes. She argued that if they went with her, she would not be able to provide them with husbands. After many tears are shed, Orpah bid them goodbye. But Ruth, clung to Naomi, declaring her unwavering devotion to her. Verse 16 is the key verse of the chapter:
“But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.’”
With that declaration, the women go back to Naomi’s hometown of Bethlehem. The last verse in chapter one sets up the next part of the story: “So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabitess her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.”
Chapter 2 we are introduced to a new character, Boaz. And if you look at the Book of Ruth as a romance story, this chapter chronicles how the two main characters meet. The story is simple. After settling in Bethlehem, Ruth needs to find food. She decides to go out and glean barley, since this crop was ready to harvest. In the Old Testament there is provision for the poor. Take a look at Deuteronomy 24:19: “When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widows, so that the lord may bless you in all the work of your hands.” Ruth goes to a field to begin gleaning, picking up the leftovers behind the harvesters.
It just so happens that she goes to the field of Boaz. Now we are told that Boaz had a special relationship to Ruth. He was a relative of Elimelech, Ruth’s late father-in-law and as a result he could restore the land and the fortunes of the family. Of course Ruth doesn’t know this.
As Ruth gleans heads of barley, Boaz arrives to check on the harvest. He notices an unfamiliar woman working in the fields. After asking his workmen, he finds out that she is Naomi’s daughter-in-law. Boaz has already heard the story of Naomi returning and how a young woman from Moab accompanied her and helped her.