Summary: 2 Ruth knew the Israelite custom of gleaning. What a beautiful Law it was that God instituted to help the poor. He didn’t set up government welfare where people were given money to do whatever they wanted with. He provided a plan that if a person was will
The rich farmers or business people could allow the poor to work for something that the wealthy person didn’t need. Because let’s face it, most of us even half way well off people have way more than we need. A car dealer could spare a used car for a person’s use if the person was willing to come and clean up the lot and other used cars.
A wealthy landlord could provide an apartment to live in if the person were willing to clean and vacuum the public areas of the building each day. Restaurants that had lots of leftover food each night could give that food to poor people who were willing to come in and put together meals and deliver them to other poor people. Things like that.
Of course it means that the prosperous people have to be willing to give out of the abundance they have, but it also would motivate people to do something of value to get it. And it wouldn’t just be money that people could throw away on things like cigarettes. Laziness, pride, and greed are the obstacles to this way of doing things as they are the obstacles to doing just about everything the Lord wants us to do. Notice Ruth had none of those qualities, and neither did Boaz.
Immediately Ruth, knowing this custom, asked to go out and do this gleaning, she worked very hard for it and it provided more than enough for her and Naomi. The way we do it today is just another way we have debilitated our society by doing things the human way rather than God’s way. The bible even says those who don’t work should not eat. Yes there may be people who are unable to work, but most of them can do something and when they absolutely can’t, the Bible still provides ways for them to be taken care of. That is one of the major roles of the church. But some of our ways are also enabling people to do nothing for themselves.
Now here’s an amazing part of the story that we often gloss over. Ruth didn’t know she was in Boaz’s field. The first verse talks about Boaz, but that’s for us. We know that she didn’t know it was Boaz’s field, or who Boaz even was as we see at the end of the passage when Naomi surprisingly exclaimed who he was.
Had she not stumbled upon that field and gotten noticed by Boaz, I’m sure God could have found another way to continue the line that would lead to Jesus being born in Bethlehem, but how did Ruth know which particular field to glean in? Did God give her a vision, or some other kind of specific directive to go to that specific field? It seems not.
I think we have a great lesson here on following God’s will. Often we wait for specific instruction from God and most of the time we don’t get it do we. However, if we are committed to doing God’s will in every situation even if we don’t know exactly what it is, and when we do what we do know from His Word, we will often experience these coincidences that God is of course completely in control of.
Often we don’t even know we did God’s will until we look back in time. She knew the Law, she immediately went out and did what she knew God would want her to, and somehow she just ended up in the right field. I have come to learn that when we are committed to God’s will and do what we already know he wants us to do, often our own decisions based just on what we sense, will seem like our own decision but really it’s the Spirit of God leading us in a very subtle and natural way. Remember Paul says we have the mind of Christ, if we have surrendered to him and seek to follow him. God says he will make all things work out for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose. He can make any decision work if we desire his will.
Just by going out to glean in the fields Ruth was putting herself in a position to be mocked and hated as Moabite woman, raped, or even killed, and not many would have really cared. We see how relieved and grateful she is when we see her response a little later.
The point? Don’t fret about decisions, make sure you are doing what God has already made known to you, desire his will and purposes, and he will make sure that circumstances work out the way they are supposed to. He says, “You worry about your relationship with me, and I’ll take care of the results in your life. I am that sovereign and powerful”.