Ruth | Day 3
Reading | Ruth 2
But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” Ruth 2:11-12 (ESV)
What I love about the story of Ruth is that it’s not something crazy. There’s no huge miraculous event, no huge coming to Jesus moment. It’s just the story of a young woman serving God with what she has and God providing for her like He always promises to do.
Ruth wasn’t doing anything special. She was just living her life. She was a widow with a bitter roommate, living in a new town, without anything to claim as her own or any way to really care for herself. So, she starts working in the fields. The Israelites had this sort of welfare system that required harvesters to leave some sections of the field untouched so the poor and widowed could collect food.
Unknowingly to her, the field Ruth starts working in belongs to one of her father-in-law’s family members.
Boaz has heard about Ruth’s character. Apparently, the way she has sacrificed for Naomi has made it around town, so people are pretty impressed with this young woman’s dedication to her mother-in-law. We don’t know much about what’s going on in Boaz’s mind, but he’s clearly interested in helping Ruth out. He tells her to stay close to the other women working in his field and asks his men to make sure she stays safe. As if that wasn’t enough, he tells his men she can collect grain from wherever she wants and to leave her some bundles they’ve already collected. This goes above and beyond the welfare required by the law.
Can you imagine Naomi’s face when Ruth gets home? The amount of grain she brought home on her first day would have been enough to last the two women for at least two weeks. Plus, she gave Naomi the food she had left over from her lunch date with Mr. Boaz (verse 14). Of course, Naomi wants to know all the details about this mysterious man who gave Ruth this much food (typical church lady wanting to know any details about a boy). When Ruth tells her that it was this dude named Boaz, Naomi loses it. She has absolutely no chill.
You see, Boaz was a relative of theirs, but that didn’t just mean he got them Christmas presents or sent them birthday cards. Boaz actually had the right to act in Elimelech’s stead and take responsibility for his property.
The fact that Ruth caught Boaz’s eye sends Naomi over the moon. She starts praising God and blessing Boaz (pretty much the reaction I think I’d get from anyone if I got a boyfriend), and Ruth’s just like, “Alright. Yeah, so, anyway, he said I could work there until the harvest is over.”
I just can’t. This whole chapter cracks me up. Probably because it seems like Boaz is trying pretty hard to catch Ruth’s attention, and she’s just like, “Whatever. I need food.” I may be reading between the lines a little bit here, but she seems a little oblivious to his flirting, while Naomi is beyond excited about whatever this whole situation could lead to.
Though all of this, I see the provision God has for us when we just take little steps of obedience. Ruth didn’t know who Boaz was, let alone the importance he had in Naomi’s family. She was just doing what she needed to do to survive. The way she lived spoke volumes about who she was as a person. I highly doubt she sacrificed for Naomi in the way that she did expecting something in return. She just did what she could for her friend who was hurting, and God lead her exactly where He wanted her to be.
Let me ask a quick question: How many times have you heard, “I’m just trying to figure out God’s will for my life”?
Too often, we find ourselves trying to uncover this mysterious will God has for our lives. There’s nothing wrong with figuring out what God wants you to do, but when we fixate on this, it freezes us into a life of inaction.
Here’s the thing: God’s will for your life isn’t some elaborate Rubix cube you have to solve. God’s will is for you to just live your life while using what you have to love Him and love people.
Conveniently, God’s pretty explicit about this. In Deuteronomy, Moses tells us God has revealed what we need to know to follow Him. If He hasn’t revealed it, it belongs to Him; we don’t need to know it (Deuteronomy 29:29). For sure, there are things God is going to keep hidden, but for the most part, there are only a few things we need to do in order to follow His will:
- Rejoice always. Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
- Do good. (1 Peter 2:15)
- Abstain from sexual immorality. (1 Thessalonians 4:3)
- Love God and love people. (Matthew 22:37-40)
Ultimately, the drive of our lives should be to love God and love people. This is something God has been pretty serious about throughout the whole Bible – it’s not just a New Testament thing. Micah shared God’s will for His people when he wrote, “Mankind, He has told you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8 HSCB).
I’m fully convinced that long as we are focusing our lives on loving God and loving people, Jesus will put everything else in order. You will be called to suffer through trials (sorry, that’s pretty much a given), and there will most likely be times when you have to wait on God to provide for you. God probably isn’t going to send you a step-by-step Wikihow article for what to do next in your life, but He’s not going overlook your desire to love and serve Him completely (Hebrews 6:10). He shows us this throughout Scripture. Almost every devoted follower of God was called to step forward without much of a game plan to go on:
- Ruth had to face hard stuff. She had no idea where a livelihood would come from, but she chose to love God and love people while she waited for Him to provide.
- Moses didn’t know how the Israelites would be freed. All God really told him was to walk up to Pharaoh and say, “God said let my people go.” So he did.
- David’s life absolutely sucked. I’m sure there’s a more appropriate way to say that, but for real, though. He was hand-picked by God to be king, yet spent most of his life trying not to get killed by his predecessor. And yet, David was constantly referred to as a man after God’s own heart.
I’m sure if these people would have known every detail of what they would face while they waited for the fulfillment of God’s will for their lives, they would’ve backed down. God has His reasons as to why He doesn’t share everything with us. He just tells us what we need to know when we need to know it.
My desire to control things likes to fight against this idea, but there’s actually a lot of freedom in knowing I’m not in control. All God ever asks of me is that I obey Him. I’m never asked to know the right answers about where my life is going. I’m not expected to know how my life is going to end up. I’m just expected to love God and love people. That’s it. The end.
- What are some specific steps of obedience God is calling you to take right now?
- I’m all about trying to influence those around me. We are placed in our specific location for a reason. There was a reason Ruth was in Boaz’s field. There was a reason Boaz decided to visit his field that day. Sometimes, God provides for us through the people in our lives. Are you using where you are at to influence those around you?
- This podcast by Jen Hatmaker shares how a few women are influencing people simply by using what they have. It’s super encouraging and challenging.
I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to comment below or send me a message here.