Bible Study: Book of Ruth Chapter 2
Ruth Chapter 2: Growing in Grace
by I Gordon
Queue the music... dim the lights...Introducing the main man!
2:1 Now Naomi had a kinsman of her husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz.
2:4-7 Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem and said to the reapers, 'May the Lord be with you.' And they said to him, 'May the Lord bless you.' Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, 'Whose young woman is this?' And the servant in charge of the reapers answered and said, 'She is the young Moabite woman who returned with Naomi from the land of Moab. 'And she said, 'Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.' Thus she came and has remained from the morning until now; she has been sitting in the house for a little while.'
2:11-13 And Boaz answered and said to her, 'All that you have done for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband has been fully reported to me, and how you left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and came to a people that you did not previously know. 'May the Lord reward your work, and your wages be full from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge.' Then she said, 'I have found favor in your sight, my lord, for you have comforted me and indeed have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants.'
2:14 And at mealtime Boaz said to her, 'Come here, that you may eat of the bread and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar.' So she sat beside the reapers; and he served her roasted grain, and she ate and was satisfied and had some left.
2:17 So she gleaned in the field until evening...
Abundantly more that we could hope or think
2:17-19 So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. And she took it up and went into the city, and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also took it out and gave Naomi what she had left after she was satisfied. Her mother-in-law then said to her, 'Where did you glean today and where did you work? May he who took notice of you be blessed.' So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, 'The name of the man with whom I worked today is Boaz.'
2:20 And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, 'May he be blessed of the Lord who has not withdrawn his kindness to the living and to the dead.' Again Naomi said to her, 'The man is our relative, he is one of our closest relatives.'
2:21-23 Then Ruth the Moabitess said, 'Furthermore, he said to me, 'You should stay close to my servants until they have finished all my harvest.'' And Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, 'It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his maids, lest others fall upon you in another field.' So she stayed close by the maids of Boaz in order to glean until the end of the barley harvest and the wheat harvest. And she lived with her mother-in-law.
 ↩ Aren't we fortunate it 'just happened'? I mean, if it hadn't just happened then you could call off the wise men and the shepherds 1100 years later cause there would not have been baby Jesus as He was a descendant of Ruth and Boaz. Ok, so God would have found another way... anyway, the point is this - Ruth probably got up in the morning, thanked God for His guidance and protection, and wandered off down the road. She was probably completely obvious to the fact that God was directing her, but He was. And He does us when we commit our way unto Him. Often quietly, without trumpets and neon flashing lights, but guide us He will. Give Him your day and say 'thanks'.
 ↩ I don't think we are ever going to understand this until we sit at His feet and get Him to explain it. But it's still interesting to look at our salvation from Gods' point of view instead of our own. Jesus clearly said that 'no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me, draws him.' (John 6:44). Which of the disciples 'decided' that they would follow Jesus? None. He walked into their life, said 'come and follow me' and they dropped what they were doing and left! Pauls' conversion is another example (Acts 9:1-8). He is full on persecuting the church when a light from Heaven flashes down and it's Jesus telling Paul to follow Him. Paul summed up what he thought about it in Gal 1:15-16 where he says he was 'set apart from his mothers womb' and was 'called by Gods grace'. But it doesn't stop there. Paul writes that we also were 'chosen before the foundation of the world'. Ephesians 1:4. So on the one hand we have Gods choice of us and on the other we have our free will response. We have to hold onto both truths because the Bibles presents both. Someone once asked Charles Spurgeon how he reconciles election and free will - he responded by saying you don't need to reconcile friends. They both are true! Told you we couldn't understand it!
 ↩ Best example I can think of is in two different people and how they related to the Lord when He was on earth. Both are found in the book of Mathew. Firstly the rich young ruler in Matt 19:16-26. He came to the Lord saying 'Teacher, what good thing must I do to inherit eternal life.' In other words he approached Jesus by the law. He thought he could do some 'good thing' that would guarantee a place in heaven. He came by the law so Jesus answered him by the law and gave him the commandments. Jesus did this because He knew that the full extent of the law had not yet worked in this man so that he would come by grace. (See Romans 3:19-20) The right way is the example of the gentile woman in Matt 15:21-28. Being a gentile she was not legally entitled to Jesus' help. He had come first to the lost sheep of Israel. But in her response to Jesus she came by grace, not the law, and received grace! And Jesus was amazed at her faith. The Lords grace is the only way in which we can come. It requires faith and humility on our part but it pleases God as much as it pleased Jesus back then with this gentile woman.
 ↩ It's good because it reminds us of the fact that this book is a love story! J. Vernon McGee wrote the book I mentioned and it was this aspect of the love story of Ruth that he really brought out well. And of course, never forget that our relationship with the Lord is a love story - the divine romance! Isaiah 54:5 'Your Maker is your husband, whose name is the Lord Almighty. And your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.'
 ↩ The obvious thing is don't do what Naomi did and go back to the world. But it means more than that. Even within your relationship with the Lord we can still wander into other 'religious' fields which are not fields of grace as we have seen here and fields that do not have merciful owners! The Galatians did this and caused Paul to write to them saying 'You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you?.. .Are you so foolish having begun in the spirit, are you now trying to be perfected by the flesh?' Gal 3:1-3. Earlier Paul had written 'I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel.' Gal 1:6. Even in a 'religious' setting they had left Jesus and His grace as their means of life and resorted to a fleshly effort to obey the law. Stupidity! Imagine Ruth leaving Boaz' field cause she would rather strive all day by herself in the hot sun to achieve way less, than accept Boaz's gracious provision. You would call her stubbornly proud at best, mental probably being closer to the truth! Then how crazy are the proud 'religious' types that would rather earn their own salvation than trust and rely upon Jesus?
 ↩ Matt 6:31-33 'Do not be anxious then, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we clothe ourselves?' 'For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 'But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
 ↩ William Newell in his classic on Romans wrote some awesome thoughts concerning grace. One of his points for 'the proper attitude for those under grace' was - 'To believe, and to consent to be loved while unworthy is the great secret.' I like that.
 ↩ Not thinking of possessions here but spiritual blessings. The Old Testament law had physical blessing for obedience to the law. Nearly everything was outward. 'Be good and you'll get rain, your barns will be full, and your cows will be huge.' That kind of thing. But in the New Testament the blessings are spiritual not physical. He has promised to provide our needs physically which is good but God is predominantly interested with inward things, not outward. Ephesians 1:3 tells us that we HAVE been blessed with EVERY SPIRITUAL blessing in Christ. Paul then goes on to tell us what these things are in Chapters 1-3 and it is these things that we are to focus on, be amazed at, and rest in. They are the true provision of Jesus that should satisfy us!
 ↩ Once heard that 'mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we don't deserve.' The example is given of a father wanting to teach his son about the grace and mercy of God. The son had disobeyed his father and as a punishment was ordered to stay in his bedroom for three hours. But after an hour the father went into the boys room and told him he could now come out. He then took the boy down to the local supermarket and bought him an ice cream. Letting him off his punishment was mercy, but the ice cream was definitely grace! God goes way beyond mercy and gives us grace.
 ↩ You bet it will! Ephesians 2:7 'Even when we were dead in our transgressions, God made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.' Those who are saved in this age are used as an example of God's amazing grace even in the ages to come!
 ↩ Can't you just see her working hard, while all the time thinking 'He is so kind to me! And I still don't know entirely why! Naomi will be amazed, Can't wait to tell her.' Boaz's kindness became her motivation. Jesus' love compels the Bible says, yet at the same time there is the warning 'do not take the grace of God in vain.' Let us be like Ruth.