No such thing as coincidence

Ruth 2
Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!”

And they answered him, “The Lord bless you!”

Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?”

So the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered and said, “It is the young Moabite woman who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. And she said, ‘Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.’ So she came and has continued from morning until now, though she rested a little in the house.”

A lot is going on here. Let’s try to break it all down.

  1. Ruth didn’t just HAPPEN upon Boaz’ field. She may felt that way, but it was clearly God’s hand guiding a willing and obedient person.
  2. Boaz greets his workers with “the Lord be with you.” So clearly he has a great relationship with his workers and he is a kind man.
  3. Ruth’s work ethic is what got her noticed. Everything we do, we are being watched. We need to always put forth high quality that is worthy of the title of Christian.

Also from my commentary:
As the supervisor reported to Boaz, he told of Ruth’s submissive attitude. There is a sense in which the gleaning was hers by right – after all, she could have quoted Leviticus 19:9-10 back at him. But she kindly and properly asked for the right to gather in his field.

So Ruth, with a good attitude and heart of a servant put forth effort and the Lord blessed her with favor at EVERY corner.

Not on God

Ruth 2
There was a relative of Naomi’s husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz. So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor.”

And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.”

From my Commentary:
A man of great wealth: During the time of famine, when Elimelech, Naomi, and their whole family had left the Promised Land and went to Moab, Boaz had stayed behind – and God provided for him. In fact, God made Boaz a man of great wealth.

Ten years before, Naomi and her family made a choice, and it was a choice made in a hard time – a time of famine. But they didn’t have to make the wrong choice they did. The people of Bethlehem had not perished from hunger. They were still there. And they were blessed more than Naomi’s family.

It seems more and more that the mistake was Naomi’s and her family’s. This was not God’s affliction. She walked away from the favor of God.

So why was Naomi going to the field?
Leviticus 19:9-10 commanded farmers in Israel that they should not completely harvest their fields. They were commanded to “cut corners” in harvesting, and always leave some behind. Also, if they happened to drop a bundle of grain, they were commanded to leave it on the ground and to not pick it up.

i. This was one of the social assistance programs in Israel. Farmers were not to completely harvest their fields, so the poor and needy could come and glean the remains for themselves.

ii. This is a wonderful way of helping the poor. It commanded the farmers to have a generous heart, and it commanded the poor to be active and work for their food – and a way for them to provide for their own needs with dignity.

Blame it on God?

Ruth 1
20 But she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me [h]Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and [i]the Almighty has afflicted me?”

22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. Now they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.

From my commentary:
The name Naomi means “pleasant”; the name Mara means “bitter.” Naomi used this to tell the people of Bethlehem that her time away from Israel, her time away from the God of Israel, had not been pleasant – it was bitter.

We will have to read more. However, currently it seems a little like Naomi is complaining, or venting her frustrations. And who could blame her?

I do not believe the Lord was her problems. I believe her family walking away from the Lord’s land was the start of the problems.

Prodigal DAUGHTER returns

Ruth 1
19 Now the two of them went until they came to Bethlehem. And it happened, when they had come to Bethlehem, that all the city was excited because of them; and the women said, “Is this Naomi?”

All. The. City.

Not just a couple of people were excited, ALL of the city. They even remembered her and called her by name!
I know this is a small scripture to harp on today, but I thought it was so important.

So far this is reading out like a repent story. Much like the prodigal son. Naomi returns to the Lord and is immediately greeted with excitement.

Amen!

Now my biblical commentary plays it down a bit. I dislike that, but I’ll still share what it said:
All the city was excited because of them: Bethlehem was just a large village; everyone in the village would have known everyone else and remembered those who had left years ago.

Ever Increasing Faith

I don’t do this often, but I’m posting twice today.

I’m rereading Smith Wigglesworth book “Every Increasing Faith.”

Here is an excerpt I wanted to share..

I visited a woman who had been suffering for many years. She was all twisted up with rheumatism and had been two years in bed. I said to her, “What makes you lie here?” She said, “I’ve come to the conclusion that I have a thorn in the flesh.” I said, “To what wonderful degree of righteousness have you attained that you have to have a thorn in the flesh? Have you had such an abundance of divine revelations that there is danger of your being exalted above measure?” She said, “I believe it is the Lord who is causing me to suffer.” I said, “You believe it is the Lord’s will for you to suffer, and you are trying to get out of it as quickly as you can. There are doctor’s bottles all over the place. Get out of your hiding place and confess that you are a sinner. If you’ll get rid of your self- righteousness, God will do something for you. Drop the idea that you are so holy that God has got to afflict you. Sin is the cause of your sickness and not righteousness. Disease is not caused by righteousness, but by sin.”

Covenant?

Ruth 1
17 Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”

18 When she saw that she [f]was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her.

I think it shows the importance of this journey back to Israel. Ruth says let nothing but DEATH part us which is pretty close to a marriage vow.

From my commentary
Ten years of Naomi’s compromise in Moab never made Ruth confess her allegiance to the God of Israel. Yet as soon as Naomi stood and said, “I’m going back to the God of Israel, I’ll put my fate in His hands” Ruth stood with her. If you think you will persuade your friends or relatives to Jesus by your compromise, you are mistaken. Perhaps you are sincere, but you are mistaken. Only a bold stand for Jesus will really do it.

It seems that living in Moab was NOT the plan of the Lord and was most certainly the cause of a lot of the calamity in Naomi’s life.

I have decided…

This scripture makes me thing of the old song “I have decided, to follow Jesus.”

Ruth 1
14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
15 And she said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.”
16 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. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”

In the commentary it points out Ruth’s character. Her unwavering love and devotion. And her declaring God now as her God 

I would also add from my commentary:
This was more than change of address. Ruth was willing to forsake the Moabite gods she grew up with and embrace the God of Israel. She was deciding to follow the LORD. This Gentile woman, once far from God, had drawn near to Him.

This is kind of like a salvation story for Ruth. Turn from the Moabite lifestyle and follow God.

Path to success, starts with repenting

Ruth 1
11 But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Are there still sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? 12 Turn back, my daughters, go—for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, if I should have a husband tonight and should also bear sons, 13 would you wait for them till they were grown? Would you restrain yourselves from having husbands? No, my daughters; for it grieves me very much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me!”

The hand of the LORD has gone out against me: Despite this feeling, Naomi is going back to the land of Israel – and going back to her God. Though she felt that the hand of the LORD has gone out against me, she did not grow bitter against God. She returned to Him in repentance, knowing that the answer is drawing closer to Him, not going further from Him.

If we harden ourselves against God, all hope is gone. We must run from where we are BACK to Christ.

A tearful goodbye?

Ruth 1
Therefore she went out from the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each to her mother’s house. The Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.”
So she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.

Couple things of importance from my commentary:
She went out from the place where she was: This set Naomi apart from many other people. Many hear of the good things God is doing in the lives of others, and only wish they could have some of it – instead of actually setting out to receive it. Naomi could have stayed in Moab all of her life wishing things were different, but she did something to receive what God had to give her.

So in the next section Naomi tells Ruth and Orpah to stay in Moab. Which for is actually wise. They have strong family ties there. Naomi also blesses them by telling them to find rest in their new husbands homes.

You can tell by the last verse that there is a true connection between the women.

Moved by Desperation

Ruth 1
6 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had visited His people by giving them bread. 7 Therefore she went out from the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.

This to me was worded in a way that made it hard to interpret.
So from the commentary:
From distant Moab, Naomi heard that God was doing good things back in Israel. She wanted to be part of the good things that God was doing.
Naomi could have stayed in Moab all of her life wishing things were different, but she did something to receive what God had to give her.

I think desperation will move us rather quickly.

Also I find it interesting that what started as 1 women and three men, turned into three woman.