Ruth – Seed of Love and Harvest of Blessing

By Harrison Woodard

And Ruth said, Urge me not to leave you or to turn back from following you; for where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people and your God my God. — Ruth 1:16 AMP

 

Based on the Book of Ruth

During the time of judges, when there was no king in Israel, the people forgot God and did whatever they wanted. And just as God had warned, the curse came on them causing a severe famine in Israel.

About this time, a family from Bethlehem moved to Moab to escape the famine. The head of the family was Elimelech and his wife Naomi. They had two sons, Mahlon and Kilion, that married Moabite women named Orpah and Ruth.

While the family was staying in Moab, Elimelech and both his sons died. Faced with a life without male support, Naomi determined to return to Israel. She encouraged her daughters-in-law to return to their own families.

“Go back to your mothers’ houses,” said Naomi. “And may God bless you with a new husband.”

Both Orpah and Ruth protested for they really loved Naomi, “Please let us stay with you!”

“I have no more sons for you to marry. It would be better for you in your own country,” explained Naomi. “God has made my life miserable and you don’t want any part of that.”

Naomi foolishly blamed God for her plight. The truth was that God was doing what He could to release His Blessing in her life as He had promised her ancestors. She was not helping things by not trusting in His love.

Orpah reluctantly agreed to return to her people. She kissed Naomi and went on her way.

But Ruth would not leave.

“Your sister-in-law has returned to her people and her gods,” said Naomi. “You should follow her.”

Ruth was determined to stay with Naomi.

“Don’t ask me again to leave. I will go wherever you go. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God! Nothing will ever separate us,” declared Ruth.

Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to stay, so the two set out towards Israel together.

When they reached Bethlehem, the whole town was excited by their arrival.

“Is this really Naomi?” asked the women of Bethlehem.

“Don’t call me Naomi anymore. Call me Mara, because God has made my life bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty,” said Naomi.

But even though Naomi blamed God for her misfortune, God still loved her.

The two women had arrived at the start of the barley harvest. This gave Ruth an idea.

“Will you let me go to the fields and gather leftover grain behind the harvesters?” asked Ruth.

Naomi knew that God required farmers to leave some for the widows and poor to gather when they harvested their fields, so she agreed to let Ruth go.

Ruth ended up in a field that belonged to Boaz, a relative of her father-in-law. While she was working, Boaz arrived at his field.

“May God bless you!” declared Boaz.

“God bless you!” replied the workers.

Boaz noticed the women gathering the leftover grain and did not recognize one of them.

“Who is that young woman gathering in the field?” asked Boaz.

“She is the young woman from Moab who came back with Naomi,” explained the foreman. “This morning she asked if she could gather grain behind us. She has been hard at work ever since with only one short break to rest in the shade.”

Impressed by her hard work, Boaz went over to talk to her.

“My child, stay in my field and don’t go to any others. Follow behind the women working my field. I have ordered my men not to bother you. If you are thirsty, help yourself to the water from my well,” said Boaz.

“Thank you for your kindness,” said Ruth bowing down in front of Boaz. “But I am just a foreigner. Why are you so generous to me?”

“I have heard about your love and kindness towards Naomi. You left your people and your gods and placed your trust in the God of Israel. I know He will bless you,” said Boaz.

“Thank you,” said Ruth.

At lunchtime, Boaz shared his food with Ruth and made sure she was completely satisfied.

When it was time to go back to work, Boaz told the harvesters, “Do not bother Ruth and make sure you drop some grain on purpose for her to pick up.”

Ruth worked all day. That night she gave Naomi the half bushel of barley she gathered and her leftovers from lunch.

“Where did you gather so much grain?” asked Naomi. “God bless the owner of that field!”

Ruth told her about all the kindness shown to her by Boaz and how Boaz insisted that she stay in his fields throughout the harvest.

When she heard that it was Boaz, Naomi was really happy.

“This is wonderful news. Boaz is a relative of ours,” explained Naomi. “Do exactly as he says. He is a good man and he will make sure you are safe.”

Ruth worked the entire barley harvest and then later, the wheat harvest too.

As the harvest season was winding down, Naomi had an idea.

“Ruth put on your best clothes and perfume. Boaz will be sleeping at the threshing floor tonight to guard his harvest. After he has eaten, watch where he lays down. When he is asleep, lie down at his feet and uncover his feet. When he wakes up, he will tell you what to do,” said Naomi.

Ruth did everything Naomi said. That night, she quietly lay down near Boaz and uncovered his feet. In the middle of the night Boaz woke up suddenly and was surprised to see a woman at his feet.

“Who are you?” asked Boaz.

“I am Ruth. I have come to ask you to be my family redeemer,” explained Ruth.

“God bless you my child. You continue to amaze me by your kindness and loyalty. You could marry any man in town, but you continue to act honorably towards your family and the whole town has noticed,” said Boaz. “It is true that I am your family redeemer, but there is one who is before me. If he will fulfill his responsibility, so be it. But if not, I will be happy to marry you!”

Ruth stayed until just before morning. Boaz gave her some barley to take to Naomi and sent her home just before daybreak.

Naomi listened as Ruth told her all that Boaz had said.

“Don’t worry. Boaz will not rest until the matter is settled,” said Naomi.

Boaz went to the town gate and gathered the city elders as witnesses. When his relative arrived, he explained the situation and asked if he would buy the field that belonged to Elimelech. At first he agreed, but when he heard that he would also have to marry Ruth, he changed his mind.

“You buy the land and marry Ruth,” said the relative. “I don’t want my inheritance to be endangered.”

Boaz turned to the elders and declared that he would buy the land from Naomi and marry Ruth.

“We are your witnesses,” said the elders. “The Lord will bless you and Ruth with many descendents!”

Boaz married Ruth and the two had a son. The women came to Naomi to celebrate the birth of the child.

“Praise God who has given you a son. This child will restore your youth and care for you throughout your life. He is the son of your daughter-in-law who loves you so much. She has treated you better than seven sons!” declared the women of Bethlehem.

They named the boy Obed and Naomi cared for the child as if it was her own. Obed became the father of Jesse and the grandfather of King David.

 

Some Things To Think About

The Bible does not give all the reasons for the suffering of Naomi’s family. But one thing is certain, God did not cause it. As long as people placed their faith in God, His Blessing was on them and they were given life, health, abundance, peace, protection and all the wonderful things God promised. But when God was forgotten, the curse came on them. The curse included famine, sickness, poverty, death, infertility and many other unpleasant things. The people had a choice to either receive God’s Blessing or deal with the curse (Leviticus 26:1-46; Deuteronomy 7:13-15; 11:13-28; 28:1-68).

Instead of turning to God, Naomi wanted to have a pity party and blame God for everything. Fortunately for Naomi, Ruth had seen something in her mother-in law’s life to make her believe that the God of Israel was worthy of trust. As she began to walk in love, God’s Blessing began operating in her life. Ultimately, the whole family and nation was blessed through Ruth. Just like Joseph went from a forgotten prisoner to the second most powerful man in Egypt, Ruth went from a poor, widowed foreigner to one of the most highly admired women in Israel.

The practice of a family redeemer was intended to prevent a family name from being lost in Israel. Just as Boaz and Ruth produced an heir for Elimelech’s family, Jesus is your redeemer. You are now a joint heir with Christ and part of God’s family by what Jesus did at Calvary (Romans 8:9-17; Galatians 3:24-29; Ephesians 2:1-18).

Even though Ruth lived under the Old Covenant, God does not change. He wants two very important things from His children. Their faith or trust in Him and their love for God and others. Ruth had made Naomi’s God her God and went about acting in love towards others. The people saw her actions and began to declare her blessed. Before long, God’s Blessing was prospering everything she did! Even though you live under a new covenant, faith expressed through love still places you in a position to receive God’s Blessing. You don’t have to keep hundreds of laws and rules, because love is the fulfillment of all the Law (Matthew 7:12; John 13:34-35; Acts 10:34-35; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:13-14; 1 John 4:7-12).

 

Faith Building Exercise

Faith comes by continually hearing God’s Word. When you confess (speak) God’s Word out loud you are planting God’s incorruptible seed in your heart (spirit). In time, God’s Word will take root in your spirit (heart) and produce a plentiful harvest of all God’s blessings and promises in your life.

Confess these out loud every day until you believe them in your spirit. They will build your faith. Look up these verses and read them as they appear in your Bible. You can always trust God’s Word because He cannot lie.

 

My household and I serve the Lord.
(Joshua 24:15)

God gives me the desires of my heart and makes all my plans succeed.
(Psalm 20:4)

I see the goodness of the Lord in this life.
(Psalm 27:13)

I am a generous person and I am blessed.
(Proverbs 22:9)

I am a good person. I can only produce good fruit. People know I am a child of God by the fruit I produce.
(Matthew 7:17-20)

I love everyone the way Jesus loves me. People know that I belong to Jesus by my love.
(John 13:34-35)

Jesus is the vine and I am a branch of that vine. I bear much good fruit.
(John 15:5)

My faith expresses itself through love.
(Galatians 5:6)

I sow to please the Holy Spirit and reap eternal life from the Holy Spirit. I do not grow weary in doing well. In due season, I will reap a plentiful harvest.
(Galatians 6:8-9)

I love not only in word, but in truth and action also.
(1 John 3:18)

 

 

To learn more, click here: Ruth.

 

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