Love’s Reputation: Ruth 2 (1)
Opening Prayer: Psalm 121.1, 2
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.
Sing Psalm 121.1, 2
(Duke Street: Jesus Shall Reign)
I lift up my eyes up to the heights:
Whence comes my help by day, by night?
My help comes from the Lord above!
He made creation by His love!
Read Ruth 2.1-3
1. How did Ruth show her love for Naomi in these verses?
2. How did God honor her show of love?
Gleaning is a provision of the Law of God (cf. Lev. 19.9, 10; 23.22; Deut. 24.19-22), and thus demonstrates that the Law is an instrument of God’s grace to the poor, enabling them, within the framework of redemption, to work toward restoration and wholeness.
Ruth intended to go wherever she might find acceptance with some landowner. It just so “happened” (v. 3) – in the providence of God, of course – that she ended up in the field of a near kinsman of Naomi’s husband. That the people of Judah observed this statute of God’s Law perhaps tells us something more about the nature of God’s visitation among His people there (1.6). The relief from famine in Judah must have included a measure of spiritual relief and renewal for the people as well.
From this point, grace begins to be the dominating theme of the Book of Ruth. We see grace at work in the actions of Ruth, as well as in the practice of gleaning as a statute of God’s Law. Ruth may be a Moabitess, but she did not carry on the traditions of Moab with respect to the people of Israel. As we shall see, another power has been at work within her, transforming her in every way.
We gain a hint of grace in the man Boaz, who observes the Law of God and has prospered in God’s gracious provision (v. 1). The sovereign guidance and care of God are also evident in these verses. The Hebrew emphasizes the complete lack of intention on Ruth’s part to seek out the field of Boaz. She simply ended up there, and the only explanation we can give – short of mere chance – is the sovereign guidance of the Lord.
Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Indeed, the grace of Law. Ruth has seen the people of God and their actions towards her, Naomi, and one another. She understands that they are keepers of God’s Law, and so bases her actions and decisions upon that knowledge. She has a peace about following God’s Law into the fields to glean because she knows that others are following it too (Lev. 19.9, 10). She trusts that all will work out just as it should. And it does.
Keeping the Law might not always make sense; but it always proves trustworthy and right. “Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but such as keep the law contend with them” (Prov. 28.4). Keeping the Law of God speaks volumes to those around us, as does not keeping it. Wouldn’t it be a beautiful thing to know that all believers in Jesus were dutifully keeping the Law of God? Wouldn’t you feel safer at church? Wouldn’t you be encouraged in your faith? Wouldn’t the church be the “joy of the whole earth” if this were so? Wouldn’t “all nations flow to it”? And “no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken. For all people walk each in the name of his god, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever” (Ps. 48.2; Is. 2.2; Mic. 4.4, 5).
Wouldn’t that kind of obedience be pleasing to Jesus? (Jn. 14.15)
Ruth trusted and obeyed. We should too.
1. From this passage, how can you see that the Law of God is a channel of grace to the world?
2. Review Ruth 1.1 and Judges 21.25. What’s different about what we see in the people of Bethlehem in Ruth 2?
3. What should be the Christian’s attitude toward the Law of God (Matt. 5.17-19)? How can you develop more of that attitude in your own walk with the Lord?
Observe Ruth’s humility. When Providence had made her poor, she cheerfully stoops to her lot. High spirits will rather starve than stoop; not so Ruth. Nay, it is her own proposal. She speaks humbly in her expectation of leave to glean. We may not demand kindness as a debt, but ask, and take it as a favor, though in a small matter. Ruth also was an example of industry. She loved not to eat the bread of idleness. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Ruth 2.1-3
Closing Prayer: Psalm 121.3-8
Commit your day to the Lord. Call on Him to guide, keep, bless, and strengthen you for the work before you this day.
Sing Psalm 121.3-8
(Duke Street: Jesus Shall Reign)
God will not let our footsteps fall;
He will preserve us all in all.
He does not slumber, does not sleep;
God will His chosen people keep.
You are our Keeper and our Shade;
You have our debt of sin repaid!
You will preserve us by Your might;
naught shall afflict us day or night.
Lord, You will guard our lives from ill;
You will our trembling souls keep still.
All our endeavors You will guard;
Eternal praise be Yours, O Lord!
T. M. and Susie Moore
Listen to our summary of last week’s study in Ruth by clicking here. You can download all the studies in the Ruth series by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel: Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV, John R. Franke, ed, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2005). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).