Love’s Reputation: Ruth 2 (4)
Opening Prayer: Psalm 23.4, 5
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Sing Psalm 23.4, 5
The Gift of Love: Though I May Speak with Bravest Fire)
The Lord is ever by my side; His rod and staff with me abide.
A table rich for me He spreads; with oil my Lord anoints my head.
Read Ruth 2.14-16
1. How did Boaz provide for Ruth in these verses?
2. How did he enlist others in helping him to be such an agent of grace?
All the gestures here signal Ruth’s continuing reception into the covenant community, directed and facilitated by Boaz, who continues to prove that he is, indeed, a great man. It is not enough for Boaz to have welcomed her into his fields and spoken kindly to her. His gestures of grace continued reaching out to Ruth, bringing her into the covenant circle at mealtime and assuring a greater harvest from her gleaning than she might normally expect.
This is grace upon grace through small but significant gestures, which serve not only to extend the grace of God, but to signal to all involved the welcoming of a stranger into the community of grace.
We may be inclined to read into Boaz’ gestures some indication of romantic attraction, but this is surely completely lacking. He is an older man (3.10) who is doing only what the Law of God requires of him. He treats Ruth as he treats his own servants; all experience his generosity, kindness, and love. Boaz’ kindness at this point is completely disinterested; he is only concerned to carry out the requirements of neighbor love in the Name of the God Who has loved and blessed him so abundantly.
His “going the extra mile” with respect to Ruth’s gleaning is doubtless only for the sake of ensuring that she and Naomi will have enough to eat, for he knows she gleans not only for herself, but also for her mother-in-law, with whom she will no doubt be more than generous.
It is instructive to observe the way that one man’s acts of grace and kindness can enlist others in providing God’s shelter and refuge. This is how Jesus brings grace upon grace to His people, and through them, to the world (Jn. 1.16; Eph. 1.22, 23).
Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Grace upon grace. Kindness upon kindness. Love. Care. Concern.
Ruth is hard-working, conscientious, and kind. And because Boaz knows this about her, and because he wants to obey God’s commandments, he is kind and gracious in his behavior towards her.
He goes beyond the necessary, and abundantly blesses her steadfastness. “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord…distributing to the needs of the saints…” (Rom. 12.10, 11, 13). God’s grace to her, shown through Boaz, is meeting the needs that she and Naomi have; and in the process bringing joy into their lives. “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Ps. 126.5, 6).
His grace. Our abundant blessing.
1. How would you describe Boaz’ actions toward Ruth in these verses?
2. How do his actions foreshadow the work of Christ on our behalf (grace upon grace)?
3. How can believers encourage one another to more “grace upon grace” living like this?
It well becomes us all to think humbly of ourselves, esteeming others better than ourselves. And let us, in the kindness of Boaz to Ruth, note the kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ to poor sinners. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Ruth 2.4-16
Closing Prayer: Psalm 23.1-3, 6
Praise God for His shepherding care, and for the fact that even now, Jesus is preparing an eternal home for you with Him forever.
Sing Psalm 23.1-3, 6
(The Gift of Love: Though I May Speak with Bravest Fire)
Because the Lord my Shepherd is I shall not want, for I am His!
He makes me lie in pastures full; I rest in Him by waters still.
My soul He quickens and will bless; He leads in paths of righteousness.
Though I may walk through death’s dark vale, I shall not fear – He will not fail!.
Goodness and mercy, full and free, shall ever after follow me,
and in the house of God, my Lord, shall I abide forevermore!
T. M. and Susie Moore
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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).