Sunday Worship Service
October 10, 2021
By Pastor Josh Munan
Proposition: As we exercise faith in the Lord Jesus, we will also find the grace of God.
Application: Find grace through faith in Christ Jesus. Find grace by seeking refuge in the Lord God.
Psalm 46 in the King James Bible was printed the same year Shakespeare turned 46. The 46th word from the beginning of Psalm 46 is “shake”. The 46th word from the end of Psalm 46 is “spear”? Coincidence? An accident? What amazes me is that someone even noticed this strange occurrence. In the passage we are looking at we will notice some divine twists of fate as God imperceptibly moves His plan forward in the lives of Naomi, Ruth and Boaz.
Proposition: What we will learn from this passage is that as we exercise faith in the Lord, we will find the grace of God.
- Ruth’s Action (2:1 – 7)
Influence of Boaz (2:1): Boaz now enters the scene and will play a vital role in the rest of the story. Boaz was a man of influence and integrity. He was a pillar of spiritual and moral strength in a nation that had lost its way.
Read Judges 21:25
Boaz was the legal relative of Elimelech, Naomi’s husband. Once Boaz gets involved events move quickly forward.
In this chapter Ruth finds herself in Boaz’s field. In chapter three she is at Boaz’s feet. In chapter four she becomes a part of his family.
Translation: The scene unfolds first in a house then in a field. This day will prove to be a turning point for Naomi, Ruth and Boaz.
Integrity of Ruth (2:2, 3): Ruth offered to glean like a common pauper to spare Naomi the shame of the humiliating glare of those who knew her in her former wealth.
The author does not want us to lose sight of Ruth’s origin. Recall that Moabites were not allowed in the community of Israel.
Read Deut. 23:3, 4
The Torah decreed that the poor, the widow, and resident foreigners be allowed to glean the corners of fields and pick up what reapers failed to gather. The gleanings were the portions of grain that fell to the ground during the time of reaping.
The Torah also did not allow workers to return to the fields to pick up sheaves left behind.
Read Lev 19:9, 10; Deut. 24:19
Gleaning was not subject to the whims of the landowner. It was a prerogative for widows, foreigners, and orphans. But in those days, everyone did what was right in their own eyes. As a result, gleaners were sometimes harshly treated. This made gleaning stressful for a vulnerable person. Because Ruth could face ostracism, she looked for a field where she would find favour. A place where she might be allowed to glean without scolding.
You may have heard the saying God steers a moving ship. For instance, we may be looking for work. So, we search job postings, then send out resumes. When we land a job, we might think it was due to our efforts when in fact it was the Lord guiding our steps through the process.
Ruth just happened to end up in Boaz’s field. The author does not want us to miss the hand of God in Ruth’s search. From Ruth’s standpoint the meeting was unplanned and unexpected. From God’s viewpoint, He was moving His purposes forward. What was His purpose? To build the royal house of David which in the end led to King Jesus.
Ingress of Boaz (2:4): Here is another coincidence. Boaz happened to show up. He lived in Bethlehem. He left town to visit his fields to see how the work was moving along. These might have been the same fields where shepherds heard angels announcing the birth of Jesus.
Read Luke 2:8, 15
Boaz Investigates (2:5 – 7): Boaz arrived to encourage his workers, check on the harvest and go his way. But someone caught his eyes. He noticed a woman he had not seen before. So, he inquires about her by asking his foreman, his most trusted employee. The foreman gives a Boaz a lengthy response. First, she was a young Moabitess and therefore could be ostracized. Second, she was Naomi’s daughter-in-law and because she believed in the God of Israel and identified with the people of Israel, she was willing to leave her family and country and become an Israeli.
Third, although she did not need to ask for permission, Ruth did not assume the right to glean and gather, she did not presume upon what she was entitled, she asked for permission to glean the grain that fell on the ground and gather the sheaves left behind. Fourth, after having worked hard in the morning heat she was now taking a brief break from her labours.
Boaz’s field had a small shelter for workers to go to for shade from the scorching sun and for water breaks. Boaz arrived while she was sitting in the shelter.
Now we find the response to Ruth’s wish. She desired to end up in a field where she might find favour and favour she indeed found. God answered the desire of her heart!
Read Ps 20:4
God answers the godly desires of our heart, especially in a season of distress.
2. Boaz’s Response (2:8 – 13)
Impressed with Ruth (2:8 – 10): Ruth found God’s grace through the person of Boaz who is a type of Christ. Boaz treated Ruth with generosity and dignity. Because he was gracious, Boaz provided for Ruth, he protected Ruth, and he promoted Ruth.
Abundant Provision (2:8, 9a): Sometimes we grow discontent in our present station in life and we seek greener pastures. Here, Boaz is saying something to the effect don’t go looking for greener pastures stay here. Often it was useful for gleaners to go from field to field to increase the amount of grain gleaned.
But Boaz said something to the effect you will benefit the most by staying in my field. In my field you will find favour. And Ruth found abundant provision. She also found ample protection.
Ample Protection (2:9b): This was a time in Israel’s history when everyone did what was right in their own eyes. In some fields servants were hostile toward gleaners. They would do things that would cause gleaners stay away. As a Moabitess, Ruth might have been mistreated and shooed away. But Boaz’s ordered his servants to treat her well.
In Boaz Ruth found grace. She found abundant provision, ample protection and lastly an amazing promotion.
Amazing Promotion (2:9c): Boaz gave her the same status and privilege as one of his employees. Gleaning in harvest time was thirsty work. Because it took much effort to draw water, and because water was in short supply, it was jealousy guarded by the servants.
Yet Ruth was given free access to water and to shade. Gleaners did not expect any kind of open access to such resources.
Application: If you have found favour in your workplace, indeed you are blessed. Rejoice in the Lord that He has led you to such a place. And remain where you are. Because where you are is the green pasture. It is safe, you are well supplied, and you may even find advancement.
But, if you are not finding favour in your place of work, if you don’t feel safe in your work environment, perhaps it is time to do what Ruth did. Maybe it is time to seek a place of work where you will find favour – a place of provision, protection and even possible future promotion. While Ruth was searching for a place to work, she happened to end up in Boaz’s field.
From Ruth’s standpoint the meeting was unplanned and unexpected but not from God’s viewpoint. The Lord was quietly and invisibly guiding her steps. As we seek Him, He will do the same for us.
Read Prov 3:5, 6
Prior to any new pursuit make sure what you are seeking is in accord with the will of God. As we submit to His will, the Lord will guide our steps into a favorable place despite roadblocks along the way.
Inquiry by Ruth (2:10): Ruth considered herself unworthy of such favour. Boaz had done more for her than she deserved. In humble gratitude she bowed down out of respect. Many other foreign women had gleaned in Boaz’s field why did he pay special attention to Ruth?
What is more, Ruth was from Moab a people not fit to enter the assembly of God. Ruth wanted to know the reason for such unexpected and undeserved favour?
Informed about Ruth (2:11, 12): Until now Boaz had not met Ruth, but he had heard about her. And was greatly impressed by the reports he had been told. Ruth’s reputation went before her. Her deeds were widely discussed among the towns people of Bethlehem.
Every place Boaz went in Bethlehem, he heard about Ruth.
Our reputation is formed by those who observe us at work, at school, in our neighbourhoods, in our church gatherings. What reputation do we have at work? At home? In our neighbourhoods? In class? At church? Our reputation is determined by consistently living out the values we believe in.
What did Boaz hear about Ruth? He heard about her genuine faith. What were the hall marks of Ruth’s faith? The transforming power of faith in the Lord Jesus is manifest in at least two ways:
Selfless Love: Often a daughter-in-law may harbour ill feelings toward her mother-in-law. But Ruth treated Naomi as though she was her mother. Especially after Naomi became widowed.
Read James 1:27
Visiting means to care for the needs of those who are destitute and distressed. True faith is displayed through acts of kindness toward those in need.
Secondly true faith is manifest through sacrificial obedience.
Sacrificial Obedience: When Ruth chose to leave her parents, her friends, and her country of birth in order to follow God and identify with His people she was exercising the same great faith as Abraham. Because Ruth had genuine faith, she also found genuine grace. And so, it is with us, as we exercise faith in the Lord Jesus, we find the extravagant grace of God. Not only do we find extravagant grace, but we also receive immense reward.
Immense Reward (2:12): Only God can truly reward faith. And the Lord rewards faith to the fullest extent possible both in this world and in the world to come. How did God reward Ruth’s faith? She bore a son who became an ancestor of the Messiah!
Read Heb 11:6
The universal principle of faith is that the Lord rewards those who seek Him out. The ultimate reward of seeking Him is the joy of finding Him!
Through faith in the Lord Ruth found grace in the God of Israel as her refuge. She left the refuge of the gods of Moab and sought refuge in the God of Israel.
The greatest of all decisions we can ever make is to exercise faith in the Lord Jesus so that we might discover the grace of God and find refuge in Him. Seeking refuge in the Lord is like a tiny bird snuggling under the wings of its mother when it sees looming danger. God is like a mother bird offering His wings to protect us in times of trouble. If we rely on flesh and blood, if we trust in government and our bank account, we will be disappointed. Let us not resist seeking refuge in the Lord because in Him we find His grace to protect us in times of danger and to provide for us when destitute.
Read Ps 57:1
Inspired by Grace (2:13): It took a while but Ruth finally found grace. And because she found grace her crisis was over. Her days of uncertainty came to an end. Her fears were relieved. Her mind was put at ease.
Finding grace is a game changer in our lives. God’s grace prevails over all our inadequacies, all of our fears, all of our uncertainties all of our difficulties. And we find grace through faith in the Christ Jesus. We find grace by seeking refuge in the Lord God.
You can download the sermon notes here.
Ruth 2:1 – 13