Wednesday, December 4, 2019

2019.12.04 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ruth 2:8-17

Questions from the Scripture text: Who is speaking to whom in Ruth 2:8? What does he call her? What does he tell her not to do? Where does he tell her to stay? What does he tell her to watch (Ruth 2:9)? Where does he tell her to go? Why will she be safe? What provision will he make for her? How does she respond physically in Ruth 2:10? What does she ask? What reason does she suggest that he might not have taken notice of her? What does Boaz say has been reported about her (Ruth 2:11)? Whom does Boaz call upon to bless her (Ruth 2:12)? Under what does he say she has come for refuge? How does she respond to that in Ruth 2:13? What does he invite her to do in Ruth 2:14? What special instruction does Boaz give the reapers in Ruth 2:15-16? How long does she work (Ruth 2:17a)? How much beaten out barley does she end up with?
Boaz shows Ruth astonishing tenderness and generosity here. He does not treat her as one of the poor who could, by law, come and get the little scraps after the harvesters. He calls her “my daughter” (Ruth 2:8). He has her stay not with the poor but the young women of his own clan. When break time comes, he has her eat from his table. He is a great nobleman among Israel, and she is a foreigner, and in extreme poverty, and a woman. But he speaks to her with great courtesy  and affection.

In addition to this great tenderness, Boaz is abundantly generous with her. First, he makes sure that she is safe both from others (Ruth 2:9a), and from the elements (verse 9b). No one is permitted to bother her, and she is invited to stay hydrated.

Boaz also makes sure that she gets enough to eat during the break time that she will have some to take back home with her. He says for her to glean not just behind the young men who are harvesting, but right up among the standing sheaves. This way, she will have the opportunity to get the very first pickings.

Boaz even tells the young men to purposely drop grain so that she will have extra. By the time she is done threshing, she has netted 20 lb of barley grain, in addition to her supper leftovers. (Note that she harvests from early in the morning until evening, and then does the hard work of threshing even after that).

In Ruth 2:12, we have a reminder of what we are supposed to see in the character of Boaz: not the greatness of the man, so much as the greatness of his God. The fruit we see in how he lives is the product of what he believes. “Yahweh repay your work, and a full reward be given you by Yahweh God of Israel.” Faith in the Lord produces likeness to the Lord in kindness and generosity.

Indeed, by the time we come to the end of the book, we will have Boaz displayed as a redeemer—as a picture of the Redeemer to come. In his Christ-likeness, we are to see Christ. And though we come after Christ, rather than foreshadowing Him, we too are called to be a display of the character of the Redeemer—in Whom we believe, and by Whom we are changed. May He make us pictures of His tenderness and generosity!
To whom do you have the chance to show unexpected kindness and generosity?
Suggested Songs: ARP183 “Under His Wings” or TPH400 “Gracious Spirit, Dwell with Me”

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