We pick up the story as Ruth and Naomi return to Bethlehem with nothing and little hope. Naomi is bitter, yet in spite of all that has happened to her, their story is just beginning.
Mosaic Law allowed for widows, foreigners, and orphans to gather from the fields what was leftover from the harvest, but that doesn’t mean people would actually allow it. Yet Boaz, a relative of Naomi’s late husband “happens” to own the field the Ruth finds herself in. His workers allow her to stay for the day.
The narrator of the book of Ruth shows us multiple times in this story that nothing happens by accident in the Kingdom of God. These random occurrences are not random at all. God is working and providing for Naomi and Ruth even when they do not realize it.
Now Boaz, who has heard of all Ruth has done for Naomi, responds with grace and kindness towards Ruth. He goes above and beyond what the law required of him so that she and Naomi will be provided for. Again, even in the midst of Naomi’s (and Ruth’s) sorrow, God is still working.
This is a good reminder for us to pause and reflect on our own lives. How often do we forget the goodness of God? We become so caught up in the next thing in life that we forget all God has done for us.
Not only has Boaz provided for Ruth and Naomi economically, but as a family member, he could also potentially redeem Ruth. Redemption happens when a childless widow marries a relative, typically a brother in law, who provides children, legal protection, keeps any land/possessions in the family, etc. Boaz is a more distant relative than a brother-in-law to Ruth’s late husband, so he is under no obligation to redeem her. But Naomi and Ruth have hope. Could Boaz do more than simply supply Ruth (and by extension Naomi) with food?
Just as Naomi and Ruth were in a difficult place, so it is with all of us with the grace and mercy of God. In reality, we were destined for death but God gave us life.
The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus has done for us what we could never do for ourselves. Ruth is not simply a feel-good story, but a reflection on the redemption of God. God takes broken people and gives them life. Through Jesus, the same invitation is given to us.
You and I are not Ruth, but we are like Ruth in that we also need help, rescue, and redemption outside of ourselves. This is what Jesus has done for us. Where do you think you would be without Christ?