14At mealtime Boaz said to Ruth, “Come, eat with us. Have some bread and dip it in the sauce.” At once she sat down with the workers, and Boaz handed her some roasted grain. Ruth ate all she wanted and had some left over.
15When Ruth left to start picking up grain, Boaz told his men, “Don't stop her, even if she picks up grain from where it is stacked. 16Be sure to pull out some stalks of grain from the bundles and leave them on the ground for her. And don't speak harshly to her!”
17Ruth worked in the field until evening. Then after she had pounded the grain off the stalks, she had a large basket full of grain. 18She took the grain to town and showed Naomi how much she had picked up. Ruth also gave her the food left over from her lunch.
19Naomi said, “Where did you work today? Whose field was it? God bless the man who treated you so well!” Then Ruth told her that she had worked in the field of a man named Boaz.
20 “The Lord bless Boaz!” Naomi replied. “He has shown that he is still loyal to the living and to the dead. Boaz is a close relative, one of those who is supposed to look after us.”
21Ruth told her, “Boaz even said I could stay in the field with his workers until they had finished harvesting all his grain.”
22Naomi replied, “My daughter, it's good that you can pick up grain alongside the women who work in his field. Who knows what might happen to you in someone else's field!” 23And so, Ruth stayed close to the women, while picking up grain in his field.
Ruth worked in the fields until the barley and wheat were harvested. And all this time she lived with Naomi.
Naomi is not alone. There are times when we all wallow in bitterness so thoroughly that we are blind to God’s solution to our problems. We all suffer that sickness at some point.
In Naomi’s case, she has traveled all the way from Moab to her hometown, a journey estimated to take at least a week on foot. Yet, apparently, it never crossed her mind to ask a kinsman to redeem Ruth. It was an ancient Israelite practice (Leviticus 25:23-25; Deuteronomy 25:5-6) in which the nearest kinsman could purchase the property of the dead man (in this case Ruth’s husband) and take the childless widow for his wife. The resulting child would be heir to that property, keeping it in the dead man’s family.
You see, God had foreseen this very circumstance and had provided a solution centuries earlier. It was right there, in front of Naomi’s nose.
So, imagine Naomi’s surprise. Boaz, a wealthy and important relative, had extended such kindness to Ruth, without Naomi even asking. He allowed this foreign woman to eat with him and his workers, and to take home leftovers (v 14). He also made it easy for Ruth to pick up the barley left behind in the harvest, so her work would be more productive (vv 15, 16). In one day, she gathered enough food to feed the women for two weeks (v 17)!
Scripture records Naomi’s newfound hope (v 20): “‘The Lord bless Boaz!’”
The Lord was watching out for Naomi’s interests, even when she wasn’t. We can have confidence the Lord is working in our best interests too, even if we are too spiritually blind to see it.
Heavenly Father, you know the beginning and the end, so much more than we do. Give us renewed hope today that you are working in our lives, and will redeem the bad things. We want that hope, to show those around us you are faithful. In Jesus’ name, Amen.