Gleaning Hope

Ruth 2

Have you ever lost your way?  Perhaps your life is cluttered, your way is unclear or your future is discouraging. You may have made unwise or sinful choices that have left you miserable.  The good news is, there is hope in Jesus Christ. If you belong to Jesus, He will never let you go completely.

Actually, Jesus Christ will faithfully work through your daunting circumstances to accomplish at least three things in your life.

First, Christ will give you hope so that looking to Him you may have confidence to face life today. Naomi’s life was a mess, bareness and bitterness of heart had robbed her of hope. Her vigor and strength to embark on the unknown was swallowed up by the inertia of hopelessness. Even though she had returned to Bethlehem, the land of God’s promise and presence, she showed no interest in actively pursuing for the daily needs of two widows. Unfortunately, an embittered heart can become so pervasively self-focused that you ultimately cave to the anxiety and despair in your hopeless heart. Proverbs 13:12 insists that hope put off or delayed “makes the heart sick.” But, whether you realize it or not, God is at work to draw your attention toward Christ, who is your ultimate need (Ruth 2:2).

Second, Jesus provides all you need for life and godliness.  Which means that you can start today following him in your work because he won’t let you down. Although Naomi is stuck in a rut, Ruth matched her own dedication and commitment (Ruth 1:16-17) with productive courage (2:3-7). Ruth had faith and hope even though she was an immigrant outcast. Through faith she set her heart to go gleaning behind the harvesters to reap enough food for her and Naomi to get by. But, she was an immigrant and unattached woman. She risked her own safety by going out into the fields. Yet, unbeknownst to her, the Lord was already at work to show her favor, to protect her and provide her daily needs, and more than that, to furnish a redeemer for Ruth and Naomi (2:1, 3, 5; cf. v8-13). Mention of Boaz, Naomi’s near kinsman and redeemer, is meant to lift your focus above the quaint hills of Bethlehem and beyond the story of an immigrant widowed day laborer to the bigger story of God’s redeeming grace. You see, Boaz the wealthy land owner and barley farmer showed an interest in Ruth. He protected her and provided abundantly for her and Naomi. Boaz’s faith is demonstrated in his trust and confidence in the Lord God as his provider (2:4-7). Which means that Boaz’s generosity was grounded in God’s generosity of mercy and grace toward him.

Finally, don’t think for a moment that Boaz taking an interest in Ruth was a coincidence. You see, what was prefigured in Boaz, Jesus fulfilled.  Which means that not only did Jesus come to seek and save the lost, but Jesus will even work in your imbittered heart and precarious circumstances to keep you close. Jesus will lead you in the right direction, and Jesus will ultimately bring you all the way home. Your simple responsibility is to love and trust Him. He will provide just as the Lord provided for Naomi and Ruth.

In one sense Boaz’s generosity may be termed hospitality. He welcomed this immigrant outcast from Moab to his fields and his table by providing her with water and food. Moreover, the supplemental gleanings provided an abundance for Ruth and her mother-in-law. Boaz was more interested in the people of Bethlehem than his own bank account. He was more interested in the foreigner outcast than sitting at his desk counting his money. The bottom line for him was not how much he could get out of his business, rather it was how generously he could represent the Lord, who blessed him so greatly.

‘As luck would have it,’ the Lord provided for the two widows (2:14-23). God was working in the happenstance of Ruth’s industrious, hazardous and apprehensive labors. He worked in the heart of the wealthy barley farmer. The Lord protected, rewarded and satisfied Ruth (2:14).  That was something she had not experienced nor seen in Naomi in a long while–contentment. Yet, the Lord even worked in the heart of poor old Naomi, the embittered mother-in-law. Through the generosity of God’s redeeming grace and by her near kinsman, redeemer, Naomi was beginning to get a view of the bigger picture (2:20-23).

God’s generosity is demonstrated fully in the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son. Jesus left the splendor and glory of his heavenly home and came down to rub shoulders with the likes of Naomi and Ruth. The Bible says that, “you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). Later in the same book, God says that he “loves a cheerful giver.”

Don’t miss this, Jesus is the rich treasure who alone can satisfy your anxious and embittered heart. Regardless of your circumstances, you may find contentment in the generous provisions of your near Kinsmen Redeemer, Jesus. He will never leave you and never forsake you. Furthermore, in Christ Jesus you may become the generous provider for another outcast and lead them to true contentment.

  • Robie

Canton, GA