The Book of Ruth Series - God's Provision-Lesson 9

In relationships, when there is a rift and reconciliation has occurred, isn’t there a lifting of your spirit, joy in your heart, and an overall good feeling?

This was the resident attitude of Bethlehem in Ruth 1:19-22.

Because they repented, Bethlehemites were now harvesting barley. Jehovah-jireh, the Lord our Provider, had forgiven their transgressions, sent rain and caused their crops to grow.

It was a joyous time of hard work; work Bethlehem had not had in much too long. Into this place and mindset, Naomi and Ruth stepped.

While they traveled, Naomi must have prepared Ruth for what to expect when they arrived. First, they would return to Naomi’s abandoned dwelling, clean it out, make it livable and then worry about food. However, because Moabites were Israel’s ancient enemy, Bethlehemites may shun Ruth. In addition to the shame of returning poor and destitute, this fact could cause difficulty.

But thankfully, God built into His law respectful provision for the poor and the stranger. 

It was not a handout or pitiful charity. God’s way allowed the able-bodied poor to keep their dignity by working to provide for their families.

In Leviticus and Deuteronomy, God commanded landowners about harvesting their fields.

Reapers would tie barley stalks in bundles and use a sickle to sever the bundle close to the ground.
However, harvesters were to round the edges of the field, leaving a sort of triangular-shaped corner unreaped. God’s law then prohibited the reapers from returning to the corners or to the field proper to gather any missed stalks of grain.

These corners and stalks God reserved for needy gleaners who followed the reapers.

Gleaning was hot, sweaty, extremely hard work for a very low yield.

Gleaners considered themselves fortunate if their day’s work yielded enough for one family meal. Nevertheless, it was honest work and it gave the devoted family member a sense of achievement.

But wouldn’t it have been nicer to supply the poor with grain already reaped and threshed?

God created us to work. In the beginning, He commanded man to have dominion over all the earth and placed Adam in His garden to tend and keep it. God fashioned man in His image. God works, He never slumbers or sleeps and His eyes “…run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those…” who love Him. Therefore, we need work to feel complete, satisfied and content.

Work is important for our well-being, but it is also a way to honor and obey our Lord.

Ruth will have an opportunity to work, gleaning to provide for herself and Naomi. In it, she will see God’s providing hand.

Likewise, whatever lawful work you find yourself doing to provide for yourself and your family, work at it with all your heart, as if directly employed by God.

Then watch for His hand of provision and blessing.


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