As the evening light settled in, a fiery-orange hue streaked across the horizon. The sun waned while the reapers stacked the last of the day’s bundles and made their way to the threshing floor. The gleaners rubbed their aching backs and clutched their meager harvest as they followed.
Only the gleaners needed to thresh grain tonight. Ruth watched, learned, and then proceeded to “beat out what she had gleaned”. As she pounded the stalks of barley, the grain berries seemed to easily separate from the chaff, but she heard wheat was much more difficult.
Because of Boaz’s generosity, Ruth had gathered more barley than normal. The other gleaners were long gone by the time she finished. Ruth scooped the grain into her shawl. Amazingly, it measured about a bushel. She tied a good knot, heaved it over her shoulder and headed for home.
When Ruth entered the house, “…her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned”. Naomi could hardly believe her eyes. She looked at the abundance of grain, the food Ruth saved from lunch, and excitedly asked, “Where have you gleaned today? And where did you work?”
Ruth’s blessings from God had overflowed and shocked Naomi. This great quantity was so out of the ordinary, Naomi just burst into praise, “Blessed be the one who took notice of you.”
Surprised, Ruth explained, “The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz.”
All of a sudden, Naomi began to see God’s plan. Her mind raced as she recognized His hand leading Ruth that morning. Would God use Boaz to restore her in Israel? “Blessed be he of the Lord, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead…he is one of our close relatives,” she cried.
Naomi knew God’s Law permitted Boaz, as the close relative or kinsman-redeemer, to raise-up a child for her dead son, Mahlon, if he marries Ruth. Is this God’s plan? If so, how will He accomplish it?
“Tell me more,” Naomi said to Ruth, in between bites of leftover parched grain.
Ruth told her about her day and of how Boaz wanted her to stay close to his workers and glean only in his fields. Did this mean he liked her? He was kind and handsome, particularly when he asked her to join him at mealtime.
Ruth was smitten. But, did Boaz return her feelings?
Wisely, Naomi advised Ruth as only a mother could. She said, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, and that people do not meet you in any other field.”
Everyone in Bethlehem knew Ruth was a very young widow. Where and how she gleaned would test her morality, virtue and reputation. To keep gossip to a minimum, Ruth must heed Naomi’s advice and she did.
Ruth gleaned only in the fields of Boaz. Each day as their eyes met, love flowed from Ruth’s heart. With every conversation, their relationship grew.
Throughout the harvests, Ruth remained faithful, returning home to Naomi each evening.
Do you remember the symbolism? Ruth represents Gentile believers and Boaz, the Lord Jesus Christ. Do we see our Boaz daily and does love flow from our heart? Is our relationship growing with every conversation and are we remaining faithful?
For more study see the following scriptures: Genesis 30:27; II Samuel 6:11; Leviticus 25:23-25; Deuteronomy 25:5-6, Colossians 1:9-14, Colossians 3:1-4