"THE BOOK OF RUTH" Ruth's Lowly Service: "Let Me Glean" (2:1-23) INTRODUCTION 1. In our previous study, we saw how Ruth came to be the daughter-in-law to Naomi... a. The journey to Moab of Elimelech, Naomi, and their two sons b. The death of Elimelech, and marriages of the sons to Naomi and Orpah c. The deaths of the sons, and Naomi's return to Judah accompanied by Ruth 2. We noticed the "noble choice" that was made by Ruth... a. To leave her home and religion of Moab b. To adopt Naomi's home and God as her own - cf. Ru 1:16-17 3. Noteworthy throughout this story is the filial devotion Ruth has toward her mother-in-law... a. We saw it in her "noble choice" b. We will see it again in her "lowly service" [The chapter begins where the previous one ended: at the time of the barley harvest. In such a setting we read how...] I. RUTH GLEANS IN THE FIELDS OF BOAZ A. RUTH REQUESTS TO GLEAN IN THE FIELDS... 1. We are introduced to Boaz - Ru 2:1 a. A relative of Naomi's husband, Elimelech b. A man of great wealth 2. Ruth gains permission from Naomi to let her glean - Ru 2:2 a. Hoping to find favor (kindness) from a landowner 1) The Law forbid owners from reaping the corners and gathering the gleanings of the harvest - cf. Lev 19:9-10 2) In this way God provided for strangers, the fatherless, and widows - Deut 24:19-22 b. Perhaps not all land owners respected this law 1) Especially toward "strangers" 2) We are reminded eight times in this book that Ruth was a "Moabitess" 3. Ruth "happened" to come upon the field belonging to Boaz - Ru 2:3 a. Gleaning after the reapers, as the Law allowed b. She "happened" to come to the field belonging to Boaz 1) The word suggests it was by "chance", which may how it first appeared 2) The overall context of the book reveals it was by "providence" B. BOAZ INQUIRES ABOUT THE WOMAN IN THE FIELDS... 1. We see the respect between Boaz and his workers - Ru 2:4 a. He entreats the Lord's presence upon them b. They bid the Lord's blessing upon him 2. Boaz asks his foreman about the strange woman - Ru 2:5-7 a. Who relates her Moabite background, and her relation to Naomi b. Who recounts her request to glean, and her diligent labor [With Boaz now aware of Ruth's identity, we next learn how...] II. BOAZ EXTENDS KINDNESS TO RUTH A. HIS INITIAL KINDNESS... 1. Boaz encourages her to glean in his field alone - Ru 2:8-9 a. To stay by his young women b. To know that his young men have been commanded not to touch her c. To drink when thirsty the water drawn by the young men 2. Ruth inquires why he is so kind to her, a foreigner - Ru 2:10-12 a. Boaz has heard of her devotion to Naomi, and her "noble choice" b. Boaz prays the Lord will bless her in return for seeking His refuge 3. Ruth is comforted by his kindness - Ru 2:13 a. She hopes to continue to find favor in his sight b. For his kindness toward one who is not one of his maidservants B. HIS EXTENDED KINDNESS... 1. Shown to her at the noon mealtime - Ru 2:14 a. Inviting her to eat with the rest of the workers b. Passing roasted grain over for her to eat 2. Shown by the instructions given to his young men - Ru 2:15-16 a. To let her glean even among the sheaves without reproach b. To purposely let stalks fall from the bundles for her to glean 3. Allowing her to reap an ephah (about 30-50 pounds) of barley - Ru 2:17 a. A rather large amount for someone to glean from scraps! b. But then she had a lot of help from the "clumsy" workers! [At the end of the day, Ruth returns back to the city where...] III. NAOMI RESPONDS WITH GREAT JOY A. RUTH SHARES HER PRODUCE WITH NAOMI... 1. Ruth shows her mother-in-law what she gleaned - Ru 2:18 2. Ruth gives Naomi her excess grain - Ru 2:18 B. NAOMI REJOICES OVER GOD'S KINDNESS... 1. In response to Naomi's questions, Ruth tells her about Boaz - Ru 2:19 2. Naomi blesses the Lord - Ru 2:20 a. For His kindness to the living and the dead b. For Boaz is a close relative (who would have a duty to preserve the name of a dead relative) c. Note the contrast to her earlier feelings - cf. Ru 1:13,20, 21 C. NAOMI COUNSELS RUTH TO CONTINUE... 1. Ruth tells of Boaz' instructions to continue gleaning among his workers - Ru 2:21 2. Naomi encourages her to stay with the women laborers in Boaz' field - Ru 2:22 3. Which Ruth does until the end of the harvest, while living with Naomi - Ru 2:23 CONCLUSION 1. In this chapter we have seen two noteworthy examples of righteous character... a. Ruth's humility and willingness to minister to the needs of her mother-in-law b. Boaz' kindness and sense of propriety in his treatment of the foreign woman in his field 2. We also saw Naomi's faith in God's care reassured... a. Even though she believed her earlier loss was due to God's discipline b. She was convinced that God had not forsaken His kindness to the living and dead In this story of "Ruth's Lowly Service," we also see another truth displayed, that God gives grace to the humble: "Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to [your] elders. Yes, all of [you] be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." (1Pe 5:5-7) Are we willing to render lowly service to those around us, humbling ourselves before God?