Lesson Three – Ruth and Boaz (Ruth 2:1-3:18)
By God’s providential care Ruth and Naomi are now living in Bethlehem. Ruth is honoring her vow to God (1:16-17). She is very aware of the need to provide food for herself and Naomi.
We see evidence of God’s presence, timing, and provisions in that they arrived in Bethlehem safely and at the beginning of the barley harvest season (1:22). If you’ll remember, Naomi’s family left Bethlehem because “there was a famine in the land (1:1)”. The famine has run its’ course, there is food available again; and ready to be harvested in late April through early May (1:22), the wheat harvest (2:23) followed in May and early June (Life Changes Series: Ruth and Esther, pg. 34).
Ruth recognizes that she has committed, with God’s help, to care for herself and Naomi —who is too frail to work, has land that she can’t access, and is “caught-up” in her losses which seems to have alienated her from God. But God is still faithful in his care of the women.
Ruth has a major obstacle that might have created additional problems for her. She is a Moabite, her race makes her a potential victim of the long-standing historical scorn by these Israelites (Gen. 19:30-38, Deut. 23:3, Jud. 3:12-30), if she goes out alone in this community to work. We can question God’s motives or we can admire Him for His attributes, as He does what He does to fulfill His purposes. Ruth clearly understands that she is “at the mercy of the saints” for food for she and Naomi. She discussed/got permission from Naomi to go to the source of food—the fields and “pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor” (2:2). Ruth 2:3 states, “…As it turned out, she found herself working in the field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech”. This Boaz is a relative of Naomi’s late husband. This Boaz is a wealthy and virtuous Bethlehemite. (The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. A-D, pg 451.) This Boaz is the son of Rahab, you remember Rahab from Joshua 2:1-24, as the prostitute who hid Joshua’s spies on the condition that her family would be spared when they attacked and were victorious over Jericho.
This Boaz shows up in the lineage of Jesus and David in Matthew 1:5-6, with his rich heritage which is a major benefits to every Believer, especially today. We can question what and why things happen in our families, but a family committed to God has no real need to worry or question. If we nurture our relationship with God daily, we can continuously see Him working on and through each family member from one generation to the next to accomplish His will in each of us.
Boaz now knows he is in a position as kinsman-redeemer (2:30), to marry one of these women. Naomi is eligible to marry first however, she seems to have come out of her “grief-stricken state” in time to focus on finding a home for Ruth instead of herself (3:1). Naomi instructs Ruth on the proper custom to approach Boaz to make him aware that she (Ruth), not Naomi, is no longer in mourning for her husband, she has ended the period of mourning, and is available for marriage to the eligible Kinsman-redeemer (2:29-20, 3:1-15).
We can see God’s hand as He directs the historical path of each character of this great book of Ruth. Let us look to God daily as He continues to lace our lives with evidence of His presence and provisions.
Reverend Glenda Brunson