God works to bring fullness in the lives of those who feel empty.
We left off in the story of Ruth, where she and Naomi arrive in Bethlehem, just as the barley harvest was beginning. We can feel the brokenness and emptiness they experienced through the loss of their husbands and for Naomi, not only the loss of her husband but of her two sons as well.
“I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty.” Naomi – Ruth 1:21
Although emptiness hurts, at the moment, it opens up the opportunity for one thing…to be FILLED. And this is exactly what God had in mind to do for them.
As they arrived in Bethlehem, Ruth was quick to get to work. She had a great love and commitment towards her mother-in-law. Her desire was to take care of her and provide for her. She “happened” to come across a field where she was allowed to glean. Gleaning was allowed in order for the poor to be able to pick up anything the harvesters had left behind. It was a humble task, yet Ruth proceeded to do what she had to. Even though she was a young lady, she was not caught up in looking for another husband, sitting down wondering if she should had gone back home or worrying about tomorrow. Her character, her hard work and her commitment to Naomi was observed by all…including the owner of that very field, Boaz.
Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The LORD be with you!”“The LORD bless you!” they answered. Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, “Who does that young woman belong to?” The overseer replied, “She is the Moabite who came back from Moab with Naomi. She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.’ She came into the field and has remained here from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter.” Ruth 2:4-6
Ruth caught Boaz’s attention! He noticed her not for her looks or status but because of her reputation. She was different. Her testimony was speaking volumes of who she was as a person and Boaz admired that.
So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. 9 Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.” At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?” Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” Ruth 2:8-12
What a MAN! Boaz is a beautiful example of a man worth waiting for! Here are a few things I noticed from him:
1. He was the initiator. He noticed Ruth, investigated about her and pursued her.
2. He found a way to keep Ruth close. He desired her company, her presence.
3. He was compassionate & kind. He overlooked her poverty, her race, her past. He saw the true beauty in her, which was not based on the physical.
4. He was a protector. He made sure he warned his workers not to lay a hand or even bother Ruth.
5. He provided for her. He made sure she knew he would take care of her.
6. He blessed her. He was a man who feared and honored God, therefore he knew how to value and honor Ruth.
Ruth is overwhelmed by Boaz’s kindness. We begin to see a beautiful relationship develop that is Christ centered, full of love and respect:
“May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord,” she said. “You have put me at ease by speaking kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servants.” Ruth 2:13
Whether you are single, dating or married, what are some of the qualities you admire from Boaz and Ruth? What qualities do you seek to develop in your own character?
Like Ruth and Naomi, do you feel empty? Seek the Lord in prayer and ask Him to fill you with His joy, His strength, His love.