RUTH | From Barren to Blessed | Hope in Searching | Ruth 2

January 14, 2024 Speaker: Christopher Rich Series: Ruth - From Bitter to Blessed

Topic: Old Testament Passage: Ruth 2

Christopher Rich January 14, 2024
RUTH | From Barren to Blessed
Hope in Searching | Ruth 2

Introduction | Ruth 1 Recap
Good Morning! Welcome to Mercy Fellowship where we are Saved by Jesus Work, Changed by Jesus’
Grace, and Living on Jesus’s Mission. Today we continue our series RUTH: From Bitter to Blessed. Lets Recap:

Decade of Desolation (1:1-5) In a time of national faithlessness, where everyone did what was right in their
own eyes, a global famine decimated the population. A family from Bethlehem, in Judah, sought refuge in
Moab a neighboring pagan nation hostile to the people of God. What started hopeful ended in the death
of the father, sons married to foreign wives, and the sons both dying leaving three childless hopeless widows.

Longing for Home (1:6-14) Naomi has heard there is food back in Bethlehem, home is calling. God has
been faithful to His covenant promise to His people visiting them through His provision. Naomi sets out for
Judah with both daughters-in-law following. With her son’s dead and no other children her prospects for
herself are bleak let alone providing for her sons’ widows. She urges them both to return to their own families
to find rest from their struggle. One daughter-in-law, Orpah leaves Naomi, but the other Ruth remains.

Returning with Ruth (1:15-18) In a stirring display of loyalty and faithfulness, Ruth affirms her undying
commitment to Naomi, her unwavering allegiance to Naomi’s God, and her embracing God’s people as her
own, come what may. In doing so, she is forsaking her own culture, people, religion, and heritage in order to
rely on and rest in the God of the Bible. In places of desolation there can be people willing to walk with us
in our valleys for the purpose of helping us down the path of healing.

Bitter in Bethlehem (1:19-22) Ruth and Naomi arrive in Bethlehem, the city of bread/provision. After a
decade gone there is a buzz in the town, “is this Naomi?” She is quick to tell them she is bitter to her core so
call her “Mara” (lit. Bitter). Angry at God; from her perspective she has been left “empty”. We cannot see
what we have when we only see what is missing or lost. Even with great loss Naomi has Ruth, her community,
and more than a glimmer of hope. The famine is over, it is time for harvest! Desolations happen and we can
fall into a pit bitterness with no way out. Pain should not be minimized, and grief cannot be ignored. Grief
needs to be “visited”, but we cannot “live/dwell” there if we are going to experience healing. The road to
healing and wholeness can have many steps, but for the journey to begin the first step of faith must be taken.

PART I | Meet Boaz | Ruth 2:1-7
Ruth 2:1-7 | Now Naomi had a relative of her husband's, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name
was Boaz. 2 And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain
after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” 3 So she set out and went
and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to
Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech. 4 And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem. And he said to the
reapers, “The Lord be with you!” And they answered, “The Lord bless you.” 5 Then Boaz said to his young
man who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?” 6 And the servant who was in charge
of the reapers answered, “She is the young Moabite woman, who came back with Naomi from the country
of Moab. 7 She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers.’ So she came,
and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest.”

Meet Boaz (2:1-7) Even in the most dire situations is usually more hope than we realize. Naomi is not actually
as “empty” as she perceives she is. Near Bethlehem she has many relatives including Boaz. In addition to
being related, Boaz has the benefit of being both wealth and worthy. He is a prime candidate to help them.

Pain can paralyze us and keep us from healing and wholeness. Naomi appears to still be stuck. Yes she has
suffered greatly, yes she has repenting of going to Moab all those years ago, yes she has returned home.
That is a lot for sure! Now she is in a new (familiar) place for the purposes of healing and wholeness, but she
is still stuck. That can happen when we find ourselves empty and exhausted. We were already at the end
of our rope we already feel like we have little sustain us let alone to support others or flourish. Maybe we
have made a big change, reached a decision point, taken a big step expended energy and now what.
When we find ourselves stuck, we need to take the next best step. Sometime we just aren’t ready or able so
we need someone else to come in and intervene on our behalf to help us as we grieve and hope to grow.
Also, when we are paralyzed with grief and pain we still need simple provision and sustenance for life.

Active Faith - Ruth is ready and willing to take that bold next step. Even though she has also suffered greatly,
she is also a widow, even though she is the one that is away from her home, people, culture and is (a likely)
unwelcome outsider in Bethlehem she has as a different perspective. Rather than counting curses and assuming
that God must be against them, Ruth is counting blessing and search for opportunities. She is looking for
where God might be leading her and them both. She realizes that we are called to be active in our faith
and at times participate in our path of healing. When we face great adversity intentional action is required.
Boazs name has come up on the radar. Likely Naomi has mentioned him because there is no way Ruth would
know about him otherwise. It is Ruth who says Youve got a rich relative, Im going to get up, get out there
and get to work gleaning in a field with the hope of meeting this guy, and the very least I’ll get us some grain.
She is not wallowing but being proactive in executing a plan to attempt address the difficulty of their
situation. Conversely, you can almost see Naomi starring off into the distance as she says Go my daughter.

Gleaning Grace - Poor and destitute, with a little hope, Ruth strikes out from the home to glean from the fields.
Essentially an Old Testament welfare work program, gleaning allowed people to gather grain that remained
after the workers/reapers took the initial harvest. The provisions of the law were clear that corners of the
fields should be left untouched to help provide for the working poor. It wasnt a hand out or a stimulus check,
it was difficult physical labor in the high heat of harvest. Ruth is being proactive; God is acting providentially.
This isnt God only helping those who help themselves. Work has been proscribed from the beginning by
God as the means for how God provides for us. We see Gods hand in actively blessing Ruth in her
circumstances. Ruth “just happens” to glean in Boaz’s field, and Boaz coincidentally is present to notice Ruth
in the field working hard to improve the situation for herself and Naomi. This isnt The Universe aligned, it
is God ordained. We dont worship a random God of coincidence; we worship the intentional God of

BOAZ A member of Elimelech’s clan, he is a distant relative of Naomi. Known in the Bethlehem as worthy
man of great character. This is the same phrase that is translated other places as mighty man of valor in
this time of bitter conflicts and wars it is possible (even likely) Boaz is a decorated veteran who has returned
from the battlefield and now is cultivating land for the flourishing of him and his community. It is clear from
his first words that he intentionally honors the Lord in his business and he is respected by his workers ,and we
will see later, also well regarded by men of influence at the city gate. Hes noticed Ruth in his field. His
foreman tells him who she is, why she’s there and notes that she has been working hard all day long.

PART II | First Date & Favor Given | Ruth 2:8-16
Ruth 2:8-16 |8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or
leave this one, but keep close to my young women. 9 Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping,
and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the
vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.” 10 Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and
said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a
foreigner?” 11 But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of
your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and
came to a people that you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full
reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take
refuge!” 13 Then she said, “I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken
kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.” 14 And at mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.” So
she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she
had some left over. 15 When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, “Let her glean even
among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16 And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave
it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”

Favor Given (2:8-16) In a “meet cute” fit for a romantic comedy taking place in the recovery from a
dystopian wasteland, Ruth and Boaz meet for the first time. Having heard of her character and faithfulness,
knowing her reliance on the Lord, he has now seen her determined work ethic. Boaz grants her great favor
telling her to only glean in his field, treating her not was an outcast beggar but like one of his well-cared
for staff. He has set it up for her that there would not be a better place for her to work. He promises her
both provision, direction, community (youre going to working with my young women) includes protection (His
guys are going to keep their hands off her) She is both humbled and honored. Ruth has arrived as an outsider
with little hope and now is being treated like an insider.

Rewarded Refugee - The reason for this favor given is Ruths faithful reliance on the Lord. She has left Moab,
she has clung to and served Naomi even in her own grief, she had sought a new life with God and her
people, and she is intentionally working hard to carve out this new life. She has sought refuge in the right
place. Boaz might be the one who is tangibly blessing her, but he is acknowledging his role as a conduit of
blessing from God. All we are blessed with comes from the Lord. When we seek refuge in the Lord, when
God calls us to faithfulness, we can know that it will not always be easy, but we should know that God honors
us with His mercy and kindness. Yes we will endure suffering, but we are also promised eternal rewards.
When we find ourselves on a path to healing we should seek refuge (kindness and mercy) in the right places.
God is the one who ultimately provides for us and protects us. He makes us new and renews us to walk out
the new life He has for us in Christ. God knows your story, He knows when you’ve been faithful with little or
endured with difficulty, He is calling you to root yourself in His field with His people for your favor and blessing.

First Date Its time for a break. Ruth and Boaz have their “first date” with a group sharing lunch together.
She is welcomed at the table and enjoys the best meal shes had in a long time. It says she is satisfied.
When we are spiritually empty and seek refuge in Christ we move from famine to fullness. Extravagantly
blessed by Boaz, Ruth has leftovers from lunch and continues to glean the rest of the day. Boaz goes above
and beyond the legal obligations to make sure her gleaning in profitable. While the world around him is
defined by men of lawlessness and violence, Boaz stands out as a rare man of honor. Men, be a Boaz!

PART II | Hope Ahead | Ruth 2:17-23
Ruth 2:17-23 | 17 So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it
was about an ephah of barley. 18 And she took it up and went into the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she
had gleaned. She also brought out and gave her what food she had left over after being satisfied. 19 And
her mother-in-law said to her, “Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the
man who took notice of you.” So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, “The man's
name with whom I worked today is Boaz.” 20 And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed
by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Naomi also said to her, “The man is a
close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.” 21 And Ruth the Moabite said, “Besides, he said to me, ‘You
shall keep close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.’” 22 And Naomi said to Ruth, her
daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, lest in another field you
be assaulted.” 23 So she kept close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and
wheat harvests. And she lived with her mother-in-law.

Hope Ahead (2:17-23) Working all day, Ruth returns home with significant provision. This is roughly 30-50
lbs of barely, weeks of provision for a worker