Ruth Meets Boaz – A Lesson on Finding Favor

Shared on June 23, 2024

Can you find favor in the eyes of God even if you have lived as a sinner? Or is the favor of God only for a select few? Join Pastor McCrary for this week’s lesson as the story of Ruth continues. In this week’s lesson, Pastor McCrary teaches about how Ruth find not just the favor of Boaz but found favor in the eyes of God.

Introduction

Our lesson this week continues Ruth’s story.  As I said in last week’s lesson, Ruth’s story is a key component of what becomes Jesus’ lineage.  We have seen the first part of her story which is very valuable in that she became the daughter-in-law of Naomi.  Because of Naomi’s contagious faith, Ruth chose to remain with her and not return home. 

In a Foreign Land

Let’s put ourselves into Ruth’s shoes for a moment.  Ruth could have chosen to return to her home, a more familiar land and among her people.  I want you to keep in mind that Ruth was a Moabite woman now dwelling in Bethlehem- the land of Judea.  So, she was a foreigner to that land living among “foreign” people.

The Moabite people were born of Lot and his oldest daughter (Gen. 19:30-38).  Lot was the nephew of Abraham (Gen. 11:27; 12:4).  So, the Moabites and the Israelites were essentially connected by blood.  However, while they were kinsfolk – cousins if you will – they were very separate from each other.  In fact, by the time of the kings, we see where they fought against each other. 

Though they were cousins, the Moabites were also considered Gentiles.  Why?  Because they were not born through the seed of Jacob (Israel).  All who are not born through the seed of Jacob (Israel) are considered gentiles.  So, this could have been a terrifying thing for Ruth to go through, but as we saw last week, she was willing to do it to stay with Naomi.

A Divine Meeting

Our lesson opens with a man named Boaz speaking to Ruth.  He said to Ruth, “Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women (Ruth 2:8).”  Who was Boaz and what was Ruth doing at that moment?

Ruth 2:1-7 covers this portion of information for us.  After returning to Bethlehem, Ruth spoke to Naomi about wanting to gather leftover grain in Boaz’s field.  Part of Israel’s law was that they weren’t supposed to wipe clean the field when harvesting (Lev. 23:22).  They were supposed to leave grain in the field for the stranger and the poor to glean (to gather).  

Boaz was a relative of Elimelech, the husband of Naomi.  Scripture tells us that he was a man of great wealth.  Boaz also has a very important role to play in this story as he becomes a protagonist.  Let us remember the lineage of Jesus comes through the seed of Boaz and Ruth (Matt. 1:5). 

Scripture shows us that Ruth made her way to the field to glean what she could as she was both a stranger and poor.  We are told that she happened to come to the part of the field that belonged to Boaz to glean.  Ruth gleaned in Boaz’s field after the reapers and it caught his attention.  Was this a coincidence?  I don’t believe in coincidences when it comes to God’s divine plan.

A warm welcome

After learning who she was, Boaz came to speak with Ruth.  Through this interaction we can see the kind of person that Boaz was in his heart.  He welcomed Ruth to reap with those who were his people.  Boaz also commanded that the men not mistreat her, and that she was to drink from the same water as everybody else (Ruth 2:9).  

Boaz was being very kind to Ruth, wasn’t he?  Again, it was part of the Mosaic Law that the children of Israel do right by the foreigner in their land.  “If a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him (Lev. 19:33).  The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself (Lev. 19:34).”

Was Boaz being kind to her solely because it was the law?  Maybe.  Yet, to me, there is a sense of sincerity coming from Boaz.  I know that these two will be together, but I don’t even sense any infatuation on either of their behalf.  I believe that Boaz was a genuinely good person that cared for those around him.  To me, this is a virtue that is missing in the world today- caring for and loving those around us regardless of who they are or where they’re from. 

Finding favor

To this warm treatment, we are told that Ruth fell on her face in gratitude.  She asked him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner  (Ruth 2:10)?”  As we have seen, this was a very reasonable question to ask.  The fact that God had to make a law for how to treat strangers in the land tells you how strangers were treated.  Even to this day, foreigners struggle when moving to a new land.

Again we will see the graciousness of Boaz.  Boaz told Ruth about how he had heard her story and how she came to be in the land (Ruth 2:11).  Most importantly, he heard about her commitment to the Lord (Ruth 1:16-17).  So, he prayed that the Lord reward her for her commitment and then he moved to reward her like she was one of his own (Ruth 2:12).

How do you think this made Ruth feel?  If there was any trepidation about being in the land, you have to imagine that was starting to go away for her.  She said to Boaz, “Let me find favor in your sight, my lord (Ruth 1:13).”  She definitely had his grace, and I would say she had already found favor since Boaz wasn’t dealing harshly with her.  

I don’t know if Ruth recognized just how favored she was in God’s eyes.  In both of the lessons we have had taking a look at Ruth, she comes off as a loving, humble, and innocent woman.  It doesn’t take much to find favor in someone’s eyes, does it?  Nowadays we think we have to have riches to find favor in someone’s eyes.  If you think you have to have riches to find favor in someone’s eyes, I would tell you that you’re trying to find favor in the wrong person’s eyes!

At mealtime, we will see that Boaz invited Ruth to eat with the reapers at Boaz’s table (Ruth 1:14).  Then, when she rose to gather leftover grain from the field, Boaz commanded the men to gather among the sheaves (Ruth 2:15).  When they would glean in the field, they would gather from what was around the border.  However, Boaz was making it so that it was easier for Ruth to gather in good grain (Ruth 2:16).

A Virtuous Woman

Initially, I don’t think there was much of an infatuation from Boaz.  However, now, it has become clear that Boaz was now infatuated with Ruth.  He had spoken to her, heard her voice, seen her work ethic, seen her humility and had fallen for her. Ruth was a virtuous woman, a gentile woman who had found favor in the eyes of God.  That contagious faith of Naomi had clearly rubbed off on Ruth and it had gained her favor.

So, our lesson closes out with Ruth gathering grain and beating out the grain she had gathered (Ruth. 2:17).  She then brought back with her an ephah of barley to Naomi (Ruth 2:18).  Now, we don’t see this in the passage of scripture covered by our lesson but Naomi was very impressed.  

Naomi spoke with Ruth to see whose field she had gleaned in and after hearing it was Boaz, she encouraged Ruth to remain in his field.  Naomi happily praised God for not forsaking His love and kindness from them (Ruth 2:20).  What’s so fascinating about this is that, again, Ruth was a gentile woman yet she had found favor not simply in the eyes of Boaz!  

Naomi recognized that Ruth had obtained God’s favor even though she was a gentile!  I don’t care who you are, God will love you!  Ruth had committed herself to the Lord and God was clearly committed to her in return.  This is a very valuable lesson for all people, especially those that desire to be favored in God’s eyes, to learn.

Never let anybody try to tell you that you can’t be loved by nor favored by the Lord just because of who they think you are.  So many people have turned away from God because they listened to the wrong people.  If you are committed to the Lord, just keep moving about your way and the Lord will bless your every step.

For Ruth, God was at work as His divine plan was moving forward through a poor and humble gentile woman.  As I said a few lessons ago, God can and will use anyone when it comes to His divine plan.  I want you to understand that there is a plan that is divine that God has moving through you.  Never think otherwise.

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