The Love Story of Ruth – Sue Weiler

So, this morning I am going to go through the book of Ruth.  It’s an actual love story of how God showed His love to a Moabite woman who came from a nation that He had cursed.  How the Moabite nation came about was from an incestuous relationship of Lot and his daughter.  Lot was drunk, he didn’t know what he was doing and the daughter thought there were no more men in the land so she lay with her Father.  From that relationship came forth Moab and Ammon.   Moab is actually cursed by God.  Under the law God says no Moabite or Ammonite can enter in the congregation of the law to the tenth generation.  Yet you find that Ruth became the great grandmother of David the king of Israel.  She married a Jew by the name of Boaz.  

Ruth is at the end of the book of Judges.  Ruth took place during the time of judges.  Judges were presiding officers over the nation of Israel because there was no king at that time so the judges took over. 

Judges 21:25  In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes

This is the background of the story of Ruth.  What a horrible time.  There was no king, there was no leader.  Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.  If I think I want to kill you and take your property I would just do it.  There was rebellion on every hand.  In this dark scenario God planted a beautiful story, the story of Ruth full of the grace of God. 

Ruth 1:1a  Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land.  And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons.

It took place during the time when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land.  Every time when judges ruled it was full of rebellion.  It seemed the people never learned their lesson. The land would rebel against the murders and all the idolatry.  Man’s rebellion caused the famine.  But we are about to see God’s goodness.

V1b And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. (our Lord Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Bethlehem means house of bread.  Judah means praise.  A time when the house of bread had no bread because of the people’s sins.  God always says whenever there is famine don’t run away from your troubles stay in the land I have given you and turn to me.

V2 The name of the man was Elimelech, the name of his wife was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion – Ephrathites of Bethlehem, Judah.  And they went to the country of Moab and remained there.

So, they left the land God had promised them because the famine was just beginning.  Whenever you find in the Bible famine in the land, God’s people who worship him, never suffer.  Joseph was in the land of Egypt when there was a famine and Joseph was well fed so was his family.  In fact, the people that were well fed because of Joseph’s presence. 

Now Elimelech means my God is king.  Mahlon means sickly and Chilion means dying or pining.  Naomi also means pleasant.  What did he do when the famine came?  He fled!  He didn’t live up to his name.  He dragged pleasant along with sickly and dying to a cursed country. God cursed this certain group of people because they are enemies of Israel, the Moabites throughout the Old Testament which is now the present day country of Jordan, east of Israel. 

V3  Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband died and she was left with her two sons. 

V4 Now they took wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth.  And they dwelt there about ten years. 

The sons married Moabite women against God’s law for them at that time.  One was Ruth and the other Orpah.  Now Orpah means back of the neck and we are about to see the back of her neck very soon.  She left her mother-in-law.

V5 Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died; so, the woman survived her two sons and her husband. 

V6 Then Naomi arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had visited His people by giving them bread. 

So again, God is gracious.  Even though the land rebelled against the peoples’ rebellion God overrode the whole thing and gave the house of bread, bread.  So now Naomi heard in a foreign land how God is visiting her land again and she wanted to go back.  Just think of the prodigal son.  He didn’t go back when the money ran out.  He went somewhere else and worked until he came to the point he remembered the father’s house.  He remembered that there was more than enough bread in his father’s house.  It was the goodness of the father’s house that brought him home.  It was the goodness of the Lord in giving bread to his people in Bethlehem that caused Naomi heart to turn towards home.  It’s good news that brings us back to Him. 

 

Summarize this part

V7-11 Therefore she went out from the place where she was, and her two daughers-in-law with her, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.  And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each to her mother’s house.  The Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me.   The Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.”  So, she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.  And they said her, “Surely we will return with you to your people.”  But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me?  Are there still sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?  Turn back my daughters, go – for I am too old to have a husband.  If I should say I have hope, if I should have a husband tonight and should also bear sons, would you wait for them till they were grown?  Would you restrain yourselves from having husbands?  No, my daughters, for it grieves me very much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me!”

Deep down in Naomi’s heart she believed that God was against her.  All the while in her mind Naomi didn’t realize God was planning something very beautiful for her because later on she became the great grandmother of Jesus.  We know that God is working behind the scenes.  Here is a lesson to learn:  Don’t leave God’s presence, don’t leave God’s house when things appear bad.  God will always give you bread.  The reason why Naomi, her husband and their two sons fled from the house of God is because they thought the famine would destroy them.  The very thing they feared they received.  Just like the devil to say, “Why go to church.  There are things you can do on a Saturday night.”  But in here there is life.  In here God can give you fresh injections of life

v14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

 V15  And she said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.”

True to her name we now see the back of Orpah’s neck who went back to her people and to her gods.  But Ruth clung to her mother-in-law because Naomi had probably been talking about the glories and the wonders of her God.  She probably told Ruth the story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the story of Joseph, David and Goliath, the parting of the Red Sea.  Ruth hearing her mother-in-law fell in love with this God and was in no way going back to her people and her gods.

V16  But Ruth said, “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.  Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried.  The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.”

This is an actual song for weddings which I have never heard before.  Not sure if any of you have.  But this is a mother-in-law and daughter –in-law but this song came from Ruth’s heart. Ruth says don’t tell me to leave you please.  Where you go I will go, where you lodge I will lodge, your people, the Jewish people will be my people.  Your God, Elohim, in the Hebrew, will be my Elohim.  

V18 – 20  When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her.  Now the two of them went until they came to Bethlehem.  And it happened when they had come to Bethlehem, that all the city was excited because of them; and the women said, “Is this Naomi?”  But she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; (her name means pleasant) call me Mara, (which means bitter), don’t call me pleasant, call me bitter, for the Almighty (she uses the name Shaddai here) has dealt very bitterly with me.

This goes to show that Naomi does not know her God.  She uses the name El Shaddai for her God and El Shadda means that He blesses us with more than enough.  He does not deal bitterly with us.  This is a statement of ignorance on Naomi’s part not a statement of fact. 

V21a  I went out full, and the Lord had brought me home again empty.  Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?”

V22  So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab.  Now, they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.

Now barley harvest is during the May/ June period.  It is during this time that they read the book of Ruth the present day Jewish people. 

Chapter  2

V1  There was a relative of Naomi’s husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech.  His name was Boaz. 

Now Naomi is not the one talking here.  It is the Holy Spirit.  It is a statement of fact.  This is a statement of fact:  there was a relative of Naomi’s husband.  Naomi never mentioned this relative.  She lost sight, oh the Lord deal bitterly with me.  Don’t call me Naomi call me Mara.  Ohhh what to do.  She never mentioned one time this rich relative.  This man was a man of great wealth.  His name was Boaz.  He was a close relative of Naomi’s.  He was a kinsmen redeemer.  (If someone becomes poor or they owe money to a rich man and they can’t pay they have to sell off their land .  But after their land is sold they could still get back the land, two ways:  one way is to wait for the 50th year.  It’s called the Year of Jubilee.  A faster way is if you have a kinsmen redeemer or relative redeemer – kinsmen means relative, redeemer means buy back for you.  If you have someone that is close to you he must have two qualifications -   He must have the money and whether he wants to.  He must be willing.  The law says he must be your own family, from your own relative.  He must be rich and he must be willing to.  Do you understand why Christ had to become man?  He must become one of us. He must be related to a human family.  And then He must have the means to redeem us back.  Does He have it?  Oh boy does He have it.  Number two, He must be willing.  Is He willing?  Oh boy is He willing or what.

V2  So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favour.  And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.”  

Gleaning – what is gleaning?  Gleaning is a law that God instituted in the book Deuteronomy where God said this, “In Israel when the time of harvest comes like their apple trees, their figs, pomegranates, wheat or barley harvest.  When you go to collect the harvest, the Bible says that you will leave behind some ripe fruits or ripe grains.  It’s impossible by hand to collect every ripe fruit or grain.   After you go through one time God says not to go through twice.  Whatever you leave behind is for the poor, the stranger.  Is Ruth a stranger?  Yes!  So, Ruth here somewhat knew the law, somehow someone must have told her, so she said to her mother–in-law we are poor why don’t I go to the field and I do gleaning not harvesting. She’s not qualified.   She’s a poor person so she can only do the gleaning.  Gleaning is only for those who come after the reapers and they collect whatever the reapers leave behind.  And God told the reapers don’t be a hard hearted person.  When your reapers comb once through your harvest fields leave behind whatever is left behind then for the poor, the stranger to glean.  Now Ruth availed herself of this provision of the law.  She didn’t know whose field she would glean from.  So, she went to a field and she said, “Well whosever field let me find favour in that person’s sight.  Her faith was in the grace of God.  She had nothing in herself to attract or to give herself a deserved positon.  When you realize you don’t deserve anything good, you depend on God’s grace that’s the time you become really attractive to God.  We have to learn to take our place. 

V3  Then she left, 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 family of Elimelech.

She happened to light on the field that belonged to her kinsmen redeemer.   

Of all the people that owned the field she happened to be there.  Who was guiding her steps?  The Holy Spirit!

She happened to be in the right field.  The very day she told her mother-in-law your God will be my God, God took down notes. God said because you say so I will be a God to you.  Ruth trusted Him! 

V4a  Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to his reapers, “the Lord be with you!”

V4b-7  And they answered him, “The Lord bless you!”  Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers.   “Whose young woman is this?”  So, the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered and said, “It is the young Moabite woman who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab.  And she said, “Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.’  So, she came and has continued from morning until now, though she rested a little in the house.”

She rested for only a little while.  She was worked from morning until  evening.  Ruth is no lazy person, she is a diligent person., 

V8  Then Boaz said to Ruth,   (this is the first time he spoke directly to her.  Most of the time the big boss they don’t even talk to their reapers.  They talk to the chief, the one in charge.  But here Boaz went beyond the chief, beyond the reapers and to the one who was doing the menial task of gleaning.  Ruth herself!  “You will listen, my daughter, will you not?  Do not go to glean in another field, not go from here, but stay close by my young women.   

Already he is offering her protection.  Don’t go in another field.  Stay here.  He realized that in the other fields she might get raped, she might be abused.  Stay in this field.  Stay by my young women.

V9  Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them.  Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you?  And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.    

Don’t you touch this woman!  Who is she?   She is just a servant.  But she put her trust in the grace of God and now the grace of God is operating full force for her.  There is no reason why this mighty man of wealth should show her favour.  She is nothing, not even a Jew.  Yet he is showing her so much undeserved favour.

V9b  And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.    

You are thirsty go and drink.  Is he really, really loving her?  Yes!

V10  So she fell on her face bowed down to the ground and said to him, “Why have I found favour in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”

A beautiful picture here.  Why would you show me so much grace?  I am a foreigner.  I’m a slave.  I’m a nobody.  Ruth did not understand the grace of God but again, when she said to Naomi, “Your God will be my God he she had captured His heart and He was about to bless her beyond anything she could ever imagine or even dream of.

V11-12  And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before.  The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”

So, because Ruth left her homeland and is now working in a field as a gleaner God is going to repay her and reward her for her works

V13  Then she said, “Let me find favour in your sight, my lord, for you have comforted me, and have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants.” 

She knew she was not like any other.  She always remembered her place.  If you always remember where you came from you always remember the Lord’s goodness to you.  Never forget where you came from. 

v14  Now Boaz said to her at mealtime, “Come here, and eat of the bread, and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar.”  So, she sat beside the reapers, and he passed parched grain to her; and she ate and was satisfied, and kept some back.

She was a gleaner sitting beside the reapers.  Unheard of!  She also kept some back for her mother-in-law.  She brought home the leftovers.  This is the table of the Lord.  You prepare a table before in the presence of mine enemies.  This is how Jesus prepares the table for the one he favours for the one he loves, which is you.  His table is so full that the bible says she ate, she was satisfied.  It is one thing to eat, it’s another thing to eat and be satisfied.  She ate till she was satisfied and then she kept back the leftovers. 

V15  And when she rose up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves and do not reproach her. 

Reproach in the Hebrew – don’t make her blush.  Don’t disturb her.  Treat her with the same respect due to someone I care about.  What he is saying to his other men is this she might be a gleaner but because I care for her you better treat her with the same respect

V16  Also, let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.”

What the reapers are supposed to do it is pick up what is left behind.  Now Boaz says to his reapers let your bundles fall purposely for her.  Leave it that she may glean and do not rebuke her. 

V17  So she gleaned in the field until evening, and beat out  what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley.

An ephah of barley is about a 10 day supply of bread. 

V18  Then she took it up and went into the city, and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned.  So, she brought out and gave to her what she had kept back after she had been satisfied.

She gave to her mother in law after she had been satisfied.  Ruth remembered and she gave to Naomi what was left over after she was satisfied.  She brought back more than enough for Naomi.  You being blessed remember those who are less blessed.  So, Ruth brought the blessing back to her mother-in-law.

V19–20  And her mother-in-law said to her, “Where have you gleaned today?  And where did you work?  Blessed be the one 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.”  Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “Blessed be he of the Lord, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!”  And Naomi said to her, “This man is a relation of ours, one of our close relatives.”

She just recognized Boaz.  How blind she had been but now she saw the goodness of God.   

V21  Ruth the Moabitess said, “He also said to me, ‘You shall stay close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.’”

Stay by the young men.  We need to stay by those who give us the word of God.  To those who have oversight over our souls.  Stay close to the church. Stay close to the place where you get spiritual food. 

V22-23  And Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter that you go out with his young women, and that people do not meet you in any other field.”  So, she stayed close by the young women of Boaz, to glean until the end or barley harvest and wheat harvest; and she dwelt with her mother-in-law.

Naomi is getting very smart.  She’s realizing that this guy is a close relative and the potential is there.  We don’t know if he wants to marry Ruth but Naomi says don’t go into any other field. 

 

Chapter 3

V1  Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you?”

Naomi is seeking security.  Ruth had found grace and now Ruth is going to find security. 

V2a  Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative?

Is he not our kinsmen redeemer?  He’s in a position to be a redeemer.  That is what she meant when she said, “Is he not our relative?”  She is telling Ruth that she does not have to be alone the rest of her life.  They didn’t have to live poor.  They were living poor at this time. 

V2b  In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor.

So, Boaz is with his men.  He is a very rich man and he is down there and his harvest has been finished.

V3  Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking.

Naomi is advising Ruth.  The old woman is advising the young woman on how to catch this guy.  Naomi is being kind to Ruth.  Why?  She is concerned that Ruth also has a husband.  She knows that Ruth is a wonderful girl. 

Natural truth, very simple, if you go on a date, bathe. After you bathe, anoint, then put on your best clothes.  So, Naomi is telling Ruth to bathe, anoint herself, put on her best clothes and go down to the threshing floor.

Naomi said don’t go until he has finished eating and drinking.

V4  Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what you should do.”

Naomi is telling Ruth to go, uncover his feet and stay at his feet, lie down at these feet. This is a very pure act that Ruth did to Boaz because it is a picture in those days of saying, “Can you please help us?  You are the only one who can help us.”  In some cases, most cases for a person to marry a non-Jew is to mar your inheritance.  So, He could look at her and say, “Go away!”  Most likely that happened.  She was taking a big risk.  What she did was very beautiful and she did what her mother-in-law said. 

V5-6  And she said to her, “All that you say to me I will do.”  So, she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law instructed her.

Notice that favour seems to come to those who are most submissive.  The best way to enjoy maximized feminine rights is to be a woman and to allow yourself to be loved.  There are some things men do for you and some things you do because you are a woman.   But there are some things you don’t do because there are places where women are subjugated.  Jesus never did that.  Christianity lifts women up.  Jesus talked to the woman at the well.  She didn’t realize that there was a well at the well to make all things well for her.  Jesus lifted women up to their place.  To become like men in everything is not to acknowledge your place in God.  God made you a woman and beautiful and God made you to be loved.  Ruth is in submission to her mother-in-law. 

V7-9  And after Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was cheerful, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain; and she came softly, uncovered his feet, and lay down.  Now it happened at midnight that the man was startled, and turned himself; and there, a woman was lying at these feet.  And he said, “Who are you?” So, she answered, “I am Ruth, your maidservant.  Take our maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.”

She asked him to spread the border of his garment over her.  When you do that you are coming under God’s wings (Psalm 91) the psalm for protection.  Under His wings shall you trust.  When you come under this, back in those days, it meant all that you have and all that you are, all your nakedness is covered.  All that you have is redeemed.  That is what she said to Boaz.  Cover me!   What Ruth said was give me Jesus.  Let Jesus cover me.  Today we are clothed with the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Where was Ruth?  She was at the feet of Boaz.  So, she was telling Boaz cover me, redeem me and all that I have.  For you are my nearest kinsmen.

We can go to Jesus and say I blew it.  My family is suffering, my finances are suffering but I come to you, you are my kinsmen redeemer, cover me. Cover me!  Redeem me!  He can redeem your situations.  He is redeemer. If he can raise you spiritually from the dead what are other troubles to Him?  You must come to him, you must call upon Him.  Cover me.  Spread the hem of your garment over me. 

 

V10a  Then he said, “Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter! Thank God she didn’t hear, “Get lost.  Who do you think you are?”  No, she heard blessed.  She received an extra blessing at the feet of Boaz. 

Luke 10  There is a story of Mary and Martha.  Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus and heard his words while Martha was distracted after much serving.  The place at the feet of Jesus is a place of blessing.  It is a place of miracles.  But if you think all your running around is going to score points with God you are wrong.  True Christianity is sitting at Jesus’ feet but it does not mean spiritual laziness.  Once you are at Jesus’ feet you absorb His love for you, meditate on His loveliness there will be a time.  Mary anointed Jesus.  And the Lord said she has done a good work.  She did it at the right time, at the right place, doing the right thing.   How can you do the right thing at the right time at the right place?  When you spend time at his feet and hear his word.  Great things happen. 

Where is your heart?  Busy with life or at the feet of Jesus hearing his words.  The place of blessing is at his feet.  His heart is so compassionate towards you. To cry before him or just be in his presence.  It’s not the right prayers it’s the right person in your situation.

V10b  For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich.

V11  And now, my daughter, do not fear.  I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.

First, she heard blessed, then a promise don’t be afraid.  Ruth is the only woman mentioned in the bible that she was a virtuous woman.  Who can find a virtuous woman?  Ruth, and she was not even a Jew.  This is called the power of redemption.    

V12- 15  Now it is true that I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I.  Stay this night, and in the morning it shall be that if he will perform the duty of a close relative for you – good; let him do it.  But if he does not want to perform the duty for you then I will perform the duty for you, as the Lord lives!  Lie down until morning.”  So she lay at his feet until morning and she arose before one could recognize another.  Then he said, “Do not let it be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.”  Also he said, “Bring the shawl that is on you and hold it.”  And when she held it, he measured six ephahs of barley, and laid it on her.  Then she went into the city.

So there was a relative that was closer than Boaz.   

Boaz gave Ruth six ephahs of barley. Then she went into the city

 V2  Ruth worked for one ephah of barley.  When she was laboring, laboring, she got one measurement of barley or a 10 day supply of bread.  It was still a blessing but in her own efforts. 

V15  When she sought the blesser she got six ephahs of barley which is a 60 day supply of bread.  Boaz blessed her.  When she sought Boaz for himself he gave her six ephahs of barley.  God never ends on the sixth He ends on the seventh.  He’s not finished blessing you yet in case you think He’s finished.  Why only six measures of barley for Ruth at this time?  Because the seventh is the barley man himself.  She is going to marry the man who owns all the ephahs, all the barley.  Ruth got her man. 

V16-18 When she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “Is that you my daughter?”  Then she told her all that the man had done for her.  And she said, “These six ephahs of barley he gave me: for he said to me, ‘Do not go empty-handed to your mother-in-law.”  The she said, “Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out: for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.”

When you sit still the man will not rest until he has finished the work. You rest, He will work.  Stand still and God fights. The same thing for your troubles.  Sit still.  If I don’t do something nothing will happen.  The voice of unbelief I bind you in Jesus name.  Tell that voice to go away from you.  You know why?  To do something means you think you are in this world all by yourself, loveless, no one cares for you, there’s no God here.  Sit still, rest in the Lord , trust the Lord and the Lord will fight for you. If you are in a situation that is beyond help then tell Him, Lord cover me, cover this whole situation. You only need His covering if you have blown it.  The trouble is your own causing your own making.  In Ruth’s case she couldn’t help it.  She was born a Moabitess.  Jesus has the power to redeem every situation.  He has the power to cover every situation.  So, this morning come to Jesus with your troubles your situations and let Him take care of it.  Let Him cover you with His love.  Allow yourself to be loved by Him today.  He knows what you need.  Amen!