“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.” (Ruth 2:12)
When our children were small, we would say, “How much do you love me?” We taught them to spread their arms way out and say, “I love you this much!” How much does God love you? Jesus spread His arms out on the cross and said, “I love you this much!” The second chapter of Ruth illustrates this wonderful truth—the romance of redemption. The romance of Boaz and Ruth picture how God’s love reaches out to us, wins our heart, and brings us into salvation.
All through the story of Ruth we see God writing the plot line in His providence (2:1-3). There are no dramatic miracles recorded in the book, yet we observe God’s mighty hand directing all the circumstances. Ruth—from the human perspective—just happens to wind up gleaning grain in the field of Boaz, right where she needed to be. This was not luck, she was led—the sovereign Lord orchestrating the events. That a famine came, a family moved to Moab, three funerals brought Naomi and Ruth back to Bethlehem, a field was selected that belonged to their near kin Boaz, each event was a link in the chain to bring Ruth to the man who was her redeemer. With God there are no accidents, just appointments. Looking back at how we came to faith in Christ, the direction of God to get us to redemption is a testimony to providence.
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 favor.” (v.2) She sought favor—or as we might say, she was seeking grace. Grace is God’s favor given to the undeserving. Ruth fit that category. She was a Moabite—a Gentile outside the covenant relationship of God with Israel. She was a poor widow unable to meet her own needs. That is representative of our spiritual state before meeting our Redeemer (see Eph.2:1-14). When Ruth meets Boaz, everything will change (v.4-16)! His name means strength. He gave to her what she could never provide for herself. Boaz was man of power and possessions—his wealth was abundant. Jesus is our Boaz—the Redeemer who is worthy and wealthy. Ruth wasn’t looking for Boaz, but Boaz saw her and took the initiative. That is what grace does. It sees us, seeks us, summons us, and sustains us. She came under the wings of God (v.12). That is a wonderful place to abide! Are you there?
When Ruth returns and shares her amazing story, Naomi rejoices (v.17-23). She blesses the Lord because she recognizes God is at work. Ruth brought home an ephah of grain—equivalent to what a working man might collect in ten days! She didn’t return with a little, but with abundance! That is the nature of grace! When Naomi discovers that it is Boaz’ field where Ruth gleaned, she is overjoyed. The man can be their redeemer because he is their relative! Thus it is that the Son of God became the Son of Man, that the sons of men might become the sons of God. That happened in the incarnation—and the place of our Redeemer’s appearance? Where Ruth met Boaz—in Bethlehem! Blessed Redeemer!