[Quotes are paraphrased unless otherwise indicated.]
Let’s take another look at the life of Ruth as we seek to gain insight and strength on our journey.
So Ruth had left her parents, her brothers and sisters and entire family, she had to leave her friends and the comfort and familiarity of her home country. Ruth left all made networks and connections behind, along with the idols and gods of Moab, in order to serve Naomi. What a sacrifice she made, just to bless Naomi who had lost all hope when tragedies struck her husband and both sons leaving her to fend alone. Now she was a widow and childless.
Was Ruth a woman of integrity for leaving her home to tend to her mother-in-law? … Absolutely.
Ruth’s famous lines are still remembered: Where ever you go I will go… Your people shall be my people, And your God my God.
Ruth and Naomi returned back to Bethlehem from Moab after hearing that the long, difficult famine in Bethlehem had relinquished. Orpah, Naomi’s second daughter-in-law had left them, and the family Naomi had left Bethlehem with; now it was only Ruth returning to Bethlehem with her.
As soon as Ruth arrived in Bethlehem she did not rest or recuperate from their sojourn, Ruth went directly to work! She asked her mother-in-law, Naomi,
“Let me go to the field and pick leftover ears of grain” that both they may have sufficient food.
Naomi responded, “Go!”
Ruth was now in need a break. With a spirit of humility and a mind to work, Ruth gleaned the field as best she could. It turns out that Ruth just happened to land on the field belonging to Boaz.
Who is Boaz?
A wealthy “man of standing” and “influence.” But Boaz was also a close relative to Naomi! In Israel a close relative can “redeem” their relative’s family. He can buyback all of the property Naomi lost when leaving Israel, marry Ruth and raise an hier to a woman who had no hope for an heir. [Read Ruth ch 3 & 4 to see how the story ended.
While Ruth was gleaning, Boaz returned to see his field; another incredible odd that met on the same day. When Boaz saw Ruth as gathering in the field, he asked, Who is she with?
The foreman of the harvest said, She came with Naomi. Did Boaz know Naomi? More than likely. Let’s listen to what he says to Ruth.
Boaz calls to Ruth to come over, then says,
“My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field….” Remain here, focus on the reapers and follow them. Boaz told Ruth, Let your eyes be on the field. Like he was a coach, he encouraged and pushed Ruth to glean as much from the field as she could. His kindness was rare. Practically unheard-of. He also told Ruth, I have commanded the young men not to touch you? And whenever you are thirsty, drink from the water jugs (these were set aside for workers only). Boaz and his workers treated Ruth like she is and was always apart of them.
When Ruth heard Boaz gracious words, according to Ruth 2:10 she fell to the ground and bowing her face to the ground. NLT says “she fell at his feet.” They she asked Boaz, “What have I done to deserve such kindness?” Why have you noticed by you– a foreigner.
1. A woman of integrity possess a spirit of humility and gratitude.
You see, Ruth knew and understood her situation. She was a Moabite that had moved to Israel. Plus she just met Boaz. Why would Boaz treat her a foreigner, a stranger with generous favor? [Favor – isolated, unmerited kindness.] But Boaz was no typical man, he also feared God.
Note Boaz’ answer to her question “Why?”. The reason he showed kindness to Ruth was because her reputation preceded her. Boaz heard how Ruth had left her parents, brothers and sisters and her entire family; how she left her country: a place of familiarity and comfort to join her mother-in-law Naomi in her time of grief. Boaz had no problem opening his field to this kind of woman.
2. A woman of integrity maintains a good character, a righteous reputation and everyone she meets testify to this.