Obedience & Blessings

Ruth 1:19-2:12

19 So the two of them continued on their journey. When they came to Bethlehem, the entire town was excited by their arrival. “Is it really Naomi?” the women asked. 20 “Don’t call me Naomi,” she responded. “Instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the Lord has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me?”

  • Not a lot of coming and going in those days… little chance to see her again
  • Namoi means ‘Pleasant’… Mara means ‘Bitter’
  • Full: A husband and two sons…’of course I was pleasant then’
  • Empty: Loss of family is loss of everything
  • The level of anguish is know only to those who have experienced it
  • She is equating her earthly suffering with God’s displeasure / lack of blessing
  • “I cannot be ‘Pleasant’ if the Lord has sent this level of loss into my life.
  • She cannot see the big picture…she is thinking like one of Job’s ‘friends’

22 So Naomi returned from Moab, accompanied by her daughter-in-law Ruth, the young Moabite woman. They arrived in Bethlehem in late spring, at the beginning of the barley harvest. 1 Now there was a wealthy and influential man in Bethlehem named Boaz, who was a relative of Naomi’s husband, Elimelech.

  • These lines provide context & backdrop for the remainder of the story
  • There are no coincidences!
  • Right time of year, right industry, right role for Ruth
  • Traditional role of ‘foreigners’ as ‘Gleaners’

2 One day Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go out into the harvest fields to pick up the stalks of grain left behind by anyone who is kind enough to let me do it.” Naomi replied, “All right, my daughter, go ahead.” 3 So Ruth went out to gather grain behind the harvesters. And as it happened, she found herself working in a field that belonged to Boaz, the relative of her father-in-law, Elimelech.

  • Ruth asks permission to go work to be a vehicle of provision
  • She is aware of the command from God to let foreigners, widows & such ‘Glean’
  • Namoi gives the go ahead and look where Ruth ends up

4 While she was there, Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters. “The Lord be with you!” he said. “The Lord bless you!” the harvesters replied. 5 Then Boaz asked his foreman, “Who is that young woman over there? Who does she belong to?” 6 And the foreman replied, “She is the young woman from Moab who came back with Naomi. 7 She asked me this morning if she could gather grain behind the harvesters. She has been hard at work ever since, except for a few minutes’ rest in the shelter.”

  • This exchange tells us who Boaz is and how he runs his business: God honoring!
  • He know his business well enough to see there is a new person working
  • The foreman knew what Boaz would have wanted done…’Biblical Culture’
  • The foreman notices the work ethic and shares that with Boaz
  • What is Ruth’s motivation to work so hard?

8 Boaz went over and said to Ruth, “Listen, my daughter. Stay right here with us when you gather grain; don’t go to any other fields. Stay right behind the young women working in my field. 9 See which part of the field they are harvesting, and then follow them. I have warned the young men not to treat you roughly. And when you are thirsty, help yourself to the water they have drawn from the well.”

  • Boaz quickly sets up the environment for her, gives her clear expectations
  • He let’s her know she is an ‘official part of the operation’
  • He let’s her know she will be taken care of
  • Does Ruth ‘earn’ these blessings by obedience to God’s ways?

10 Ruth fell at his feet and thanked him warmly. “What have I done to deserve such kindness?” she asked. “I am only a foreigner.” 11“Yes, I know,” Boaz replied. “But I also know about everything you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband. I have heard how you left your father and mother and your own land to live here among complete strangers. 12 May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.”

  • Ruth responds in humility, she expresses that she not expecting such treatment
  • Ruth’s reputation proceeds her: The kind of person she is has been noticed
  • Boaz affirms her attitude and actions and asks God to bless / reward her
  • Is she doing what she is doing to be rewarded by God? Is it an expectation?

Application Questions:

When bad things happen in your life what do you consider the cause of them to be?

What motivates you to do things for others and how much of that do you do?

What is the relationship between our obedience & God’s sovereignty in being blessed?

How important to you is having a reputation for helping others? What drives that?

How has God used His people to clearly bless you when you were pursuing His will?