Finding Food and Favour
Summer 2020 Series: The Story of Ruth (Part 3 of 6)
This is part of a series of reflections, exploring the short story of Ruth, from the Old Testament. Today we focus on Ruth chapter 2.
Well, it seems that life is not really turning out the way I expected it to. I thought that by now I would have at least three or four children, and a happy home with my husband. It is a long way from how I imagined life to be. Poor Naomi. She has nothing left, no husband to care for her, no sons to carry on her name. When she told me to stay with my family, I could not. I loved my husband very much, and I couldn’t bear to leave his mother with nothing. She is my mother; I am her daughter. Her pain is my pain and her home will be my home. Poor Naomi. She is returning to the land of her family. We have heard that there, the harvest is plentiful. Maybe this will bring peace to Naomi. Maybe she will find happiness in the place of her family.
It pains me to leave my mother and father, but I have many brothers and sisters who will care for them, and Naomi only has me now.
Today I went to the fields to glean what I could so that we may eat. Naomi cannot work, she is too old and tired. I am young and hard work does not scare me. I know that here, the harvest workers are kind for Naomi told me that the people of Israel will leave fallen grains for the poor and the foreigners. I like this tradition. Apparently, their God told them to do this, to show kindness to the stranger. I asked Naomi why they would do this, and she told me that it was so that they wouldn’t forget how God was good to them when they were in exile as strangers in a foreign land. Anyway, whatever the reason, this is what I went to do. It’s been a long hot day. The workers in the field were kind to me. They let me pick up the bits that they had dropped. I was a little fearful when the owner of the fields turned up. I thought he may have turned me away. He was very kind and gave me some food, more food than I could eat as it happened. He told me to carry on picking in his fields and to take water if I needed it. He told his men not to bother me. I am grateful for that. It is hard enough work without fending off unwanted attention. I did ask him why he would do this for me, and he told me it was because I have come to the Lord God of Israel for protection. Funny answer. I didn’t really think of it that way. I had just followed Naomi and I’m willing to accept her ways and traditions. I suppose by coming back to her land to her people, I am coming to them for protection. I suppose that by doing that I am turning to their God for protection. Not so bad then.
Anyway, the afternoon was long, but I seemed to pick up a lot of grain. At the end of the day after I had threshed it, I was rather astonished to find I had an ephah which is about 30 pounds in your measures. Naomi was over the moon when I came back. She couldn’t believe the quantity of grain I had, it would feed us for a fortnight! Naomi asked who owned the field that I had been working in. I told her the owner was called Boaz. Well she carried on as if I had told her it was royalty! She explained that Boaz was a close relative of her dead husband and she was sure that the Lord god had sent us to that place so that Boaz would look after us. I slipped in the information about Boaz telling me to keep gathering grain with his workers until they finish the harvest. Naomi was so pleased. She told me I should do this because it was safer this way.
I am pleased that this has lifted Naomi’s spirits. She was so despondent; she seems to have more hope for the future now. As for me, I can see how kind Boaz has been to me. He really doesn’t seem to want anything from me or have an ulterior motive.
I feel safe and protected and I liked it when he told me that I was under the wings of his God. That is a secure feeling, and goodness knows I haven’t felt secure for a long time.
When I reflected on the way that Boaz treated me, and the way that Naomi received his help, it makes me think that their God has a big heart. One of the workers told me about the grace of their God. When I asked her what she meant she said that Grace is when God shows favour to his people without them earning it or deserving it. I guess that is what Boaz showed towards me.
Are we mindful of those on the edges who may feel excluded or exposed?
Do we reflect God’s grace when we deal with others?
Where do we find our security?
You may like to listen to our Podcast which accompanies this Blog. Click here.
You may also enjoy watching our Sunday gathering related to this Blog, where you can hear this message along with worship and prayer. This video was originally aired via Facebook LIVE on Sunday 9th August 2020.