Today’s reading is the culmination of a day that began with Ruth going out looking for food and “favour”. Ruth found both these things in Boaz’s field. Ruth returns to Naomi with an abundance of barley.
Yesterday we noted that Boaz is a source of hope and blessing. This is picked up in part of Ruth 2 which we didn’t read, where Ruth and Boaz meet for the first time. Boaz invites Ruth to stay in his field for the harvest, guaranteeing her food and safety. Ruth, wondering why Boaz is treating her so well, asks, “Why have I found such favour in your eyes that you notice me – a foreigner” (Ruth 2:10). Boaz explains that he has heard how she left her own people and showed loyalty to Naomi. Boaz then speaks a blessing over Ruth, “May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge” (Ruth 2:12). Ruth in turn says, “May I continue to find favour in your eyes…You have given me comfort and have spoken kindly” (Ruth 2:13).
Favour and blessing overflow from this dialogue. In reading Ruth, people often comment on how little God is mentioned. In fact, God is mentioned a great deal. He primarily turns up in dialogue, as here. Over Naomi and Ruth’s difficult circumstances, Boaz invokes God’s name and blessing – for blessing comes from God. For a poor widow, gleaning in his field, Boaz prays that the LORD will repay and reward her. Boaz notes too that Ruth’s decision to stay with Naomi is in fact a more important decision: to come into the presence and under the protection of God. While in so many ways, we read this story and see favour and blessing coming from Boaz to Ruth, the truth – as Boaz states here – is that favour and blessing come from the LORD.
May we know the reality of finding refuge from all that threatens us, by taking refuge in the LORD. Trusting in God, may we know the favour, blessing, comfort, kindness and abundance that we experience in the Lord’s presence because of Jesus.