God’s favour to the afflicted
The life of Ruth, the Moabite is a classic example of what Psalm 30:5 says. “For His anger is, but for a moment, His favour is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning,” (Psalm 30:5 NKJV). God’s anger towards his people is short-lived, but His favour last forever. God’s favour extends to all and sundry no matter where we are and what our situation may be.
Ruth emerged out of marital tragedy with a resilient and unbroken spirit. She stubbornly latched on to Naomi when she did not have any reason to do so and with little knowledge of what the consequences of her decision would be. She became a companion of a widow with a broken spirit and trailed along with her to return to Bethlehem. Unknown to both Naomi and Ruth, their destinies were intertwined and inseparable.
Providence ordered the steps of Ruth in Bethlehem. On arrival, she had a nudge to go to the field to seek grain for their survival. That decision set her on a path of discovering the favour of God. “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 favour.” And she said to her: “Go, my daughter,” (Ruth 2:2 NKJV). Destiny brought her to the grain field owned by Boaz, a relative of Elimelech, her father-in-law. It did not take long for Boaz to recognise Ruth. Once he did, he extended to her the privilege of permanently gleaning in his field. “So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, ‘why have I found favour in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”’ (Ruth 2:10 NKJV).
God uses our good deeds to bring us into favour with men. News of Ruth’s decision to stick to Naomi against all odds spread fast in Bethlehem among the relations of Naomi. That brought her into favour with Boaz. “And Boaz answered and said to her: it has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. 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 2:11-12 NKJV).
In Ruth 2:14, Boaz went a step further; he invited Ruth to join him at the table to eat with other reapers. After the meals, he commanded the young men to deliberately allow Ruth to glean from the sheaves, “…Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. Also, let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.” (Ruth 2:15-16 NKJV).
Ruth is an example of one who gained favour before men, as well as before God. Her union with Boaz resulted in the birth of a son, Obed who eventually became a progenitor of Jesus Christ. Obed became a symbol of hope and restoration to Ruth and Naomi.
In Ruth, we see the mystery of God’s favour. God’s favour is granted to those who patiently endured the trials of life. The book reminds us of God’s care, provision and faithfulness in the little pieces of our life.