As we come to chapter 3, we have reached an important division in the book.
Bearing in mind that the book of Ruth is a wonderful illustration of the spiritual advance and growth that should be seen in every believer, we will note the new level to which Ruth ascends in her pilgrimage. She has found grace in the eyes of the Lord and this has been manifested in the providential encounter she had with Boaz and his kindness shown to her, 2:10-14.
But there is more. She is to enter into REST, 3:1.
The gospel is a call to rest, Matthew 11:28-29. The word means a settled state of contentment, Gen 8:9 and comes from the Hebrew word for rest in Gen 8:4, Ex 20:11.
In Matthew 11:28-29 there are two rests. One follows initial faith in Christ the other follows on after submission and obedience to Christ. The rest spoken on in Ruth 3:1 is the rest correspondents to that which is referred to by Christ in verse Matt 11:29. The rest in our passage is akin to the rest of Psalm 95:11. What Canaan was for Israel, the Spirit-filled victorious life is for the New Testament believer.
In the opening verses of the chapter, the way to rest is set before us.
I. RUTH NEEDED INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE SHE COULD ENTER HER REST.
Does not the church stand in need of such instruction today. The concept of a Kinsman-Redeemer would have been unknown in Moab.
1. Gospel rest can be known only by those related to Christ. Boaz was bound under the law to marry Ruth. Deuteronomy 25:5-6. Ruth was related by marriage into the family of Boaz. It is a relationship that would grow and strenghten. Naomi would have her married to Boaz. That is a very good concept of marriage — rest!
Up until this point, Naomi did not know who their benefactor was and though Ruth knew his name, she was unaware of his position.
1. Naomi asks an instructive question. “Where hast thou gleaned to day? and where wroughtest thou?” verse 19. This is a good question for parents to ask their children and for each one of us to ask ourselves! A parent’s watch over their children’s activities and a watch exercised by each one of us over our own affairs, would yield great good.
2. Ruth’s answer. “And she shewed her mother in law with whom she had wrought, and said, The man’s name with whom I wrought to day is Boaz,” verse 19. It is clear that Ruth was unaware of the man’s identity. Boaz knew of Ruth but Ruth knew little about Ruth, verse 11.
Here is a reminder of how Christ blesses us while we are still unaware of just Who He is.
3. The providence of God is made known. “And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen,” verse 20. It is clear that Naomi had forgotten about Boaz for is it not likely that had she remembered she would have requested help of him?
Even so we may for Christ and fail to seek Him for help but He will never forget or neglect us.
4. Wise counsel for Ruth. “And Naomi said unto Ruth her daughter in law, It is good, my daughter, that thou go out with his maidens, that they meet thee not in any other field. So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law,” verses 22-23. Naomi was but encouraging Ruth to obey Boaz, verse 21. Let us all stick close to Christ and His servants, labouring in His fields until the harvest.
Ruth obeyed and in consequence, all that followed sprang from that obedience. Obedience is ever the forerunner of blessing. Haggai 2:18-19.
“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city,” Revelation 22:14.
1. She reported back to Naomi. Verse 18, she showed her the respect due to a mother.
2. She thought of Noami during her labours. “She . . gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed,” verse 18. The word “sufficed” links her giving to the meal in the field, verse 14. She was thinking of Naomi as she enjoyed Baoz’s kindness and provision. She who was hard-working in the fields was kind-hearted in the home.
3. They both rejoiced at God’s provision. So it aught to be with us all and even more so as we enjoy a greater measure of bounty than did these women.
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters,” Psalm 23:2.
“He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings. And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation; and sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase,” Psalm 107:35-37.
There is a progressive unfolding of God’s purpose for Ruth in this book. We will see that progress in the verses before us.
I. RUTH’S REAPING IN THE FIELDS
1. Ruth toiled all day. Ruth was not scared of work! She recognised that opportunities to benefits one’s self lawfully should be made the most of.
Learn Christian — “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work,” John 9:4
Sinner, likewise learn — “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness,” Hebrews 3:7-8.
2. Ruth threshed what she gathered. Labour is in vain without threshing! The labour involved in the preparation of food teaches us a vital spiritual lesson. “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so,” Acts 17:11. The word “searched” means “to sift”, a word akin to threshing.
3. Ruth’s earnestness was well rewarded. She gathered an ephah = 10 omers, each one of which was the weight of the daily ration of manna for a man, Exodus 16:18.