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Ruth Happened to Glean

“So she (Ruth) set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech. And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem. And he said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!” And they answered, “The Lord bless you.”” (Ruth 2:3–4, ESV, highlight)

Some of those choices we know are significant, but for others, the potential, for good and bad, is hidden. Naomi, her husband and two sons went to Moab in a time of national famine. All three men died in Moab, and Ruth was left with her two daughters-in-law. One of these, Ruth chose to return to Israel with Naomi.

There are two themes playing out in this story. On one hand, God is working out His Sovereign plans. On the other, two women are each making choices in very difficult circumstances.

When they came back to Israel, Naomi and Ruth discussed the situation they found themselves in. Not understood by them, in the unseen realm, God was working out His plans for Ruth and for events hundreds of years in the future. Ruth didn’t understand the significance of the choices she was making.

In “Truth for Life: 365 Daily Devotions” (16th May), Alistair Begg puts it like this.

“As we read Ruth’s story, we notice that many of its details unfold as if by accident. Ruth happened to decide to glean that day. Naomi happened to encourage it. Boaz happened to pick that time to harvest his field. Ruth happened to pick his field. But when we look at the story as a whole, we see that all of these happenings were the instruments of God’s providential care in unfolding His purpose of redemption. After all, out of Boaz and Ruth’s lineage would come King David and, eventually, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself—a greater provider and protector who also “came from Bethlehem.”

What is the significance of the choices we make each day? What about those choices we just ‘happened’ to make? God is working out His purposes in the world today AND inviting us to join Him in those purposes.

Adam chose to disobey God, and sin entered the world.

Ruth chose to glean in the fields of Boaz, and Jesus was born of her line.

Abraham chose to go into Hagar, and Ishmael was born.

Philip listened to the angel, and the Ethiopian eunuch came to faith in Christ and took the Gospel back to Ethiopia.

The choices we make today may have consequences far beyond our immediate understanding, both for good and bad. This is why Jesus got up in the middle of the night to commune with the Father and align Himself with the Father’s purposes.

We need to spend time daily reading God’s Word, listening for His voice, interceding in prayer, and seeking to join Yahweh in those purposes which involve us. Then we go out into each day guided by Him in the choices we make, to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh. May God’s blessing rest on you today.