Tuesday, March 22, 2011

sovereign love

So she kept close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests. And she lived with her mother-in-law.
Ruth 2:23

God's sovereign love began to turn Naomi's heart around. The events of Ruth 2 make it clear that God was moving in this difficult situation to bring relief and real change. Naomi and Ruth were the poorest of the poor. They were both widows with no family to support them. They were left with no other option than the welfare program afforded in the law. Ruth was more than ready to glean in the barley fields at harvest time to provide for herself and her mother-in-law. And that is where God's sovereign love begins to intervene.

God leads Ruth to the one place where one relative could make all the difference. The text says with a wink that Ruth "happened" to glean in the fields own by Boaz (Ruth 2:3). This was the first event that would lead to a dramatic change in circumstances for both women. God was in control, even in the bitter circumstances that Naomi and Ruth were currently experiencing.

But there is more to the story in chapter 2. Boaz takes notice of the hard-working and industrious young Moabite woman, Ruth. He instructs his harvesters to make sure she gets to eat with the crew, and personally instructs Ruth to be sure to get water at the official "station". He also instructs his workers to deliberately leave stalks behind for her to glean. Something's up in the mind of Boaz. He is filled with a concern for this woman and admires her determination and hard work.

When Ruth returns home with nearly six gallons of barley from the days gleanings, Naomi is astounded. This might be the amount of grain expected at the end of a week of gleaning. Ruth has it in a day. And when Naomi realizes in whose field Ruth has been working, she turns to hope again. Boaz has instructed Ruth to glean only with his workers for the entire harvest of wheat and barley. It is clear there is care coming from God for Naomi and Ruth, through Boaz, and it is turning their situation around. Naomi's attitude is one of hope. God's sovereign love has captured her heart and begun to redefine her situation.

God will do just that for us. He won't let us despair forever. Certainly in Christ I find God's sovereign love at work for me at all times. And in that love I know that He is taking care of me, no matter what.

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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