A great love story - Ruth 2:4-16
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This passage will allow us to have a clear understanding of all the protagonists of this great love story. Here we will meet Boaz, who is presented in very good terms by the author of this book.
1. What are Boaz's first words in this story?
Boaz's first words are "May the Lord be with you!" It can be argued that this was the normal greeting of the time. But we must remember that Boaz is the ‘close relative’, the rescuer. It is the greeting that Mary receives from the angel Gabriel, when she announces that she will be the mother of Jesus (see Luke 1:28). It is the angel's greeting to Gideon (see Judges 6:12). With these brief words, and taking into account what we have already seen so far in Ruth, we are told that God is taking care of the needy widows of our history. God intervenes to rescue them through our hero. It is not something magical, it happens within the framework of the time and through a person.
If we think for a moment, this is what happens with our rescue, God intervenes and rescues us through a man, his Son Jesus Christ who is our "rescuer." Jesus is the 'good news' that we need so badly.
2. He immediately notices Ruth since she is not from Bethlehem. What strikes us in his question?
In a small village like Bethlehem, everyone knew each other. That is why Boaz asks who that young woman is. It is the way that the author of the book uses to bring together the two ‘heroes’ of our history. And he also allows us to understand that in a society like that, no one was alone. Ruth "belonged" to Elimelech's family.
3. How is Ruth described here?
Ruth is described in extremely positive terms. Ruth is presented as a respectful person, ‘she begged me’. Although the law allowed someone in her situation to collect ears of wheat, this privilege was left to the discretion of the owner of the land. Boaz is an exemplary man, and this also carries over to his employees, who allow Ruth to work in their midst. Her effort is highlighted "she has not stopped working". For Ruth, it is clear that she must do her best so that she and Naomi have something to eat. Ruth's commitment to 'your God will be my God' is being put into practice by caring for her mother-in-law.
Did you notice that Ruth, when invited to share the mealtime with the harvesters, didn’t eat all that was offered to her, but saved some for Naomi? That’s love in action!
4. What details tell us about Boaz's generous character?
Boaz, who apparently did not know Ruth despite having heard of her, approaches her and tells her how much he appreciates her dedication to Naomi. He tells Ruth to stay in his fields (probably to take care of Ruth, since not all the reapers would have been as respectful as those who work for Boaz) and for her to blend in with the people who work for him. He is being generous to her.
5. Why does he want to help Ruth?
Ruth is surprised by such a good reception from him, so Boaz tells her that everyone in the town is aware of what she is doing by taking care of Naomi. And he blesses her: ‘May the Lord reward you for what you have done! May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, repay you more than anything.' Boaz gives clear instructions to 1. Respect Ruth ('do not embarrass her… and do not rebuke her!') 2. Be generous with her (pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up').
Boaz is a dignified and generous man, he helps her, but he does not take advantage of her or humiliate her. A worthy hero for our history!
Think: Our hero is generous and compassionate. He treats this foreign woman with deference. Our heroine is industrious and demure. How can we see the hand of God in them?
Ideas for prayer: Thank God for the good role models by your side. Ask him to also have the privilege of being a good role model for others.
Translated from the Chilean Book of Common Prayer. Prayer for Peace, page 130.
O God, you are the author of true peace and lover of harmony, knowing you is eternal life and serving you is real freedom. Defend us, your humble servants, from all the assaults of our enemies so that, by fully trusting in your care and protection, we might not fear the cunning of any adversary; through the power of your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.
Pray with us today's prayer request:
Near Bunia, in DR Congo, Rev Bisoke and his wife, Furaha, have established an orphanage called Bunia Children's Hope Centre (BCHC). It started in 2004. This year they have partnered with Holy Trinity Windemere in South Carolina, U.S. Thank God for this partnership and pray for their goal of building a well for the centre.
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