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Ruth 2:1-23

Ruth 2:1-23

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Series: Christmas 2021
Sermon: Hesed
Bible Passage: Ruth 2:1-23

I. Verse 1: Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side of the family named Boaz. He was a wealthy, prominent man from the clan of Elimelech

1. The narrator speaks here—he prepares his audience for Ruth’s meeting with Boaz
2. Boaz: one of the family members who did not travel to Moab

II. Verses 2-3: One day Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields so I can gather grain behind whoever permits me to do so.” Naomi replied, “You may go, my daughter.” 2:3 So Ruth went and gathered grain in the fields behind the harvesters. Now she just happened to end up in the portion of the field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech

1. Ruth decides to break the status quo
2. Ruth was going for gleaning in a nearby field:

a. She steps out with God’s active presence
b. She happens to glean in Boaz’s field
c. God orchestrates things for her—coincidence
d. God’s hand working behind the scenes when she decides to break the status quo

III. Verses 2:4-7 Now at that very moment, Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “May the Lord be with you!” They replied, “May the Lord bless you!” 2:5 Boaz asked his servant in charge of the harvesters, “To whom does this young woman belong?” 2:6 The servant in charge of the harvesters replied, “She’s the young Moabite woman who came back with Naomi from the region of Moab. 2:7 She asked, ‘May I follow the harvesters and gather grain among the bundles?’ Since she arrived, she has been working hard from this morning until now—except for sitting in the resting hut a short time

1. Boaz demonstrated his character—greets the harvesters “The LORD be with you”
2. Boaz asked to who Ruth belonged
3. Boaz appears to treat his subordinates and unfamiliar people with respect—a man of character
4. Persons of positions reveal their character when they treat their associates/subordinates

IV. Verses 8-9 So Boaz said to Ruth, “Listen carefully, my dear! Do not leave to gather grain in another field. You need not go beyond the limits of this field. You may go along beside my female workers. 2:9 Take note of the field where the men are harvesting and follow behind with the female workers. I will tell the men to leave you alone. When you are thirsty, you may go to the water jars and drink some of the water the servants draw

1. Boaz demonstrates hesed to Ruth (ḥesed refers to acts of benevolence that one does out of kindness, not out of any obligation)

a. Do not leave to gather grain in another field
b. Do not go beyond the limits of this field
c. Go beside my female workers—choose people/company wisely
d. I will tell the men to leave you alone (protection from workplace abuse)
e. When you are thirsty, you may drink from what the servants have drawn

2. At this point, Ruth was a stranger to Boaz—you don’t need to have relationship with a stranger to show hesed

V. Verse 2:10 Ruth knelt before him with her forehead to the ground and said to him, “Why are you so kind and so attentive to me, even though I am a foreigner?”

1. Boaz’s dealing with Ruth made her fall on her knees—people do it only before God
2. Boaz demonstrates that one can imitate God in this world

VI. Verse 2:11-13 Boaz replied to her, “I have been given a full report of all that you have done for your mother-in-law following the death of your husband—how you left your father and your mother, as well as your homeland, and came to live among people you did not know previously. 2:12 May the Lord reward your efforts! May your acts of kindness be repaid fully by the Lord God of Israel, from whom you have sought protection!” 2:13 She said, “You really are being kind to me, sir, for you have reassured and encouraged me, your servant, even though I am not one of your servants!”

1. Boaz wishes good for Ruth, a stranger and foreigner
2. According to Boaz, Ruth had come under the wings of YHWH

a. The term “wings” refers to protective skirt/wing of YHWH
b. By way of her confession, she came under the guardianship of YHWH
c. When Boaz spreads his garment over Ruth, he imitates God in providing Godlike protection to Ruth
d. God fulfilled Boaz’s wish and prayer by giving Boaz to her

3. Ruth thanks Boaz for speaking to her heart, i.e., encouraging her (verse 13)—to a person like Ruth, words that lift the spirit are as important as acts of kindness

VII. Verse 2:14-17 Later during the mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and have some food! Dip your bread in the vinegar!” So, she sat down beside the harvesters. Then he handed her some roasted grain. She ate until she was full and saved the rest. 2:15 When she got up to gather grain, Boaz told his male servants, “Let her gather grain even among the bundles! Don’t chase her off! 2:16 Make sure you pull out ears of grain for her and drop them so she can gather them up. Don’t tell her not to!”

1. Boaz breaks with his custom and invites to eat with her
2. Boaz’s invitation is an act of kindness—counter cultural
3. Boaz is not simply feeding the hungry but showing hesed, gesture of compassion, generosity, and acceptance
4. It was an act of hospitality and inclusion—hesed is what God’s people extend to others
5. Boaz was an extraordinary Israelite man who fulfills beyond and above what the Law required in providing for Naomi and Ruth

VIII. Verses 2:17-18 So she gathered grain in the field until evening. When she threshed what she had gathered, it came to about thirty pounds of barley! 2:18 She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much grain she had gathered. Then Ruth gave her the roasted grain she had saved from mealtime

1. Because of one man’s decision, an empty person become full— barren gathers seed from Boaz
2. Ruth shows exceptional care to Naomi—empty to full
3. Naomi’s statement “May he be rewarded by the Lord because he has shown loyalty to the living on behalf of the dead!”—this prayer is answered
4. Covenant loyalty is not just vertical, but it is also horizontal
5. In other words, one’s loyalty is proved with their hesed towards the living
6. With Boaz’s hesed, Naomi demonstrated hope from despair (empty to full, bitterness to pleasantness)
7. Naomi has a hope; change in Naomi’s character; changes from mourning to hopeful; no longer focusing on what happened in Moab

IX. Boaz is a type of Christ (Matt 11:28)

11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest

1. Relationship means to get your hands dirty (not every relative is a relative, only those who get involved are real relatives. You can be a relative to someone today)
2. Relationship means there is a responsibility
3. Your wealth and prominence become what they are only when you share with others who are in need
4. We can say that persons act as God to one another in our story. If that be so, how striking it is that Ruth falls on her face and bows to the earth—worship language in most instances in the OT—before Boaz, and responds to his blessing of her in Yahweh’s name by calling him “my lord”

Take Away:

Look for “Ruths” around you and demonstrate hesed to them

Speaker: William J. Subash

Born and raised in south India, William J. Subash became a follower of Jesus Christ in 1983 at the age of nineteen. After a brief career in a tea and coffee plantation, Subash decided to spend rest of his life to preach about Jesus and his life-transforming message of God, which is popularly known as “the Gospel.” Subash teaches New Testament Studies at two institutions: SAIACS in India and Liberty University Online, VA, USA. Currently, Subash serves as the chief point person for GROW Gospel Initiatives and the Lead Pastor of the Crossroad Church, Bangalore. Write to him at wjsubash@crossroadbangalore.org