Ruth Reaping
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Ruth, that portion of the Word of God that we are studying together. I think it would be wise for us in view of the fact that we are beginning the study of the chapter to keep in mind the very simple outline that we gave you of the book of of Ruth. We remind you that it is built around the chief character of the book, Ruth. We suggested to you that in chapter 1 we would find Ruth returning to her land or the land of her in-laws, the land of the God of Israel. In chapter 2, we would find Ruth reaping; in chapter 3, we would find Ruth resting; and in chapter 4, we would find Ruth rewarded.

We suggested to you that in our study of the book of Ruth we are going to follow a threefold approach. We would like for you to get that firmly fixed in your mind so you will know what we are talking about as we discuss these various truths in this particular book. We said we were going to follow the approach of analogy first, then the approach of soteriology, and then the approach of eschatology. Analogy is a comparison of physical, material things with spiritual things so as to find the spiritual lesson that God would have for us in the particular portion under discussion. Soteriology is the study of redemption. Eschatology is the study of last things.

At the moment, we are using the approach of analogy and in so doing in the first chapter, you will recall, we learned that God's disciplining hand rested upon the family of Elimelech until they were ready to be back in His plan, which was related to their return to their homeland. We suggested that God's disciplining hand rests upon us until we, too, are ready to do that which God would have us do.

The latter part of the chapter, we learned, was an analogy of the decisions that were made by Ruth and Naomi and Orpah, illustrating the decisions which are made by individuals today, the decisions which are made by those who are mere professors and by those who are possessors. Of course, the decision of the prodigal was represented in the life of Naomi.

We noticed that the decision of the possessor was represented in the life of Ruth. She actually possessed a relationship to the God of Israel that made her do more than talk about returning. She returned.

As we come to chapter 2, we find Ruth in the family of Israel, or as Boaz mentioned it, we find her under the wings of the God of Israel in whom she had come to trust, or we find her a born-again believer, if we want to draw the analogy properly.

The Occupation of the Redeemed

If I were to ask you what is expected of a born-again believer, I wonder what answers I would receive. I daresay there would be quite a few of them. Because our time is limited, I want to suggest to you as we look at chapter 2 of the book of Ruth, that we are going to find Ruth reaping; or, as we make our analogy, we are going to find a description of the occupation of the reaping soul. What is the chief occupation of the redeemed soul? That is what we want to discover, so if you will follow in your Bibles, please:

Ruth 2

1And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz.
2And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.
3And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.
4And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.
5Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this?
6And the servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab:
7And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house.
8Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens:
9Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.
10Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?
11And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.
12The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.
13Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens.
14And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.

Let me pause there for a moment and suggest that that is not as good a translation in the verse as it might be because it seems as though she ate, she was satisfied, and she left. What the verse is saying is she ate, she was satisfied and she had plenty left over. We will find out what she did with that which she had left over later on in the chapter.

Ruth 2

15And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not:
16And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.
17So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley.
18And she took it up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed.

If you will keep in mind what I told you in verse 14, you will find what she did with what she had left over in verse 8. When she went home that evening, she took to her mother-in-law for her supper what she had left over from her lunch at the noonday meal.

Ruth 2

19And her mother in law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned to day? and where wroughtest thou? blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee. 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.
20And 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.
21And Ruth the Moabitess said, He said unto me also, Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest.
22And 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.
23So 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.

If you were following closely as we read this passage of Scripture, you noticed one word that was repeated over and over again. It was the word “glean.” It is mentioned twelve times in that chapter, and the mention of the word “glean” twelve times sets the trend of the chapter. If I were to ask you again the question that we mentioned earlier again in our discussion, “What is to be the chief occupation of the redeemed soul?”, your answer, on the basis of that word, could be “gleaning.” We use the word “reaping” for the sake of alliteration as an aid to your memory. The first chapter we said presented Ruth returning, the second chapter, Ruth reaping. Gleaning is a kind of reaping, but it is a more particular kind of reaping. It comes from the Hebrew word lawkat , which means “to pick up” or “to gather,” and the picture is of individuals who follow the reapers who reap and glean that which remains.

Significance of Gleaning In Scriptures

If I were to ask you to tell me what reaping stands for, what is the typical significance of reaping in the Scripure, I daresay that most of you would tell me that reaping is typical of the Christian's responsibility to win men to Christ. You probably would base your remarks on what is found in the last two verses of chapter 9 of the Gospel of Matthew where the Lord Jesus Christ said:

Matthew 9

37Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
38Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

You would say the real responsiblity of the redeemed soul, the chief occupation, ought to be soul-winning. I don't think that you would find very many people who disagree with you, but I am going to disagree with you if that is your opinion, because the chief occupation of the redeemed is not soul-winning. It is reaping or gleaning if you want to use that word, but not soul-winning. Now wait just a minute. I don't want to be misquoted so that someone would go from here and say that I said you shouldn't win souls. I didn't say that. I said your chief occupation ought not be the winning of souls, and I think the most serious mistake that a believer could make is to think that the chief occupation he has, the first occupation he has, is the winning of men to Christ. I say that to you because I think many believers, preoccupied with that notion, go out to win men to Christ ill equipped; and I am afraid they have caused more abortions, spiritually speaking, than births. That is indeed serious, because lives are involved–eternal life if you please.

I have often suggested to you that there is a law, one among a number, that should be kept in mind in the study of the Word of God. I have referred to it as “the law of the first mention.” I have suggested to you that the way that you find something mentioned the first time in the Scripture is indicative to what it's meaning shall be henceforth throughout the Word of God. If typically something is mentioned for the first time in a certain fashion, then it is used in that fashion from henceforth.

Turn with me, please, to Exodus, chapter 16. You will recall the setting of the verses at which we are going to look. The children of Israel were in the wilderness. They were not about to starve, but they thought they were, and they began to long for the flesh pots of Egypt, that which satisfied the flesh. This God did not like, because He knew individuals who spent all of their time satisfying the flesh could never operate in the Spirit, so you read in verse 4 of Exodus, chapter 16:

Exodus 16

4Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.
5And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.

Notice the word “gather” in verse 4 and the word “gather” in verse 5. It is the translation of this Hebrew word lawkat , which is translated by the word “glean” in chapter 2 of the book of Ruth. “Gleaning” and “gathering” are the same. The law of first mention relates the gleaning to the gathering of bread from Heaven–manna, which is a twofold type. It is a type of the living bread and a type of the written Word, a type of the living Word and a type of the written Word.

Gleaning Truths From God's Word

If you are thinking, I believe you know what the chief occupation of the redeemed soul ought to be. It ought not to be reaping in the sense of winning men to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Rather, it ought to be gathering bread from Heaven, gathering manna provided by God, gleaning precious truths from the Word of God that will enable the redeemed person to grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. I say to you that if you will make this your chief occupation, winning of men to Christ will take care of itself. You will find yourself, as you are fed fully upon the Word, committing the things which you have learned to men who need to know them. When the bread satisfies the need of your own heart, then you will find yourself wanting to share it with others.

The accusation that is often made against people who put emphasis upon the Word of God is that they are tarnished with a dead orthodoxy and they have no real interest in the winning of souls. Statements such as that come from unenlightened minds who place more emphasis on emotional experience than they do upon the truth of the Word of God. I have never known any person who spent his time gleaning in the Word but what he had a burden for souls and was used abundantly of God in bringing those people to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

If in chapter 2 of the book of Ruth we find Ruth reaping or Ruth gleaning or Ruth gathering, we should expect to find the characteristics of a good gleaner. If we can find what those characteristics are, we can examine our own lives as to whether or not we are really interested in the chief occupation of the redeemed. We may need to revamp some of our thinking, some of our approach to our study of the Word of God. We may need to add to that to which we are already doing.

Ruth's Desire

The first thing that I would bring to your attention is what I have designated as “Ruth's desire.” You remember that Ruth returned home to Bethlehem as the daughter-in-law of Naomi. She really had no responsibility. She could have sat in whatever quarters they existed in, for theirs was a mere existence, and she could have said, “Naomi is the head of the house since there is no husband. I have no responsibility. Let Namoi be concerned about where we get our food.” Ruth was not that kind of person. Notice in verse 2:

Ruth 2

2And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.

You will notice “him” is in italics. It means it is not in the original text. Actually the desire of Ruth is expressed in the words, “Let me now go to the field and glean ears of corn.” This desire on the part of Ruth came from her heart. The suggestion was not made by her mother-in-law. It was not a forced issue. It came from the deep recesses of her heart.

Turn, please, to the book of Proverbs, chapter 2, as I suggest to you that what Ruth was asking permission to do was not a pleasant thing nor an easy thing. It could not be interpreted as a lark, in any sense of the word, because gleaning was a humble work and gleaning was an arduous work. Gleaning had to be preceded by a deep desire. The Spirit of God catches that same thought in relation to the Word and presents it in Proverbs, chapter 2, where he says:

Proverbs 2

1My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
2So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;

Let your mind be fixed upon the fact that the words “wisdom” and “understanding” are used interchangeably for “doctrine” in the Word of God, as is true with the word “knowledge” in verse 3.

Proverbs 2

3Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
4If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
5Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

Notice the expressions, “if thou doest apply thine heart,” “if you cry after knowledge,” “if you lift up your voice,” “if you seek it as you do silver,” “if you search for it as you do hid treasure.” Beloved, this is a real desire. The reason the vast majority of Christendom lives in ignorance of the Word of God is that this desire is lacking in most of their hearts. They are occupied with so many things. Without being critical of anyone or any group, I suggest that you take the average churchgoer and examine the program of activities for the week. You will discover that there is much that will occupy the time, but very little, and sometimes nothing, has to do with the chief occupation of the redeemed. So the desire of the redeemed to glean in the Word of God is never really whetted and certainly never fulfilled.

Ruth's Diligence

Let us notice another characteristic. I refer to it as “Ruth's diligence.” Somehow or other we would like to think that we could be an empty vessel into which God in His grace would pour all the knowledge of the truth of His word. We would find ourselves walking fountains of wisdom in relation to God's Word, but it just isn't that way. If Ruth had remained at home or had even gone to the harvest field and stood on the sidelines, the need of her and her mother-in-law would never had been meet.

Notice down in verse 7 of chapter 2, when the man who was in charge of the reapers was reporting to Boaz concerning this damsel whom he had noticed gleaning in the fields. He explained that she came to him, in verse 7, and said, “Let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.” The young man included in his report this statement. The very sense of it indicates his own amazement and he said:

Ruth 2

7…so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now [ and that was late in the day ], that she tarried a little in the house.

He said, “She tarried a little in the house with the possible exception of a little time that she rested in the shed built in the field to protect the reapers from the heat of the noon day sun. This woman has been diligent. She has not wasted one bit of time.”

If you will look at verse 17 of chapter 2, you will see how diligent this woman actually was because we are told that she gleaned in the field until even. After the man quit talking, she went ahead and gleaned until the sun went down and then she beat out what she had gleaned and it was about an ephah of barley. Now keep in mind from early morning and all during the day except for the little respite that she had in the field shed, she gleaned until evening and when she was through, she had an ephah of barley. If you are not used to these measurements, you are probably wondering, “Was that very much or not?” We are amazed to find that an ephah of barley represented one bushel and three pints, and we are amazed still farther when we learned that that represented a five-day supply of food for her mother-in-law and for herself. Believe me, she wasted no time.

I would ask the Holy Spirit to make application to your own heart, if He pleases, and I think there is an application there of what you will find in chapter 17 where you were told that she beat out what she had gleaned. The only suggestion that I am going to make about it in relation to the chief occupation of the redeemed is that perhaps if you and I, after we had sat in Bible classes or Bible conferences or church services, as the case may be, would beat out what we had gleaned, we would do so much better.

I trust you will accept this in the spirit in which I say it because I do not mean it critically. I always encourage questions, but sometimes I am amazed at some questions. I am amazed because I find a thought running through my head when the question is asked, “Where did I fail? Didn't I get that across? Where were you when I taught that? I have taught it and retaught it and taught it again and you haven't seemed to grasp it.” Keep in mind the spirit in which I say it. I am saying it to make a point. Make allowances for my failures in getting the point across and accept this point of exhortation. Perhaps it would be good after our Bible classes and our services if we would take a little time at home and go over our notes or over our notations we made in our Bibles and beat out the barley as we gleaned. We might find things fixed more firmly in our minds, and we might find more barley than we thought we had.

Ruth's Dependence

I would like for you to notice another characteristic of a good gleaner. It is illustrated, as far as I am concerned, in Ruth's dependence. That dependence is all summed up in one word, the word “grace.” Notice that it is brought to your attention in what Naomi had to say to Ruth in verse 2:

Ruth 2

22And 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.

You see, Ruth recognized that her gleaning had to be dependent upon grace. She did not own the field in which she gleaned. She had no real claim or call upon the owners of the field in which she gleaned. It was all of grace. And when she gleaned in any field–she had no particular field in mind here in verse 2–she realized she was gleaning by grace. I would like to suggest to you that only when you make your gleaning within the Word of God upon the basis of grace are you going to get enough barley. Only when you make your gleaning on the basis of grace are you going to get enough to satisfy your soul.

You may wonder what I am talking about. I am talking about the grace approach to the study of the Word of God instead of the legalistic approach to the study of the Word of God. There are some individuals who feel they have to read a chapter a day and if they don't, they are going to be out of fellowship. So they work in that chapter some way, somehow, and hate every minute they give to it. They don't learn anything when that happens, but instead of worrying about whether it is a verse a day or a chapter a day, you should glean. Remember the gleanings were the little things that were gathered. If you would in grace ask God to give you something for your labor, you would be surprised at what He would give.

Gleaning Characterized By Grace

Gleaning is not only dependent upon grace, but the gleaning in which Ruth engaged was characterised by what I would call “amazing grace.” She was amazed. Look at verse 10. After Boaz encouraged her, the way that we will be noticing shortly:

Ruth 2

10Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?

“Why, Boaz, have I found grace in thine eyes? I am a stranger. Why is it that you have personal knowledge of me at this particular time?” When you begin to glean in the Word of God, expect to be amazed at what you find and be overwhelmed at God's personal knowledge of you. That's when the Word begins to live and that is when it begins to bless your heart. You are amazed at what you see and you are amazed that God could have had you in mind when He wrote that particular portion of the Word of God.

Sometime folk will call me and say, “I am going to have someone with me today in services, and I just felt that you would like to know it.” Maybe it is someone about whom we both prayed or someone with a very special need. The thoughtfulness of the person in giving me that information is that through prayer God might give me something to say that will meet the need of that person particularly. Oftentimes someone will come to me after the service and say, “Did so and so tell you anything about me?” I can always honestly say, “No, they didn't.” “Well,” they say, “I am amazed. The very thing I needed is the very thing you pointed out in God's Word today. I'm amazed. I don't understand it.” I am always happy to say, “Well, I do. I understand it because God takes a personal interest in you and He has a personal knowledge of you.” Just as Boaz took a personal interest in Ruth, God takes a personal interest in each individual who has the desire to glean in the harvest field of the Word of God and find his need met.

Boaz as a Type of Christ

I would like to suggest to you by way of additional analogy that there is in chapter 2 an analogy between the dealing of Boaz with Ruth and the dealings of Christ with us. If you have done any study in the book at all, you already know that Boaz is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, but for all practical purposes of speaking, we are introduced to him for the first time in chapter 2. If we were not familiar with the book of Ruth, we would not have yet met this man, Boaz, who is brought to our attention. We did tell you about him in our introductory lesson and suggested to you that there is no accurate record of the meaning of the name “Boaz,” except it was the term that was given to one of the pillars of the temple. Though we do not know the exact meaning of the name “Boaz,” for our typical study of Boaz as representative of Christ, which we will touch upon very briefly, attention is called in verse 2 of chapter 2 that Boaz was a kinsman of Naomi. Here the word “kinsman” comes from the Hebrew word yawdah , which simply means that he was a relative. That tells us absolutely nothing, but later on in the chapter, in verse 20, when Ruth was reporting to Naomi about her experiences of the day:

Ruth 2

20And 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.

Those words “kin” and “kinsmen” come from an entirely different Hebrew word than the word in verse 2. They come from the Hebrew word gawal . It means “redeemer.” When we study the book of Ruth from the standpoint of soteriology, we will be thinking about the kinsman redeemer and all he stands for. At the moment, we notice in the first verse that he is referred to as a mighty man of wealth. Now, in a sense he was. He was a wealthy man, but the word “wealth” there is not a happy translation. It could be better translated “a mighty man of valour.” He was a man of strength, of power, and of integrity. An emphasis is placed upon this in view of the day in which he lived because you will recall that the book of Ruth is an appendix to the book of Judges, and the book of Judges was a day when men did all things which were right in their own eyes. Boaz stood out above and beyond all other men of his generation. Everything that could be said about Boaz could be said about the Lord Jesus Christ.

God's Provision for Gleaning

I say that to you because I want to remind you that Ruth was dependent upon grace for her right to glean in the field, but her right to glean by grace was very closely related to Boaz and was so presented that her right to glean in the field was established even before her birth. To me that is a marvelous illustration of God's provision for gleaning for every believer today.

When you have time, you might like to read what is recorded in the book of Leviticus, chapter 19, verse 9; chapter 23, verse 11; and Deuteronomy, chapter 24, verse 19. In those passages of Scripture you will discover that when God told the children of Israel how they should live in the land of Canaan, He laid down laws about reaping. He said to them, “If you forgot some of the grain in the field, don't go back and get it. Leave it there. Leave it there for the widows. Leave it there for the orphans. Leave it there for the gleaners.” And He said, “When you reap, don't be selfish. Don't reap the corners of the field. Leave a little. When you pick some of the fruit off the tree, don't pick it all. Leave some. I am going to have some people who are going to need what is left. I am making preparation for them now.”

I suggest to you, Beloved, that here is grace indicated in God's provision for Ruth even before she was born. If we are going to make application and draw the analogy as we should, I wish that everyone here could realize what a tremendous recipient of God's grace you are to be able to sit in this place and listen to someone expound the Word of God. I used to say in other countries of the world they don't have that privilege, but you know I quit saying that. We receive letters every day from people who receive the printed page or the tapes and say, “For the first time in my life, I am hearing the Word of God.”

Incidentally, you will pardon this personal allusion. I had a very personal letter from a friend of Leslie Fox. Leslie was on board a ship, and this friend wrote and said, “I was introduced to the Word of God by Leslie Fox, and I am so hungry for the Word of God that I never have had before. I wonder if you could send us everything you have on the Word of God?” This young man and his wife, evidently out of the service now, from what was indicated in his letter, wanted this for himself and his family to study. This is what he said, “All I know about what you've presented is a few lessons on prophecy and a few lessons on the Know Your Child Study. I am so hungry for the Word. I have never had it before.” Now, that is not from someone from a foreign land, but someone from this nation of ours. He went on to say how the boys on this ship were literally devouring God's Word. You ought to be praying for Leslie Fox that God will be able to use him in distributing the Word, and then you ought to be praying for these folk that as they glean in the barley harvest, they will be able to beat out what they gleaned and they will be able to find something that will encourage their hearts and make them grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Place of Gleaning Provided

I suggested to you that Ruth's right to glean was established even before she was born, and I would like to suggest to you also that her place of gleaning was related to divine providence. When I use the phrase, “divine providence,” I am thinking of God's intervention in the affairs of men. Notice verse 2 of chapter 2:

Ruth 2

2And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.
3And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and [ notice carefully now ] her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.

Notice the phrase, “her hap was to light.” We don't use that kind of language today, and so folk who read that verse carelessly say, “Well, that meant that by accident she began to reap in the field of Boaz, by chance, by coincidence.” Beloved, that isn't what it means, for that word “hap” is rendered by the Hebrew word kawraw , which is translated “in good speed.” The first time you find it mentioned is in Genesis, chapter 24, verse 12. We won't take the time to turn back there, but it records the search of Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, for a wife for his master, Isaac. As he went out to find that wife, he knelt down by a well of water and he prayed. This was his prayer, “God of my master Abraham, I pray thee send me some good speed this day. Send me divine direction.” That is the meaning of the word “good speed.” When it says in the text that “her hap was to light on the field of Boaz,” it doesn't mean that she gleaned in the field of Boaz by chance. It means that she was divinely directed to that particular field to glean.

If we wanted to draw our analogy out to extended limits, we might say that there were many fields in which Ruth gleaned, for there were. The fields were all around the city of Bethlehem. They had no fences. They just had little piles of stone that separated the fields of Boaz from the fields of someone else. She could have landed in anyone's field, but she landed in the one which God had planned for her to land.

Divine Direction In Bible Study

If we want to draw the analogy out, we might say that there are sixty-six fields in which you can glean. What do you do? Sometimes particularly new converts begin to glean in the first field that they come to, the book of Genesis, and they get bogged down before they get past chapter 2. They say, “I don't know why the Bible isn't interesting to me. There must be something wrong with me.” Beloved, you need to seek divine direction in the field in which you glean. You need to pray the prayer of the Psalmist, “Open thou mine eyes that I might behold wondrous things out of thy law.” God will answer your prayer. He will direct you in the right field and when He directs you to the right field, you will find what Ruth found because she discovered that her gleaning was not without encouragement. Your gleaning will not be without encouragement.

In verse 8, she found that there was sufficient grain. Boaz said to her, “You don't need to hunt upon any other field. All the grain that you will be able to assimilate, you will find right here.” Beloved, I would like to remind you that all you need is in the Book. Don't spend your time reading books about the Book. Study the Book. Every once in a while I get a letter from some pastor and they say to me, “How many books have you read this month? I have read thirty.” I always write back and say I haven't read any, and then he puts me down as an ignoramus. Well, I haven't read any about the Bible. That is what he is talking about. I don't have time to. The Book itself has sufficient grain.

In the midst of her gleaning, she got thirsty. In verse 9, he told her, “The young men will always have water drawn. You go there and drink any time you want to, and I told them that it is all right.” In the midst of your gleaning, you might find yourself getting a bit weary, and you will find something cool as a refreshing drink of water, and if you ask God for divine direction in the midst of gleaning, He will give you that which will satisfy your thirst.

The Privilege of Personal Fellowship

In verse 14, she had the privilege of personal fellowship with Boaz–she with Boaz, you with the Lord. Boaz took her into the field house at mealtime and he–this is a marvelous thing to me–“handed her parched corn and gave her bread to dip into the wine.” You will discover, if you learn to glean in the field in the manner in which I am speaking, that the Lord Jesus Christ will personally minister unto your needs through the Word, so that you will feel that you have had a personal message from Him.

I love this next phrase found in verse 16, Boaz said to the reapers:

Ruth 2

16And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.

What he meant was, “I want you to break off some of that grain and drop it on the ground. Don't act like you did it on purpose, but do it on purpose and go on by. Don't stop and pick it up. Let her get it.” Have you ever gleaned from the Word of God some truths that you felt were handfuls on purpose that God left there especially for you? Well, I have. My, how my heart has been thrilled and sometimes in earlier days I would run to someone with some truths from the Word of God and I would say, “Look what the Lord left me.” They would take the wind out of my sails by saying, “Well, I got that a long time ago. He didn't just leave that for you.” Why, I thought He did! I had never seen it before. It was a whole handful that I thought He left for me. Beloved, learn to glean in the book and you will feel that way.

Conclusion

The last thing that I want to bring to your attention is what is brought out in verse 12:

Ruth 2

12The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.

“You have come to trust under the wings of the LORD God of Israel and I want you to have a full reward and you will.” There is no reward to be compared with the reward that comes from gleaning in the Word of God.

I beg of you, Beloved, if you are occupied with a great many things that may seem good to you, drop some of them and start gleaning in the Word as Ruth gleaned in the fields of Boaz.

Prayer

Grant, Father, we ask Thee the Holy Spirit's ministry of the Word as we have tried to deliver it. Make it effective in each of our hearts. For we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.


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