providence

Ruth: God’s Providence

So she 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. (Ruth 2:3 ESV)

And her mother-in-law said to her, “Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.” So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, “The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz.” And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by the LORD, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Naomi also said to her, “The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.” (Ruth 2:19-20 ESV)

The writer of Ruth sets the scene in Ruth 2:3 of a very coincidental experience for Ruth. By happenstance she came to the part of the field that just happened to belong to Boaz, who just happened to be of the clan of Elimelech, who happened to be her father-in-law. So just a few coincidences strung together. The writer leaves it as this and allows us to create our own conclusions of the events in Ruth 2.

What we see is God’s providence, his control over everything and how everything works together as he would have it. God placed Ruth in that field, it wasn’t by happenstance that she was in the field belonging to Boaz. God had plans for Ruth and for Boaz and it started by placing her into Boaz’s field. Often times we don’t see God’s plan and we most definitely don’t understand it but we can trust that He knows what He is doing. Imagine being in Ruth’s shoes; you marry a guy with a cool name, his dad dies, then he dies and his brother dies. So it’s you, your sister-in-law and your mother-in-law. Your mother-in-law is heading back to her hometown, and she has told you about her God and you have adopted her God as your God; but she tells you to go back to your family, back to your gods, back to your comfort zone, back to a place where you will be well taken care of. If you follow Naomi you’ll be broke, have nothing and have to work to get by, plus you will have to take care of your mother-in-law. Recall Luke 14 when it talks about counting the cost; you have to imagine Ruth thought about these things. She gave up a lot to follow Naomi and her God.

So Ruth puts her head down and gets to work in the field to provide for her mother-in-law and herself; but God has a bigger better plan for her. He places her in one of the fields of Boaz, who just happened to be one of their redeemers. God has control over everything and he has plans for his people, even Ruth the Moabite.

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