Gleanings from The Book of Ruth – Part Two

He has brought me to His banqueting table, and His banner over me is love – Song of Solomon 2:4

Our story resumes at mealtime, when the harvesters have a break from their labour and sit down at the table to eat.  Ruth’s natural inclination is to sit on her own, apart from the others.  She is a Moabite, from the wash-basin of Israel, and so her tendency is to separate herself from those who belong at the table.

But Boaz beckons her: “Come here that you may eat of the bread and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar.”

So Ruth is offered a place beside the reapers where Boaz serves her roasted grain.  She eats her fill and is satisfied and has some leftover.

The symbolism here of Christ’s love for sinners is beautifully striking – immediately a verse springs to mind:

The promise is for you and for your children and for all who are afar off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.” – Acts 2:39

There’s something strangely familiar about this scene, isn’t there?  Bread being given out, with some leftover?  Was there not once a man who broke bread around a table, serving His disciples, and saying “This is my body, broken for you?”

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As I read this scene, I feel my heart being strangely warmed, just like those two travellers on the road to Emmaus who finally recognised Jesus only as he broke bread.  Do we not now recognise our Kinsman Redeemer, Jesus, in this lovely little scene played out between Ruth and Boaz?  What a wondrous foreshadowing of our Saviour’s redeeming love, of how he took on the nature of a servant to redeem the poor and the unworthy – the Bread of Life giving bread to those who were once afar off!

Jesus has called each one of us to come close, to come to His banqueting table, to eat of the bread of life and be fully satisfied!  What an invitation!

And from here, the story continues.  After a series of  sweet little twists and turns, Boaz and Ruth go on to become husband and wife!  A story that begins with death and famine and grief, ends with a wonderful wedding!  Though weeping endures for a night, joy comes in the morning!  God takes a poor, destitute woman, from the washbasin of Israel,  and makes her into a fruitful bride!  A woman with no prospects, no wealth, and nothing to offer but her exemplary devotion to Naomi, ends up becoming a joyous bride, and goes on to bear for Boaz, and indeed for Naomi, a much longed for son!  The child is named Obed, and he grows up to become the Father of Jesse, who grows up to become the Father of none other than King David – surely the most notable King in the bible.

Does this not make your heart sing?  How extraordinarily wonderful!  Ruth – a Moabite, a poor woman from a nation that is despised and looked down on, becomes the Great Grandmother of King David – thus sharing in the lineage of Jesus Christ Himself!  I don’t know about you, but this completely blows my mind!

Can you see how it has always been in heart of God to take the far off Gentile, once excluded from the Household of God, and bring them to His banqueting Table?   To take the hopeless sinner into His heavenly home to become the bride of the King!  Doesn’t it make your heart leap for joy when you put yourself in the place of Ruth, when you understand all that God has done for you?

Today as I reflect of all of these things, my heart echoes with great joy, the words of the Psalmist:

“He raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the needy from the ash heap,  to make them sit with princes, with the princes of His people.  He makes the barren woman abide in the house as a joyful mother of children.  Praise the Lord!” –  Psalm 113:7-9