The Fields of the Lord
By Stephen Terry
An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever: Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee. Deuteronomy 23:3-4
Naomi was a female Job.
Famine had driven her and her husband Elimelech with their two sons
Mahlon and Kilion from the Promised Land.
Naomi listened for news from over the Jordan,
and she heard that things had improved.
Wanting to return to her home in
After about a decade of living with her, Ruth had come to be
closer to Naomi than her own family.
Nonetheless, Naomi knew that the prospects for a Moabite in
Ruth had been converted from the Moabite gods to the faith Naomi
carried in her heart. That faith now worked itself outward from Ruth’s heart to
her’s in one of the most beautiful pledges in Scripture. “…whither thou goest,
I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people,
and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried:
the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.”
(Ruth 1:16-17) Perhaps at this moment,
Naomi’s thoughts were like the words of Jesus so many centuries later: “I have not found so great faith, no, not in
Naomi had shared her plans with Ruth, and Ruth eagerly volunteered to go gleaning in the
fields to support them. Not knowing the
Since Ruth had probably heard about the
attitude toward Moabites, she was surprised at this generosity from Boaz. She
asked him why he was being so kind to her – a foreigner? She had probably not been treated so well by
When Naomi saw how much Ruth had
gleaned, her spirits lifted, and when Ruth shared with her from the meal that
Boaz had provided she became even more excited. Naomi wanted to hear all about
the day from Ruth, and when she heard that the man who had helped her was Boaz,
she rejoiced. She knew he was a close
relative that could be a kinsman redeemer: a man who had the obligation to
marry a widow and raise up children to her deceased
husband. Since Boaz had obviously been
kind to Ruth, Naomi urged her to remain in his fields until the harvests were
finished. She feared that others in
Now why was Boaz so kind to a Moabite
in his fields? His father was Salmon.
Salmon had married Rahab, the prostitute from
Boaz had a son by Ruth named Obed. This
son would be considered Elimelech’s heir.
Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse was the father of King
David. It was through King David that
the Messianic throne was established, and the ultimate heir, descended from God
and David was Jesus. The man named “God
is King,” Elimelech, truly had a prophetic name. His family gave rise to the
royal line that would bring forth the Messiah.
Though hundreds of thousands were among God’s people
Almost two thousand years after the birth and death of Jesus, how are we doing? Whose fields are we gleaning in? Are we seeking the blessings of the Lord of the field through faith in His kindness? Are we willing to find shelter in Him so he can become our kinsman redeemer? Do we have faith to come to Him boldly with trust in our hearts? Ruth knew she was a Moabitess and had nothing to recommend her to an Israelite, yet she trusted. Do we understand our true condition, or do we feel that somehow we can make ourselves better than we are, more deserving of salvation from our Redeemer?
Ruth did nothing but submit to her redeemer, Boaz. Yet until he redeemed her, she took care of those who depended on her. Are we like Ruth? Are we caring for the needs of others until our Redeemer comes for us? Ruth’s knowledge of Torah did not recommend her to Boaz. There is no record that how well she kept Sabbath recommended her to him. There is no indication that she told him how much she felt that Moses was inspired in order to impress him. No. The only account in the book of Ruth is that she cared well for Naomi and this was what caught the attention of the one who would redeem her. This is also what catches our Redeemer’s attention.
"But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.”
"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'”
"Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'”
"The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'”
"Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.'”
"Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?'”
"Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'”
"These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." Matthew 25:31-46