The Word for today:
And when she rose up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, "Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not: And let fall also some of the handfuls on purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not." (Ruth 2:15-16)
In some of the darkest days in the Bible, in the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab (Ruth 1:1).
One of this man's sons married a local girl named Ruth. When both the man and his sons died, Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, returned to Bethlehem upon hearing that the famine in the land of Judah had ended.
There a wealthy man named Boaz falls in love (at first sight!) when he "happens" to see Ruth, who went out and began to glean in the fields behind the harvesters and, as it turned out, found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz (Ruth 2:3).
In the book of Ruth, the Bible reader knows that Boaz told his workers to let fall also some of the handfuls (of grain) of purpose for her (2:16/KJV), so that Ruth will be able to gather enough to sustain herself and Naomi. But Ruth does not know that Boaz is deliberately providing for her in this way, behind the scenes. She must have thought that the workers weren't harvesting very carefully!
This story illustrates a concept known as God's providence (1). The invisible, providing, protecting hand of the LORD is behind every word and circumstance in the book of Ruth.
Very often we, like Ruth in the fields, do not realize the provision God makes for us. We might attribute our circumstances to chance or happenstance, and fail to see the guiding and sustaining hand of God in our lives.
The conditions of Ruth's life--the hunger, untimely death, and poverty--made it particularly difficult for her to see that all things work together for good to those who love God (Rom. 8:28).
Later, when Boaz and Ruth are married, Ruth's fallen estate is restored, and a family -- life -- is restored to that which was dead. Once she had been in Adam (represented in the story by her first husband.) Now she is joined to her Redeemer, Christ (represented by Boaz):
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive (1 Cor. 15:22).
How could Ruth know, when she "happened" upon Boaz' field, that the handful of purpose would fall to us as well--for from their marriage would proceed a great-grandson, King David. Out of David's line would come the Son of Man, Jesus Christ.
Out of that wheat field, out of that 'chance' meeting, came the Bread of Life (John 6:48), God's provision for our lives, now and forever:
And Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit (John 12:23-24).
Because He loves us, God decreed that the wheat should fall for us, on purpose.
(1) see Genesis 22:13-14
(1) see Genesis 22:13-14