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Hands Full of Purpose

Diana Hagee

THE STORY

Ruth was attracted to Boaz from the moment she saw him, yet she could not understand why. He was much older than she was. Nevertheless, she was drawn by the wisdom in his eyes. Ruth was overwhelmed by the loving-kindness he showed toward her, the magnitude of which she had never felt before.

Boaz was a Jew, and she was a foreigner, but she received an acceptance from him that she had received from no other. When invited to join his table and sit beside his reapers, she bowed her head and walked slowly toward him. Ruth hid her blushing cheeks with her scarf asking herself, “Do I belong here?”

Just a few short hours ago Ruth had felt completely lost as she tried to find her way to the barley fields. Once there, she felt so inadequate and insecure, for her past life as a king’s daughter had not prepared her for the hard work of the harvest. Earlier in the day, her body had become weary as she tried to gather as many stalks possible to assure enough food for Naomi and herself. She could hardly absorb what was happening now, she was resting at the master’s table, partaking of his generous bounty. Hashem had truly been good to her!

Boaz gave the blessing over the meal and invited her to take the bread and dip it into the wine. She reached for the bread, took a small portion, and dipped it in the wine and put it to her lips. She could not remember when she had tasted anything so good.

In a gesture of generosity, Boaz passed more grain to her than the others. Ruth was awed by the benevolence her host extended to her. She thanked him for his generosity and gratefully ate of his offering until she was satisfied. Then she discreetly placed some bread into her apron so she could take a part of this delicious meal to Naomi.

Ruth kept her eyes on Boaz for she found strength in him. She bowed her head and offered a silent prayer of thanks for the God whose sovereignty had brought her to this place of plenty and security.

Then Ruth modestly thanked her benevolent host and returned to work. Boaz’s gaze followed her as she walked back into his fields, and when he was certain she could not hear him, he motioned his overseer aside for private instruction, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. Also let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.”

THE STUDY

Ruth 2:14-17 “Come here.” Boaz wanted Ruth to rest from her work. He offered her a drink of the pure water reserved for his reapers, in doing so—he drew Ruth closer to him.

Our Redeemer draws us near to Him and satisfies our soul’s thirst by providing the pure and living water of His Word. He wants to give us rest from our day’s work, rest from the spiritual warfare in which we are engaged and ultimately, supernatural rest and protection for the path He has chosen for us. Remember this truth; we can only find true rest in His loving arms.

“Eat of the bread.” Boaz invited Ruth to the master’s table—to eat and be fully nourished. Our Redeemer wants us to drink of His fountain of life until we are filled to overflowing and feast on His Word until our souls have life- sustaining nourishment. He is the Bread of Life. (John 6:51)

"Dip your piece of bread in the vinegar." To most, vinegar is a bitter-tasting substance but in Biblical times, it was a compound of nectars expressed from sweet fruits such as grapes and mingled with water to produce a weak wine-like substance—Boaz invited Ruth to partake in a meal of bread and wine.

What a sweet foreshadowing of God’s goodness. Before Boaz became Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer, he invited her to have a meal of bread and wine. Moreover, before Christ became our Redeemer at the Cross, He invited His own to take communion with Him—a meal of bread and wine. (Matthew 26:26-28)

“She sat beside the reapers.” Boaz was known as a defender of the weak, the poor, and the less fortunate. Because of his inherent goodness, he created a refuge within his fields where workers would feel protected. Boaz established an environment of security and gratitude for all who entered his field. Boaz wanted Ruth to feel as if she belonged, not like the foreigner she was.

Our Redeemer is not a respecter of persons—He gives us all equal status when we come to His Cross. No matter when or how we come into His kingdom—in His eyes, we have the same value and inheritance. The Cross knows no foreigner—we all are washed by His redeeming blood in atonement for our sins and receive everlasting life. (Isaiah 56:6-7)

“He passed parched grain to her.” Boaz is sitting at the head of the table, his reapers beside him, and Ruth, the beautiful Moabite, sitting beside the reapers, equal in the master’s sight. She was the least of them, yet he purposely handed her more than the others.

Imagine yourself in this scene—sitting at the Master’s table by His invitation. You sit beside those who have sat at His table for years, yet He hands you more from His endless bounty than He does hope. Your heart will be satisfied, for the others. He knows your every need and shows you favor. (Isaiah 25:6 NIV)

“She ate and was satisfied, and kept some back.” Ruth ate at the master’s table until she was satisfied. The ever so considerate Ruth wanted to share this moment with Naomi so she held bread back in her apron. (Proverbs 31:15)

She gleaned in the field until evening. Ruth did not rest in her contentment, she went back to work. She had been redeemed by the hand of God and was now chosen to redeem others—just like Moses. (Exodus 15:13)

“And do not rebuke her.” The poor were not allowed to glean between the sheaves, but Boaz commanded his reapers, “Even if Ruth gleans improperly because of her lack of knowledge of the law, you are not to embarrass her by confronting her.”

When new converts come to the Lord, they should not be judged by legalistic rules but shown His loving kindness, grace, and mercy. (Matthew 5:7)

“The bundles fall purposely for her.” Boaz wanted his reapers to purposely place sheaves at Ruth’s feet yet make it appear that they were left behind. In doing so, he was fulfilling the Jewish commandment that requires sustaining the needs of the poor without causing them humiliation or shame. Boaz was emulating the goodness of God who always provides for His own. (Psalm 37:25)

“Gleaned in the field until evening.” Ruth portrays a virtuous woman who not only returned to the gleaning fields, but was faithful to remain until the end of the day and her assignment. (Proverbs 31:13b, 18b)

THE LIFE LESSONS

The Master’s table satisfies. Contentment without Christ is not possible. You will work and not find prosperity, you will look for love and find only heartache, you will seek out joy, only to be filled with sadness, you will strive for good health, yet your soul will become frail and weak.

Yet when you believe in Him for your salvation, you shall be satisfied. Your mind will be satisfied with the knowledge that Christ is the Author of in His love you will find contentment. Your spirit will be satisfied with perfect peace as you rely on His promises. Your purpose will be satisfied, for to know Christ is to be found in Him. (Psalm 63:3-5)

God provides for His own. God’s Word is a meal for our hungry souls. He promises that we will not hunger or thirst if we eat and drink from His table. All are invited and the meal is free.

As the Lord manifests in the provisions of His Word, we will be filled with the Bread of Life—we can extract sweet Divine nourishment from the meditation of His teachings. His grace and mercy will fuel us with enthusiasm and hope for the future. When Jesus Christ and His Cross are lifted up, there is food enough and to spare. When the glorious work of the Holy Spirit is remembered and partaken from, there is sustenance for our every need.

True faith produces faithfulness.

Ruth was a woman of faith. Even though Boaz extended extraordinary privileges and provision, Ruth worked diligently in the field until the harvest was complete.

The Lord promises that while the earth remains there will always be a time for planting and a time for reaping (Genesis 8:22). The Great Master of the harvest needs faithful reapers to work in His fields until the fruit of our labor has been gathered unto Him. (Mat- thew 9:37-38)
Every Believer ought to be in the field of the One who is greater than Boaz. We must have faith in the One who sent us. As His disciples, we must have faith that His Word will trans- form all who hear of its truths. A liv- ing faith is a going faith; a vital faith is an evangelizing faith. (Psalm 107:37)

Ruth was redeemed from hunger and poverty and was chosen by the hand of the Living God to be the Mother of Royalty. As a woman in the lineage of King David and the Messiah, Ruth was part of Redemption’s portrait. We were redeemed by the Blood of the spotless Lamb, and are now obligated to redeem others by the power of our testimony. (1 John 5:11)