Ruth 2:8(NKJV) 8Then Boaz said to Ruth, “You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women.
This week we have been looking at the role God given favor played in the life of Ruth. Although she was a foreigner and a woman, God blessed her and she became an iconic figure in Israel. Her whole life was built upon the favor of God that came to her through a wealthy relative by the name of Boaz. Although favor comes by God working in and around our lives, we can cultivate characteristics that will enable God to release this favor for our benefit.
In our last two posts, we saw four of the characteristics that put Ruth in a position to receive favor. First, she considered the wellbeing of Naomi above her own. There was no reason for her to accompany her Mother-in-law to Israel. However, she did so because she loved Naomi and knew that as an elderly single woman she would have a very difficult time surviving. Ruth was younger and able to help Naomi.
Second, she chose the God of Israel and the people of Israel over her own. She chose the will and ways of the Lord instead of what seemed good to her flesh. Third, Ruth did not sit around waiting for something to happen or complaining about what she could not do but she went to work doing what she could do. She not only worked but she worked hard. Finally, her lifestyle and reputation went before her. Boaz heard of what she had done for Naomi and it caused him to view Ruth in a very favorable light.
Today I want to point out three more things in Ruth’s life that enabled her to receive favor. In the verse above, we see that Boaz told Ruth to stay in his field. I believe there is something in this that we need to see and cultivate. Ruth could have looked to other fields. She could have decided that Boaz had a hidden agenda and was trying to keep her from richer pastures. However, she recognized that God was at work and chose to stay where God had placed her.
It is very difficult sometimes to stay obedient to God when things take time to develop. Often, we do not understand what God is doing so we look for another answer or a better situation. I am sure Ruth had no idea what Boaz had in mind. She did not know he was her relative. However, she chose to stay with him anyway. Sometimes we may think a change of churches, jobs or locations will solve our problems. If God has placed you in any one of these, then that is where the answers lie.
Sometimes we must stand by faith until we see the answer. Sometimes God is doing things in our lives to make us able to receive what he wants to do for us. Sometimes he needs us to do something for someone else. Until we finish that assignment, we must stay where we are placed. God has a destiny for each of us and that destiny can only be accomplished in the right place. Too often Christians leave the place of destiny because the “grass seems greener on the other side of the fence.”
In chapter 2, Naomi gives Ruth some instructions. These instructions could be considered embarrassing or even risky. I can see Ruth having a hard time understanding what Naomi was asking her to do, but she obeyed anyway.
Ruth 3:2-4(NKJV) 2Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. 3Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. 4Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what you should do.”
I believe it is important for each one of us to be submitted to Godly authority and accountable. This is necessary to walk in God given favor. We see that Ruth did not argue with Naomi. She trusted her as a spiritual woman. She had submitted herself to Naomi when she chose to come to Israel. She recognized that Naomi was older, wiser and knew the customs of the land. She obeyed Naomi and went to Boaz.
I want to point out something that Naomi told Ruth to do. She told her to make herself attractive. This should not be seen on just a physical level. It was not as though Ruth was supposed to seduce Boaz. Naomi told her not to be seen by him until he went to sleep. She was not to flout her looks as it were. I believe Naomi knew the kind of impression Ruth needed to make that would encourage Boaz to favor her.
We need to make ourselves attractive before God, the church and the world. By that, I mean we need to adorn ourselves with good character and integrity as we have already discussed. I believe we should also take pride in our appearance, our language and our behavior. If we want God to be able to bring favor into our lives, we should look and act as if we deserve it.
Jesus told us that we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. We know that light reveals sin, but it also dispels darkness. It not only reveals ugliness, but it also reveals beauty. Salt is a preservative that keeps away corruption. However, it is also a seasoning that makes things taste better. I believe that a Christian should help people see the beauty in God’s world as well as revealing sin. I believe we should provide a savory flavor to the world around us as well as the preservative power of holiness and righteousness. This will put us in position to receive favor.
When Ruth had done all that Naomi had directed, she received a promise from Boaz that he would marry her and take care of both her and Naomi. Then he sent her home. It would have been easy for Ruth to think, “I probably won’t hear from him again. He said what he said to get rid of me.” Naomi encouraged her otherwise.
Ruth 3:18(NKJV) 18Then she said, “Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.”
Naomi assured Ruth that Boaz was a man of his word and Ruth chose to believe both and wait patiently for favor to work. This is often the hardest part of walking in God given favor. As with anything God does in our lives, favor works by faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. (Heb 11:1)
I wonder what would have happened if Ruth had decided to go to the gate where Boaz was meeting the other close relative to work out how he could marry her. If she had interfered or stood to the side with a worried expression on her face would Boaz have reconsidered? We do not know but I have to believe he might have. Instead Ruth waited patiently, trusting that Boaz would do for her what he promised.
If we want God’s favor to work on our behalf we must be willing to wait for the process to play out. However, we must not wait and worry. We must wait in faith believing that God is more faithful than Boaz could ever be. If he said he would meet our need, he will. If we have a promise, he will do what is necessary to fulfill that promise and do it in a way that will be nothing but a blessing to us.
Favor revolutionized Ruth’s life. God brought that favor into her life but she made herself available to God and able to receive what God wanted to do. I believe God wants to do the same for us. Let us make ourselves attractive to God and to those with whom he is working on our behalf. Let us stay where God has planted us, because surely that is where we will find favor. Let us submit to the authorities God has placed over us and most important, let us continue to believe God for favor until we see the results.