Now Naomi had a relative of her husband’s, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech. (Ruth 2:1-3 ESV)
Faithfulness is underrated. Just yesterday we celebrated two teams winning the big game to make it into the Super Bowl. No one talked about their workouts. No one saw the hours spent in the gym, the grueling practices, the ice baths to soothe aching muscles. Everyone watched as Russell Wilson threw the touchdown pass that could not have been more precise. Seahawks fans celebrated the touchdown–not the workouts. Faithfulness is underrated.
Ruth was faithful. She did what she knew to do. She was a Moabite on Hebrew soil. Her family heritage was nothing to write home about. Her family roots twist and turn their way back to an opportunistic man named Lot whose daughters got him drunk and had sex with them. She had no claim to fame.
She was hungry. Her hunger drove her to the fields. Faithfulness kept her there. I love the way the writer says it: she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz. No one happens to do anything–God is completely in control of the course of events of human history. We call that the sovereignty of God. Your faithfulness (doing what you know to do now) and God’s sovereignty form a crossroads to the future God intends for you.
Ruth did not go into the field that day knowing anything would come of it but some leftover grain. She faithfully went so that she could feed her (bitter) mother-in-law. That’s faithfulness: doing what she knew to do then. God sovereignly intervened and gave her favor in Boaz’s sight…a point that will become critical later in Ruth’s (and Naomi’s) story.
J. I. Packer says this:
“Guidance, like all God’s acts of blessing under the covenant of grace, is a sovereign act. Not merely does God will to guide us in the sense of showing us his way, that we may tread it; he wills also to guide us in the more fundamental sense of ensuring that, whatever happens, whatever mistakes we may make, we shall come safely home. Slippings and strayings there will be, no doubt, but the everlasting arms are beneath us; we shall be caught, rescued, restored. This is God’s promise; this is how good he is.”
Ruth, the meandering Moabitess, is about to find out just how good God is.