And Boaz said to her, At mealtime come you here, and eat of the bread, and dip your morsel in the vinegar…
I. THAT GOD'S REAPERS HAVE THEIR MEALTIMES. The reapers in Jesus' fields shall not only receive a blessed reward at the last, but they shall have plenteous comforts by the way.
1. God has ordained certain mealtimes for His reapers; and He has appointed that one of these shall be when they come together to listen to the Word preached. When the Lord blesses the provisions of His house, no matter how many thousands there may be, all His poor shall be filled with bread.
2. Often, too, our gracious Lord appoints us mealtimes in our private readings and meditations. Here it is that His "paths drop fatness." No wonder that men grow so slowly, when they meditate so little. We must take the truth, and turn it over and over again in the inward parts of our spirit, and so shall we extract suitable nourishment therefrom.
3. Let us not forget that there is one specially ordained mealtime which ought to occur at least once in the week — I mean the Supper of the Lord. There you have literally, as well as spiritually, a meal.
4. Besides these regular mealtimes, there are others which God gives us, at seasons when, perhaps, we little expect them. You have been walking the street, and suddenly you have felt a holy flowing out of your soul toward God; or in the middle of business your heart has been melted with love and made to dance for joy, even as the brooks, which have been bound with winter's ice, leap to feel the touch of spring. You have been groaning, dull, and earthbound; but the sweet love of Jesus has enwrapped your heart when you scarce thought of it. Seasons, too, we have had on our sick-beds.
5. Let me observe that, while these mealtimes come, we know not exactly when, there are certain seasons when we may expect them. The Eastern reapers generally sit down under the shelter of a tree, or a booth, to take refreshment during the heat of the day. And certain I am, that when trouble, affliction, persecution, and bereavement become the most painful to us, it is then that the Lord hands out to us the sweetest comforts. Again, these mealtimes frequently occur before a trial. Sweet cordials prepare for stern conflicts. Times of refreshing also occur after trouble or arduous service. Christ was tempted of the devil, and afterwards angels came and ministered unto Him. After conflict, content; after battle, banquet. When thou hast waited on thy Lord, then thou shalt sit down, and thy Master will gird Himself and wait upon thee.
II. TO THESE MEALS THE GLEANER IS AFFECTIONATELY INVITED. That is to say, the poor trembling stranger who has not strength enough to reap, who has no right to be in the field except the right of charity — the poor, trembling sinner, conscious of his own demerit, and feeling but little hope and little joy, is invited to the feast of love.
1. In the text the gleaner is invited to come: "At mealtime come thou hither." We trust none of you will be kept away from the place of holy feasting by any shame on account of your dress, or your personal character, or your poverty; nay, nor even on account of your physical infirmities.
2. Moreover, she was bidden not only to come, but to eat. Whatever there is sweet and comfortable in the Word of God, ye that are of a broken and contrite spirit are invited to partake of it. You are saying in your heart, "Oh, that I could eat the children's bread!" You may eat it. You say, "I have no right." But the Lord gives you the invitation! Come without any other right than the right of His invitation.
3. Note further, that she was not only invited to eat the bread, but to dip her morsel in the vinegar. The Lord's reapers have sauce with their bread; they have not merely doctrines, but the holy unction which is the essence of doctrines; they have not merely truths, but a hallowed delight accompanies the truths.
III. BOAZ REACHES HER THE PARCHED CORN. None but the Lord of the harvest can hand out the choicest refreshments of spiritual minds. How does He do this?
1. By His gracious Spirit He first of all inspires your faith.
2. Having done this, the Saviour does more; He sheds abroad the love of God in your heart.
3. But Jesus does more than this: He reaches the parched corn with His own hand, when He gives us close communion with Himself.
4. Yet once more let me add, the Lord Jesus is pleased to reach the parched corn, in the best sense, when the Spirit gives us the infallible witness within that we are "born of God." Philip de Morny, who lived in the time of Prince Henry of Navarre, was wont to say that the Holy Spirit had made his own salvation to him as clear a point as a problem demonstrated in Euclid. The sun in the heavens is not more clear to the eye than his present salvation to an assured believer; such a man could as soon doubt his own existence as suspect his possession of eternal life.
IV. After Boaz had reached the parched corn, we are told that "SHE DID EAT, AND WAS SUFFICED, AND LEFT." So shall it be with every Ruth. Sooner or later every penitent shall become a believer, every mourner a singer.
1. "She did eat, and was sufficed." Your head shall be satisfied with the precious truth which Christ reveals; your heart shall be content with Jesus, as the altogether lovely object of affection; your hope shall be filled, for whom have you in heaven but Christ? Your desire shall be satiated, for what can even your desire hunger for more than "to know Christ, and to be found in Him"? You shall find Jesus charm your conscience, till it is at perfect peace; He shall content your judgment, till you know the certainty of His teachings; He shall supply your memory with recollections of what He did, and gratify your imagination with the prospects of what He is yet to do.
2. "She was sufficed, and left." Some of us have had deep draughts of love; we have thought that we could take in all of Christ, but when we have done our best, we have had to leave a vast remainder. There are certain sweet things in the Word of God which you and I have not enjoyed yet, and which we cannot enjoy yet; and these we are obliged to leave for a while, till we are better prepared to receive them. Did not our Lord say, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now"? There is a special knowledge to which we have not attained, a place of intimate fellowship with Christ which we have not yet occupied. There is yet a beyond, and there will be for ever.
3. A verse or two further on we are told what Ruth did with her leavings. It is very wrong, I believe, at feasts to carry anything home with you; but she was not under any such regulation, for that which was left she took home and gave to Naomi. So it shall be even with you, poor tremblers, who think you have no right to a morsel for yourselves; you shall be allowed to eat, and when you are quite sufficed, you shall have courage to bear away a portion to others who are hungering at home. When you hear a sermon you think, "My poor mother cannot get out to-day; how I wish she could have been here, for that sentence would have comforted her. If I forget everything else, I will tell her that." Cultivate an unselfish spirit. Seek to love as you have been loved.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.
WEB: At meal time Boaz said to her, "Come here, and eat of the bread, and dip your morsel in the vinegar." She sat beside the reapers, and they reached her parched grain, and she ate, and was satisfied, and left some of it.