And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not:…
I. The God of the whole earth is A GREAT HUSBANDMAN. This is true in natural things. As a matter of fact all farm operations are carried on by His power and prudence. In spiritual matters God is a great Husbandman; and there, too, all His works are done for His children, that they may be fed upon the finest of the wheat. Permit me to speak of the wide gospel-fields which our heavenly Father farms for the good of His children. Every field which our heavenly Father tills yields a plentiful harvest, for there are no failures or famines with Him.
1. One part of His farm is called doctrine field. What full sheaves of finest wheat are to be found there! Gospel doctrine is always safe doctrine. You may feast upon it till you are full, and no harm will come of it. Be afraid of no revealed truth.
2. The great Husbandman has another field called promise field; of that I shall not need to speak, for I hope you often enter and glean from it. The whole field is your own, every ear of it; you may draw out from the sheaves themselves, and the more you take the more you may.
3. Then there is ordinance field; a great deal of good wheat grows in this field. In all the estate no field is to be found to rival this centre and crown of all the domain: this is the King's acre. Gospel gleaner, abide in that field; glean in it on the first day of every week, and expect to see your Lord there; for it is written, "He was known of them in the breaking of bread."
4. Fellowship and communion with Christ. This is the field for the Lord's choicest ones to glean in.
II. A HUMBLE GLEANER.
1. The believer is a favoured gleaner, for he may take home a whole sheaf, if he likes: he may bear away all that he can possibly carry, for all things are freely given him of the Lord. Alas, our faith is so little that we rather glean than reap; we are straitened in ourselves, not in our God. May you all outgrow the metaphor, and come home, bringing your sheaves with you.
2. Again, we may remark that the gleaner, in her business has to endure much toil and fatigue. I know a friend who walks five miles every Sunday to hear the gospel, and has the same distance to return. Another thinks little of a ten miles' journey; and these are wise, for to hear the pure Word of God no labour is extravagant.
3. We remark, next, that every ear the gleaner gets she has to stoop for. We will go down on our knees in prayer, and stoop by self-humiliation and confession of ignorance, and so gather with the hand of faith the daily bread of our hungering souls.
4. Note, in the next place, that what a gleaner gets she wins ear by ear; occasionally she picks up a handful at once, but as a rule it is straw by straw. Now, where there are handfuls to be got at once, there is the place to go and glean; but if you cannot meet with such abundance, be glad to gather ear by ear, That is a sorry ministry which yields nothing. Go and glean where the Lord has opened the gate for you. Why the text alone is worth the journey; do not miss it.
5. Note, next, that what the gleaner picks up she keeps in her hand; she does not drop the corn as fast as she gathers it. Be attentive, but be retentive too. Gather the grain and tie it up in bundles for carrying away with you, and mind you do not lose it on the road home. Do not lose by trifling talk that which may make you rich to all eternity.
6. Then, again, the gleaner takes the wheat home and threshes it. It is a wise thing to thresh a sermon whoever may have been the preacher, for it is certain that there is a portion of straw and chaff about it. Many thresh the preacher by finding needless fault; but that is not half so good as threshing the sermon to get out of it the pure truth.
7. And then, in the last place, the good woman, after threshing the corn, no doubt winnowed it. Ruth did all this in the field; but you can scarcely do so. You must do some of the work at home. Separate between the precious and the vile, and let the worthless material go where it may; you have no use for it, and the sooner you are rid of it the better. Judge with care; reject false teaching with decision, and retain true doctrine with earnestness, so shall you practise the enriching art of heavenly gleaning.
III. A GRACIOUS PERMISSION GIVEN: "Let her glean among the sheaves, and reproach her not." We have no right to any heavenly blessings of ourselves; our portion is due to free and sovereign grace. I tell you the reasons that moved Boaz's heart to let Ruth go among the sheaves. The master motive was because he loved her. He would have her go there because he had conceived an affection for her, which he afterwards displayed in grander ways. So the Lord lets His people come and glean among the sheaves, because He loves them. There was another reason why Boaz allows Ruth to glean among the sheaves; it was because he was her relative. This is why our Lord gives us choice favours at times, and takes us into His banqueting house in so gracious a manner. He is our next of kin, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. Oh, child of God, never be afraid to glean! Have faith in God, and take the promises home to yourself. Jesus will rejoice to see you making free with His good things.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not: