And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace…
We have seen how ample were the relief and the portion provided for Ruth.
1. The first step is to reduce her to the deepest necessity. She has arrived with Naomi in Bethlehem. But they are there in great poverty, and with no apparent means of relief. How this very necessity brought out a proof of the excellence of Ruth! Love for her mother constrained her to seek a supply for their need. And she came to the field, as a poor stranger, to gather up the scattered heads of barley which the reapers had left in their path, and in the corners of the field. It could have been the result only of extreme necessity. Thus God brings the soul that He has loved and saved to an experience of utter want. He makes every hope to fail, every means of spiritual safety to depart. The sinner must be thus brought down to feel himself lost and perishing. And when the Spirit has accomplished this, it is an important and blessed step toward a full revelation of the riches of grace already prepared for him.
2. The next step is to take away all feeling of rebellious pride in their state of want. Ruth had great self-respect, a dignity of character that would have honoured any condition in life. But she had no pride that rebelled against her condition. "Let me glean after him in whose sight I shall find grace." This is a most happy and a most exemplary state of mind. She demanded and expected nothing as a claim of merit or right. How important to you is such an example. But it is thus God leads the sinful soul to its great Kinsman. His gracious plan is to give everything freely, and to make man receive His free gifts with grateful acknowledgment that he has deserved nothing. But how long do we struggle against this spirit! How hard it seems contentedly to depend on mere grace to the ungodly! This is one main obstacle in the way of our salvation.
3. The next step is one of gracious providence, to bring her, as it were by accident, to an unexpected introduction to her rich kinsman. Ruth is wholly ignorant of him or of the location of his fields. She is equally ignorant of the exalted connection she is to have with him. To her the future of life is darkness. But God, her gracious God, in whom she trusts, is light in whom is no darkness at all. What an encouragement to us does this ignorance of hers afford! How abounding may be God's provided mercies for us! Ruth goes out into the harvest-field of Judaea, separated among its various owners only by landmarks, which could not be distinguished at a distance, not knowing to whose field she might be led. But God had disposed and prepared her way before her. "Her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging to Boaz." It was God's own plan for her, another part of which was now coming out to her view. And when at last she finds the gracious end to which the whole is brought, she could look back upon this, and say, "Now I know why I was made so poor, and led to Boaz's field to glean." How often is the gracious providence of God thus manifested in bringing the poor and perishing soul under the ministry of the Word. How applicable to our purpose is this illustration! The first sight of a Saviour is attractive and lovely to the seeking, sinful soul. The sinner comes into the midst of his flock, and is struck with the precious blessings which they enjoy. The Shepherd stands in their midst. Jesus is there, to awaken, instruct, sanctify, and feed His people. The hearts of all are evidently refreshed by Him. He blesses them, in the ministry of His Word, by the teaching of His Spirit. They praise Him with grateful homage in return. The whole scene is awakening and attractive. Thus often the most abiding impressions of the value of religion, of the excellence of a Saviour's worth, and the happiness of those who faithfully wait upon Him, are received. Men are drawn to Christ, and made happy in trusting Him, by the enjoyment which His people evidently derive from His service. And nothing is more important than that Christians should ever wear an aspect and maintain an influence which will adorn the doctrine they profess. "I see," said Richard Cecil, contemplating his own sinful, wasted life, in his youth, "I see two unquestionable facts. First, my mother is greatly afflicted in circumstances, body, and mind; and yet I see that she cheerfully bears up under it, by the support which she derives from constantly retiring to her closet and reading her Bible. Second, that she has a secret spring of comfort of which I know nothing; while I, who seek pleasure by every means, seldom or never find it. If, however, there is any such secret in religion why may I not attain it as well as my mother? I will immediately seek it from God." He rose from his bed instantly, and began to pray. And when the Saviour comes in thus to bless His people, "sweetly the sacred odours spread." Sinners are drawn and encouraged to come to One so gracious and so compassionate. The reapers of His harvest are animated and strengthened by His presence, and the Word of His grace goes out with special power to the souls of those who hear.
(S. H. Tyng, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.