So Ruth departed and went out into the field and gleaned after the harvesters. And she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech.
I. MANY OF OUR ACTIONS ARE PERFORMED WITHOUT ANY THOUGHT OR INTENTION REGARDING THEIR RESULTS. In ordinary affairs how often do we decide and act without any special sense of the wisdom of one course rather than another! And there are positions in which our choice seems quite immaterial. It seemed of little consequence in which field this young foreigner, this friendless widow, went to glean a few ears of barley. So is it often with us. Shall we go to such a place? shall we pay such a visit? shall we form such an acquaintance? shall we read such a book? shall we venture on such a remark? shall we write such a note?
II. UNFORESEEN AND IMPORTANT ISSUES MAY DEPEND UPON CASUAL ACTIONS. Though it seemed of little consequence in which field Ruth gleaned, "her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz," and from this fact sprang results of the greatest importance. "Her hap" determined her marriage, her wealth, her happiness and that of her mother-in-law, her union with Israel, her motherhood, her position as an ancestress of David and of Christ. In such seemingly insignificant causes originate the most momentous issues. Thus oftentimes it comes to pass that family relationships are formed, a professional career is determined; nay, religious decision may be brought about, life-work for Christ may be appointed, eternal destiny is affected. Lessons: -
1. Regard nothing as insignificant.
2. Look out for, and follow, the leadings of Divine providence.
3. "In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths!" - T.
1. We see how God raises up friends for His people if they really need them. If you are poor, perhaps you could tell how, when times were hard the Lord has sent you a friend in your distress. Or, in some gloomy hour, when your heart has been ready to burst with inward grief, some kind Christian friend has called upon you, into whose ear you made bold to pour all your troubles, and found unspeakable relief.
Her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz.1. I learn, first, from this subject, how trouble develops character.
2. Again, I see in my text the beauty of unfaltering friendship.
3. Again, I learn from this subject that paths which open in hardship and darkness often come out in places of joy. And so it often is that a path which starts very darkly ends very brightly. When you started out for heaven, oh, how dark was the hour of conviction — how Sinai thundered, and devils tormented, and the darkness thickened! All the sins of your life pounced upon you. After a while you went into the harvest field of God's mercy; you began to glean in the fields of Divine promise, and you had more sheaves than you could carry, as the voice of God addressed you, saying, "Blessed is the man whose transgressions are forgiven and whose sins are covered." A very dark starting in conviction; a very bright ending in the pardon, and the hope, and the triumph of the gospel. So, very often, in our worldly business or in our spiritual career, we start off on a very dark path. We have to ford the river, we have to climb the mountain, we have to storm the castle; but, blessed be God! the day of rest and reward will come.
4. Again, I have to learn from my subject that events which seem to be most insignificant may be momentous. Can you imagine anything more unimportant than the coming of a poor woman from Moab to Judah? Can you imagine anything more trivial than the fact that this Ruth just happened to alight — as they say — just happened to alight on that field of Boaz? Yet all ages, all generations, have an interest in the fact. So it is in your history and in mine; events that you thought of no importance at all have been of very great moment. That casual conversation, that accidental meeting — you did not think of it again for a long while; but how it changed all the phase of your life.
5. Again, I see in my subject an illustration of the beauty of female industry.
6. Once more; I learn from my subject the value of gleanings. It is all the straws that make the harvest, it is the pence that make the pound, and it is all the opportunities of doing good that make a life of usefulness if rightly employed. Elihu Burritt learned many things while toiling in a blacksmith's shop. Abercrombie, the world-renowned philosopher, was a philosopher in Scotland, and he got his philosophy, or the chief part of it, while as a physician he was waiting for the door of the sick-room to open.
(T. De Witt Talmage.)
(A. Thomson, D. D.)
2. We may learn, too, from this part of Ruth's history, what a happy thing it is to put ourselves under the shelter of God's care. Happy, happy, those who are thus dwelling "in the secret place of the Most High, and abiding under the shadow of the Almighty," who can say, "He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him will I trust."(Bp. Oxenden.)
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