|3 So she went out and began to glean in the fields behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech. (Ruth2:3)|
This verse marks the glimmer of hope that will develop through the rest of the story. Ruth and Naomi have nothing and have to start from scratch. Barley was seen as the "poor man's wheat" and Ruth makes the decision to go gleaning in the fields. It was part of Old Testament custom that those who harvested crops were not allowed to rake up any ears of wheat/barley that fell to the ground while they were harvesting. This was a provision for the poor and destitute who were allowed to follow behind the harvesters and glean what had dropped on the ground. This gives us an indication of how dire Ruth and Naomi's circumstances were.
Ruth decides to go and glean. It was a risky business for an attractive young woman - labourers could be abusive - especially because she was a foreigner.
But "as it turned out" Ruth found herself working on Boaz's fields. There are three reasons why this is significant:
- Boaz's workers are not the kind to take advantage
- Boaz is a near relative - this provided Ruth with an additional layer of protection.
- We know that Boaz will see her and fall in love with her.
Sometimes God works in mysterious (one of my colleagues says "mischievous") ways His wonders to perform.
There are times that we "just happen" to be at the right place at the right time to meet the right people. We look back on our lives and see that God has graciously been ordering our steps...
(A co-incidence is when God decides to perform a miracle but remain anonymous.)