Fourth in a Series
Reading the story of Ruth gleaning in the vineyard of Boaz (Ruth 2:1-12), I was struck by the force of Boaz’s words to Ruth: “May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” The words sound strange since Ruth had come to the land of God’s people only because of her loyalty to Naomi. She did not seem to have consciously sought refuge with God.
A church I was a member of many years ago had a blessed experience. There was a woman whose husband had beaten her and her children, taken all of their possessions, and left her and her children with nothing and nowhere to live. On a Sunday morning, in desperation, she phoned the pastor of the church. He met her on the front steps of the church that morning and after the service took her home to his house for dinner. At the evening service, the church members filled the church foyer with food, clothing, and household necessities for the family. The next day, the church found her an apartment and paid the rent. In time, the church bought her a car.
When desperate people turn to the church, they are turning to God, whether they know it or not. And it is God who ultimately helps them if they are helped. It was God who had given the church members the love and the resources to help this desperate woman and her children. And it was God who had established the rules of gleaning and redeeming that were Ruth’s salvation.
There is a sequel to the story of the destitute woman who came to our church. She became a Christian and was baptized. She found a job delivering meals to shut-ins. When the church sponsored a refugee family, she donated some of her possessions and offered to chauffeur them around.
There is also a sequel to Ruth’s story. She bore a son, who became an ancestor of David and of the Messiah, Jesus, the Savior of the world.