Brief Notes

God Gives
the Growth (4):
Ruth’s “Gleaning
in the Field of Boaz”

30 March 2024

Ruth gained a good deal
by her gleaning, but
eventually, she could not be
satisfied with that; she
had to join herself to Boaz

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.
— 1 Corinthians 3:6

As we have considered in this series of Notes, only God Himself can give the true spiritual growth. (See God Gives the Growth • 2.) In the Old Testament, the story of Ruth and how she became joined to Boaz is a picture that can help us understand this more fully.

As a picture of our spiritual growth, the book of Ruth focuses especially on our consecration to the Lord, in four stages. These are set forth successively in the book’s four chapters, which may be entitled, respectively, “Turning,” “Gleaning,” “Offering,” and “Resting.”

Ruth, who came from the land of Moab, represents one who is seeking Christ, while Boaz represents Christ Himself. In Chapter 1, Ruth turns from her homeland, which was a land of idolatry, to join herself to God’s people in the land of Israel; she does this through the help of her mother-in-law, Naomi.

Then, in Chapter 2, Ruth begins gleaning barley in one of the fields of Bethlehem, and “happens to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz” (2:3). Here she actually meets Boaz for the first time.

Ruth’s work of gleaning takes place in the daytime, when she is with many other workers. As she gathers, she is appreciated by those she is working with for being so diligent (2:6-7). Even Boaz himself appreciates her; he comes and tells her to remain in his field (2:8), and commends her for how she had cared for Naomi, his relative (2:11-12). And at the end of the day the result of her gleaning was “an ephah of barley” (2:17), enough to feed both her and Naomi and take care of their need.

Of course, all of this was very good. And yet, eventually, neither Ruth nor Naomi could be satisfied with her just gleaning in the field of Boaz. Thus, Naomi told her, at the beginning of the next chapter:

“My daughter, shall I not seek a resting place for you, that it may be well with you?”
— Ruth 3:1

This brings us to the next stage of Ruth’s experience, where she gives herself to be, not one who merely gleans in the field of Boaz, but one who is fully joined to him.

And just as Ruth could not be satisfied with her gleaning, we should not be content with merely “gleaning” a few things of Christ in our own spiritual seeking. That is, if we desire to become mature in the Lord, we should not merely gain some of the things Christ, but rather, we must go on to become one who is fully joined to Christ Himself.

We will continue to consider this in the next Note in this series.

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— 30 March 2024 —