Her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!” Then Ruth told her mother-in-law about the one at whose place she had been working. “The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz,” she said. “The Lord bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. “He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.” She added, “That man is our close relative; he is one of our guardian-redeemers.” Then Ruth the Moabite said, “He even said to me, ‘Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.’” Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with the women who work for him, because in someone else’s field you might be harmed.” So Ruth stayed close to the women of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law. Ruth 2, verses 19-23.
Sometimes I feel so different, so distant, from people like Ruth.
Are you as amazed as I am at Ruth’s trust? She who is ‘the foreigner’ seems almost naively trusting in the land, culture, and habits of Naomi’s hometown. But it isn’t naïvete: it’s faith. She has faith in Naomi’s God to provide for her, and in Naomi because she loves her. Let’s get real here: I don’t trust like Ruth does, and I suppose that means I don’t always have her kind of faith. It’s hard for me to think that God so blindly provides even as He does. And it’s even harder for me to trust other people the way Ruth does.
Three cheers, too, for Naomi. Some people buckle when the pressure is on. Not Naomi. She says “one of OUR guardian-redeemers.” She wasn’t speaking in third person: she was talking about herself and Ruth as family. She trusted her family and her God. Shame on us when we don’t stand by those we love: praise for Naomi for not caving.
Finally, what is the ‘kinsman-redeemer’ thing all about? It’s an antiquated Canaanite cultural practice that really isn’t too antiquated after all. A little internet research said the kinsman (guardian) redeemer was “a male relative who, according to various laws of the Pentateuch, had the privilege or responsibility to act on behalf of a relative who was in trouble, danger, or in need.” Tell me: do we still practice that even in our so-called modern world? Even today, most families still feel responsibility for those who fall on hard times. Extended families all over the world do an especially fine job of providing for those in need, and faith organizations do much more to reach out to the needy than any government could even begin to try.
Maybe we aren’t so different after all.
Lord, help my unbelief, help me to trust, to have faith in You and others, and to fulfill my responsibilities to others.
Read Ruth 2.
For whom are you responsible?
Do you have any kinsman-redeemers in your family?
How deep is your faith?