"Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, a man of standing from the clan of Elimelek, whose name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.” Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek.... 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...
Ruth 2:1-2; 19-20
Last week, I started a blog series talking about the book of Ruth. (If you haven't already, you can read it here.) This week's blog post will be diving into Ruth chapter 2. In the first two verses, we are introduced to one of Naomi's relatives: Boaz. Most of us have heard the story of Ruth before, and we know what a significant role Boaz plays in the story. In a way, I think we lose something in the telling of the story because of our familiarity. We read these first two verses and we almost skip ahead in our minds knowing, "he's the one who will help them", but let's take a moment and enjoy the art of the story...
When we speak about God's characteristics, we often acknowledge His authorship of our salvation. It's a trait whose meaning should not be overlooked. Why? Because the way in which He writes the story matters. It isn't just about the end result - the unfolding of the bad news matters, the intricate details matter, and our growth in the midst of all of it matters. Those are the parts of the story that make the redemption we see at the end more meaningful. It's through those and because of those not so pretty or seemingly insignificant details that we start seeing who God is and just how much He cares. If we skip over those parts, we don't really get to see the elaborate beauty of redemption.
The introduction of Boaz in the story of Ruth is a prime example of the beauty to be found in the intricate details. Let's be honest: when we are first told about Boaz, it's kind of random. Chapter 1 ends with Naomi returning from Moab to Bethlehem during the Barley harvest and telling people to call her "Mara. Because the Lord almighty has made [her] life bitter". Then chapter 2 begins...you can almost imagine the author of Ruth saying "Hey fun fact, Naomi is related to a upstanding guy named Boaz". With no explanation as to why this is a significant detail, the story continues and we learn that Naomi sends Ruth to the fields to pick grain for them. And guess who owns the fields that Ruth "just so happens" to wind up at...yep. Boaz.
Have you ever taken a moment to wonder why the story was told that way? Why are we introduced to Boaz and told about his relation to Naomi before we are told about Ruth's experience in the fields? Does it matter?
I think so.
What if we are told about Boaz so that we can connect the dots as the story unfolds? What if it is so we get to see from the beginning...there's some inkling that this seemingly random bit of information is part of a bigger story. Could it be an example for us to look at and see that the same God who brought about redemption in Naomi's life is the same God who brings about redemption in ours? What if we looked at our lives and realized that He has purposefully left a trail for us to connect the dots in the intricate details to see the elaborate beauty of the story He is writing?
God is still moving. Today, take a moment to look at the intricate details of your life in the good and hard times. How has God been authoring your story? Will you respond the same way Naomi did? Find joy in the remembrance of the Lord's promises and proclaim in your heart the same truth which has been spoken for thousands of years: "He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead!"