“At mealtime Boaz said to her [Ruth], ‘Come here, that you may eat of the bread and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar.’ So she sat beside the reapers; and he served her roasted grain, and she ate and was satisfied and had some left.” (Ruth 2:14)

 * * *

The Old Testament Book of Ruth is a historical narrative which not only documents God’s sovereign work in bringing “outsiders” into His chosen nation (Israel), but beautifully foreshadows the redeeming work of Christ Jesus which brings outsiders of His glorious kingdom in.

Transformative life applications await readers of this book. Today, we’re unwrapping one which recently hit me right between the eyes. You may find it timely and helpful.

It’s one The Rolling Stones could have used, who famously sang about what they couldn’t find in 1965:

Satisfaction.

* * *

In the above passage we see Boaz inviting Ruth to join in a meal prepared for the reapers in his harvest field. You may remember Boaz was a highly respected and wealthy Israelite in Bethlehem. Ruth was an outsider from Moab whose Israeli husband (a relative of Boaz) had died. She’d come to the area with Naomi, her former mother-in-law, who found herself unexpectedly bereft of her husband and two adult sons while living in Moab. In that day and within that culture, Naomi’s financial security and well being had bottomed out.

Ruth displayed tremendous loyalty and love for Naomi and refused to be separated from the embittered woman when she decided to move “back home” to Israel. The Moabite’s words to her mother-in-law echo to this day:

Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me. (Ruth 1:16-17).

Israeli law permitted the poor of the land to follow those harvesting grain to gather the heads which had been missed or dropped. After arriving in Bethlehem, Ruth humbly sought to glean in the barley harvest in order to help put food on the table for Naomi and herself.

Whether aware of it or not, the Moabitess quickly garnered a reputation for being a devoted daughter to Naomi and a woman of excellence.

* * *

Boaz had learned who Ruth was and of her devotion to his relative, Naomi. His foreman testified that she had joined herself among the gleaners in his field and was a hard worker. Boaz encouraged the foreigner to drink freely from the water his men drew from the well and to continue gleaning in the safety of his fields. It was then, at the close of what was most likely a long, hot day of work, Boaz unexpectedly invited Ruth to come to the table and enjoy a refreshing, abundant meal alongside his reapers.

* * *

Ruth accepted the invitation to partake in the meal, seated herself beside the essential workers, and Boaz himself served her food.

Ruth ate, was satisfied, and had some left.

How long had it been since Ruth had enough to satisfy her need with some left over? We don’t know.

Rather than stuff herself at the table of Boaz, Ruth only ate what she needed and thoughtfully saved what was left over to share with Naomi later that evening (see Ruth 2:18).

She ate and was satisfied.

 * * *

After a fresh engagement with this passage, I had to come before the Lord in confession of my tendency to think “too much is just enough.” I even joke about it.

Why go for a delicate drizzle of chocolate syrup on ice cream when you can have a marvelous moat in the bottom of the bowl?

* * *

What many of us consider to be necessities aren’t even close to being requirements for sustaining physical life. And when we do have more than the barest of essentials, by and large we are a people of dissatisfaction.

Why is that?

I believe we’re a society seated at the wrong table, feeding on the wrong things.

* * *

God consistently uses that which is in the physical realm to point us towards those things which are spiritual. We, too, can be satisfied. And when it comes to spiritual matters, those who are devoted followers of Christ Jesus aren’t choosing to be satisfied with less, but with that which is superior to anything imaginable:

God Himself.

Through Isaiah 55:2, the Lord asks us today:  Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance.

* * *

There is reason to believe Ruth may have been willing to leave a more physically comfortable life in her own country in order to permanently unite herself with her former mother-in-law, whose earthly resources were far from satisfactory. I think we can surmise the Moabite culture failed to satisfy Ruth’s deepest, spiritual needs.

Ruth’s associations with Naomi and her family apparently opened her eyes to the Living God of Israel; a God of holiness who extended love and mercy to His followers. This would have contrasted sharply with the national deity of the Moabites, Chemosh, whose name was believed to mean destroyer or fish god. Ritual worship of this idol demanded human sacrifices (see 2 Kings 3:27).

No wonder Ruth chose to cling to Naomi and the God of Israel! How often had she heard the screams of terrified children being sacrificed to Chemosh?

In the Almighty’s sovereignty and love, He directed Ruth’s heart and steps away from Moab to Bethlehem, “the house of bread.” He grafted her into the nation which He had chosen from old to bring forth Jesus Christ, the very Bread of Life (John 6:35).

* * *

When we feed on God’s word and put our full trust in Him, we will be satisfied. Not only that—like Ruth—we will have enough “left over” to give spiritual nourishment to others; no matter how dire the situations in which we find ourselves.

* * *

Are you seated at the right table to be satisfied, my friend? If not, you can be. The invitation stands:

“Come!”

Revelation 22:17: The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come’. And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

* * *

Through no coincidence, King David—the great grandson of Ruth—wrote Psalm 22:26:

The afflicted will eat and be satisfied. Those who [diligently] seek Him and require Him [as their greatest need] will praise the LORD. May your hearts live forever!  (Psalms 22:26, Amplified)

 

[Thank you, my “Gen-Z” friends, who invited me to feast at the table of God’s Word with you in the book of Ruth this year. Faithful is He who called you!]

June

June

People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.

6 Comments

  • Stan says:

    What a great Thanksgiving Day message. Our Redeemer lives!!

    I had been on the look out for the moat 😇

  • Judi says:

    Ruth is an inspiration to me and you definitely did het story justice, June. It’s an applicable reminder on this day of feasting and giving thanks. We may or may not have abundance at our tables, but if we lose sight of God’s perspective, forgetting that He always provides for our needs with extra to share, then we miss some very important opportunities for “satisfaction “. God bless you!

  • Becky says:

    Just last week, we were studying Ruth. I appreciate your insights and your research regarding the Moabite god! We were wondering if Ruth saw something in Naomi that she wanted.

    • June says:

      Hi Becky! Yes, Ruth’s desire to have Naomi’s God be her God shows that even though life in Moab wasn’t easy for Naomi, her God became known to Ruth somehow! Such a great book.

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