Ruth: 2:8-17; Seeking refuge under the wings of God.

Title: Ruth: 2:8-17; Seeking refuge under the wings of God.


“Suppose someone invented an instrument, a convenient little talking tube which, say, could be heard over the whole land … I wonder if the police would not forbid it, fearing that the whole country would become mentally deranged if it were used.” [Soren Kierkegaard, 19th century]


Ruth has journeyed to Bethlehem to seek refuge under the God of Israel. She did not know her future. She only knew that she wanted to be with God and with Naomi, both of whom she loved.


Boaz prays that her work would be rewarded. His prayer would be positively answered. How could young Ruth know that soon enough she would be married to the strongest, most virtuous, and wealthiest man in town, and holding her infant son in her arms? She could have never dreamed of such a thing.


While relating his prayer to her, Boaz uses imagery from the Torah, imagery that he knows well.


Rut 2:12 May the Lord reward your work, and your wages be full from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge."


The picture is that of chicks gathered under the wings of their mother bird. This imagery is used in several places and reveals that Boaz is a lover of scripture.


Seek refuge under the wings of God is a repeated expression of comfort to us frail creatures.


Deu 32:9 "For the Lord's portion is His people;

Jacob is the allotment of His inheritance.


Deu 32:10 "He found him in a desert land,

And in the howling waste of a wilderness;

He encircled him, He cared for him,

He guarded him as the pupil of His eye.


Deu 32:11 "Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,

That hovers over its young,

He spread His wings and caught them,

He carried them on His pinions.


“The Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the allotment of His inheritance.” It is incredible to think that this is true.




But what of the people in every city and village throughout the world, who reject God’s wings and seek to construct their own in order to cover themselves, to warm themselves, and to find the peace that must fill the soul before joy can be had?


Today I read William Blake’s poem, London:


I wander thro' each charter'd street, 

Near where the charter'd Thames does flow. 

And mark in every face I meet 

Marks of weakness, marks of woe. 


In every cry of every Man, 

In every Infants cry of fear, 

In every voice: in every ban, 

The mind-forg'd manacles I hear 


How the Chimney-sweepers cry 

Every blackning Church appalls, 

And the hapless Soldiers sigh 

Runs in blood down Palace walls 


But most thro' midnight streets I hear 

How the youthful Harlots curse 

Blasts the new-born Infants tear 

And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse 


Psa 8:1 O Lord, our Lord,

How majestic is Your name in all the earth,

Who has displayed Thy splendor above the heavens!


Psa 8:2 From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength,

Because of Thine adversaries,

To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.


Psa 8:3 When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers,

The moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained;


Psa 8:4 What is man, that Thou dost take thought of him?

And the son of man, that Thou dost care for him?


Psa 8:5 Yet Thou hast made him a little lower than God [Elohim],

And dost crown him with glory and majesty!


Psa 8:6 Thou dost make him to rule over the works of Thy hands;

Thou hast put all things under his feet,


The Septuagint and the writer of Hebrews have translated Elohim to “angels” – a little lower than angels. We are separated from God by what David calls “a little” which we would naturally chuckle at. We would say it’s more than a little. But David refers to man being set over the works of God’s hands and that God is going to make man rule. Man is created in the image of God. The important point is that man is lower and God is going to crown him with glory and majesty, which leads a believer sometimes to ponder why God would do it all and go through so much to make that happen.


When we get to heaven and can finally ask Him why He did it all, perhaps He will smile at us and say, “You’re here aren’t you?”


Psa 91:1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.


Abiding in the shelter of the Most High would mean to abide in Him, in His will, in His plan.


Almighty is Shaddai, the name that Naomi used for God when she challenged Him concerning the tragedy of her life.


Psa 91:2 I will say to the Lord, "My refuge and my fortress,

My God, in whom I trust!"


Psa 91:3 For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper,

And from the deadly pestilence.


Psa 91:4 He will cover you with His pinions,

And under His wings you may seek refuge;

His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.


Psa 57:1 For the choir director; set to Al-tashheth. A Mikhtam of David, when he fled from Saul, in the cave.


Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me,

For my soul takes refuge in Thee;

And in the shadow of Thy wings I will take refuge,

Until destruction passes by.


Psa 57:2 I will cry to God Most High,

To God who accomplishes all things for me.


Psa 57:3 He will send from heaven and save me;

He reproaches him who tramples upon me.


Finally, we turn to the lamentation of the Lord over Jerusalem as He beholds her days before His death.


Mat 23:37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.


“Is not the truth of the matter really this, that man is just like a child who would rather be free from being under his parents’ eyes? Is not this what men want? To be free from being under the eyes of God? When Christ resolves to become Savior of the world, a lament goes through all humanity. Sighing grievously they ask: “Why do you do this? You will make us all unhappy.” [Soren Kierkegaard]


We must not miss the fact that Israel at this time was not pagan. Paganism is an attack against Christianity, but not the most effective, and so, dangerous one. It is when man seeks to establish a divine kingdom on earth, or the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. It is when man thinks that he is wise enough to create laws that are just. It is when he distributes wealth and believes everyone will behave when they have the same amount of money and opportunity. When man makes or takes a religion and it only has earthly ends. It is the social gospel. It is what the Lord detested, the earth, for His kingdom is not of this earth. This polished, ethical, religion of man and earth is the real demon in this world.


Mat 23:38 "Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!


Mat 23:39 "For I say to you, from now on you shall not see Me until you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'"


It is prophesied that He will not return until the nation of Israel says this, Jer 3:13; Zec 12:10; Hos 5:15, and Jesus confirms that prophesy here. He will gather Israel under His wings.  


It is for this reason that Satan has tried to exterminate the Jews off the face of the earth throughout the church age.


The blessing of the Lord gathering His nation Israel to fulfill the covenant of Abraham is prayed for Ruth by Boaz.


“Infinite, divine love; it makes no distinction! But what of human ingratitude? If there is an equality among us men in which we completely resemble each other, it is that not one of us truly thinks about being loved?” [Soren Kierkegaard]


Rut 2:12 May the Lord reward your work, and your wages be full from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge."


Rut 2:13 Then she said, "I have found favor in your sight, my lord, for you have comforted me and indeed have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants."


Rut 2:14 And at mealtime Boaz said to her, "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.


The gleaners were normally left to fend for themselves, but she was allowed to take the food for the harvesters. This is an example of Boaz’s chesed (lovingkindness).


The vinegar is a wine vinegar used to spice up and moisten dry bread. Sometimes olive oil was added to it and it was used as a relish for bread. This was the drink offered to the Messiah on the cross.


The verse tells us that Boaz served her the parched or roasted grain with his own hands and he gave her more than enough. Boaz is full of generosity.


Roasted grain consisted of the best ears which were not too ripe, bound with the stalks attached and tied into small parcels. A fire was kindled with dry grass and thorn bushes, and the grain-heads were held in it until the chaff was mostly burned off. The grain was sufficiently roasted to be eaten and was a favorite all over the country.


Boaz continues his lovingkindness by clearly and emphatically instructing his men to give Ruth privileges that ordinary gleaners would never have.


Boaz gives Ruth far reaching privileges above the requirements of the Law for gleaners, and she will end up with 30 pounds [ephah] of harvested barley by the end of the day.


Rut 2:15 When she rose to glean, Boaz commanded his servants, saying, "Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not insult her.


It was unusual for a gleaner to be allowed to pick up grain this close to the harvesters. They were normally only allowed to glean after the harvesters had completed all their work, this was in the Law, but Boaz went beyond the legal right and allowed Ruth to follow along with the harvesters.


Boaz’s heart is won by Ruth due to her humility, her concern and care for her mother-in-law, and her love for the God of Israel.


Some men wouldn’t notice such things and would be looking for other things, but Boaz is a strong man of faith.


On top of the having the privilege of following the reapers, she was not to be verbally stopped or abused in any way. I’m sure that Boaz’s workers were well aware of what would happen to them if they went against his wishes.


And on top of all of this, Boaz grants her even more, which is above and beyond.


Rut 2:16 And also you shall purposely pull out for her some grain from the bundles and leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her."


The reaper would grab a bundle of stalks with his left hand and cut them with the sickle with his right. They were instructed to grab handfuls of barley and leave it behind for Ruth. And if any of the got it in their heads that this is too much for a poor gleaner, their negative thoughts could stay in their heads. They were not to rebuke her.


Ruth would do this all day into the evening and end up with about thirty pounds of harvested grain. I’m not able to find out how much a gleaner would commonly get in a day, but it could not have been even close to thirty pounds.


Boaz blesses Ruth far above and beyond anything she could have asked or thought. God has blessed each of us with far, far more than we could have ever imagined.


Rut 2:17 So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley.


What has God blessed the church age believer with?


At first I was going to launch into a systematic study of all that God has blessed the believer with in this age, and I soon realized that the list is so long that it starts to become learned as a list, and lists are often very boring. I also realized that anyone listening to this ministry for a while would not find anything on that list a surprise. So I bypass the list, and instead came across a brief study of the word used in the New Testament that is translated “grace”.


Grace – ca,rij[charis] = all that God has given to the believer in Christ.


This word was commonly used in pagan Greece and in connection with its philosophy, its athletics, its poetry and drama, its wonderful architecture and statuary, its blue skies and rugged mountains, its love of the beautiful.


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