I have a confession: I am a workaholic. Don’t believe me? Ask my wife. Well, actually you can’t ask her right now because she has been in bed for two hours, and I am up writing a blog. Now being a hard worker is a good trait, but the reason why I drift into being a workaholic isn’t a virtue. It is because, in my own mind, if I work hard enough, pull enough hours, push a little harder I can provide for myself and my family. In reality I should be trusting that God will provide for me, because he’s my Dad and he said he would. My hard work should be to glorify him, rather than a nervous obsession of asking if I did enough.
I think many of us struggle with similar anxieties. We would rather have control of the situation thinking we could solve any problem that arises. What we don’t realize is trying to control everything is as futile as grasping at the wind. The Bible provides so many great stories that will help comfort and encourage us to trust God to provide for us. We are going to look at one today in Ruth 2.
Last week we talked about how God was working even in the bad situations as shown in Ruth 1. In Ruth chapter 2 we see how God provides for us in the day to day. He doesn't immediately come in and fix everything, but he is constantly moving and working so hundreds of moving pieces come together at the perfect time to make our messy lives into his beautiful masterpiece.
We can pull out three ways in which God provides for us in Ruth 2:
1.God provides when we don’t expect it.
Ruth 2:3“and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz,”
What I love about verse 3 is that leading up to this, we find Ruth leaving her and Naomi’s home (if they even had a home), and searching for food. She was going to a random field and picking up scraps of barely the reapers missed. The Bible makes it sound like it was an accident that she landed on Boaz’ field. “She happened” sounds like she could have chosen Boaz’s field or a different field, and if she would have chosen a different field then everything would have been ruined. God’s plan for her would have been crushed.
Often times that is how God’s plan seems to us. Random chance. What Ruth did not see is what we do not see in our lives either. That God was working a plan. What might seem random, even bad, might just be God working on making things better!
2. God provides through his people and his laws.
Ruth 2:12 “The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!”
God already had set up a system to care for the poor and needy. In the Old Testament he made laws that required landowners to leave the corners of their fields and anything that fell on the ground to the poor. (Lev 19:9-10). He was looking out for Ruth and other widows for thousands of years. Even though there were laws, there also needed to be Godly men who followed God’s laws to provide for her. That’s where Boaz comes into the story. He was a Godly, rich, relative of her husband that genuinely cared for Ruth’s well-being.
For us today, if we are in a place of hardship rest assured that God is preparing a godly person to come alongside of you to motivate, challenge, or encourage you for whatever you might be facing. The challenge for most of us today is to become a “Boaz” to somebody else! Boaz saw himself as a tool which God was using to bless others. How can God use you to bless others this week?
3. God provides what we need...and then some!
Ruth 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. “
Ruth left the house that morning in hopes of finding just a little to eat for her and Naomi. She came back with an ephah of barley (over 5 gallons of barley!!!!). She likely could not have carried anymore!
In chapter 1 we found out that Ruth and Naomi originally traveled back to Bethlehem in hopes of finding food. They had heard there was a good crop so they came back. God provided them with what they were looking for, and what they needed: food. As we continue reading Ruth, we will learn God then provided more: a redeemer and provider. If you remember from Ruth chapter 1, Naomi believed there was no one for Ruth to marry in Bethlehem. Naomi essentially told Ruth if you move back to Bethlehem you will live alone and in poverty. So she told Ruth to leave and go home to be with her family instead. Fortunately God knew better. He knew that Naomi could not provide a husband and provider, but that he could provide that for Ruth.
SO WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR YOU?
You might be in a bad spot today. You don’t know how God is going to provide for a circumstance in your life. That’s okay, because often times God’s will for your life will look like happenstance to us, just like it did when Ruth walked into Boaz’s field. But you can be confident that God is working and providing for you in way that's greater than you can’t imagine.
So what do we do in the meantime? Ruth had no idea how God was going to provide. So she volunteered to go out the fields and do extremely hard physical labor. She did what she had already committed to, helping provide and take care of Naomi. Just like Ruth, when you are waiting for God to come through, keep doing what you are called to do. Christians can become so concerned with finding out the “hidden” part of God’s will, and how he will provide each step, we forget to follow what he already told us to do in his Word. So as you are waiting for God to provide, be a good parent, or spouse. Honor God in your workplace, be a good church member. Commit to growing more in Love with God, and trust that he moving and working to take your messy life and make it something beautiful.