Friend to Beloved: Ruth 2:14-16

The breadth of the picture of the Gospel that we see in Ruth is breathtaking, and helps us to more fully see the picture of Christ that Boaz provides. While I already covered some of this picture last week, there is still more to see.

As we noted last week, Boaz invites Ruth into his house and asks her to be a part of his family. He invites her to partake in a meal of both bread and wine. Of course, as Christians, it is easy for us to see this as a Eucharistic meal. And, to be fair, it was. But in the Mosaic covenant, it was still known as a Tribute offering. Originally, the Tribute was brought with bread alone (Leviticus 2). When Israel entered the Promised Land, they were to add the libation offering (Numbers 15). Obviously, without fire involved, this was not the truest sense of offering. The wine was merely wine and the bread was merely bread; the staple foods of Israel’s land.

But the average Israelite, living under Levitical liturgy, would have known the significance of their two pieces of food. In this meal, the worshiper is elevated to God in the smoke, and God remembers the worshiper. In a sense, then, this meal was Boaz’s symbolic gesture to Ruth that she was now a part of his family, and brought her to God’s attention that he may pay mind to her.

But it was not only that. Boaz shows us the crazy, unending mercies of God in his overabundance of giving. Ruth is able to eat until she is full (quite a task in a country that recently suffered from a famine!) and still have leftovers. This is a Mosaic covenant example of the same principle Jesus demonstrated when he fed the crowd bread and fishes: God is able to turn nothing into more than we need or want. (Note: Ruth brings these leftovers to Mara to eat. God’s overabundant giving doesn’t end with us; we are filled to fill others.)

Boaz, again, leaves the command to the reapers: let Ruth work among you, and do not reproach her. In fact, make it easier for her to work. As a part of Boaz’s house, Ruth is entitled to the fields and its wheat. She is also entitled to ease of work, as the reapers have already done most of it.

As Gentiles, this picture should fill our hearts with joy as it elucidates Paul in Ephesians 2. In Christ, we who were far and children of wrath were brought near. In his body, Jesus broke down the dividing wall between God’s people and us. Now, we eat the Eucharist at his table, his body and blood, and proclaim the resurrection until he comes. We are entitled to all of the benefits of being a part of his house; including but not limited to inheritance of the world, being seated in the heavenly places, all of the treasures of knowledge and wisdom, and all good things pertaining to salvation. Phew! And those were only six words from Paul’s remarkably long 220 word sentence in chapter 1.

So, let us read Ruth 2 and rejoice! As Ruth had Boaz, we Christians have the better Boaz, who gives without asking and gives more than we need. He gives us a place at his table and gives us fellowship in his work. What more could we want?

Both Boaz and Jesus aren’t done yet. Their good works have just started.

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