“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.”Ruth 2:12
You’ll never guess what’s happened. Something big.”
“Well, what is it?”
“Biggest thing ever happened in Mayberry. REAL big. Big. BIG big.”
“Well, now, now just simmer down, Barney. What is it?”
“Well, I’m tryin’ to tell ya.”
“Well, so far, all I know is it’s something big.”
“Oh, ‘big’ ain’t the word for it.”
You may have guessed by now that this was a conversation between Deputy Barney Fife and Sherriff Andy Taylor in the popular 1960s television series, The Andy Griffith Show. The town of Mayberry had never seen something so big as what Barney was about to tell Andy!
I can imagine this conversation might have echoed Ruth and Naomi’s after Ruth met Boaz in the field that day and found favor in his sight.
Ruth was a Moabite woman. The Moabites descended from Moab, one of the sons of Lot, the nephew of Abraham. Moab was one of the two sons born to Lot’s daughters after they helped him get drunk and had children through him. So already we see Ruth’s lineage isn’t the greatest. However, she married Mahlon, who was an anEphrathite. The Ephrathites were people associated with Bethlehem, and the word Ephrath in Hebrew means “fruitful.”
Unfortunately, Ruth’s husband died, along with Naomi’s and Orpah’s husbands. So the three were left as widows. When Naomi headed for Judah after the famine was over, we see Ruth leave her people and their gods to follow her mother-in-law: “For where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people will be my people, and your God, my God” (Ruth 1:16).
In chapter 2 of the book of Ruth, we are introduced to Boaz, a man of great wealth and a relative of Naomi’s late husband. Apparently, Ruth’s reputation had preceded her, for when Boaz and Ruth were introduced, he said, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband has been fully reported to me, and how you left your father and your mother and the land of your birth and came to a people that you did not previously know. 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” (Ruth 2:11-12). How romantic and beautiful!
When Ruth returns to her home at the end of the day, her sweet mother-in-law asks, “Where did you glean today, where did you work?” After she tells Naomi what happened in the field that day…the lightbulb comes on. Naomi proceeds to tell Ruth that Boaz is a close relative and could be her kinsman-redeemer. Something big was about to happen in the town of Bethlehem. But ‘big’ ain’t the word for it.
We know that Boaz went on to marry Ruth and she gave birth to a son named Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, the father of King David. This Moabite widow who came from a line of deceit, drunkenness, and incest, in turn, became a key figure in the line of the Messiah—a line of hope, redemption, and freedom.
Ruth was not forgotten by God. He did something BIG in her life. God does not forget us either. He wants to do something BIG in your life too. And ‘big’ ain’t the word for it.