Ruth 2:2
And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, "Please let me go into the fields and glean heads of grain behind someone in whose sight I may find favor." "Go ahead, my daughter," Naomi replied.
A Dutiful DaughterC. Ness.Ruth 2:2-4
Motive for Permitting the Poor to GleanT. Fuller, B. D.Ruth 2:2-4
The GleanerS. H. Tyng, D. D.Ruth 2:2-4
The Young to Work for Their ParentsG. Lawson.Ruth 2:2-4
Ruth 1:21
Ruth 1:21. I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty. It seemed, indeed, a via dolorosa, this path homeward. How expressive the words.

I. LOVE MAKES LIFE FULL. Why, I thought they went out poor? Yes. Seeking bread? Yes. Yet Naomi's description is true and beautiful. We are "full" when we have that which makes home, home indeed, and we are poor if, having all wealth of means, we have not love. Well, indeed, has it been said that "the golden moments in the stream of life rush past us, and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone." We never know how empty life is till the loved are lost to us.

II. THE LORD IS THE DISPOSER OF ALL EVENTS. "The Lord hath brought me home." We talk of Providence when all goes well with us, when the harvests are ripened, and the fruits hang on the wall. But we must not limit Providence to the pleasant. The Lord "takes away" as well as gives. It is said that, in the order of reading at the family altar, when the late John Angell James was about to conduct worship after a severe bereavement, the Psalm to be read was the hundred and third. The good man stopped, tears rolled down his face; and then, gathering up his strength, he said, "Why not? It is the Father!" and he read on, "Bless the Lord, O my soul!"

III. THE FULLEST HOME MAY SOON BE EMPTIED. Yes! We too should feel it so. A husband and two sons gone! What converse there had been! what interest in each other's pursuits I what affectionate concern for each other's weal and happiness! and what a wealth of love for Naomi, the center of all I We feel at such seasons that death would be blessed relief for us. The thought comes across us, "I have got to live;" to live on from day to day, attending to the minutiae of duty, and coming here and there so often on the little relics of the dead. Home again! That has music inb it for the school-children, who come back to the bright home; but to the widow, oh, how different! Home again, but how empty! Yet we may learn, even from Naomi, that rest and refreshment come to hearts that trust in God their Savior; and we may learn too what mistakes we make. Naomi said, "Why call ye me Naomi, seeing that the Lord hath testified against me?" Natural enough; but life was still to have a pleasant side for her. - W.M.S.

Let me now go to the field, and glean.
Ruth does not propose that Naomi should go with her to the field. She wished her honoured mother to enjoy the rest and ease suited to her time of life, whilst she herself was exposed to the troubles and inconveniences of her humble occupation in the fields of strangers. Young persons should be cheerfully willing to bear fatigues and troubles for the sake of their aged parents, that they may enjoy such ease as the infirmities of age require. The charities of the heart sweeten life, A young woman cheerfully labouring for aged parents is far happier than a fashionable lady spending in idleness and dissipation the fruits of the industry of her ancestors.

(G. Lawson.)

1. God often raises high buildings upon weak foundations. Great things often come from small beginnings.

2. All daughters ought to be dutiful daughters unto those mothers whom God hath set over them; they should ask their counsel, and obey their commands, as Ruth did here her mother-in-law, Naomi.

3. That poverty should not make any person have low thoughts of piety; Ruth doth not grudge at God for keeping His servants no better.

4. All honest endeavours ought to be used for supplying wants, but not by any wicked ways whatsoever. Ruth here resolves not to return to Moab under her present wants, as Israel did under their wilderness wants to return to Egypt; neither doth she think of such wicked ways as stealing to satisfy her hunger. Neither yet doth Ruth resolve to take up the begging trade, as too many lusty vagrants and vagabonds do in our time, but she rather resolves to labour with her hands.

5. That even lawful liberty ought not to be used without modesty and humility in asking leave. A good heart inquireth, "Is it lawful, decent, and expedient?"

6. Such as find grace and favour in the sight of God shall undoubtedly find no less in the sight of man. God will speak in the hearts of men, for all such as wait on Him in the way of His providence, labouring with their hands (Jeremiah 15:11; Proverbs 16:7).

7. A meek spirit gives forth mild speeches. Some persons have quick and hot spirits, yea, even good persons. That Naomi should be thus meek in her misery was much, for misery is a morose thing of itself, and unhinges the spirit; yet sanctified affliction contributes much to meeken even a choleric mind.

(C. Ness.)

We have seen how ample were the relief and the portion provided for Ruth.

1. The first step is to reduce her to the deepest necessity. She has arrived with Naomi in Bethlehem. But they are there in great poverty, and with no apparent means of relief. How this very necessity brought out a proof of the excellence of Ruth! Love for her mother constrained her to seek a supply for their need. And she came to the field, as a poor stranger, to gather up the scattered heads of barley which the reapers had left in their path, and in the corners of the field. It could have been the result only of extreme necessity. Thus God brings the soul that He has loved and saved to an experience of utter want. He makes every hope to fail, every means of spiritual safety to depart. The sinner must be thus brought down to feel himself lost and perishing. And when the Spirit has accomplished this, it is an important and blessed step toward a full revelation of the riches of grace already prepared for him.

2. The next step is to take away all feeling of rebellious pride in their state of want. Ruth had great self-respect, a dignity of character that would have honoured any condition in life. But she had no pride that rebelled against her condition. "Let me glean after him in whose sight I shall find grace." This is a most happy and a most exemplary state of mind. She demanded and expected nothing as a claim of merit or right. How important to you is such an example. But it is thus God leads the sinful soul to its great Kinsman. His gracious plan is to give everything freely, and to make man receive His free gifts with grateful acknowledgment that he has deserved nothing. But how long do we struggle against this spirit! How hard it seems contentedly to depend on mere grace to the ungodly! This is one main obstacle in the way of our salvation.

3. The next step is one of gracious providence, to bring her, as it were by accident, to an unexpected introduction to her rich kinsman. Ruth is wholly ignorant of him or of the location of his fields. She is equally ignorant of the exalted connection she is to have with him. To her the future of life is darkness. But God, her gracious God, in whom she trusts, is light in whom is no darkness at all. What an encouragement to us does this ignorance of hers afford! How abounding may be God's provided mercies for us! Ruth goes out into the harvest-field of Judaea, separated among its various owners only by landmarks, which could not be distinguished at a distance, not knowing to whose field she might be led. But God had disposed and prepared her way before her. "Her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging to Boaz." It was God's own plan for her, another part of which was now coming out to her view. And when at last she finds the gracious end to which the whole is brought, she could look back upon this, and say, "Now I know why I was made so poor, and led to Boaz's field to glean." How often is the gracious providence of God thus manifested in bringing the poor and perishing soul under the ministry of the Word. How applicable to our purpose is this illustration! The first sight of a Saviour is attractive and lovely to the seeking, sinful soul. The sinner comes into the midst of his flock, and is struck with the precious blessings which they enjoy. The Shepherd stands in their midst. Jesus is there, to awaken, instruct, sanctify, and feed His people. The hearts of all are evidently refreshed by Him. He blesses them, in the ministry of His Word, by the teaching of His Spirit. They praise Him with grateful homage in return. The whole scene is awakening and attractive. Thus often the most abiding impressions of the value of religion, of the excellence of a Saviour's worth, and the happiness of those who faithfully wait upon Him, are received. Men are drawn to Christ, and made happy in trusting Him, by the enjoyment which His people evidently derive from His service. And nothing is more important than that Christians should ever wear an aspect and maintain an influence which will adorn the doctrine they profess. "I see," said Richard Cecil, contemplating his own sinful, wasted life, in his youth, "I see two unquestionable facts. First, my mother is greatly afflicted in circumstances, body, and mind; and yet I see that she cheerfully bears up under it, by the support which she derives from constantly retiring to her closet and reading her Bible. Second, that she has a secret spring of comfort of which I know nothing; while I, who seek pleasure by every means, seldom or never find it. If, however, there is any such secret in religion why may I not attain it as well as my mother? I will immediately seek it from God." He rose from his bed instantly, and began to pray. And when the Saviour comes in thus to bless His people, "sweetly the sacred odours spread." Sinners are drawn and encouraged to come to One so gracious and so compassionate. The reapers of His harvest are animated and strengthened by His presence, and the Word of His grace goes out with special power to the souls of those who hear.

(S. H. Tyng, D. D.)

One forcible motive to persuade the rich to suffer the poor to glean may be this: Even the greatest in respect of God is but a gleaner. God, He is the master of the harvest; all gifts and graces they are His in an infinite measure, and every godly man more or less gleans from Him. Abraham gleaned a great glean of faith, Moses of meekness, Joshua of valour, Samson of strength, Solomon of wealth and wisdom, St. Paul of knowledge, and the like. Now, if we would be glad at our hearts that the Lord would give us free leave and liberty for to glean graces out of His harvest, let us not grudge and repine that poor people glean a little gain from our plenty.

(T. Fuller, B. D.)

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