Of all the beautiful, meaningful, powerful verses in the book of Ruth, it’s Ruth 2:10 that lays me flat every time I read it.
First, the backstory: Ruth the Moabitess was a stranger in a strange land, newly arrived in Bethlehem with her mother-in-law, Naomi. After spending the morning gleaning barley in the fields of Boaz, Ruth met the wealthy landowner, who called her “daughter” and showered her with a series of gentle but firm commands:
- “Listen to me”
- “Don’t go and glean in another field”
- “Don’t go away from here”
- “Stay with the women who work for me”
- “Watch the field where the men are harvesting”
- “Follow along after the women”
- “Whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink”
With this remarkable burst of words, her kinsman-redeemer procured her, protected her, and provided for her. Oh my.
You can imagine how Ruth responded.
At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. Ruth 2:10
Undone by his kindness and generosity, Ruth “fell on her face” (CJB), humbly “casting herself prostrate upon the ground” (NABRE). Do you see her, beloved? Damp forehead pressed against the soil of the field? Rough hands still clasping bits of grain?
Ruth was a fatherless foreigner, a widow without means. She was the very least of these.
Somehow, Ruth found the courage to ask why.
She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me…” Ruth 2:10
In every translation, Ruth’s astonishment is clear:
- “Why should you be so concerned about me?” (GNT)
- “Why are you paying attention to me?” (CJB)
- “Why are you so good to me?” (CEV)
- “Why have you been so kind to notice me?” (NCV)
- “Why do you care about me?” (NLV)
- “Why have I found grace in thine eyes…” (KJV)
Grace is the answer to all our whys. God is good to us because God is goodness itself. He cares for us because He is ever caring. He loves us because He is always loving. He sees us because He never takes His eyes off His own.
Even when His chosen ones are born in a pagan land. Like Ruth.
“—a foreigner?” Ruth 2:10
Her honesty floors me. Ruth didn’t need to point out her otherness. Even so, she reminded Boaz, “You know I come from another country” (CEV). Words like “stranger” (KJ21) and “immigrant” (CEB) and “alien” (OJB) make her lineage clear. “I am not an Israelite” (EXB), she told him.
Boaz wasn’t concerned about her past; Ruth’s future was all that mattered to him. He was determined to rescue her, to redeem her, to restore her.
Our Lord Jesus is infinitely more determined to redeem us. To pay the price for our sins and buy us back from the prince of this world.
To give us a new name: His. To give us a new life: His. To give us a new home: His.
Heavenly Father, day after day you astound us with Your grace. Like Ruth, we long to know why. Because, like Ruth, we’ve done nothing to deserve Your favor. Rather than protest our unworthiness, let us proclaim Your utter worthiness and receive Your gift of grace with humble, grateful hearts. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.
All through April we read The Girl’s Still Got It: Take a Walk with Ruth and the God Who Rocked Her World. Some read the book. Others watched the DVD. And five winners — Jennifer, Susan, Lisa, Sara, and Constance — are now listening to the unabridged audiobook, produced by ChristianAudio, and narrated by the author (smile).
Until we connect again, dear friend, bless you for doing life with me!
Your sister, Liz
P.S. Even as my immunotherapy treatments for cancer roll on, so do all the things I care about most: sharing God’s Word on the road, teaching God’s Word on the radio, and opening God’s Word on the first of each month on Facebook. Always grateful when you join me!