The Cloud of Witnesses
Former title Lessons From the People of the Bible
Lesson 2: Ruth – People Are Watching You
People Are Watching You
The first thing we all need to understand is that God is watching us. No matter where we are or what we do, God is watching. The lives of both Naomi and Ruth were about to change. Both were widows without a cent to their names, and on top of that, Ruth was a foreigner, an outcast, a Moabitess. The Moabites were enemies to the Israelites because they had seduced the Israelites into worshipping other gods. Ruth was a descendent of Moab. However, as we read in chapter 1, she turned her back on her family’s gods and embraced the God of Naomi – Israel’s God – Jehovah.
God honours those who turn to Him with a contrite heart. He knew there was a man in the same tribe as Naomi’s late husband – Ephrathites’ clan of the Tribe of Judah – who could help them in their predicament. Yes, God does perform miracles but He also uses us as His hands and His feet. Or He may use us to fulfil His plans and destiny for others. Here He used Boaz. God knew Boaz and could read his heart. God saw in him someone who would obey Him and someone He could use in His plans for mankind.
So often we live dissatisfied lives – always looking forward with longing for the big event, the significant promotion or the worthwhile job, forgetting the fact that the Lord is looking for people who are faithful in the little things. As Paul points out, we need to remember that no matter what we do for a job or ministry, we do it for the Lord, and as such should strive to perform it with excellence as unto the King. Not only that but we should also be very grateful for all He entrusts to us.
Ruth was obviously a very diligent and humble girl. She was not afraid of hard work but did not presume on others. She recognised her place was behind the reapers. She had no right to work alongside the reapers, as she was an outcast. However, Jewish law demanded that, even though a foreigner, she was entitled to glean the seed that the reapers missed. So she asked the foreman if she could do so and he consented. It was as she conscientiously went about her work that the ‘boss’ arrived. Why? Because God wanted Boaz to see her!
Can I encourage you? No job seems perfect and there will be many times you may want a change – but if God has provided the job for you, work at it to the best of your ability and then let God do the rest. Don’t keep looking ‘over the fence’ or striving for the ‘top job’; let God do with your life what He wants – then you will be successful and feel fulfilled.
Whether we like it or not and whether we are aware of it or not, people are watching us. Ruth was just going about her daily work. However, she had obviously impressed the foreman. Of course, she was the new girl on the block and Boaz would have known his ‘workers’, but the foreman was still impressed. She had diligently got on with her work without talking and distracting the other girls. She had kept working and only taken a short break in the heat of the day. The foreman couldn’t help mentioning that to Boaz.
How did Boaz respond? He was so impressed that he went and told her to stay reaping in his fields. He would ensure her safety and refreshment. When she asked what had caused him to treat her in such a way, he responded by saying, “I’ve heard all about you! I’m impressed by your loyalty to your mother-in-law and the fact that you have left your homeland to come and look after her.” He ended by praying a wonderful blessing upon her from none other than the God whom she had chosen to follow and own as hers. God always honours those who honour Him and He blesses those who work and serve Him diligently. Both on earth and in Heaven.
Ruth would say to us today...
You would be amazed at what people notice about you. Whether it’s your cheerful disposition, your quiet efficiency, your solid integrity or your encouraging comments. They all declare your character. God is also watching and He will never keep a good person down for long. Be faithful in the little things of life and the larger responsibilities will inevitably come to you.
Father, please help me remember that it is not so much what I do for You but who I am that matters. Please help me to be faithful in the small things so it brings glory to Your Name. Amen.
2 Samuel 9:1-13; Colossians 3:15-25; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10; 2 Chronicles 16:9.
How do you feel about God watching you 24/7?
What sort of person do your colleagues at work think you are? Why is that?
Is your ambition greater than your faithfulness and integrity?