Favor for the Foreigner

She had made the call. She was all in. Ready to leave her home and her homeland. Prepared to venture into the unknown. A Moabite by birth, she was now prepared to be an Israelite by choice. If her mother-in-law was determined to go back to her people, then Ruth would go too, and Naomi’s people would be Ruth’s people.

But I’m thinking this morning that these sort of things are not usually a unilateral decision. You don’t just get to choose the team you want to play on. The team has to choose you too. There’s no joining the club, if the club won’t have you. There’s no going to the party, unless someone let’s you in at the door. And, even if you should sneak in unawares, there’s no staying once your discovered unless the host will have you.

So, big risk on Ruth’s part. But, by faith she follows Naomi. Devoted to her as if to her own mother. Ready to exchange her people and heritage for Naomi’s. All in, owning Naomi’s God as her God. But would Naomi’s people receive Ruth? Would their God own her? That, as they say, is the question (or, the questions, as the case may be).

Fast forward to a field owned by a man named Boaz. A man of wealth and reputation, of influence and power. And Ruth makes another unilateral decision, “Let me go to the field and glean” (Ruth 2:2). His field, will be my field. Yeah, but only if he let’s her stay.

So she goes and picks up the leftovers. And when Boaz sees her, he picks up on her. He finds out it’s Naomi’s daughter-in-law. And then the rich and powerful man of Israel addresses the nobody from Moab.

Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.

(Ruth 2:8-9 ESV)

Boaz give her’s a place, “Stay here, don’t leave this field.” He gives her a peer group, “Keep close to my young women.” He gives her protection, “I’ve ensured the young men won’t touch you.” And he promises on-going provision, “When you’re thirsty, drink freely.”

She picked his team. And he picked her. She asked, he gave. She knocked, he opened the door. And the privilege is not lost on Ruth.

Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”

(Ruth 2:10 ESV)

I hover over these words and they are my words. For I too was a foreigner, “separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12). And like Ruth, I too found favor in the eyes of a Redeemer. But here’s the thing, before I picked Him, He chose me. Before I determined to seek Him, He was already drawing me. Before I knew enough to even want to enter His field, He had made ready a place, a peer group, sustaining protection, and an eternal provision.

My name having found a place written in His book. Adopted as a son, counted as one of the Family, and wired in as a member of the Body. His seal of protection on me–the power that raises from the dead inside me, making me an overcomer, “for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1Jn. 4:4). And springs of living water forever available, every thirst satisfied, every hunger met in Him.

Spend but a few minutes considering it and going facedown just seems the right thing to do.

Why have I found favor in Your eyes, that You should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?

Favor for the foreigner. Blessing for the beggar. Grace for the gleaner.

Behold, the Redeemer. To Him be all glory!


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