You need the light of Ruth after the darkness of Judges. To be reminded that, even in those days when “there was no king” and “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Jud. 21:25), grace maintains a faithful remnant. A Moabite widow, though born outside the covenant, commits to God’s people as her people, and to Israel’s God as her God (Ruth 1:16). And grace foreshadows a ready, willing, and able redeemer. A man who owns the field, shows kindness to servants, and favor to this woman born outside the covenant.
No matter how you slice it, even with the bitterness that provides the backdrop for this story — a worn out woman who has lost both husband and sons and returns to the land of her fathers empty (Ruth 1:20) — this is a good news story. This is a pick me up when everything else is weighing you down. This is a story, it seems to me, for a pandemic.
For buried in it there is a phrase that, while true then, takes on a verity for today.
And [Ruth’s] mother-in-law said to her, “Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.” So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, “The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz.” And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by the LORD, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Naomi also said to her, “The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.”
(Ruth 2:19-20 ESV)
Blessed be the man who took notice of you. I read that and whisper to myself, “Yes, blessed be the Man who takes notice of me.”
Boaz, a forefather of David the king (Matt. 1:5-6). Boaz, a foreshadow of the Son of David, our great Redeemer. Boaz, the man who took notice.
The lord of the land who had regard for a gleaner girl. The rich boss who took notice of a poor worker who cleaned up after his servants. A prominent citizen, a busy man, who was yet familiar with this girl’s story (2:11). A provider, though she had nothing with which to repay his generous provision (2:15-16). A protector, though she had no claim to his unmerited protection (2:9). No wonder she falls on her face before him and asks:
“Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”
(Ruth 2:10b ESV)
Blessed be the man who took notice.
The man who understood the sorrow in her story. The man acquainted with her grief. The man able to sympathize with her weakness. The man who himself had suffered and was thus able to help in her suffering –sufficient to help her bear her burden. A man of means. A man of mercy. Blessed be the man.
So yes, blessed be that man. But blessed be, even more, the Man who takes notice.
The Man who knows my story. The Man acquainted with my grief. The Man able to sympathize with my weakness, “one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).
The Man “made like His brothers [and sisters] in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people . . . able to help those who are being tempted” (Heb. 2:17-18).
The Man who created all things and for Whom all things exist (Col. 1:16). Yet, the Man who considered equality with God not something to be held onto but, compelled by mercy, “emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Php. 2:7-8). Blessed be the Man.
No matter what burdens we were bearing 4 weeks ago, no matter what sorrow we shared in, no matter what temptations we were battling, they’ve all been amplified in this season of coronavirus cautions, COVID-19 quarantines, and constant body counts of those infected and dying around us.
But know, my soul, the Man takes notice. He has regard. He is not distant, distracted, or disinterested. He understands. And He will provide — mercies new every morning, grace sufficient for the day. His provision commensurate for the need.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 2:16 ESV)
Blessed be the Man who takes notice.
“Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me . . .”
Blessed be His name . . . for His overflowing grace . . . for His everlasting glory.