In the beautiful story of Ruth, we find Boaz, as the lord of the harvest and the dispenser of bounty, saying to Ruth as she gathered grain for her needs, “Listen, my daughter. Stay right here with us when you gather grain; don’t go to any other fields.” (Ruth 2:8a NLT)
Boaz recommended that she stay close to his other servants, those with experience, those who knew the boundaries, so that nothing would happen to her and she would know what to do.
He said to Ruth, “Stay right behind the women working in my field. See which part of the field they are harvesting, and then follow them.” (Ruth 2:8b-9a NLT)
In ancient times, no fences marked the perimeters of fields. Owners sometimes used rocks to mark boundary lines, which were easily moved and the borders then transgressed. One who moved his neighbor’s landmarks was, by law, cursed.
Solomon said, “Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your forefathers.” (Prov. 22:28 NIV)
In some cases, no stones were used and the dividing lines became blurred.
Boaz warned Ruth to keep her eyes on the field of the lord of the harvest and do as his servants did, to walk after them and follow their example. As a newcomer, she was allowed to glean and partake of the harvest with the seasoned workers, within the limit of the boundaries.
After Ruth accepted Boaz’s invitation to join the other workers in a meal, she went back to work. Boaz then commanded his men to let her glean “right among the sheaves without stopping her, and to snap off some heads of barley and drop them on purpose for her to glean.” (Ruth 2:15-16a TLB)
The lord of the harvest prepared special provision for Ruth, and no set boundary within his field limited her search. Her redeemer gave her the right to appropriate the things of his field for her needs. Given access to and allowed to participate in the harvest, she searched the field at will.
As our personal application, fences keep in and fences keep out. God allows us free reign within the limited boundaries of His field of plenty. Without the clear line of demarcation, to keep us out of the world’s field of play, we will always get into trouble.
If we do not heed those seasoned and experienced workers around us and those who went before us in ages past, we will wander out of God’s field of provision and protection. We will be enticed to succumb to the enemy’s allures and temptations and jump over the fence to that “greener grass” on the other side.
And in jumping over, what do we find? The pasture of that so-called greener grass not only needs mowing, but it also has weeds and cows! In other words, we will always step into a pasture pile! It is never exactly what we expect!
As the Lord of the Harvest, God tells us, “Here are My borders. It’s easy to cross that line into unknown territory, so watch out. I am your Redeemer. I am the Father of the Field. Stay here with Me and follow My servants.”
Do we fully realize our Redeemer, our Lord of the Harvest, has made a place for us, “lifted us to take our place with Him,” (Eph. 2:6 Phillips) granting us access to His field of promise, to bring in the sheaves of all that is necessary to fulfill our needs and the needs of others?
Search His field over for the provision of all that you lack. When was the last time you gleaned from the Word, truly searching its pages for a message as a bundle of harvest from the Lord? “When did a needy gleaner ever turn to its pages and not find just the word for himself? How it declares the heart of God, that He has scattered from end to end of His book handfuls of blessing, messages of love and grace.” (Judges and Ruth by Samuel Ridout)
Do we keep our eyes on God’s field, watching where we glean? Do we follow His “old pickers” as our examples? Whether we are a new Christian or a seasoned one, we may gather nourishment from the Word for all our needs.
Has God not dropped tidbits along the way for you, handfuls pulled from His bundles of grace, those precious golden nuggets of the provision of His Word, as little surprises strewn along the path of your searching, for His “paths drip with abundance” (Ps. 65:11 NKJV)?
Has your boundary between God and the world become blurred? Or do you keep Jesus the Rock as your dividing line?
Oh, that our hearts would remain in the field of God’s grace and provision without jumping the fence and wandering from His borders of protection!
Which would you rather be…fenced in or fenced out?