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Wings of Refuge

March 16, 2011

When you read through the book of Ruth, you can’t help but notice that Ruth was a humble and hardworking woman. Character traits that led her on a journey that would dramatically change her life and, more importantly, her eternal destiny.

She wasn’t content to sit by and beg bread and she certainly didn’t want her mother-in-law to succumb to such shame. So she woke up with work on her mind and requested permission to take on the role as provider. With Naomi’s approval and direction, Ruth made her way to to glean the barley fields.

She may have taken ranks with the poor, but she didn’t expect a handout. Ruth was willing to work. Each step took her closer to Boaz’s field, where she was ready to pull up her sleeves and begin throwing up some chaff.

And then we read…

“So she departed and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers; and she happened to come to the portion of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.” Ruth 2:3

Several years ago someone told me, “There are no coincidences with God. We don’t just “happen” into Boaz’s field.  The Bible says, “A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Ruth may have planned her day, but it was God who ordained her steps and she wound up exactly where she needed to be to begin her journey to redemption – the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.

Boaz was clearly the “one in whose sight I may find favor”. (Ruth 2:2)

He saw that she had forsaken everything familiar to take care of her broken hearted mother-in-law. Boaz knew what it cost Ruth to be in Bethlehem.

“May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.” Ruth 2:12

Bethlehem may have provided a place of shelter, but Ruth would find her refuge under the wings of the God of Israel.

Theologians often refer to Ruth’s declaration of surrender to God as a beautiful picture of her salvation. (Ruth 1:16)

Ruth’s Redeemer became her Refuge.

But her story was about to become a beautiful parallel of our ultimate Kinsman – Redeemer. When she declared Naomi’s God to be her’s, God redeemed her – soon, Boaz would too.

As we look back on the legacy Ruth leaves behind, let’s do some gleaning of our own and see what we can learn from Ruth:

♥  God rules in the affairs of men (and women) – Proverbs 16:9 Ruth left home in search of food but the Lord directed her to Boaz’s field! We may make our plans, but the Lord certainly ordains our steps. We must pay attention to the fields He places in front of us – to the opportunities to serve Him that are often found in the simple and the ordinary. We may be surprised when God chooses to turn our service into a blessing.

♥  God takes note of what we do for His glory  – Hebrews 6:10 We may not realize it, but like Boaz, God sees our labor of love. When we feel like we’re weary, weak and worn out, we need to remember that God sees what we are doing for Him. Nothing escapes the eyes of the Living God…not even that which we do behind the scenes…perhaps, especially that which we do behind the scenes.

We can find rest under His wings of refuge – Psalm 57:1 Only God can provide the shelter we need for the storms of this life. He is our Refuge and our Redeemer. We can run to Christ and find refuge under the shadow of His wings.

Which legacy left by Ruth speaks to your life today?

15 Comments leave one →
  1. March 16, 2011 5:58 am

    I think the legacy that speaks most to me is the first one mentioned: God rules in the affairs of men. While I don’t seem to have an issue believing that in my own life, believing it for my children seems more challenging. As the kids get older and must start making huge life choices , maybe things don’t go the way *I* would order them if *I* were God and I start second guessing everything we have ever done with them. Maybe we should have sent them to school and they would have received bigger scholarships? Maybe she should have spent less time dancing and more time doing…well, you get the picture. I think “God rules in the affairs of my children” should be my new mantra as they all launch into adulthood.

    • stephanieshott permalink
      March 16, 2011 7:18 am

      Natalie ~ I’m one mother who is shouting a resounding AMEN to your comment! As the mother of two adult sons, I my heart resonates with everything you said! Even the homeschooling part! But we both know that we gave them over to God long ago and He knows exactly what He’s doing to rule in their lives. Often times, it’s just hard to watch. I often wonder why no one ever told me how hard it is to be the mother of adult children. But we rest under the shelter of our Heavenly Father’s wings while we watch them become who they were created to be.

  2. March 16, 2011 11:04 am

    I love studying Ruth. Every time I learn something new. I love how Boaz redeemed Ruth and how Christ redeemed us and to know that it came from the same blood line is such an AWE-GOD moment.

    • stephanieshott permalink
      March 16, 2011 11:23 am

      Michelle ~ Ruth is definitely a beautiful picture of Christ’s redemption! Full of AWE-GOD moments (love that term!) and truly a treasure trove of riches! So glad you’re digging with us!

  3. March 16, 2011 11:21 am

    I have always loved the story of Ruth! If I have to pick just ONE thing today, it would have to be that our steps are ordered by the Lord. I remember a long time ago someone saying that the Lord can’t move people who are not on their feet and moving. As soon as we are willing to move our feet and take a step, He will place our foot where He wants it to be. Sometimes it’s hard when those footsteps takes us through the dark, hard times of the valleys. I so want to learn from Ruth that God has a great plan — One that I may not see today, but it is always GOOD! Oh for grace to trust Him more!

    • stephanieshott permalink
      March 16, 2011 11:51 am

      Cora ~ I love that! “The Lord can’t move people who are not on their feet and moving”! Kind of reminds of how Peter had to get out of the boat before he could walk on water. May we be women who are willing to get out of the boat for His glory – no matter how scary it may be! Oh yes…oh for grace to trust Him more! 🙂

  4. March 16, 2011 3:45 pm

    Ruth obviously had to place Naomi’s God as her God first in order to find refuge in Him at a later date. When we place ourselves under God’s control, we can find refuge, even when times are unsure. Ruth’s times were certainly unsure. Boaz wisely recognized this in Ruth and was giving/asking God for a “blessing” on Ruth’s behalf. So thankful, we can take rest in God during the difficult times in our lives.

    Scripture Dig: this has been a great study on Ruth, based on concepts, rather than a verse-by-verse. I have really enjoyed each post. God used this “love story” in my life over 10 years ago as a way of confirmation so it has a special place in my life. God bless!!

  5. stephanieshott permalink
    March 16, 2011 9:37 pm

    Marsha ~ Thanks for reminding us of how, like Ruth, we can trust God to be our Refuge in uncertain times! I’ve loved this study of Ruth too! So glad you’re digging with us! 🙂

  6. March 17, 2011 3:49 am

    I love Ruth’s hard-working nature. It’s something I aspire to embody, as well. And as a planner (and sometimes “over-planner”), I always need to reminded of this verse: “A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

    This line particularly struck me today: “We may not realize it, but like Boaz, God sees our labor of love.” (This reminds me of Matthew 6:6.) And, because God sees my labors, I don’t need to concern myself with whether or not other people see it. What a relief! But, that also inspires me to continue seeking and living His will.

    Great post, Stephanie!

    • stephanieshott permalink
      March 17, 2011 7:17 am

      Caroline ~ Like you, I’m a planner too. But my life has been quite the whirlwind lately and it’s hard to remember that no matter how much we plan, the Lord still directs our steps! And I’m oh-so thankful that He sees what we do for Him, whether it’s very public or behind the scenes!

  7. March 17, 2011 9:04 am

    Reading this reminds me that God is in Control! And He looks out for my best interest – especially when I’m taking refuge under His wings. But, I can’t help to think about how Naomi’s legacy was placed in Ruth’s while she [Ruth] was with her in Moab. This is why when we’re “in the world” that we, as Noami’s, should be showing others who Christ is – that is the Legacy I want to leave.

    And, to follow in Ruth’s Legacy, she placed her entire trust upon and in the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings [she] took refuge in. I’ve tried to place myself in the shoes of Boaz’s “young women” and think about the example that Ruth was to those girls. That couldnot have been eazy but by the Grace of God Ruth showed them that placing yourself under the Winds of God does prove to be a blessing with provision. I now think to myself – what young women are watching me? (since I have sons) and what Legacy am I leaving them?

    • stephanieshott permalink
      March 17, 2011 10:12 am

      Lorna ~ I love how you brought Naomi’s obvious influence into the picture! Like you, I want to be a woman who leaves a legacy of living out loud for Christ no matter what! So glad your digging with us!

  8. May 13, 2011 9:32 pm

    You know I love the story of Ruth and love your posts. As Michelle said, I love that Ruth was in the bloodline of Jesus. I hesitate to share this. It’s from the chapter on Ruth from my book:

    “Ruth’s decision-fork took her on a road that departed from the region of widowhood and devastation, meandered through the fields of impoverishment, led her through the land of Praise to the House of Bread, then took a right turn through redemption, and escorted her into the arms of redeeming love. This same road proceeded to the throne of David, slowed its pace beside the blessed manger of Bethlehem, and later came to an abrupt halt at the foot of the cross.”


  1. Your turn! « Scripture Dig
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