When you experience protection, you experience a type of love. Boaz protected Ruth and provided for her; God does the same for you and me. We are under the wings of our great Protector, God.
A. Many zoos and other aviaries have web cam to where you can watch the animals. Sometimes those go viral and people all over the world get into watching one particular animal. I have seen them done with birds and it can be fascinating to watch. The momma bird builds this nest and soon eggs are laid, and then you wait and watch. The egg hatch and out comes the little chicks and you see the mom take care of those baby birds. She has to fee then but one things she does is protect them.
B. Protection is found in different ways. Sometimes I have seen small birds around our house dive on a bird of prey, like a hawk, trying to get it to leave her young. She will risk everything to drive away the threat of that hawk.
C. But the illustration used several times throughout the Bible is that of the wings, being the shelter or protection of the wings of the mother bird. This morning I want us continue our review of the book of Ruth and see this phrase used with her.
I. Ruth Meets Boaz
A. When Naomi left Moab and Ruth traveled back with her, they came to Bethlehem, to the place that had belonged to her deceased husband. Naomi came back to Judea in pain and anger. When the women recognize her she to them, (1:20-21).
B. Yet the timing of all of what happened is incredible to simply call coincidence. They came back at the time of the barley harvest. Ruth asks her mother-in-law to let her go and glean in the fields. It tells us of the plight of these women. This idea of gleaning behind the workers shows their poverty. The Law given through Moses allowed for this very thing. (Lev. 19:9-10)
C. No one would rather be poor than rich. No one like to have to live off the mercy of others, but when you have nothing and you believe that God has dealt harshly with you, it is easy to turn inward and become bitter. But God was not against Naomi, nor did he leave her alone. Later people would tell her that Ruth is more valuable than seven sons. Ruth wants to help and she goes to work.
D. It just so happens (God incidence) that the field that Ruth gleaned was that of Boaz, who was not only a near relative of Naomi’s deceased husband, but the Bible calls a “worthy man.” Some translate it as “a mighty man of valor.”
E. When Boaz does come to the fields and see her he asks his servants who she is? They tell her that she is the Moabite that came back with Naomi and asked if she could gather some grain. In fact, they say she works hard and has been working all day except for a short rest. All of this impresses Boaz who knows that he is a close relative and seems to have a desire to be kind to Naomi and now to this young lady, Ruth.
F. That brings us to our reading today (2:8-10). The kindness that Boaz is showing is not what she expected and she is humbled by his generosity. What surprise me is that she asks the question of “why?” Why was he being so kind to someone who is not even an Israelite?
G. Listen to the reply (2:11-13). This story is more than just a great love story. It is the story of God offering what mankind cannot.
II. The Wings of God
A. I just love the imagery of verse 12. This is what makes Boaz a man of valor. This is what a true Israelite is like. Boaz says to Ruth, what I he is doing may be kind, but what she is gaining is God’s protection. That’s the prayer of Boaz. It is not Boaz that can give Ruth what she needs, it is God.
B. There are a great many servant activities that churches participate in. People are blessed by the hands of Christians every day. I know of young kids who meet in Nashville this week from ages 10-13 to work at soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and other projects to help the poor. Those actions touch lives, but Boaz had it right, what is greater is the protection of the wings of God.
C. That is the lesson I need to hear today. I have been blessed by many. People in this congregation have showered kindness upon me and my family. I cannot repay all the good that has been done for me over the years. But here is the lesson. What has been done for me by you is really nothing more than extension of what God is offering to me always.
D. Too often I think the world is crashing down, when in truth God is keeping more from happening to me than I can bear. The truth is it could be worse, and I thank God it is not. The wings of my God cover me and protect me. Think of the times in your life when you know it was totally God that watched over you. As a Christian many of us have experienced many of these times.
D. God wants to fight battle for us. The point of putting on the armor of God is so that you can stand against the darts of Satan. The truth is you can I can’t stand against Satan, but He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. Part of the work of the Holy Spirit is to empower Christians to do what the world cannot.
E. I faced many temptations and failed. I have faced many battles and my self-control is not in control. Yet, when I turn to God in prayer, surrender my will to His, take up the cross and follow Him, I can make it through. I want to live under the wings of my great protector God and he welcomes me.
A. There is a passage in the NT uses this imagery is a little different way. Matthew 23 is a very harsh passage. In this chapter Matthew records Jesus chastising the scribe and Pharisees for their lack of love to others and the way they twist scripture. Jesus calls them hypocrites because of their actions. Now listen to me. After he gets done Jesus says these words (Matt. 23:37-39).
B. Here is my question, “Is God good enough for me?” You see, Jesus wants to be for us what Boaz said God was for Ruth, but how often does my own hypocrisy keep me from God’s blessing?
C. The wings of God long to shelter, protect and carry you. The question is, “Are you willing to come to God?” Ruth did and you can. If we can be of help to you, then come.