Updated: Apr 29, 2020
As a biblical reference point for this post see Ruth 2:1-23
Many of us put a lot of stock in “LUCK,” weather we think so or not. There are all kinds of stories and phrases that make references to our luck. Many say that if they didn’t have bad luck, they wouldn’t have any luck at all. As God's people how do we relate to luck? Luck is supposed to "just happen." How can we depend on something that might just happen? As we look at Ruth and her navigation between luck and favor we can see how God will bring favor into our lives. We play a part in bringing favor to the forefront in our circumstances.
The Bible doesn’t have much to say about luck but it has a great deal to say about “FAVOR.” We tend to think of that Favor in the same way the world thinks about luck. The word of God is not built on blind chance; it points us to a personal God who bestows favor on His people. As God's favor is bestowed on us it changes our lives, it changes the lives of those around us. It is not happenstance, it is given to us and fits exactly into the challenge of our moment. God's hand, God's timing. Do you desire God’s favor? Do you have any idea of how you will receive it?
Let’s look at Ruth's experience and see how we can experience God’s favor in our lives.
Naomi and Ruth could certainly have blamed bad luck for their circumstances. They had dead husbands, sons and no future. In spite of this there is an amazing story of God’s favor.
It all began with an introduction. Having just arrived in a strange place Ruth made herself available for an opportunity. Most of the time God will use other people to bring favor or blessings to us. The table is set with an enticing introduction of Boaz, for later reference, probably a close relative, “Man of standing” often translated as “man of wealth,” but the term as used here is “mighty man.” He had high social standing and noble character. He was like a Knight would be in England. Ruth does something, she doesn't stand still. She steps out and takes the initiative, not even knowing what the process or the outcome would be. We don't receive God's favor by sitting on our hands and waiting for luck to pop up. Ruth asks Naomi’s permission to go out and find work and to get some food, they were in desperate times. Scripture sounds like she immediately went out upon arrival. She is determined to provide for their own keep. They had the right to glean or to pick up after the reapers but she needed more. She needed someone’s favor – the law allowed her to glean, but landowners could be very uncooperative. She took a step of faith in an unknown area of her life.
God’s intervention shows up when we step out and trust Him. “as it turned out” – gives the impression of blind chance or luck. It just so happened she ended up in Boaz’s field---
Of all the fields in all the places, she ends up in Boaz’s. Here we see an important step on the road to receiving God’s favor. The first step has to do with how you view your circumstances. In a situation like this, you have to decide;
Is this a coincidence?
Is God involved?
God’s direction in our affairs is called providence or divine guidance, leading to favor.
The scriptures point this out as the hand of God, not coincidence. Ruth 2:4 and Ruth 2:19-20 point this out. It is not luck that Boaz is a man of standing and a relative and also one who takes notice of Ruth. God is always at work behind the scenes, working on our behalf, ready to flood us with His favor. Think about it, when has God brought favor into your life, even unmerited favor? We don’t think we have God’s favor because we have too many other explanations for what happens in our lives. We brush things off as coincidence. We find it easy to credit something else or even ourselves when something good happens. We chalk it up to our hard work or being in the right place at the right time. Surprise, the reality is that it is all God's timing and His place of choice. We must recognize God’s hand in our life. We must become aware of the many times that God arranges things for our good. Spend some time taking notes about His favor in your life. It will encourage and challenge your spirit.
What happens next? A friendly relationship, a friendly greeting. She did not reject the stranger Boaz. She was open to let God establish her in the presence of Boaz. We never know what a God inspired relationship in our lives will lead too. Notice the request from Ruth. Boaz takes notice of Ruth. Luck or God’s favor? He assumes she is connected to someone else. She asks for the unusual – not just to glean but to “gather among the sheaves.” That meant to be able to take from what had already been harvested and collected. She was bold, Ruth asked for more than she is entitled to. She asks for provision. She had a holy boldness and continued to work in the field, awaiting the answer. She was in store for either a very positive or a very negative answer. She was standing on God's promise just as we should.
Then came the response, the favor for her waiting on the Lord. Boaz had an amazing answer. She got the job. Boaz gave her permanent work; she didn’t have to go elsewhere for provision. Isn't that just like God in our lives, meeting us right where we are? He also gave her protection, warning the men to keep away. Imagine what could happen if you sent your beautiful daughter down to the local construction site to give coffee to the workers. Not sure that would work out well. She was given access to water. She was receiving favor. Boaz becomes the source of God’s blessings to Ruth. Doesn’t God almost always use people in our lives to produce blessings?
The point of all this is that Boaz poured blessings on her because of her request. If she hadn’t made a bold request she wouldn’t have got a bold response. We need to petition God for favor in our circumstances. What a time it is right now for asking God to intervene in our lives. We must be willing to ask God to grant us favor. God’s word says “You have not because you ask not.” If you need God’s favor you must ask for it. Ask and then carefully and quietly listen to discern what God is doing on your behalf. She quietly went on working in the field, waiting for Boaz to respond. She expected a favorable response. She was waiting it out until she got one. Apply this to your life. If you need God’s favor, stop! Listen! Find God’s leading in your circumstance and then ask for His favor for it. Be specific.
What should our response be to Gods favor? Ruth’s response to God’s favor was an expression of gratitude. She fell on her face. Much different from most in today’s culture. She was very humble and grateful. She was overwhelmed and even asked Boaz “why?" She did not think she was entitled to anything but she still waited patiently. There was a reason for Boaz's reaction, it was the faithfulness that Ruth had shown. She was faithful to Naomi; she was committed to do what God give her to do. She allowed God to be her refuge. She asks God to reimburse her, to give her the wages of her faith. She stood on God's Word.
In Hebrews 11:6 God says that He rewards those that seek him in faith. Favor continues and she basks in God’s overflow. She has found peace and comfort from Boaz but more is in store.
Ruth showed up that morning unemployed.
Had no resume.
Had no connections.
She was a foreigner.
She gets hired on for the day, and then is given permanent status and benefits.
Her boss asks her to join him and other valued employees for lunch.
Not only lunch, but lots of leftovers.
Boaz served her.
Promotion and bonus.
Granted extended reaping privileges.
Boaz told the other workers not to rebuke or harass her.
Here we have a great reminder about staying faithful for the long haul. She was faithful not just for that day. She had been faithful for a long time prior to that day. She was committed for the long haul. If you want favor from God, always be committed and faithful, no matter what the circumstances. Ruth shared the abundance of her favor with Naomi. Naomi knew something had happened and inquired where it all came from. We need to respond with thanks to all that God does for us. Too often we ask for favor and if it doesn’t appear right away we blame God for not blessing us, and when he does answer we usually get caught up in the answer and forget to thank him.
Remember the 10 lepers that Jesus healed?
How many returned and thanked him?
Stop counting on luck and embrace the living God who delights in giving His grace and favor to His faithful children. Boaz had been a redeemer to Ruth. Naomi turned from being bitter to rejoicing in what God was doing. Ruth's favor also became Naomi's blessing. God’s timing, not ours. Reach out and seek God's favor in your life. Luck is for the moment but God's favor is eternal. Which do you prefer? The choice is yours. God's favor will carry you but your luck will eventually run out.
Have a blessed day.