Finding Favor: Ruth and Boaz

“Summer (Ruth and Boaz)” by Nicolas Poussin. Oil on canvas, 1660-1664. Based on Ruth 2:10.

“Grace” in the Old Testament is described as finding favor in the eyes of a king or rescuer. Ultimately, God is our king, and living in God’s grace means finding favor in his eyes.

There’s a few real-life examples of “finding favor” in the Old Testament that paint a picture of what receiving grace really means. One is Ruth, the foreign-born widow who came to Israel with virtually nothing to her name–no status, no resources, no male family members to provide for her. She was an outcast among outcasts when it came to status in the nation of Israel. And that meant she was entirely reliant on the favor (grace) of those who had resources to spare:

“And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, ‘Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.’” (Ruth 2:2)

As it turns out, Boaz (which means “quickness”) was quick to help:

“So Boaz said to Ruth, ‘My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.’” (Ruth 2:8-9)

Ruth was humbled and amazed at this act of generosity:

“At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, ‘Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?'” (Ruth 2:10)

Ruth found favor in the eyes of Boaz, and that meant he cared for her, protected her, and provided for her when she was unable to provide for herself. As the story continued, they even got married!That picture of Boaz graciously extending favor to Ruth in her moment of need is a picture of what it means to live in the grace of God.

This post is based on our recent message “The Lord is Gracious”, part of the Discover the Heart of God message series.