barley

Are you satisfied?

Yesterday our daughter Leah and I spent a little time reading from the book of Ruth Chapter 2, and two verses really stood out to me about this word. I wanted to share this encouragement with you today. 

First, though, just to give you a little background, Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi had left Israel and gone with her husband Elimelech and their children to Moab because there was a famine in the land. While in Moab, Naomi’s sons had grown and married two Moabite (foreign) women, Orpah and Ruth. They were there about ten years when Naomi’s sons died, too. Naomi heard that the famine was over, and decided to go back home, and her daughters-in-law wanted to go back with her. But Naomi told them to go back to their own people and their own gods. Orpah left, but Ruth still begged to go with her, saying one of the most famous verses in the Bible (Ruth 1:16, NLT):

“But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.”

Naomi and Ruth went back to Bethelehem at the beginning of barley harvest, and because the custom of the Law was to allow the widow or any resident foreigner to gather anywhere she pleased, and landowners weren’t to completely reap the corners of his fields, leaving some of the gleanings for the strangers and the poor, Ruth was able to glean in a field of a family relative, Boaz. 

 Boaz had noticed Ruth. He had heard the news of the kindness she had shown her mother-in-law and how she had come back with her. He spoke a blessing over her, and invited her at mealtime to dip her piece of bread in the vinegar. This next verse is what stood out to me.

“So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed parched grain to her; and she ate and was satisfied, and kept some back.”  Then in verse  18, “So she gleaned in the field until evening, and beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. Then she took it up and went into the city, and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. So she brought out and gave to her what she had kept back after she had been satsified.”  (Ruth 1:14, 1:18)

Boaz is called the kinsman-redeemer because he had the right and the responsibility to redeem the forfeited inheritance of the family so that Elimelech’s property remained in the family. Boaz is a representation of Christ, our kinsman-redeemer, who has redeemed us from sin. Boaz’s eye was on Ruth, just as God’s loving eye is always on us.  Boaz fed Ruth the grain, like God gives us His good word to eat each day. Ruth took the parched grain and “was satisfied.” God’s presence, His word, is what truly satisfies us.

We were created with a God-void, an ache and a longing that only God’s love can fulfill.  People try to fill up the void and the emptiness with different things -relationships, food, sugar, drugs or alcohol, tobacco, career success, wealth, sports achievement, etc. But only God satisfies.

Ruth took just what she needed and kept some back, which she then gave to Naomi. God will not only fill us up with His presence and His word, but He will refresh and refill us so much that we will have an overflow in our lives, to give to others. We can share the good news of the gospel, heal the sick, prophecy a word of encouragement, teach the hungry, help the poor.

Are you satisfied or empty?  Come to God today, and let Him fill you up and satisfy you.

***Want to learn more about God’s presence and His word?  Click here for my 7-audio, quiet time series.

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