The Process of Favor
“. . . I have found favor in your sight, . . .” Ruth 2:13
Favor is threatening, challenging, and exhilarating. We unconsciously seek the approval of others, but finding unconditional favor is unnerving. It’s easy to become suspicious and defensive towards such a graceful demonstration of love. Receiving the favor of God is a process.
Ruth’s response to Boaz is the perfect model of tact in the midst of tension. She knows the situation with Boaz and gleaning in his field is a delicate one. She is astonished by the attention and generosity Boaz has shown to her. She is aware of the favor of Boaz, but cautiously questions “why” she has found such great favor in his presence. Don’t be surprised when you discover the depth of God’s love for you.
Ruth was a stranger in a strange land. In that day outsiders were often unwelcome. She entered into a place, into a task of gleaning. She was uneasy and fearful about what might happen. Boaz’s enthusiastic response, his depth of appreciation, puzzled her. Boaz saw beyond her ethnicity into her heart. This is a foreshadowing that God sees no one according to the flesh, but looks at the heart.
Boaz is moved by what he has heard of Ruth’s faithfulness to care for Naomi, along with her faith to leave her father, mother, and her homeland to journey to a people and their God she did not know. Boaz recognizes that Ruth is pleasing to God and blesses her. But speaking a blessing is not enough for Boaz, he acts to ensure the blessing comes to pass.
To favor someone means to give special regard to treat another with goodwill and exceptional kindness, far beyond what would normally be expected. This is the favor we receive from the Lord. He always treats us far better than we expect.
Ruth needs God. God needs Boaz to implement the blessing. Throughout scripture, God always uses others to carry out His purposes to others. He worked through many, like Abraham, Moses, Deborah, and Esther. Jesus is God’s declaration of His love for us. God always goes out of His way to bring others into right relationship with Him. We must launch out in reckless belief that our redemption is complete.
God loves you. Believe it.