More Than Satisfied
“And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou thither, and eat of the bread and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.” —Ruth 2:14
Ruth the Moabitess has the honor of being one of five women mentioned in Matthew 1, in the genealogy of our Lord Jesus. According to the law of Moses, she being a Moabitess, should have been shut out of the congregation of the Lord forever (Deut. 23:3). But the same law made provision for “the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow” (Deut. 24:19-21). Not only one, but all three of these terms applied to Ruth. Whether, or not, she knew of this provision of the law we are not told. But we do know that she called herself a stranger when talking to Boaz (vs. 10). And she also confessed her unworthiness when she said to her mother-in-law “Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace” (vs. 2). Little did she surmise what was in store for her.
When Boaz noticed her and inquired about her, the servant who was set over the reapers told him plainly that she was “the Moabish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab” (vs. 6). Note the repetition of the word “Moab.” The servant hid nothing in identifying her. If Ruth overheard any of this conversation she might well have trembled. But she had come to “find grace,” and she found it, far beyond her expectations. And even though Boaz saluted her as daughter,” she still referred to herself as a stranger, and as his handmaid.
Boaz did more than take pity on Ruth. To make her feel perfectly at home he told her not to glean in another field but to remain right where she was with his maidens. He even anticipated her need saying, “When thou art athirst, go unto the vessels and drink of that which the young men have drawn.” It was this that so humbled her that she prostrated herself before him, wondering why he should take any notice of her. Those of us who know the grace of our Lord Jesus have no difficulty in tracing a parallel here. But all of this is but the prelude to what is to follow.
“And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou thither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar.” (The vinegar mentioned here is the same as the vinegar of wine mentioned in Numbers 6:3). It is this most gracious invitation on the part of Boaz that I wish to use as an illustration of the grace of our Lord Jesus, who. in like manner, has invited us to fellowship with Him, in partaking of the bread and the cup in remembrance of Him. Nothing but divine grace can account for our being invited to partake of these sacred elements which speak to us of the body and the blood of our Lord. The grace which Ruth found in Boaz is but a faint foreshadowing of the grace of God toward each one of us who claims Him as Saviour and Lord. All that Boaz did for Ruth is most suggestive of all that the Lord has done for us.
To begin with let us note again how he anticipated her thirst when he said, “When thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.” Here is a provision of which she could avail herself without having to go to the well to draw water. These words of Boaz remind us of the words of our Lord Jesus who said to the woman of Samaria. “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and He would have given thee living water” (John 4:10). The rest of that story is too well known to require repetition here. Suffice it to say that she was so completely satisfied that she left her waterpot and went to call others to share the blessing with her.
The second thing that Boaz did for Ruth is very suggestive of that which is before us just now as we prepare to partake of the Lord’s Supper. I refer, of course, to the bread and the vinegar, or wine, mentioned in verse 14 of our text. As one who had come trusting in the Lord God of Israel, Boaz invited her to the fellowship of those who had obtained like precious faith. She was one of whom it could be said that she had fled for refuge to the hope set before her (cf. Heb. 6:18). In the beautiful figure of speech used here we see not only a place of security, but of comfort as well. With the Psalmist she could say, “How excellent is Thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings” (Psalm 36:7).
To quench her thirst by drinking of that which the young men had drawn was something she could do by herself. But to eat bread and dip her morsel in the vinegar was different. The morsel was literally “a piece broken off.” One has only to put it that way to see how beautifully it depicts what we do when we break bread in remembrance of our Lord. And this she did as “she sat beside the reapers.” It was an act of fellowship with others. In other words, she had communion with them.
But there is even more here. In direct connection with the foregoing we read that Boaz “reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.” This was over and above that which she had enjoyed in fellowship with the reapers. This was special and individual. As such it may well represent that special portion which many of us, no doubt, have often carried with us from a service such as this.
The last word in our text, as given in our ordinary translation, may be a bit misleading. It does not refer to her departure but rather to that which she had left over after that she herself was satisfied. That this is the meaning is confirmed by the last part of verse 18 in this same chapter. It refers to “that she had reserved after she was sufficed.”
It was this that suggested the title for this meditation, “More than satisfied.” And this is after the manner of our Lord who “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). And we who have been dealt with so generously can well afford to be generous with that which He has so freely bestowed upon us. Let us go forth from His Table, “ready to distribute, willing to communicate” (1 Tim. 6:18).