“So she stayed close by the maids of Boaz in order to glean until the end of the barley harvest and the wheat harvest.” Ruth 2:23
To glean means to extract information from various sources, to obtain, to get, to take, to draw. Gleaning was the process by which reapers let some grain fall to the ground so that the poor may come by and gather it up for their provision. In the case of Ruth, she gleaned all day as she gathered the grain that was left behind.
We too glean, but not wheat… we glean from the scripture. We gather information and we take it away, and what we gather becomes our provision. This is what we will live off of, what will sustain us, and it’s how we’ll grow. We can only be sustained as long as we are being fed. We need to gather our grain on a daily basis. Notice that Ruth gathered for the whole harvesting season. The harvesting season for barley was March through May and wheat was May through July. So that means that Ruth was in the fields of Boaz harvesting the barley and wheat for 4 months along side the other more experienced women. She was instructed by her mother in law to stay close by these women in Boaz’s field and she obeyed.
This is a key point, and one that we can easily skip right over (I did!). There is a season in each of our lives, when we are just beginning to serve our greater then Boaz, the Lord Jesus, that it’s absolutely necessary that we plant ourselves in a safe and healthy field. One that is rich with love, care and wisdom. This environment is often found among the people who have walked with the Lord longer then we have, those who have many years under their belt and whose roots have sunken deeply into the Lord. I know for me, this was a crucial part of my maturity in the Lord. I was plopped into a good healthy field of older, more experienced, godly women and gleaned there for 3 years. This is where I matured leaps and bounds as I received and obeyed godly counsel.
Boaz and Naomi both instructed Ruth in this way for several reasons. First, she would be safer with the women then with the men. When we are first coming out of the world we are vulnerable and an easy target for the enemy. Second, she would learn from the women as they instructed her in the ways of gleaning. When we begin to walk with the Lord we need constant instruction, and prayer support from older godly women who can point us to Jesus, pray with us and instruct us in the Word. The final reason was to test Ruth’s obedience. Was she open to being taught? Would she obey her elders and those who had more experience then her? Or would she try it her own way?
What we want to take away from this story is that zeal and maturity working together is what brings about a beautiful godly Christian women. I believe this is where many young women go wrong…they never get plugged into a good church where they can glean in the fields of Jesus. They are undernourished and under cared for because they never obeyed. Ladies, there are older godly women just waiting to pour into you…go into the fields and stay by the women. Watch them and learn form them. The Lord would say to you what Boaz said to Ruth; “Listen my daughter, do not go and glean in any other field, and do not go away from here, but stay close by my maidens.” Ruth 2:8