« PreviousContinue »
after another, drying up before your very eyes, you will feel that there is a Fountain out of sight from which you may draw daily never-ceasing streams of comfort. ' Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vine; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat: the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stall; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”
We have seen that Naomi was heavily afflicted; but she was not stripped of all. She had her beloved Ruth still with her; and she had become more than a daughter to her.
And if God has afflicted you ; if he has torn away some dear ones from
you; and yet has in mercy left you one friend, one kind companion, one Ruth to comfort you ; then try to be thankful. When the sharp cutting winds of winter come, it is folly to be wishfully looking round upon the flowers that are swept off. We should rather let our eyes rest with thankfulness on the few sweet ones that remain. And so, too, we should dwell more upon the blessings which are still spared to us, than upon those which our heavenly Father has seen fit to take from us. Let us cherish them as His precious gifts, and use them to His glory.
THE STRANGER IN THE HARVEST FIELD.
Ruth ii. 2-14. And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him, in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.
And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers : and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.
And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The Lord be with you: and they answered him, The Lord bless thee.
Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this?
And the servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab;
And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves : so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house.
Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens:
Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men, that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.
Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?
And Boaz answered and said unto her, It has fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother-in-law since the death of thine husband : and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.
The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward
be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.
Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens.
And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, 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.
Some days had now elapsed, since the two widows had arrived in the city of Bethlehem. We have seen that Naomi's worldly condition was very different from what it was fifteen or twenty years before. She and her husband were then well off; now she was in a state of actual poverty. It was true, she had some relations at Bethlehem, who had it in their power to assist her; but she seems to have