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she, who was “ once afar off," had been “brought nigh" to the God of Israel. - When he learnt therefore that this stranger was no other than the much talked of Ruth, he immediately began to feel à deep interest in her, and to show her marked kindness, desiring all in the field to treat her, not as a stranger, but as a friend.
Such is the interesting account given in this part of Ruth's history. And let us try and gather something from it. There are two chief lessons, which we may learn from it. 1. We see how God raises up
friends for His people, if they really need them. When Joseph was sold as a slave to the Midianitish merchants, and was carried by them into Egypt, how forlorn w
his condition! There he was, young and helpless, in a foreign land! But God raised him up a helper : and Potiphar, the captain of the king's guard, befriended him.
In the days of Elijah too, when the Lord's prophets were persecuted by wicked King Ahab, and his servants, they found a friend in the king's household, Obadiah, who sheltered them from his master's wrath, and preserved their lives when they were in great danger.
Again, when St. Paul was sent as a prisoner to be tried at Rome for his life, the sadness of his voyage was greatly lessened by the kindness of Julius his keeper, who (we are told)
courteously entreated him," and showed him all the kindness that laid in his
And was it not so with Ruth, on her arrival at Bethlehem ? God found her a valued friend in Boaz, a friend too just at the very time when she most needed one, in the hour of her deep distress. And so, it may be, He has dealt with some Reader of these pages. If
you are poor, perhaps you could tell me how, when times were hard, and your store has dwindled
knew not where to look for a supply, the Lord has sent you a friend in your distress. Or, in some sad and gloomy hour, when your heart has been ready to burst with inward grief, which has been long pent up within you, some kind christian friend has called upon you, into whose ear you made bold to pour
your troubles, and found unspeakable relief. Yes, so it is : God, who sometimes takes away our dear friends, when we fancy we cannot do without them, loves also to supply them when it is really for our good. Oh, let us in both cases feel submission and thankfulness, and be ready to say, "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: blessed be the name of the Lord !”
2. We may learn too, from this part of Ruth's history, what a happy thing it is to put ourselves under the shelter of God's care.
Ruth, when she started from Moab with Naomi, had a sorrowful journey before her. And when they arrived at Bethlehem, melancholy indeed were their prospects.
But God had good things in store for them. arranging everything for their coming happiness. When Ruth went out to
glean, we read that “ her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz.” It happened so; but who brought it about ? who ordered it ? who guided her steps to that part of the barley-field ? It was God,“ under whose wings she had come to trust.” And if we are anxious to get happily through this world, and to be kept in safety, let us not seek to walk alone; but let us place ourselves in God's hand, and keep close by His side. Let us pray, “ Send out thy light and thy truth ; let them lead me,"
“ Guide me, O thou, great Jehovah,
What a difference, to be fighting one's way through this world, beset with dangers on every side, with no