Moving to a new place, starting a new job, changing schools, hoping you get picked to be on someone’s team; all these situations can be uncomfortable because you don’t know if you will be accepted or not.
We all have a desire to be accepted, don’t we? In fact, that desire made it into Maslow’s well-known hierarchy of needs. He theorized that acceptance is basic to our nature and to our psychological health.
Ruth had the same need as we do. She was a Moabite living in Bethlehem who we meet in The Story. She ended up there with her mother-in-law, Naomi, when her husband died. And she found herself picking up the leftovers after the harvest in a field owned by Boaz.
Boaz discovered she was an outsider—a Moabite—the same people who would oppress his nation for eighteen years. You’d expect fireworks when they met. Instead, Boaz tells Ruth, “May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”
His acceptance of Ruth goes a step further. Ruth finds him asleep on the threshing floor and lies down at his feet. When he awakens, Ruth asks him to “spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a family guardian.” The word for “garment” is the same Hebrew word for “wings” in the blessing Boaz had pronounced over Ruth. God’s acceptance came to Ruth through Boaz.
Your acceptance did too. You see, Boaz and Ruth had a son named Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David. In Matthew’s genealogy the lineage of Jesus is traced through David. Boaz is there too along with his mother, Rahab (Matt. 1:5). Yes, that Rahab. The prostitute that lived in Canaan and sheltered the two spies Joshua sent into the land. You see, God’s desire is to unite unacceptable people like you and me to Himself, and He has done it through a long line of unacceptable people (at least they are unacceptable in the world’s eyes, but never through God’s eyes.)
“God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”