When Naomi heard . . . that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home.
— Ruth 1:6
Ruth and Naomi’s story begins with sadness and hunger, and it ends with fulfillment and joy.
After Naomi’s husband and her sons died, she heard that God was again providing food (literally lehem, which means bread) in Bethlehem, which means “house of bread” (see Ruth 1).
When Ruth and Naomi returned to Bethlehem, God provided for them at every stage of the bread-making process—in the field as Ruth picked up leftover grain; at mealtime during the workday when the harvesters ate roasted barley; and at the end of the season at the threshing floor.
In this story, all kinds of references to the abundance of grain and bread show fulfillment by the Lord’s hand. Ruth was permitted to glean with the crew and to bring home a basket brimming with grain. At mealtime, Ruth ate until she was satisfied, and she even had some left over. Ruth also harvested grain throughout the season, after which she approached Boaz to help her (Ruth 3). And many of the signs of fulfillment are not only in Boaz’s words but also in his gestures of kindness and provision.
Many years later, Jesus, a descendent of Ruth and Boaz, was born in Bethlehem. And he became the bread of life, the greatest fulfillment of all time.
God our Father, your ways surprise and delight. Thank you for our daily bread. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.