Sowing and Reaping in the Life of Ruth

Previously we saw the negative example of sowing and reaping in the life of David. The life of Ruth is a positive example of this biblical principle.

The whole story of the book of Ruth is worth reading. It is only four chapters long and would only take you about 20 minutes to read it. If you are not familiar with the story you are welcome to step away from the computer for a bit and get caught up. I promise, I will wait for you. If you prefer to read it online, one of my favorite sites for reading Bible texts is BibleGateway.

Ruth and Naomi

Though Naomi and her family were Israelites, they were living in the country of Moab. Ruth married one of Naomi’s sons. Later Naomi’s husband and two sons died while they were still in Moab. This left Naomi in a foreign land with two daughters-in-law and no extended family support. She decided to return home to Israel.

Naomi announced to her daughters-in-law that she would go back to Israel and that they should return to their families. But Ruth said to Naomi that she would rather go to Israel to be with Naomi. In the way she worded her request to stay with Naomi, and through many other evidences in the book of Ruth, I believe that Ruth had a passion to know the God of Israel. To Naomi she said, “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.” (Ruth 1:16, 17)

After hearing these words, how could Naomi refuse to let the young Ruth travel back to Israel with her?

Ruth Reaping Grain

Ruth and the Harvesters

Ruth knew that God’s law had said that when a field was harvested the corners should be left for the poor and for strangers (Leviticus 19:9, 10). Ruth told her mother-in-law that she would go to the harvest field and gather grain (Ruth 2:2). Several things in the text like this indicate that Ruth was probably a student of Hebrew culture and law.

Even though she had every right to be there gathering from the corners of the field, Ruth was not presumptuous. She asked the workers of the field for permission to gather grain (Ruth 2:7).

Ruth and Boaz

While speaking to the workers of the field, she met the owner. His name was Boaz. He was very kind to her and told her not to go to any other field to harvest grain. She was welcome to stay in Boaz’ fields. He also invited her to drink from the water that his workers had available. Boaz commanded that his workers treat her kindly and not to harm her in any way.

Boaz, before the inevitable romance began, was more than kind and generous to Ruth.

The Harvest

It hath 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.

—Ruth 2:11, 12

Ruth fell to her face and thanked Boaz for his kindness. She then asked why he was so gracious to her. She was a stranger from another country. He had no obligation to her other than to fulfill the law (Ruth 2:10).

And this is where the law of the harvest comes in. Ruth reaped what she had sown, more than she had sown, later than she had sown and in proportion to what she had sown.

We find out later in the story that Boaz is related to Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law. Because of this, Boaz knew that Ruth had abandoned her homeland so that she could care for Naomi. Ruth had sown kindness and care to Naomi. Beyond that, Boaz said, he knew that she had trusted in the God of Israel (Ruth 2:12).

Boaz said that God was rewarding Ruth for everything that she had done in showing kindness to her mother-in-law.

Then Boaz invited her to eat with the workers. She sat with the reapers and ate their food. She had already been given water to drink. Boaz commanded the workers to allow her to work in the main part of the field to gather some of the best grain. The workers were even told to do the hard work of the harvest and allow some to “accidently” fall so that Ruth wouldn’t have to work so hard (Ruth 2:16).

In the end Ruth and Boaz fall in love (who didn’t see that coming?). Ruth, a woman brought to Israel from another country, became the great grandmother of King David. God blessed this young lady who had sown kindness and faithfulness in the small way that she could by making her an ancestor to the Lion of the Tribe of Judah—Jesus Christ.

[Illustration image is part of a Bible story pack from FreeBibleImages.]

Sowing and Reaping in the Life of David

Farmer harvesting with horses.

Recently I preached about the concept of sowing and reaping in our church. This is the basic theme of my Sunday morning preaching for the next couple of weeks.

As mentioned before, the law of the harvest can be summarized in these four statements:

  • You reap what you sow.
  • You reap more than you sow.
  • You reap later than you sow.
  • You reap in proportion to what you sow.

Today we looked at David’s sin against Uriah and Bathsheba. We saw how David experienced the law of sowing and reaping in the life of his family.

Quick Summary

David, Bathsheba and Uriah

You would be well served to read the whole story contained in 2 Samuel 11-12, but here is a quick summary.

King David sent his troops to war. He stayed home and committed adultery with Bathsheba, who was the wife of one of his mighty men of valor named Uriah. When Bathsheba found out she was pregnant with the king’s child, she sent a message to him to let him know. King David was distraught that his sin would be found out, so he put into motion a plan that he hoped would cover his wrong actions.

David called Uriah from the battlefield to give the soldier an opportunity to spend time with his wife. Then people would assume that the baby was his. But Uriah could not bring himself to go home to his wife when his friends were fighting on the battlefield. He slept at the king’s door.

When David discovered this he called Uriah back to him. David caused Uriah to get drunk and then sent him home again to be with his wife. Uriah still refused to go home.

David then sent a message back to Joab, the captain of the army, instructing that Joab put Uriah at the front of the hottest battle and then pull the troops back so that Uriah would fight alone and be killed. Imagine Joab’s surprise when he read the letter from David which was delivered by Uriah! Yet, Joab obeyed and he later sent a message back to David that the deed was done—Uriah was dead.

Pleased that he would be able to hide his sin, David then took Bathsheba to be his wife. Yet 2 Samuel 11:27 says, “…the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.”

Nathan’s Story

Picture of a white lamb.God sent Nathan the prophet to tell a story to David. Though David may have liked a good story on occasion and probably used to enjoy the company of the prophet, he assuredly felt awkward as Nathan told him the story of two men, a traveler and a lamb. David thought he had hidden his sin. We know that this story was told to David after the baby was born. So at least 9 months had passed from his initial sin until he was confronted by Nathan. The Bible does not say how much time passed, but it could have been more than a year that David had been living with his guilt.

Nathan told the story of a rich man who had many sheep and a poor man with only one lamb. This lamb was a family pet. A traveler came to the house of the rich man. The rich man seemed to have no guilt in taking the poor man’s lamb from the family and butchering it for a feast.

David was livid. He could not understand why a man with many sheep would take the lamb of a poor man who only owned one. Worse yet was that the poor man’s family loved this sheep as one of their own family members. David declared that the rich man needed to pay back four times the number of sheep he stole. And then, after restoring four times the number of sheep taken, David declared this man was worthy of death! (2 Samuel 12:5, 6)

With David’s righteous indignation hanging in the air between him and the prophet, Nathan delivered the judgment to David that the king was the rich man guilty of slaying the beloved lamb. The truth of David’s sin and the fact that he had not hidden it like he had hoped, came crashing down on him. God knew that David had stolen someone else’s bride even though he had many wives of his own.

The Harvest

There would be consequences for the sins of David. He was forgiven. God was merciful. But there would still be consequences. A person may sin in a way that causes physical damage. God can forgive the person, but that does not mean they will be wholly restored. This happened in the life of David. He was forgiven, but still suffered consequences for his actions.

Death of the Child

Nathan told David that God would be merciful on him and that David would not die. But there would be consequences in the life of the king and his family. One of which was that the newly born child would die.

Nathan left from speaking with the king and the child became ill. The king’s son was sick for a week until he died. David had fasted and prayed for the life of the child. Though David had been forgiven by God, there were still devastating results because of his sin.

This section of the story contains the comforting words of David that he knew he would see his child again. David knew that the child would not be raised from the dead, but that David would one day go to where the child is—in the comfort of Heaven. Anyone who has lost a child can take solace in these inspired words that God will not hold a young child or baby accountable for their sins. God will whisk them to Heaven to be reunited with their parents again. (2 Samuel 12:18-23)

Beyond the death of the child, God said that David’s sin would result in public consequences. People would know of the sin of David. There would be war. The people of Israel would have no rest. David’s wives would be taken. Evil would come from within the house of David.

This is where David reaped what he had sown. Even though he was forgiven, he could not turn back the law of sowing and reaping.

Amnon

One of David’s sons named Amnon was in love with his own sister. Her name was Tamar. Amnon devised a plan and ultimately raped his sister. (2 Samuel 13:1-21)

Absalom

Absalom, another of David’s sons, killed Amnon for his sin (2 Samuel 13:22-33). But Absalom did not stop there. He publicly went into the wives of David and committed adultery with them. (2 Samuel 16:20-22)

The adultery, lying and murder that David committed carried consequences. The sowing of the king resulted in a harvest. David’s children mimicked the behavior of their father.

This is not to say that all children will be wicked because their parents are wicked. However, it is true that our children learn much of their behavior from their parents. We know that Solomon was a good man and a good king. Yet he was born and grew up in the house of a changed man. David was not the same father to Solomon that he had been with his older children. I believe David learned from his mistakes.

You also are not condemned to act out the harvest of your parents. You and I have a choice to allow the Holy Spirit to take control of our life and sow a good harvest. With the Holy Spirit’s guidance we can sow well and reap a wonderful, godly harvest.