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Gleaning from the Word of God

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When reading the Bible, have you ever skipped over a verse, because it just didn’t make any sense? ๐Ÿคจ

The footnotes or cross-references don’t lend a whole lot more help in deciphering its meaning, so you just keep reading, figuring that it must not be important.

The word “glean” in Ruth 2:2 had been lost on me for many years.

โ€œNow Naomi had a relative of her husband’s, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, ‘Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.’ And she said to her, ‘Go, my daughter.’โ€
Ruth 2:1-2, ESV

From reading these verses, I assumed that it meant that Ruth would walk behind the other workers and pick up anything they dropped to keep for herself and Naomi.

To me, it always seemed dishonest.

Though the definition is correct, I had missed out on something incredibly important in the way that God cares for His people.

Leviticus 19:9-10, NIV, tells of God’s law given to Moses, that the whole assembly of Israel should “not reap to the very edges of the field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner.”

God created a law for His people in the wilderness, as a way to provide for those who are unable to provide for themselves. He did this knowing that one day, Ruth (a foreigner) and Naomi would arrive in Bethlehem, widowed and without the covering of a male, but with the provision of Ruth’s “gleaning”.

It blows me away of just how faithful He is, even when we have come to the end of our rope, and when the outlook seems bleak. He is faithful to provide.

Gleaning from the Word of God

God makes a way for us today as well.

Maybe we don’t find ourselves in quite the same circumstances as Ruth and Naomi, desperate for food to feed our hungry bellies, but our spiritual bellies ache just as much.

Our eyes dart back and forth, looking for solutions to feel closer to God, to fix our faith and make it stronger. So we scratch and scrape for ways to better understand what we read in His Word.

But what if instead, we accept a modern “Ruth approach” to satisfy our spiritual bellies?

โ€œWe have forgotten that we read the Bible as foreigners, as visitors who have traveled not only to a new geography but a new century.  We are literary tourists who are deeply in need of a guide.โ€

Gary M. Burge

Let us glean from the nuggets of truth that have been dropped by others that have gone before us in the journey of faith. Let us glean from their learning, picking up what is left to those foreign to God, as the perfect ingredient for our own exploration of Scripture through its context and nourishment for our souls!

Two of our favorite teachers to glean from at Intentional Filling, who help guide us in seeing Scripture through a new lens and its context, include:

Kristi McLelland
Lois Tverberg

Looking for more resources to glean from? Get a copy of our ever-growing list!

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