There is a beautiful principle found in the first three verses of the book of Ruth, the principle of the Hap. Let me explain.
Ruth and Naomi land in Bethlehem, but completely at the mercy of society. As widowed women, they didn’t have much going for them, and Ruth was a pagan to add insult to injury.
The law provided a type of ancient welfare system where the owners of fields had to leave the corners unharvested. This would allow the poor to go work for themselves, but have opportunity to eat.
And so in verse 2, Ruth heads out to work.
“And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.” Ruth 2:2
And verse 3 explains whose field she landed in.
“And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.” Ruth 2:3
Notice the language, “her hap was to light on a part of the field...” In our modern language, we would say something like, “I happened upon...”, “or by chance...”
But I would like to point out in that in God’s plan, nothing happens by chance. This is another wonderful example of a Sovereign God moving the pieces as he sees fit. We today would call it the providence of God.
Let me explain from my own life. When I surrendered to Bible college, my pastor JUST HAPPENED to recommend a particular school located in Indiana. When I arrived on campus, I JUST HAPPENED to be put on kitchen duty for my work scholarship. The cook JUST HAPPENED to have a smoking hot granddaughter who JUST HAPPENED to have surrendered to be a missionary to Canada and JUST HAPPENED to be just enough Canadian (1/4) that we would get citizenship.
During my Master’s work, an Evangelist who JUST HAPPENED to have come back from Nova Scotia JUST HAPPENED to be doing meetings at the church where I trained at. He JUST HAPPENED to mention to my pastor that a little church he knew of in Nova Scotia needed a pastor. And the rest, as they say is history.
So you ask what’s the point?
I can look back on my life, and clearly see in hindsight the hand of God moving and working in my life. I didn’t know it then, but I know it now.
God doesn’t make mistakes, and often times we complain about the lot that God has given us, when in fact it was orchestrated by Him.
Naomi and Ruth didn’t know it at the time, but God was working things out so that Ruth would meet Boaz, the Kinsmen Redeemer. Though their union would come King David, and eventually Christ.
Paul puts it this way, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Friends, what’s your hap today?
Ryan King is pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Westville.