How did Naomi find out in Moab that the famine was over in Judah? The text says “she heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them (Ruth 1:6). Who told her? The point in the story is not how she heard; the point is that she heard. The Lord made sure she knew.
The Bible tells us Naomi and Ruth arrive back in Bethlehem just as the harvest was beginning (Ruth 1:22). What a coincidence!
Ruth went to glean in a field and, wouldn’t you know it! “As it turned out,” the text says, “she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz” (Ruth 2:3). What a stroke of good luck!
“Just then,” it says in verse 4, “Boaz arrived!” Right at that very moment! Just then! What do you know? Boaz showed up! What are the odds?
It would take a couple of pages to explain the original Hebrew language here and the funny piling on of adjectives and adverbs at this part of the story. But the author is going out of his or her way to say, “This ain’t luck!” Somebody’s moving behind the scenes.
Four years ago, a young man named David proposed marriage to our middle daughter, Valerie. Several of Valerie and David’s friends were in on it for a couple of weeks before it happened. Family members were in on it. Valerie didn’t know. But that evening, somehow, Valerie just happened to be wearing a nice dress and David just coincidentally had the day off from work and incredibly they both wound up in the same friend’s backyard at the exact time and, wouldn’t you know, somebody was in the bushes taking pictures!
That didn’t just happen.
God is always moving the pieces into place and working out the timing and the details of his magnificent plans for your life. It’s a lot easier to see these things looking back than it is in the present. But the good things that happen to you are not by chance. They’re not the random events of a complex universe that sometimes produces an interesting coincidence. When you belong to God in Christ, what happens to you is by appointment, not accident.
It if were just up to us, we wouldn’t make it. None of us would. When Ruth walked into that field that day, she had no idea that she would marry the landowner and their great-great-grandson would be David, the King of Israel, and through him God would send his promised Savior of the World. She never could have asked or imagined any of that. She didn’t know. But the Lord did. He was working. Mostly behind the scenes. But he was, and is, always working.