Extending God’s Kindness
Today, you can make the invisible God visible.
When Ruth set out for the fields to glean, she never could have known just how wonderful God’s provision would be. She had already taken refuge in God, but through Boaz she discovered that the Lord was able to do far more abundantly than all that she could have asked or thought.
As God established His covenant with Israel, He revealed His own kindness as one who “executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing” (Deuteronomy 10:18). He gave His law to His people not to make them legalists but to have them display His character and bring glory to His name through their obedience. Part of that law created a framework to provide for those in difficult circumstances.
As Boaz obeyed the law’s instruction by extending his invitation to Ruth to come and eat (Ruth 2:14), he did so graciously. He had received God’s kindness, and he realized that he could in turn share it with others. He put literal hands and feet to obeying God’s commands—and Ruth further discovered God’s heart as a result. Further, Boaz’s graciousness was paired with generosity: he not only invited Ruth to feast but also offered her a seat among his harvesters. He encouraged her to eat her fill. He allowed her to take from the best sheaves of grain, not just the leftovers. Despite her social and racial differences, he didn’t alienate or hold her at arm’s length. Quite the reverse: Boaz went beyond what God’s law had laid down.
This is but a glimpse of the welcome God extends to us through Christ as He invites us to His heavenly table. And this is the offer that all of us as Christians should embody. If somebody—be they widowed, poor, hurting, or bitter—enters a church gathering or a Christian home, there ought to be a sense of faithful acceptance because of how God’s people embody His covenant care.
By the end of the day, Ruth was overwhelmed with the favor Boaz kept extending. When she returned home with her plentiful provision, Naomi rejoiced over the generosity, describing it with the word checed—the continual loving kindness and merciful provision of God. Boaz’s checed caused Ruth’s and Naomi’s hearts to worship the God who abounds in checed (Exodus 34:6-7).
Boaz’s kindness overflowed from the gracious, generous, and continual kindness he had received from God. As fellow recipients of the Lord’s care, when we extend such kindness to others, they too may come to know Him. The invisible God becomes visible to every generation through the compassion of His people. To whom will you extend gracious, generous, unexpected kindness today?
14And at mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over. 15When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”
17So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah2 of barley. 18And she took it up and went into the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also brought out and gave her what food she had left over after being satisfied. 19And her mother-in-law said to her, “Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.” So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, “The man's name with whom I worked today is Boaz.” 20And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Naomi also said to her, “The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.” 21And Ruth the Moabite said, “Besides, he said to me, ‘You shall keep close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.’” 22And Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, lest in another field you be assaulted.” 23So she kept close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests. And she lived with her mother-in-law.
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