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Friday, March 29, 2019

Evening Devotion: Loving Grace

There she was, a young Moabite woman refusing to go back to her  people and their gods. Instead, insisting to be with her mother-in-law Naomi, who had come to Moab from Bethlehem in Judah with her husband Elimelech and their two sons Mahlon and Chilion, because of famine in the land.

While living in Moab, Naomi's husband and two sons died.  Ruth was the wife of Mahlon and Orpah was the wife of Chilion.

Having heard that the Lord had provided aid for His people at home, Naomi prepared to return to Bethlehem with her two daughters-in-law, but she later urged them to return to their families. Orpah did, but Ruth said, "Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me." (Ruth 1:16-17)

So, they came to Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.  Ruth went out and gleaned in a field belonging to Boaz, who greeted his workers with "The Lord be with you" and they replied, "The Lord bless you." What a beautiful display of mutual love and rapport.between them!

Christians are workers in God's field, fellow laborers in His kingdom. More than servants, we are his friends. He equips, He guides, and He blesses the work of our hands. We can do nothing without Him. To Him, be glory, honor and praise—Bless the Lord, the One who owns our lives!

Upon seeing Ruth, Boaz inquired whose damsel she was. The servant who was set over the reapers answered him that she was the young Moabite woman who came back from Moab with Naomi.

Boaz talked to Ruth and told her to stay in his field, not to go to another and that he had charged the young men not to touch her. He said to work with the maidens in the field and to drink from the vessels of water when she became thirsty. Ruth was amazed at his generous hospitality towards her, a foreigner. She asked him why she had found grace in his eyes and he told her that he had full knowledge of her loyalty and the kindness she had shown to her mother-in-law and of her willingness to leave her own family and native land to come to a people she didn't know before..

At mealtime, Boaz invited Ruth to eat of the bread and to dip her morsel in the vinegar. As she sat with the reapers, he reached her parched corn and she ate and was satisfied with some left over. As she got up to glean in the field, he commanded the young men not to reproach her. He also commanded them to let some handfuls fall on purpose so that she could have them to glean.

In the evening, she related the day's events to Naomi who asked about where she had worked and who had been so generous. She then tells Ruth that Boaz is a close relative, a next kinsman.

Ruth gleaned until the end of barley harvest and wheat harvest. The barley harvest occurs in March-April; Nisan on the Jewish calendar and the wheat harvest in May-June; Sivan on the Jewish calendar. In Judaism, the Passover festival commemorates God's deliverance of His people from bondage in Egypt and is associated with the barley harvest. The Pentecost festival (also known as Feast of Weeks) is a celebration of the first-fruits of the wheat harvest with wave offerings and sacrifices to God. (Later came to commemorate the giving of the law to Moses by God on Mount Sinai.) All significant to the Christian faith in that Christ became the Passover Lamb and Jesus told His disciples to tarry in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father—The Holy Spirit descended on them and filled them on the Day of Pentecost. They were empowered to go out and preach the gospel with power, themselves being transformed. And to this day, the Great Commission continues.

Boaz eventually acquired all that was Elimelech's and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's from the hand of Naomi. He married Ruth who conceived and bore a son Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David, from whose lineage came the Son of God.

Bless Jesus, our faithful Redeemer and gracious Lord forever and ever! The One who brought us into the fold; the One whose steadfast love never ceases; whose mercies never end. The One who is kind and tenderhearted and protective of His sheep. The One who is still calling people from every nation and tongue into His kingdom. The One who makes Himself known in every generation and season of our lives. The One who draws near to the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. The One who intercedes for us. The One who gives us power. The One whose church is His bride. The One who is worthy to be praised, from the rising of the sun to its going down.  Amen.

A Walk In The Garden Devotions
Hope & Encouragement for Life's Journey


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