RUTH 3: A riskful providence

Ruth 3:1-18

Ruth 3:6-13 – So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down. At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” 10 And he said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. 11 And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman. 12 And now it is true that I am a redeemer. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I. 13 Remain tonight, and in the morning, if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the Lord lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.”


One day, there was an ad in a local newspaper. Let me read it for you. “Single Blond Female seeks male companionship, ethnicity unimportant. I’m a very good-looking girl who loves to play. I love long walks in the woods, riding in your pickup truck, hunting, camping, and fishing trips, cozy winter nights lying by the fire. Candlelight dinner will have me eating out of your hand. Rub me the right way and watch me respond. I’ll be at the front door when you get home from work, wearing only what nature gave me. Kiss me and I’m yours. Call (404) 875-6420 and ask for Daisy.” Over 15,000 men called the number expecting to find a sexy girl, not realizing the ad is for an 8-week-old blond Labrador Retriever. One article comment, “Men are so easy… if we pay attention to their wants and needs.” Well, men may be easy, but a good man is hard to find. One of the things that break my heart is how we have more God-fearing women than men in the church. Just look around you. We have more women than men in this room. And I did a little survey online as well. Just in the last month, about 60% of our Spotify listeners are women. And on YouTube, about 75% of our viewers are women. So, we have more women who are excited about growing in the gospel than men. And that ought to change. One of my deepest desire is not only to see more Ruth but also more Boaz in this church. The church needs more Boaz. Amen, ladies?

Naomi knows a good man when she sees one. And like many mothers out there, she is not going to let this man go. She is determined to set up her daughter-in-law with this good man. It reminds me of one old story I heard before. One day, a church appointed a new young single minister to be its’ pastor. And as soon as the announcement made, every mother with a single daughter made their daughter joined the choir group. The choir group was known as the band of ‘hopefuls.’ It is filled with hopeful single women with even more hopeful mothers. That is why we do not have a choir group in RSI. But that’s the kind of feeling we get from this chapter. Naomi the matchmaker. But before we go there, let’s be sure what the book of Ruth is all about.

The book of Ruth is not primarily a book of romance. Yes, there is romance in the story as we are about to see, but it is first and foremost a story of God’s providence. What is providence? This is how John Piper describes it. “The providence of God is his purposeful sovereignty by which he will be completely successful in the achievement of his ultimate goal for the universe. God’s providence carries his plans into action, guides all things toward his ultimate goal, and leads to the final consummation.” And the two words that sum up providence is purposeful sovereignty. It means that for Christians, nothing happens by chance. The God of the universe knows the fears of our hearts, the events of our lives and the details of our futures. Everything in life happens under the sovereign purpose of God. And that includes every decision we make. Let me give you my other definition of providence. It is slightly different from the one I gave last week. Providence is the hidden hand of God that directs all our decisions toward his ultimate goal for our lives. We might not be able to see it, but God is always directing us from behind the scenes. He is directing our story to its ultimate consummation which will turn out for our good and bring glory to his name. So, the story of Ruth is a living illustration of God’s providence. Let’s recap what happened in chapter 1 and 2.

Previously in the book Ruth, there was a famine in Bethlehem and Elimelech’s family migrated to the land of Moab. And when they got to Moab, his two sons married Moabite women named Orpah and Ruth. Then Elimelech and the two sons died unexpectedly. So, Naomi was left alone in a foreign land with two Moabite daughters-in-law. Then she heard that there was food in Bethlehem and made her way back home. Orpah decided to stay in Moab but Ruth clung to her mother-in-law. She said, “Where you go, I’ll go. Where you stay, I’ll stay. Your people will be my people. Your God will be my God. Where you die, I’ll die.” So, they went back to Bethlehem broke and starving. That’s chapter 1.

And in chapter 2, Ruth went out into the fields to find food for both Ruth and Naomi. And she just happened to find herself in the fields of Boaz. And Boaz just happened to come to the field. And Ruth just happened to catch Boaz’ attention. There were lots of just happened. So, Boaz and Ruth had their all-you-can-eat bread date, and Ruth went home with tons of food. Naomi was shocked and discovered that the man could potentially be their knight in shining armour. Naomi told Ruth to stay in Boaz’s field and joined the hopefuls choir group. And Ruth came back every evening with tons of food. So, the problem of food was taken care of. However, there was another problem, and that was the problem of security and family. They needed someone to protect them and continue the family line. And Naomi waited for three months and nothing happened between Boaz and Ruth. To which we said, “Boaz, what are you doing? What kind of man are you without Ruth anyway?” And the answer is, “You are Ruth-less.” For some of you, that’s all you remember from last week sermon. And in chapter 3, Naomi had enough. She decided that it is time to act. And let me warn you. This chapter is one of the shadiest passages in the Bible. It is awkward. Because Naomi is about to crank up the temperature in this story. The American rapper, Nelly, sums this chapter very well when he says, “It’s getting hot in here.” So, if you feel a little uncomfortable with what happens in the story, that’s normal. But it’s in the Bible so I am going to preach it as it is.

I am going to separate this chapter into three parts. The plan; The outcome; The reversal.

The plan

Ruth 3:1-5 – Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you? Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.” And she replied, “All that you say I will do.”

Naomi is on fire. This is a very different Naomi from the one we encountered in chapter 1 and 2. Previously, Naomi was passive. She had lost all hope. She thought God had forgotten her and was against her. But what happened in the last few months began to change her mind. She started to put the puzzle together. What were the odd that Ruth happened to glean at Boaz’s field and received Boaz’s kindness and protection? She started to see the hidden hand of God working behind the scenes. And it changed her. Naomi the passive is now Naomi the active. Naomi the hopeless is now Naomi the hopeful. And she waited for a few months for things to develop between Boaz and Ruth. But nothing happened. So, she comes to Ruth and says, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you?” Translation – “Ruth, I need to find you a husband. You need to get married. And I think Boaz is the right man for you. He is our relative.” Why is being relative important? We’ll talk about that next week.

And apparently, Naomi knows Boaz’ schedules. Like all potential mother-in-law, she did her homework. She has stalked Boaz’s Instagram for the past few months, and she knows exactly where Boaz will be that night. And she is determined that tonight is the night. So, she tells Ruth her plan. “Ruth, I want you to take a bath, use a nice perfume, put on your best dress, and go see Boaz.” What’s happening here? Naomi is not saying, “Ruth, you smell bad, and you need to take a shower, so you smell better for Boaz.” That’s not what happened. In this culture, you dress differently when you are a widow and in a mourning period. What Naomi is saying to Ruth is, “Ruth, I want you to remove your mourning clothes and put on a nice dress that expresses to Boaz that you are now available for marriage.” Basically, Naomi tells Ruth to go to Boaz and tell him, “Hey Boaz, I am single and available. What do you think about marrying me?” This is literally what Naomi tells Ruth to do. I told you it is awkward. But Naomi is very smart. She tells Ruth to do it after Boaz has finished eating and drinking. Ruth must wait till Boaz is in a good mood after eating. You don’t want to throw a marriage proposal when the other person is hungry. And ladies, you must know this. Men are in a far better mood after they have had a nice meal.

But what Naomi says next is shocking. Ruth 3:4 – But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.” This is the kind of thing that makes the original audience blush. Uncovering someone’s feet and lie down next to the person have a sexual overtone. This is the kind of scene where if you watch the movie with your parents, you pretend you are not paying attention to it and play with your phone instead. It is very uncomfortable for the original audience. That is why Naomi says, “Ruth, make sure you observe carefully where Boaz lie down. Because it is going to be dark, and you don’t want to open the wrong leg. You don’t want to go, “Oops, wrong leg. Sorry.” That’s not going to be good. Make sure you do it with the right guy.” Here is a question. Girls, if you are Ruth, what are you going to do? Naomi’s plan is very risky. Ruth is to approach Boaz at night and asks him to marry her. It is very risky because Boaz could easily reject her. I mean, if we think a girl asking a guy to marry her is extreme today, it is even more so in that culture. It is unheard of. Boaz might feel uncomfortable about it and reject Ruth. Or another possibility is Boaz might take advantage of Ruth. Think about it. Guys, a single girl comes up to you in the middle of the night, opens your feet, whatever that means, lies next to you, and asks you to marry her. This is a very tempting situation. Boaz could have easily taken sexual advantage of Ruth. This situation could lead to trouble. But Ruth says, “All that you say I will do.” What a radical commitment and trust Ruth has in Naomi.

Here is the point. Naomi’s plan is very risky. There are two possible interpretations. First, Naomi is telling Ruth to seduce Boaz. Second, Naomi is inviting Boaz to act. I am inclined to believe that it is the second one. Either way, this plan is risky. But here is what I want you to see. Naomi is different now. She is no longer passive but active. And not only that, but Naomi actually planned all this for Ruth’s sake. Naomi no longer lived in her own world. Something changed inside of her. She started to see Ruth and care for her welfare. Why? What happened to Naomi that changed her? The answer is hope. Naomi begins to have hope because she started to see God’s providence in her life. She started to see that the sovereign God of the universe has not forsaken her. It created hope and that hope helps her dream. Naomi begins to dream about the future. Here is something that we need to understand about God’s sovereignty. Believing in God’s sovereignty does not lead to fatalism or passivity. Believing in God’s sovereignty gives hope and confidence to plan for the future. Some might say, “But if we do that, aren’t we trying to help God with our plan? Naomi is wrong in trying to help God.” But I would argue differently. Naomi is not trying to help God. Naomi acts because she has seen the hand of God working in her life. It is God’s work in her life that enables her to make a plan.

So, this is not the popular saying, “Do your best and let God do the rest.” I know it sounds wise, but that phrase is not entirely right. It conveys the idea that there is our part and there is God’s part. And as long as we do our part, God will take care of the rest. But that’s not how it works. It creates separation where there should be none. The Bible tells us that there should be no part of our lives where God is not involved. God is the one who is at work in enabling us to do our best in the first place. It is by acknowledging that God is always at work, that we can plan accordingly. Listen to this popular Bible verses that describe it very well. Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Making our paths straight, that’s providence. But before that, we are called to trust God, lean not on our own understanding, and acknowledge him in our planning and decision making. We are not free to make our own best plan outside of God and let God do the rest. It means that we have to know what God has written for us in the Bible and trust his written word. There is a place for planning and taking a risk in our walk with God. We do not know what will happen in the future. But we are to use the truth that we know from the Bible to make the best plan we can for the future and trust that God’s providence will lead us every step of the way. Let me put it this way. Providence is not our Bible; it is our journal. We don’t look to providence for guidance. We trust God and his words to be our guidance and his providence directs us as we do so. Let’s look at what happens next.

The outcome

Ruth 3:6-13 – So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down. At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” 10 And he said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. 11 And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman. 12 And now it is true that I am a redeemer. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I. 13 Remain tonight, and in the morning, if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the Lord lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.”

So, Boaz is in a good mood. After he finished eating and drinking, Boaz makes his way to his bed. While Ruth is watching carefully from a distance waiting for the right time. She needs to make sure that Boaz is asleep first. And when he is asleep, Ruth makes her way. She uncovers Boaz’s feet and lies down near Boaz. We do not know whether she lies down parallel or perpendicular to Boaz, but we know that this is very sexually provocative. Things could go very bad from here. And at midnight, Boaz wakes up and he is startled. That’s an understatement. Imagine if you are a single guy, and you go to bed alone and you wake up in the middle of the night and the first thing you see when you open your eyes is a girl staring at you. You would have a heart attack. You would say, “Father, forgive me for I have sinned against you. I have one drink too many.” Boaz is startled. And pay attention to what happens next.

Ruth 3:9 – He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” I love it. Remember how last week Boaz blesses Ruth for taking refuge under God’s wing? And how Boaz prays that God may repay her and give her the full reward for what she has done? So here Ruth is saying to Boaz, Boaz, don’t just pray that someone will protect me under his wings. Do the talk. Why don’t you be the answer to your own prayer? Be the means by which God will protect me. Put a ring on my finger and marry me.” Ruth is very straightforward. When I think of this scene, I am reminded of a story I heard recently. This couple had been dating for a while and the girl is waiting for the guy to pop the question. She gave lots of hints to the guy such as, “Did you know that so and so is getting married and they have only dated for a year? Oh, talking about dating, we have been dating for three years. Wow. Three years. Can you believe that we have been together for three years?” But guy being guy, he did not get the three years hint. Most guys are oblivious. Till finally, she said, “Put a ring on my finger or I’ll find someone else who will in a year.” Okay, that’s not exactly what she said but you get the point. But what Ruth asked of Boaz is even more extreme. It is very countercultural for her to do so. Think about it. A Moabite woman proposed to an Israelite man. A worker in the field proposed to the owner of the field. A younger person proposed to an older person. This is breaking all cultural expectation. By the way, this is not a lesson on how to do a marriage proposal. Ladies do not try this at home. That is not the point of the story. And guys, do not sneak into a random girl’s room in the middle of the night and stare at her until she wakes up and then proposes to her. You will go to jail. I promise. What the author is trying to do is to highlight the character of each individual in the story. Look at Boaz’s response.


Ruth 3:10-11 – 10 And he said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. 11 And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman. This is remarkable. I am sure there is an awkward silence between verse 9 and 10. Boaz probably needed some time to digest what he just heard. But what he says next is extremely kind. Boaz could have easily rejected Ruth. Or he could have easily taken advantage of Ruth. Remember the context. This happens in the days of Judges where every man does what is right in his own eyes. And not only that. Ruth is a Moabite. No one is going to blame Boaz for taking advantage of a Moabite woman. Especially if we consider the fact that it was Ruth who approached Boaz in the middle of the night. But Boaz is unlike most men. Boaz is a worthy man. So, Boaz says, “Ruth, may God bless you. You have shown a great act of kindness toward Naomi in sticking to her at such a cost to yourself. But this last kindness that you have just shown me is even greater. You could have gone after other younger men than I, but you have come to me for marriage. So, Ruth, do not fear. I accept your marriage proposal. I will do what you ask me to do. I will marry you. For everyone in Bethlehem knows that you are a worthy woman.”

Isn’t that amazing? Rather than taking advantage of Ruth, Boaz expresses warmth and kindness toward Ruth. He has no intention to take advantage of Ruth. And not only that, but Boaz also refers to Ruth as a worthy woman. This is the same expression that the author used to describe Boaz in chapter two. If Boaz is “gibbor hayil”, Ruth is “esset hayil.” This is the same expression that is used to describe Proverbs 31 woman. And if you know anything about Proverbs 31, it depicts the most ideal woman. And the author is telling us that if we want to know what a Proverbs 31 woman looks like, look at Ruth. That’s massive. It means that Ruth’s reputation has changed over the past few months. When she first came to Bethlehem, she was known as Ruth the Moabites. But now, everyone in Bethlehem knows that Ruth is a worthy woman. Think about it. Ruth has every reason to be bitter. Ruth lost her husband. She left her immediate family and land of birth. She is now a foreigner living in a foreign land, taking care of her mother-in-law. Ruth has every reason to be bitter, but she is not. Ruth is a worthy woman. She is a woman of character. People have seen Ruth’s devotion toward Naomi, and it changes their perspective on Ruth.

So now, we have a worthy man, and we have a worthy woman. And Boaz has accepted Ruth’s marriage proposal. Boaz is willing to pay the cost. I mean, we can hear the orchestra start playing in the background. We can almost see the groomsmen and the bridesmaid. We can see Ruth posts the picture on Instagram with #HeSaidYes. We can almost feel the happily ever after ending. But. Ruth 3:12 – And now it is true that I am a redeemer. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I. Just when we thought that things will finally work out, we have another setback. Apparently, there is another person who is more qualified to be Ruth’s redeemer than Boaz. And for Boaz to marry Ruth, he needs to talk to this other person first. Once again, the author is trying to highlight Boaz’s character. Boaz is determined to do what is right. He doesn’t say, “Well, who cares about the law? Why do we need to care about this other dude? We love one another and that’s what matters.” Boaz does not do that. Boaz chooses to do what is right over what feels right. But Boaz also does not ignore the problem but deals with it. He tells Ruth that she does not have to worry. Boaz will take care of the problem the next morning. Ruth will have a redeemer. Ruth will marry someone soon. But Ruth does not know who she will marry. She proposed to Boaz, but she might end up marrying this other dude instead. One way or the other, Ruth and Naomi will be taken care of. Boaz will see to it. And then Boaz tells Ruth to get some sleep. Amid the setting where it is very easy for things to go wrong, Boaz and Ruth demonstrate that they are a worthy person. Let’s continue with the story.

The reversal

Ruth 3:14-18 – 14 So she lay at his feet until the morning, but arose before one could recognize another. And he said, “Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.” 15 And he said, “Bring the garment you are wearing and hold it out.” So she held it, and he measured out six measures of barley and put it on her. Then she went into the city. 16 And when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “How did you fare, my daughter?” Then she told her all that the man had done for her, 17 saying, “These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said to me, ‘You must not go back empty-handed to your mother-in-law.’” 18 She replied, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest but will settle the matter today.”

I really doubt that they can sleep. Boaz is probably thinking, “A woman just proposed to me.” Ruth is probably thinking, “I know I am going to get married. But I am not sure who I will marry. Am I going to marry the man I proposed to? Or this other person?” But then before other people wake up, Ruth needs to leave. It will not be good if people find out that Ruth has been spending the night with Boaz. Even though they do not do anything, it is wise to avoid any suggestion of sexual misconduct. Boaz understands that if people see Ruth together with Boaz on the threshing floor at 5 AM, they are going to assume the worst. It will be a hot topic on Instagram. But before Ruth leaves, Boaz makes sure that she does not return home empty-handed. Boaz gives her 25 to 30 kgs worth of barley for her to carry home on her own. This is another hint that Ruth does work out a lot. So, Ruth makes her way home.

And now the scene shifts to Naomi. We can imagine how Naomi is anxious all night long. She does not know what happened between Boaz and Ruth. Ruth was not able to send a text message to let Naomi know that Boaz said yes. So as soon as she hears Ruth’s footsteps, she approaches Ruth and asks her a question. And there is a problem with translation here. ESV writes Naomi question as, “How did you fare, my daughter?” But this is not very accurate. In the Hebrew text, the question is awkward. It is weird. That is why different translations translate the question differently. What Naomi asks is literally, “Who are you, my daughter?” She is asking Ruth, “Are you still Ruth the Moabites? Or are you going to be his wife?” That’s the question. And Ruth tells everything that Boaz did for her. And pay attention to what Ruth says. There is an intentional play on words here.

Ruth 3:17 – saying, “These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said to me, ‘You must not go back empty-handed to your mother-in-law.Do you see what Boaz is saying? Do you remember what Naomi told everyone when she got back to Bethlehem? Naomi said she came back empty. She had nothing. God has taken away everything from her. But Naomi had no idea that in Bethlehem, God would provide food for Naomi. And not only enough food but an abundance of food. And God has used Ruth to provide food for Naomi. And maybe, just maybe, God will also provide protection and security for Naomi’s family line. The message that Boaz is trying to convey is, “Naomi, you might think you came back empty. But you are not empty Naomi. God has provided for you. And I promise that I will see to it that both you and Ruth will be taken care of.” And Boaz does not give empty promises. The 30 kgs of barley is a symbol of his commitment to take care of both Ruth and Naomi. What a man Boaz is. Single ladies, this is the kind of man you want to be with. But again, this is not a relationship series. Let’s move on. Naomi then tells Ruth that Boaz will not rest until the matter is settled today. And this is the last we heard from both Ruth and Naomi. They have done all they could. The rest is in Boaz’s hand and God’s hand. And that’s where we are going to stop today.

So, what can we learn from this chapter? I want to draw your attention to a particular Hebrew word that I introduced a while back. And that word is “chesed.” It is a word that is used to describe God’s love for his people. It means the loyal, unmoveable, unconditional, unchangeable, perfect love of God. It is the love that remains unshaken when everything else is shaken. Or if I can sum it up in two words, it is covenant love. There is no one English word that can communicate the weight of chesed. But chesed is not only a word that describes God’s love for us, but it is also used to describe the love of God that is expressed by one person to another person. And the word chesed appears in the book of Ruth a lot. It is sometimes translated as a favour, sometimes as kindness. For example, when Boaz treated Ruth gently and with favour in their first encounter, Boaz is said to expressed chesed toward Ruth. And in this chapter, when Boaz said that Ruth has expressed kindness toward him, the word being used is also chesed. So chesed or God’s covenant love is a very strong theme in the book of Ruth. And chesed is expressed not by one single character but all three main characters in the story. Naomi expressed chesed in her desire for the well-being of Ruth. Boaz expressed chesed in showing favour to Ruth. And Ruth expressed chesed in asking Boaz to be her redeemer. So, what we have is not only one single character with chesed, but each character in the story is expressing God’s covenant love.

This story is not your typical Hollywood love story where the good-looking guy meets a good-looking girl and fall in love. What we have is an old man, a Moabite widow, and a noisy mother-in-law. And we know nothing about their appearances. But we know a lot about their characters. Naomi risks everything in her family to put Ruth in that position. Ruth is risking her reputation and her future. Boaz is risking his reputation in declaring his desire to marry a Moabite woman. In this story, we see how each character risks everything for the sake of the other person. And they have no idea how things going to turn out. That is chesed. And ultimately, this story is not about Boaz, Ruth or Naomi. This story points to the real love story. This story is about God’s covenant love for his people. If Boaz, Ruth, and Naomi had to risk everything for the sake of their loved one, God did not just risk everything; he gave everything. God’s chesed is ultimately fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus did not only risk everything to love us; Jesus lost everything to love us. Jesus left the glory of heaven and came to earth. He who was equal with God became man. And yet he was rejected by men. At the cross, Jesus lost his good reputation. He who was blameless died as a criminal. Why? Because Jesus is the embodiment of God’s covenant love for his people. Through Jesus, God is saying, “I refuse to give up on you. I will get you back. I will restore you. You might think you are empty, but I am going to fill your cup with goodness and mercy. And your cup will overflow. And all you have to do is to put your faith in me.” God does not love us because we deserved to be loved; God loves us because his love is covenant love. Chesed is God’s covenant faithfulness to the undeserving.

Let me close with this. Do you know what happened to us if we have experienced God’s chesed? It frees us to risk our lives for the sake of others. God’s chesed frees us to care and serve others even when it will cost us everything. God’s chesed moves us to love the outcasts. We need to get this. The real evidence of chesed is not in how we treat the famous and rich but the marginalised and the outcast. Do we welcome the outsiders? Or are we too comfortable with people who are like us? It is easy to care for our friends who like us. But are we caring toward the outcasts and the marginalised? Boaz is a rich man, but he does not use his riches to increase his lifestyle but his generosity. What do we do with the resources God has entrusted in our hand? Are we increasing our lifestyle or generosity? Boaz welcomes the outcast, shelter the outcast, serve the outcast, and provide for the outcast. That is why he is called a worthy man. And I am not saying we should do that for everyone. Boaz didn’t help everyone. He did not sell all his belongings and gives them to the poor. Instead, he treats everyone with respect and kindness, and shows special favour to the one person in front of him who needs it most. It is impossible to show extreme generosity and kindness to every person, but we can do it for one. We can express generosity to the one person in front of us who needs it most. And listen. We do not express chesed because we have to. But because we know that we were the outcasts and yet God has shown his love us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. When we see what Christ has done for us, it fills our emptiness, and it changes us. When we see how committed Christ is toward us, it is what enables us to commit our lives for the sake of others. We are the recipient of God’s chesed and that is why we express chesed toward others. Let’s pray.

Discussion questions:

  1. In your own words, how would you define providence?
  2. Explain the changes in Naomi in this chapter. What does it teach us about the power of hope?
  3. Explain the relationship between planning and providence.
  4. Out of all the good characters of Ruth, what strikes you the most for her to be called “a worthy woman”?
  5.  What is the role of “chesed” in this story? How does it point to the ultimate chesed?
  6. Give examples of how to live out God’s chesed in our daily life.
No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.