Empowered by Grace

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Ruth, who found herself in an extremely vulnerable position before Boaz, understood her need before him. Hungry and desperate, she humbly approached this man – her kinsman-redeemer, this relative whom she hoped would save her and Naomi from their plight. 

Boaz saw Ruth, a Moabite – a foreigner, who’d spent the whole day picking up scraps behind his workers and whose story of faithfulness had preceded her arrival, and he offered her shelter, water, and food. He truly saw her. He saw her need, and he had the means to not only meet her need, but to exceed her wildest expectations. 

After acknowledging the astonishing favor she had received from Boaz, she says one of the most beautiful phrases in Scripture: “You have put me at ease by speaking kindly to your servant – though I do not have the standing of one of your servants.” The ESV says, “…you have comforted me.”

Just after this moment, Boaz invited her to sit with his harvesters and feast on bread, wine, and roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over. She was fully satisfied.

In the span of a day, Ruth (and by extension, Naomi) went from hunger to fullness, with leftovers. She went from a sense of unease to ease. She went from being a foreigner in new land to being seen and welcomed into refuge.

She was shown grace.

 Today, we buried my beloved Grandma Jackie. Over the last week, we have been inspired and challenged by the notes scrawled in cursive in her well worn Bibles and journals. In the front of all of her Bibles, she wrote this phrase, “Grace: God’s power enabling us to do what we ourselves are not able to do. Grace is an unearned blessing given by God to an unworthy recipient.”

Like Ruth before Boaz, my grandma intimately understood and experienced God’s kindness and grace. In her life – and in her death – she found favor in His eyes through Christ, and she was put at ease – comforted – by His kindness toward her. This poured out onto all who knew her, including me.

Romans 2:4 says, “…do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”

Boaz’ kindness toward Ruth – though generous – pales in comparison to God’s kindness toward us. His kindness leads us to repentance, and gives our hearts deep rest.

My grandma also constantly meditated on and wrote out Psalm 4, especially verse 8.

There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!”
You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 4:6-8

As we continue to study Ruth, may we be overcome by God’s kindness to us, as shown – albeit only in part – by Boaz to Ruth. May His kindness lead us to repentance, and as we more fully experience His peace and rest – as we are fully satisfied – may we extend His kindness to all we encounter, empowered by grace.