Favor and Provision
Only a heart that knows it is unworthy of grace will be appropriately amazed by receiving it.
Ruth was a hard worker. In many ways, as she gleaned for corn behind the workers in Boaz’s field, she exemplified the apostle Paul’s later exhortation to the Thessalonians: “Aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands … so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).
Despite being widowed in a foreign land with a widowed mother-in-law, Ruth did not sit around wallowing in self-pity and waiting for some dramatic intervention. Instead, she seized the opportunity at hand—to go into the fields to glean leftovers—in order to support herself and Naomi. She not only took responsibility to provide but also approached her task, which was filled with long hours and few breaks, with a strong, persistent work ethic (Ruth 2:7).
In all of these things, Ruth neither insisted on recognition nor felt she deserved favor. Instead of congratulating herself for her endeavors or taking credit for deciding to work in Boaz’s field, she considered her labors to be nothing more than her duty. Therefore, when Boaz favored and blessed her (Ruth 2:8-9), she responded with amazement and gratitude. She knew she was not entitled to anything from him, and so received it as a gift.
Humility and thankfulness sleep in the same bed. A thankless heart pairs with pride, but a humble heart will always be thankful.
Boaz’s favor and protection foreshadowed the eternal favor and protection that God offers us through Boaz’s greater descendant, Jesus Christ. Like Ruth, we too can be humbled as we see echoes of our eternal story in her story. As Boaz offers Ruth food and water (Ruth 2:9, 14), we may see their faces transform into the faces of another man and woman—Jesus and a woman at a well in Samaria, where the Son of God offered eternal water that would quench her spiritual thirst (John 4:1-45). Boaz satisfied Ruth’s physical needs that day; Christ satisfies our every need eternally. He is the Living Water and the Bread of Life for all of us.
“Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” This same question ought to be on our lips regularly: “Lord Jesus, why have I found favor in Your eyes, that You should love me, since I am a sinner?” The answer is simple: grace. No matter what we may do for our families, our churches, and our Lord, we are only and ever favored by God through sheer grace on His part. You have no other standing, and you need no other. Because of God’s gracious provision, you can sing, “On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.” Let your heart today sing with amazement at the grace you have received.
One in Christ
11Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,4 but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by5 the Spirit.
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