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Day 3: Lovingkindness

‘And 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.” 

Ruth 2:20 (ESV)

‘Then the Lord passed by in front of him, and proclaimed, “The Lord , the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth (faithfulness); keeping mercy and lovingkindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin; but He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, ” ‘

Exodus 34:6-7 (AMP)

So much has happened between that bitter arrival and this verse in which Naomi is bringing to mind the faithful character of God. Let’s go back to the beginning – how did she find herself in Bethlehem? Naomi “heard in Moab how the Lord had taken care of His people [of Judah] in giving them food.” Ruth 1:6 (AMP) So, she decides it’s time to return to Bethlehem, whose name means house of bread. And it just so happens that she arrives at the beginning of the barley harvest.

Have you ever wondered how you arrived at some place? I have had these moments many times. I remember one time vividly. That first day of college, I felt certain that I was meant to be there. Standing under the rustling leaves of a great live oak, I recalled the rustling of fruit trees over the head of a little girl who never imagined going so far. That part of my story will always remind me of how the Lord carries each of us in his hands. My present — and even future — are intertwined with grace. This is how I imagine Ruth felt, I am here and I am not sure how but I am glad. 

Then we see that the Lord is at work in the life of Ruth a Moabite who has had a complete conversion. She even remembers the law of the Lord that has made provision for her to be able to glean for her food as a foreigner. It just so happens  (2:3) she goes to glean in the field of Boaz where she is blessed and cared for but not only that, Boaz is also a close relative.  

Were these just happenstances? No, these were strategic and orchestrated steps of provision because of the God who is full of Lovingkindness. 

This word lovingkindness is “hesed” in Hebrew and it is used almost exclusively to depict God’s love for his people. It is a covenant love, the same love that permeates our God and is available to us his children. I love this quote by Sinclair Ferguson,“Hesed is one of the big words in the Old Testament scriptures. It appears around 250 times and dominantly with reference to God himself. He is a God of lovingkindness. When God revealed himself to Moses, he said he was a God full of Hesed (Ex 34:6) not simply love or kindness in an ordinary sense, it means God’s deep goodness expressed in his covenant commitment. His absolute loyalty is obligating himself to bring to fruition the blessings that he has promised whatever it may cost him personally to do that.” 

Do you feel your shoulders fall back into place? What a relief He is so full of Hesed. Did reading about these moments remind you of one in your own life? Make sure to take the time to write them down and thank the Lord for the way he has demonstrated his lovingkindness to you. Remembering his character and his faithfulness towards you will help you move forward through any difficult time. 

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