Chapter Seven: “Well, Bless His Strong and Wealthy Self” Ruth 2:18–23
How I love meeting with you each week! I may be alone in my writing study on Tuesday nights, tapping away at the keyboard, but I still feel connected to you, knowing you are doing the same—keeping up with your reading, making notes in the margins, answering each question, then sharing what you’ve discovered here. I can’t thank you enough for pressing on!
1. a. Matthew Henry wrote, “It is a good question for us to ask ourselves in the close of every day, Where have I gleaned to-day? What improvements have I made in knowledge and grace?” How might you put his good suggestion into practice each evening? And what might the benefits be?
Hmm. I’ve already got that end-the-day/start-the-day-with-a verse-of-Scripture plan going.
Now I’m wondering if I could use a journal to accomplish both things: meditating on a verse and jotting down what God has taught me that day?
Think I’ll order something like this journal with a Scripture on every page. Love the red too. And the verse on the cover is a good reminder for me to “think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
1. b. Arriving in Bethlehem exhausted, starving, and alone, Naomi and Ruth were famished at many levels. Make a shopping list, as it were, of all the things, practical and spiritual, these newcomers needed.
Their practical needs might be: olive oil; pomegranates, figs, honey, olives, grapes, raisins; several small lamps with flaxen wicks; pottery bowls; clay water jars; a straw broom to sweep the house; fresh tunics (or borrowed garments while they cleaned what they owned).
Their spiritual needs would surely include all the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). Ruth arrived in Bethlehem with her fruit well ripened. Naomi is a season behind her, but this is the chapter where Naomi is quickly catching up. Heartening to watch, isn’t it?
What does the Lord provide those who hunger and thirst, according to the following verses: Psalm 34:8; Matthew 5:6; John 4:14?
I’ve always been intrigued by the challenge, “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalms 34:8). It’s as if God is asking us to use all our senses to experience him. Like that old John Denver song that began, “You fill up my senses.” I believe God does precisely that—filling us up, especially when we gather to worship him.
During worship we can experience his presence visually through sacred art, audibly through music and words, orally through singing and perhaps responsive reading, tangibly through communion, and even olfactorily (that’s a word, right?) with scented candles, fragrant incense, or fresh flowers.
In a more spiritual sense, the Lord also fills us with his righteousness (Matthew 5:6), and quenches our thirst with his living water (John 4:14). In other words, he flat meets our needs.
2. a. With those two criteria of hesed in mind—it’s “essential to the survival or basic well-being of the recipient” and must be something that “only the person doing the act of hesed is in a position to provide—how does Ruth qualify as showing Naomi hesed?
Ruth’s care of Naomi practically defines hesed! Naomi needed food for her empty stomach, and Ruth’s daylong labor provided it. Naomi needed someone to look after her, and Ruth was not only willing but also eager to serve as her mother-in-law’s caregiver. In short, Naomi needed love, and Ruth showered her with affection—not just in words, but in deeds.
And what about Boaz in regard to Naomi and Ruth?
He too puts his loving-kindness into action, not only making sure that Ruth has sufficient food at lunch, but also guaranteeing there’s enough left to feed Naomi. He gives both women what they must have, and what only he, as a kinsman-redeemer, can provide: safety and security; hope and a future. With barley and wheat, Boaz proves the psalmist’s words can be trusted: “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
2. b. Again, with the above definition of hesed in mind, who in your life might benefit from your unique way of expressing loving-kindness, mercy, and grace? If you sense the Lord nudging you to act, how and when might you do so?
I’ve already shared in this chapter a very personal story about learning to genuinely love my mother-in-law. Obviously it was important that Mary Lee read (and approve!) what landed on pages 102-103 before the book went to print.
With trembling hands I presented her with those manuscript pages on Christmas Day 2011, assuring her, “You never did anything to make me feel less than accepted. It was my own insecurities that got in the way.”
As she began to read, I prayed like a madwoman. Help her understand, Lord. Please don’t let this ruin everything!
The papers in her hands began to tremble, and a tear slipped down her cheek. When she looked up, I saw compassion in her eyes, and not a hint of disappointment. “I felt the same way about my mother-in-law,” she confessed. “It’s perfectly natural to be anxious.”
Then we held hands, and smiled through our tears, and everything was like a Hallmark commercial—until my father-in-law strolled in, unaware of the tender scene unfolding at the kitchen table, and held out a clever gadget he’d found under the Christmas tree. “Look at this!”
Mary Lee and I squeezed each others’ hands. Then we looked. And we laughed.
3. a. Each of the following verses offers further insight into our Redeemer. Jot down what you learn from reading Isaiah 44:6, 44:24, and 48:17.
Interesting that each verse begins with the same statement—”This is what the Lord says”—so we can be sure this is not hearsay. This is he say!
Isaiah 44:6: He is the first and the last; apart from him there is no God. This verse is as comprehensive a description of the Lord as any I’ve ever read. He shuts out any pretenders to his throne. No false redeemers need apply.
Isaiah 44:24: He made everything, including us—the heavens, the earth, the whole of it. Again, it’s a magnificent summary of God’s power and dominion over his creation. Who better to redeem us than the one who made us?
Isaiah 48:17 He is our God, our teacher, and our guide. As such, he is the only one who understands all our needs and has the right to redeem us.
3. b. How do you know, absolutely, that your Redeemer lives (Job 19:25)?
When I was a young believer, a physician asked me this very question: “But how do you know that Jesus was raised from the dead?”
I blurted out an answer, trusting God to put the right words in my mouth. “I know that Christ is risen because he raised me from the dead. I was lost and now I’m found. I was blind and now I see. I was dead in my sin and now I’m alive in Christ!”
At the time I couldn’t have given him the chapters and verses for these facts, but I knew them to be true. Indeed they are:
“He was lost and is found.’“ (Luke 15:24)
“I was blind but now I see!” (John 9:25)
“Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:11)
On the days when doubts threaten to undermine your beliefs, how do you bolster your faith?
Those doubts don’t surface for long (thank you, Lord), but they do make the occasional appearance—usually when I feel emotionally beaten down by the world, or physically weary, or spiritually dry.
At those moments I remember the terrible state I was in when God rescued me. My lifestyle changes were so dramatic and undeniable, the focus of my life was so completely altered, that I cannot deny his resurrection power. I knew full well it wasn’t Lizzie getting her act together—it was God rebuilding Lizzie from the inside out.
God’s Word never fails to renew my faith. Perhaps you hold this passage close to your heart, as I do: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:15-16). Says it all, beloved.
3. c. Since Boaz is a type of Christ, giving us a glimpse of the Kinsman-Redeemer to come, in what ways does Jesus secure your inheritance?
Reading all these verses in a whoosh is rather breathtaking. From the time of Father Abraham and the covenant God made with him, our inheritance was secure. We are his children, and therefore his heirs, with a guarantee in writing of eternal life—not because of our goodness, but because of his mercy.
Finally, our heavenly inheritance “can never perish, spoil or fade” (1 Peter 1:4). No expiration date? That’s some kind of preservative.
And how does he preserve your name?
I love this promise the Lord offers us: “I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it” (Revelation 2:17). First, because it reminds me of a secret garden I discovered in New Zealand, where I found small rocks with names on them.
Turned out they were the names of the roses the gardener had planted there. (For a moment I’d thought I found Graham’s heavenly rock!)
I also love the thought of the name our Heavenly Father preserves for us being a new name, a personal name, and a private name. As if that isn’t enough, the Lord himself will place this name in our hands. Oh my.
Next week we’re on to chapter 8, as Naomi sends Ruth on a dangerous mission. Before we go, the question I would encourage you to answer in the Comments section of our online Bible Study Blog is this one: “How do you know, absolutely, that your Redeemer lives?”
Your sister, Liz
Oh Liz, you made me go back & reread those words about your MIL. Such a sweet reminder for me this morning- thank you!! I must make a phone call. I know my Redeemer lives because he shows me something new every day. If I study the Word and follow Christ, he sprinkles love notes on me. And then I just get a big, goofy smile on my face.
Yes, do make that phone call to your MIL, Sally. It will be life changing for both of you. And I can picture that big, goofy smile (or, I can look in the mirror!). Here’s to a day full of love notes.
Liz, several years ago I received a tear filled phone call from my former in-laws. They were asking for my forgiveness for their treatment of me when I was married to their son. We became friends that day and as the years passed until their deaths they would often tell everyone how proud they were of the way I raised their Grandchildren and even made sure their minister mentioned me by name at their funerals. God’s grace covered a multitude of sins.
What a beautiful testimony, Kathy. I can only imagine how difficult it was for them to make that phone call…and what a blessing it must have been to receive it! Also a real gift for your children, to have that relationship restored. Wonderful.
How I needed this today! Life has been tough these last few months. When I read this that you wrote I cried and than I praised the Lord!
“In a more spiritual sense, the Lord also fills us with his righteousness (Matthew 5:6), and quenches our thirst with his living water (John 4:14). In other words, he flat meets our needs.”
Thank you so much!
I’m honored to know my words (more to the point, God’s Word!) ministered to you this morning, Donna. Keep going to the well, knowing Jesus will always meet you there, ready to quench your thirst.
This week I spent time thinking of my role as a mother-in-law. I have 3 daughter-in-law’s and one son-in-law. Also, my dear mother-in-law is now in her old age. When I was younger, I had to learn how to love and honor my MIL. As I have gotten older and in the MIL role, I see the value in building my relationship, both past an present. Oh to be a reflection of God.s love and grace…that is my prayer.
I’m with you, Theresa: my perspective on mothers-in-law changed substantially when I became one! If I may, I’ll join you in that beautiful prayer.
Thanks Theresa and Liz for your comments about being an MIL- I’m going to be one in a few months! I’m looking forward to it and I want to find the balance of being a good influence without being a busy-body! I join the two of you in the prayer to be a reflection of His love and grace!
I know my Redeemer Lives just as you do, Liz. He raised me from the dead and gave me new life. Something that’s so hard to get across to the friends and family that knew me in my BC days. I am a new creation!
And the m-i-l aspect hits me every time I visit with my own daughter-in-law. I try to be to her all that my m-i-l is to me. And the new girl in my other son’s life — Will she someday be a d-i-l too? I pray for her as she grows and matures into a fine young women that may be (someday) a part of my earthly family.
Celebrating your new creation, Betsy! I so get the family/friends challenge. As for those MIL/DIL relationships, you are so wise to pray for her even before she becomes part of your clan. Meanwhile, I’m thinking we should get a family photo this Christmas with all three generations. So easy to take such relationships for granted, and then the year comes when you can’t gather as you once did, or a beloved one has gone Home. Now I just have to find a date when everyone can meet at the photography studio!?!
I know that my Jesus lives because it’s been engraved on my heart … Thank you, Holy Spirit. My God keeps reminding me that Jesus is alive through His holy word. He’s so absolutely awesome to give me everything i need!
Yes, yes, and yes, Vicki! “You show that you are a letter from Christ…written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Corinthians 3:3
My Redeemer lives and I know because there’s no other explanation for how I’ve been rescued, changed, guided and encouraged through so much. In the spiritual there is power and healing in Jesus’ Name that is real and tangible if not provable. Is that a word? Anyway, I just know that I know. P.s I got that cute journal a couple of months ago from CBD. 😉
Yes, Dalyn, “provable” is a word, according to Merriam-Webster! And I’m tickled you own that journal. ;>)
Sisters in Christ—Liz, you point out one very important point in our study of our foremother, Ruth. God does speak to us through his Word, experienced through our five senses. This is an aspect of our Christian life that has been maligned over the centuries but a reality that the Christian mystics knew–a bodily experience of union with God. Our Christian foremothers such as Teresa of Avila, Hildegard of Bingen (just recently proclaimed a Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church) , as well as Amy Carmichael, Madeleine L’Engle point us to the full experience of God. Thanx a bunch for pointing out the importance of our bodies as vehicles of God’s hesed to us so that we might know Him, love Him, and serve him.
Appreciate the vote of confidence, dear Jerilyn. God wants us to worship him with everything we have, “to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 10:12). Indeed, with your whole self!
How do I know that my Redeemer lives? Because He held my hands and we have danced!
Because He has cupped my face in His hand like a papa does when I have wondered why and whispered “I know, Baby.”
I know that I know that I know……because now I am clean and glow in the light of His reflection.
Beautifully stated, Cathy. Like poetry!
My Redeemer gave me this verse on the night of my Salvation: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 Yes, He IS alive and well and continues to fill me with His joy and peace!!!
Wonderful, Sharon. Joy and peace aren’t just an inside job; they show on the outside too!
I know my Redeemer lives because in spite of everything that goes on around me, I find comfort in His word and the assurance that He has prepared the way for me.
He knows my past and the future. Whom shall I fear? I am a child of God.
Your confidence is contagious, Linda. Thanks for posting today!
When I hear “My redeemer lives”, I hear in my mind those words being sung in Handel’s “Messiah”. He is now alive and well with me, but that has not always been the case. He was dead to me when I turned my back on Him and refused to acknowledge His control of my life. Now He speaks to me through His Word, because the Holy Spirit guides me. You are one of the encouragers in my life who helps me to remember what I owe Him and what I can do to acknowledge His gift.
Even when we turned our backs on him, beloved, Christ never turned his back on us. Every time I think of that I’m overwhelmed. Amazing, amazing grace.
Hi Liz! There is a beautiful song that includes this line: “I know my Redeemer lives…I talked with Him this morning.” Life is so busy that although I try to have a TRULY quiet time every day, some days it is a matter of prayers in the car, reading a devotional on my phone, and the like. I want to do better. But, I know my Redeemer lives because He and I communicate. But, girlfriend, I sure do need to do a whole lot more listening! Bless you.
Wow. That is one powerful truth, Laurel. I love the fact that we can talk to our Lord anywhere, anytime. But, like you, I need to work on the more-listening, less-talking scenario!
I know my Redeemer lives because He has been walking with me, loving me, guiding me and caring me through the many trials that our family has been facing these past couple of years. Through everything, He has given me a peace that only He can give. He is a God who sees and meets our needs.
What an example Ruth set for us in this chapter! Ruth loved, honored, and served the Lord by loving, honoring, and serving Naomi. I have been so blessed with an incredible mother-in-law! She is awesome and so easy to love! This chapter challeneged me to examine different relationships and ask myself, “am I loving them with a sacrificial love, one which honors, serves, and pleases our Lord?” I have felt God’s nudges this week, as He opens my eyes to areas where I need improvement! Praying for His strength as He helps me to love others sacrificially.
You have such a teachable heart, Sherry. How that must please the Lord. Those nudges and eye-opening moments are his loving gifts to you. So glad you are sharing your journey with us!
Liz… looking forward to hearing you speak this coming weekend!
How do I know My Redeemer Lives??? He shows me~ through circumstance, situations, people, Bible Study, Prayer, My Heart. He is all around me, when I wonder, HE answers. When I question, He answers. When I pray, He answers. When I study, He answers. When I look, He shows me.
Thank you Jesus for being my Redeemer, for taking my place to assure I have one with the God of the Universe~ who loves…..me.
I love your comment. It is so true! It seems so big to wrap my head around. That the God of the universe loves me. He is always near to hear our prayers, answer our questions, teach us when we read His Word. God has been showing me these things in a very real way the past few months. When we draw near to God, He really does draw near to us! I am so thankful.
Both your comments reflect your tender hearts, my sisters!
Thank You, Sweet Encouraging Lizzie :~).
I really like writing that and saying it in my head. 😉
Thank you, Krista! Sometimes I think I answer too simplistically, so thanks a bunch! :~)
You know, when you are crazy in love with your Savior, you simply have to shout out “My Redeemer lives!” and “I belong to Jesus!”. I love hearing it in the voices of all the women who have responded, each with a unique song but all passionate. Just love it!
I agree, Cathy. “A unique song” is so well put!
I have a great mother-in-law. She is so easy to get along with and love. Just recently I became a mother-in-law and I love my daughter-in-law. I have been praying for her for years, long before I knew her. I am so grateful God brought her and my son together.
I know that my Redeemer lives because he fills me with joy and peace daily no matter what I am facing, He is with me!
You’re definitely a twice-blessed woman, Deb. May the peace of Christ continue to rule in your heart.
I have really enjoyed reading all the sisters comments today. I agree with all the above. I know in my head, My Redeemer lives, because I believe the Word of God is true and it says so. I know the same in my heart because we have a personal relationship and He is constantly changing me and growing me. I so need Him in my life and and His mercy which is new everyday!!!
Thanks, Carol. I love to sing out the line from the hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” that reminds us, “Morning by morning, new mercies I see,” taken from Lamentations 3:22-23. A fresh start, every hour of every day? Only the Lord could manage that!
He has rescued me many times. I usually end a lot of prayers with protect me from myself Lord. Sometimes His no(s) are protection for me from myself. A lot of times I ask myself what is the worst thing that could happen; I could die. Oh, that is not so bad then. LOL
Right there with you. My constant prayer is, “Please, Lord, save me from myself!” And, faithful God that he is, he does. Death isn’t frightening when you realize it’s a beginning. “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55
(1.a) Questioning myself on a daily basis helps keep me accountable to God for the things I have done, both good & bad, thereby – helping me mature as a christian. Daily calling to mind the “taken for granted” things he did for me that day, as well as the little unexpected surprises, reinforces his greatness & mercy to me while encouraging me to do what I can to help others, in his name.
(1.b) Matt. 5:6 – the amplified version states that those who hunger & thirst for righteousness are “blessed, fortunate, happy, spiritually prosperous, & shall be completely satisfied.” What a promise!
(2.b) I feel that I can show “hesed” by sharing my testimony, & hope through Christ, to someone who is encountering situations such as those I experienced.
(3.a) Isaiah 48:17 (amplified): “I am the Lord your God, who leads you in the way you should go”. How comforting!
(3.b,c) Jesus secured my inheritance by his death on the cross – providing my salvation, & my faith is bolstered when I study his word. There are numerous ways I know, absolutely, that my Redeemer lives: his word, the beautiful world he has created, & more personally – the transformation from my “bad-girl” habits, the peace I have, & that “still, small voice” that guides me.
Bless you, Bonnie, for your very thorough answers and for sharing your heart.
How do I know that my Redeemer lives? So many ways! But one of the biggest ways is through reading His Word. God always meets me, every day, just where I need to be met. For example, a few days ago I had an incident at work that I wasn’t happy about. I came home and was grumbling to my husband about it. He didn’t give me much sympathy. So I called my mom and grumbled to her. She didn’t give me much sympathy either. Feeling kind of discouraged, I sat down to have my evening devotions. It was 1 Corinthians 10:1-13. This passage warns about falling into sins that may seem “really bad”, such as idolatry and immorality. And then verse 10 says, “And do not grumble, as some of them did – and were killed by the destroying angel.” YIKES! Do I know God was trying to teach me a lesson about grumbling? Yes! This is one way how I know that my Redeemer lives. Every day God meets me where I am and tells me what I need to hear. It is not a coincidence. It is the one true Almighty God working in me. Praise God, He never gives up on me!
What a GREAT example, Krista! It demonstrates how very personal our relationship is with the Lord, and how creatively he speaks to each of us. It helps to be a willing student. Good for you, sis.
The ladies bible study I belong to did a study from a book called “The Power of the Blood Covenant” by Malcolm Smith. Malcolm tells us God’s hesed is his faithfulness and gives vs. Ps. 92:1,2. He says, “It is the ideal family love that binds people together relationally.” (pg. 43 The Power of the Blood Covenant) I believe a new Christian (Ruth) who is excited by their new relationship with Father can be such a help and encouragement in every way, physically, mentally and spiritually to someone who is
down in the valley of dispair.
Lovely to hear from you, Phyllis. The family of God is definitely bound together by the blood of the Lamb! “O, precious is the flow that washed us white as snow…”
I am behind and just now finishing week 7. What an ENCOURAGEMENT you sisters have been as I read all of your comments. Oh how I have missed this journey the last several weeks. I will just jump right in there with how I know my REDEEMER lives. He walks with me daily and I feel His prescence ever so near, No one can hold me like my Father and comfort me as He can. I can not even put into words what God has done for me and how He has proven HImself over and over again. And when a tiny spot of doubt tries to creep in He always always shows up right on time.
You are not behind, dear Naomi, you are right where God wants you to be! Your description of how you KNOW your Redeemer lives rings SO true. Thanks for pressing on with us.
I know that my Redeemer lives because:
– I see Him in creation
– I see Him in all the good things that happen to me
– I hear Him speak to me through His Word, in my mind and heart
– He gives me rest whenever I obey Him, whenever I have fellowship with Him
He just is part of me or should I say, I’m part of Him . There is no way that He would not be alive.
Sweet Liz, your Kingwood, TX sisters are discussing chapter 7 today and I have just now wandered over to your blog. I can’t wait to share this with them. Did you know you have “groupies” who have been following your work for these many years since we did “Loved by God” You, dearie, are a gift!
So often I will answer questions about God and my faith by simply saying “Just because I do” or “I just know.” Reading these comments has made me realize that I need to not only know in my heart, but be able to sincerely answer these questions.
So for me, I think knowing He’s alive comes from physical proof. I have a rare nerve disorder that doesn’t have many treatment options and everything is pretty much guess work because it’s so rare that there is little research being done on it. However, what is known is SCARY because it moves rapidly through the body and basically destroys your insides. I know that’s a terrible way to put it, but it’s hard to explain. I wish I could leave my full testimony on here but it would take up way too much room. Anyway, none of the doctor’s reports are good, however I can do so many things that they said I wouldn’t be able to. One thing is when I was diagnosed my hands curled into fists and turned back towards my body. It was very painful. I had to wear these braces that looked like ping pong paddles, so that the tendons and muscles wouldn’t be destroyed if my hands ever did open. They said they never would, but after about a month they finally opened. I’ve had surgeries on both my wrists and thumbs because part of the disease causes your tendons to grow WAY more than they should. So all the tendons pushed my wrist bones over to one side where they literally stacked on top of one another. I’m a flute player so this was killing me and I was told that my hands wouldn’t be strong enough to hold my flute after the surgeries. The surgeon is a Christian, so he said at least that’s what medically is true, but we know better. He was as excited as I was that God let me play again.There are so many more parts to my testimony, but I don’t want to make this too long, so I’ll just say that when the doubts creep in I move my hands and literally watch them move and then I find and play flute. My flute takes me right to the throne room of heaven and I’m sitting at His feet. There is nothing that brings me more peace than that. I can see the smile on His face as I worship Him with all that I am with this amazing talent that I shouldn’t and wouldn’t have without Him. He’s just amazing and I KNOW that He is alive!!!!