Friday, February 20, 2009

Glean in Abundance

This morning I was reading in the book of Ruth. Ruth had lost her husband, brother-in-law, and father-in-law to death and displayed her character by committing to stay with her mother-in-law, Naomi. So the two widows traveled back to Naomi's hometown with Naomi filled with bitterness and Ruth full of grace.

In her commitment to care for Naomi, Ruth goes to the fields to glean heads of grain. She finds favor in the sight of the land owner, Boaz, whom, it is discovered, is a close relative to Naomi's deceased husband. (Did you get all of that? Brother's, father's, cousin's, neighbor's, dog's last owner...)

So what struck me? The mercy of Boaz toward Ruth, which reflected God's own heart toward me and you.

Boaz praises her in 2:11-12 for her faithfulness toward Naomi and speaks the blessing of God over her, a foreigner in the land. Then in 2:16 he commands his young men to let grain purposely fall for her that she may glean in abundance. Wow. Such mercy and grace.

It is clear in scripture that we are saved by faith, it is a gift of God that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). But it is also taught throughout His Word that God Almighty blesses obedience (and disciplines the rebellion of His children; but we will talk about the blessing today). It is like my relationship with my own kids.

There are these moments (which seem to be fleeting) where my older two, who are complete opposites, actually show unprompted love for one another. My heart overflows in these times, praise falls from my lips and blessings from my hands. Then there are the unfortunate seeming majority of interactions where the two clash heads (both figuratively and literally)...and discipline ensues. (Oh how I pray for their relationship; God has them siblings for a purpose.)

My point is that when we obey, and even live a life of sacrifice to the Lord, He will bless to the point of overflowing. He will command our paths to reap a harvest that we may gather in abundance. And even if no one else sees your sacrifice to Him, He sees and He will reward, whether in this life or the life in His presence to come.

Fight the good fight of faith, sweet friend; He does bless obedience.

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