Ruth was the recipient of a benevolent land owner. Her great grandson became the greatest king in all Israel. I myself am a recipient of this benevolent man. Because Boaz was benevolent towards Ruth, their descendant became my Savior who lives in my heart. No one knows the infinite ripples my benevolent actions will do in the kingdom of God.
God cares for the underprivileged, the dispossessed, the poor, and the alien residents in Israel. He even cares for those residents who came from lands that were traditionally enemies of the people of God. This care for the underclasses is codified in Mosaic Law. One example is for the farmers to leave a portion of their harvest so the poor can work to feed themselves from this land. “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the Lord your God.’” Leviticus 23:22
So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.” Ruth 2:8-9
Dear God, my provider (YAHWEH YIREH), I thank you for your love toward the underprivileged. Please help me to recognize the needs of others and to give generously to their needs. Amen.
Boaz was within his righteousness to allow Ruth to glean as all the others. But he went beyond the law and told his workers to leave extra for her. This kind of extra giving is radical benevolence. At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar.” When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over. As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, “Let her gather among the sheaves and don’t reprimand her. Even pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuke her.” Ruth 2:14-16
God honors our radical benevolence to the poor. In the case of Boaz, their son became the grandfather of King David. This puts Boaz and Ruth in the genealogy of the Messiah. My motto is that you can’t out give God. For with whatever measure you measure out, that is the measure that God gives back to you. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38
But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” Ruth 1:16-17
God the Compassionate One, You alone set the standard for love and compassion toward others. May your radical benevolence spill out to me and to those that are to become recipients of that benevolence through me. Amen.