Key verse: Ruth 2:20
Big idea: The Lord shows His lovingkindness through His people.
In a study going through the Old Testament as quickly as this one, it is hard to justify slowing down to reflect on every single chapter of any particular book. We will not do it again except the book of Obadiah (look it up), but Ruth is a truly incredible piece of literature which has taught many people how to love the Bible. This chapter introduces us to the third and final major character of this short story: Boaz. The first chapter of Ruth was about Ruth's love for Naomi, this chapter is about Boaz's love for Ruth, the next chapter will be about Naomi's love for Ruth (in helping her plan for her future), and the final chapter will be about Boaz's love for Ruth. Confused yet? Let's take it one day at a time.
Gleaning was a provision in the Israelite law to provide for the poor and the immigrant. Israelites were forbidden to harvest to the very edges of their field, go back if they dropped anything, or prevent people walking by their fields from harvesting what they could eat. This food belonged to God, who used it as a provision for the needy and the foreigners who had no land of their own. It maintained their dignity, as they still worked for what they had, while providing for those without capital. Ruth, both a widow and a foreigner, was the kind of person that the law was deigned to protect. But when she "just happened to" enter the field of Boaz, she met a man who was far more generous than even the letter of the law required. He had heard of Ruth's faithfulness to Naomi, and his heart was touched by her character. He had his workers feed her, give her water, intentionally drop sheaves for her to pick up, and not stop her from picking even among the rows which had not been harvested yet. God provided for Ruth, and used this godly man to do it.
God rarely provides for us with manna falling from Heaven. Instead, He shows his lovingkindness to people who pass that lovingkindness onto others. Ideally, it starts with your parents, who taught you what God is like by their own faithfulness. Friends, church family, spouses, and a thousand other people besides are all God's vessels for showing His love for us. In turn, even our smallest acts of kindness are infinitely important if we remember that these two are worship: pointing people to the God who is Love.
Discussion idea: Who is someone specific who has modeled God's lovingkindness to you? What relationship in your life is a chance for you to show God's lovingkindness to someone else?
Prayer focus: Thank God for the specific example you thought of in the discussion section, and ask for open eyes to see acts of kindness to offer God as worship.