WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday March 28, 2010
ACCEPTANCE IN THE COMMUNITY
(The LORD honors our kindness to those in need)
In the Book of Ruth, here in chapter two, we are introduced to a man named Boaz, who is a relative of Naomi’s deceased husband, Elimelech. Boaz comes into the lives of Ruth and Naomi at a time when they had no one to care for them following the deaths of their husbands. It was at the beginning of the barley harvest and Ruth is, no doubt, directed by GOD and drawn to the fields of Boaz, who happened to be one of the most prominent, GODly men in the Israelite community.
Boaz’s relationship to Naomi’s deceased husband qualified him as a “Kinsman Redeemer” under Old Testament family law (Leviticus 25:35-36). This law requires a relative to care for another relative who has fallen on hard times financially and can no longer support themselves.
In this particular situation involving Boaz, Naomi, and Ruth, there is another duty of the Kinsman Redeemer that comes into view, and that is, the obligation of the next of kin to marry a childless widow of a relative for the purpose of producing an offspring to carry on the lineage of the dead spouse, and, to preserve their property (Ruth 4:1-6).
Old Testament Law also gave any persons who were poor, the right to gather any produce that was left in the fields or orchards of an owner, after they themselves, had completed their first picking of the harvest (Leviticus 19:9-10 & Deuteronomy 24:19-21).
One day Ruth asked Naomi if she could go to the field to glean leftovers from the harvesters. After Naomi consented, Ruth went out and, inadvertently, found herself working in the fields of Boaz. While she was there, Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and came out in the fields to greet the harvesters.
Upon noticing Ruth, he asked his foreman who she was. The foreman replied that she was a woman from Moab who had come back with his relative, Naomi. He told Boaz that she had asked if she could glean the leftovers from the harvest, and, that he had graciously allowed her to do so.
Boaz went over to Ruth and invited her to continue on working with them. He also told her that he had already warned the young men not to bother her. Ruth thanked him warmly and informed him of her foreign roots. He told Ruth that he was already aware that she was a foreigner from the land of Moab, however he was more impressed with her loyalty to her mother-in-law Naomi, and her choosing to come to live in a foreign land among complete strangers. He said to her, “May the LORD, the GOD of Israel, under WHOSE wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully”.
On that day Ruth was able to gather up about 40 pounds of grain, an unusually high amount for a gleaner. When she returned home to Naomi, Naomi knew that someone had purposely helped her young daughter-in-law to gather such a large amount. And when she discovered that that person was Boaz, her relative, she encouraged Ruth to continue working only in his fields, for we see here that Naomi had already began to hope and plan for Ruth’s future.
When we leave our old lives behind and come to dwell in the community of GOD, we can always count on a warm welcome and acceptance. In fact, JESUS has already accepted the obligation to redeem us and welcome us despite the terrible price on the cross that HE had to pay in advance, and despite the terrible things that we may have already done. GOD is a rewarder of anyone who earnestly seeks HIM, through CHRIST JESUS, and HE will never leave you to hunger or thirst. HE will provide for all of our needs, especially when HE sees us showing unselfish love and kindness toward one another on a daily basis.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander