Hesed is the Hebrew word that describes mercy, kindness, love in one word. Hesed is the character and nature of God – it is also what he does. And we, as his children, are invited to participate with him in living a life of hesed – the active, selfless, sacrificial love of God.
What we are witnessing in the story of Ruth is hesed in action. In chapter 3, we see everyone getting into the action (Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz!) Read chapter three and see if you can find the actions of hesed by each of the characters as they go above and beyond your average acts of kindness to care for one another. I’ll give you some hints of what to look for:
Naomi: 7 months have gone by since Ruth came home from Boaz field with 29 pounds of grain. She wants to find a husband for Ruth so that she has security and a future. So she encourages Ruth to risk making a ‘marriage proposal’ to Boaz. In doing so, what is Naomi potentially giving up? (The answer may surprise you!
Ruth: She goes to the threshing floor of Boaz and asks for much more than marriage. What does she ask for? This is a difficult answer to find, unless you know Hebrew well… however, the English translation will help you out. (look at 2:20, 3:1, and 3:9 – the clue to the answer is in what they call Boaz)
Boaz: Boaz is confronted with a mighty challenge of character. He could have rebuked or denied Ruth’s request or even disgraced her. Instead what does he do? How does he respond?
This story is communicating the wonderful message of God’s love. And through the story, challenging us to live a life of HESED! See you Sunday,