Title: Ruth: 3:1-9; a study on chesed - lovingkindness, mercy, devotion.
RUT 3:6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law had commanded her.
RUT 3:7 When Boaz had eaten and drunk and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain; and she came secretly, and uncovered his feet and lay down [position of a slave].
RUT 3:8 And it happened in the middle of the night that the man was startled and bent forward; and behold, a woman was lying at his feet.
RUT 3:9 And he said, "Who are you?" And she answered, "I am Ruth your maid [amah - concubine]. So spread your covering over your maid, for you are a close relative [gaal - redeemer]."
RUT 3:10 Then he said, "May you be blessed of the Lord, my daughter. You have shown your last kindness to be better than the first by not going after young men, whether poor or rich.
RUT 3:11 And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence.
RUT 3:12 And now it is true I am a close relative [gaal]; however, there is a relative closer than I.
RUT 3:13 Remain this night, and when morning comes, if he will redeem you, good; let him redeem you. But if he does not wish to redeem you, then I will redeem you, as the Lord lives. Lie down until morning."
There is a closer relative who would have the right of redemption over Boaz, and being the honorable man that he is, Boaz will have to first confront him.
By invoking the gaal custom, Ruth subordinates her own plans and lifts up her family duty by providing Naomi with an heir, and thus embodying chesed, lovingkindness.
Checed, lovingkindness, at times, demands sacrifice and suffering on behalf of others. It is easy to always choose for self, but that will cause a person to miss out on the best of life. Ruth’s subordination is like the Lord’s. She could seek her own mate, young, rich, handsome, but she chooses Boaz for Naomi’s sake.
Chesed chooses the highest and best above the easiest or most obvious.
Sometimes the highest and best is the easiest and most obvious, but sometimes it is not. Sometimes the easiest and most obvious is more self-serving than God-serving, in which serving God is serving others. The easiest and most obvious for Ruth is to marry a young man of wealth, but she chooses the harder thing because it serves Naomi.
Lovingkindness: Christ could have ruled the kingdoms of the world and obliterated hunger and disease, but He chose something far greater. He chose to save us from sin and death. And by doing so, He made our existence, now including all of eternity, to be almost without any suffering. If He obliterated our present suffering and we still died in our sins, what would He have really done for us? But think about how the world would now venerate Him if He did, for a few years, eliminate all hunger, sickness, war, etc. He would be a hero to the world; He would be in all the history books, and statues of Him galore in every nation, but since He delivered us from sin and death, He is not loved, for man is addicted to what he presently sees, he rejects the notion that it is his own sin that causes his present misery, and he suppresses the aching for eternity that God has laid within him.
A study of (chesed). Words that define it: loving-kindness, steadfast love, grace, mercy, faithfulness, devotion. Devotion is the most encompassing definition.
This word is the foundation of the Book of Ruth. Ruth’s attitude towards Naomi encompasses all of these wonderful words. In the Bible chesed is used of God far more than it is of man, though it is seen in some men. God’s chesed is His work of giving in love to those who follow Him. God has given of Himself to all mankind, but chesed in pointed towards those who accept Him in humility. They do not earn it. It is like giving a banquet for a bunch of people, but they refuse to come. This is how our Lord described it. So the Master sent out His slaves and invited others, who accepted, and yet there was still more room, and so they invited everyone from everywhere. The banquet was given to the first ones, but they refused to taste it, and so they refused to taste of the Master’s kindness.
Chesed is sometimes easy and sometimes hard.
Lovingkindness often demands sacrifice for the sake of others.
MAT 26:52 Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.
MAT 26:53 "Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels [another way]?
MAT 26:54 "How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen this way?"
Submission to the will of the Father = “It must happen this way.”
JOH 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews [another way]; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm."
This statement makes us wonder if there was such a war in heaven, right in the midst of God’s kingdom, when Satan fell, an in which God’s servants fought. On earth, amongst the kingdoms of men, Christ’s servants, the legions of angels, will not invade and destroy man. Rather, the King of kings came that He might save man. It must happen that way.
JOH 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."
JOH 18:38 Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?"
And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews,
It would seem that Pilate asked the right question but didn’t stick around to hear the answer; like so many in this world do.