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Be Kind to the Poor and Oppressed
A thought from the book of Ruth.
To my kids:
I’ve been preparing a series of sermons from Ruth, and one thing that has stood out to me is how Boaz showed God’s kindness to Ruth.
The kindness of Boaz.
Boaz was a highly respected, weathly member of Bethlehem’s community. He had probably distinguished himself as a member of the military in one of the many battles Israel had fought during the period of the Judges.
Ruth was a poor widow from Moab. She was a woman (strike one in that culture), she was a foreigner (strike two), and she was a widow (strike three).
God had commanded the children of Israel to show kindness to the foreigners and the widows.
And if a stranger [foreigner] dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 19:33-34)
You shall neither mistreat a stranger [foreigner] nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. "You shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child. If you afflict them in any way, and they cry at all to Me, I will surely hear their cry; (Exodus 22:21-23)
But, the period of Judges was a time when faithfulness to God was usually at an all-time low (Judges 21:25). Ruth being treated as God commanded was hit or miss during this time - probably more “miss” than “hit.”
However, Boaz was a faithful servant of the Lord and extended extraordinary kindness and generosity to Ruth. Boaz is shown to be a “noble” man and a faithful servant of God by how he treats the poor, neglected, and oppressed.
The example of Boaz.
What an example Boaz is to you and me.
Even during a time when the poor and oppressed may be pushed to the side regularly or taken advantage of at every turn - what will you do? Will you display the kindness of God to the people around you - even the poor, neglected, and oppressed?
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27)
We live in a time where so much religious error is taught - which is undoubtedly sad. But just as disappointing is when people who know the truth of God’s Word fail to live what they know to be true.
Will you put into practice what you know to be the true and right way - like Boaz?
Until next time,
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