From Gleanings to Grace, 26JAN – #1379

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Well, I never read the book of Ruth, but it’s got much Truth to GLEAN. 

Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me, a foreigner?”

I’ve been reading only the beginning because we basically only get soundbite scriptures and I want to appreciate the Sound Engineer who mixes the mix of people and places. Naomi is from Bethlehem – wow – the little detail that means a lot. Not some random town but Bethlehem. There’s a story before we even get to Ruth and Boaz. And you know there is a story after this!!!  Bethlehem is the “house of bread” I learned once – a great phrase for the Lord being the bread of life.

Please read the first part of the story of Ruth and Naomi below, I had never read it. Naomi, widowed, having lost most everything, returns to Bethlehem empty, it’s a poor place and yet enough to feed them. Ruth, her widowed daughter-in-law, gleaned the droppings from the field. The Lord ALWAYS commanded people to leave the gleanings to the poor people so they could eat. Ruth finds favor and is allowed to keep working even as a foreigner for food.

“’When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the LORD your God.’” Levitticus 23:22

I love the Word “gleaning“. This is where I stopped and thought of Jesus – and all those outside the Jewish faith who came gleaning – came to Him and found favor – of those people later in the book of Acts, the distant people, the Gentiles, being gleaning people of learnings but actually being allowed to partake in ALL His Grace. Yes, Gentiles too, Peter and Paul would have to realize, were God’s children too.

Empty poor Bethlehem brought forth the fulfillment of Bread. Jesus came into the world with nothing but the efforts of Mary and Joseph gleaning a place to stay overnight for the birth. Why Bethlehem? To be counted. 

Who is counted in the harvest? Those who come back to Jesus and realize they have NOTHING. And in Jesus, they have EVERYTHING. 

We do leave our comfort zone. We do have to trust the Lord to take care of us. And thank Him when He does. He leaves us gleanings to find. And in return we are going to have supper at His table.

May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.

The gleanings of the field and the hem-touch of His garment. Jesus finds those seeking Him. Jesus leaves out the breadcrumb trail of hope. From gleanings to Grace.

Jesus WAS the appearance of a foreigner residing in Bethlehem and in this world because no one recognized Him, no one expected Him except a few. Naomi called out in distance from God. Jesus called out for the forsaken moment God abandoned Him in death. Jesus left His Heaven to be the foreigner on earth. Jesus kept walking…. Ruth kept walking and stayed the course with Naomi.  Ruth was noticed as a foreigner and blessed for what she did, brought into their fold to work in the field. Let us recognize Jesus and let Him in too – bring Him on – let Him enter our hearts. He knows He belongs there. There He can be the bread. Let us go spread breadcrumb and watch the Harvest. Jesus wants to return to us and see us gathered in Him as the Whole Loaf.

Amen (please read part 1 Ruth scripture below)

Book of Ruth 1-2:13

Naomi Loses Her Husband and Sons

In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.

Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.

Naomi and Ruth Return to Bethlehem

When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.

Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”

Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud 1and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”

But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands?  Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”

At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.

“Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”

Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”

So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.

Ruth Meets Boaz in the Grain Field

Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, a man of standing from the clan of Elimelek, whose name was Boaz.

And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.”

Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek.

Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The Lord be with you!”

“The Lord bless you!” they answered.

Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, “Who does that young woman belong to?” The overseer replied, “She is the Moabite who came back from Moab with Naomi. She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.’ She came into the field and has remained here from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter.”

So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.”

At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?” Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”

“May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord,” she said. “You have put me at ease by speaking kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servants.”

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