Sermons

Summary: 1) Loving-kindness in Praise 2) Loving-kindness in Hope and 3) Loving-kindness in Service

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Economists point to record June housing sales as a strong indicator to Canadian Economic turnaround. What a difference a month can make.

In God’s kingdom, what a difference a day makes. Naomi and her family disobeyed God’s instructions, left His people and sought what they thought was greener pastures. When she lost what she held most dear, she returned Bethlehem stating she went out full and returned empty. Ruth, in faith, went out empty and returned more than full, overflowing from lovingkindness.

Today can make a difference in you life. How today will affect the rest of your life depends on what you do with your day, and what decisions you make (Warren W. Wiersbe. Put Your Life Together. Victor Books. 1985 p.57). Decisions have consequences. Decisions based on trusting in God and His word, experience His loving-kindness.

In Ruth 2:17-23 we see 1) Loving-kindness in Praise (Ruth 2:17-19) 2) Loving-kindness in Hope (Ruth 2:20) and 3) Loving-kindness in Service (Ruth 2:21-23)

Ruth 2:17 [17]So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. (ESV)

The main focus of this segment concerns Boaz’s generosity and grace.

Ruth’s industrisness is substantial, for verse 17 notes that Ruth gleaned/scavenged for grain in the field until evening. Then, presumably with a flail or a stick, she “beat out” the grain from the heads of barley. To beat out has this same literal meaning of threshing out small quantities of grain by knocking them loose from the stalk by means of a curved stick, club, or wooden hammer (Waard, Jan de ; Nida, Eugene Albert: A Translator’s Handbook on the Book of Ruth. 2nd ed. New York : United Bible Societies, 1992, S. 37).

Where she did this is not indicated. Given Boaz’s generosity in the previous scene, one may imagine that Boaz had invited her to use his threshing floor.

The results of a day’s work in the field are nothing short of amazing. When Ruth measured the grain that she had threshed, it amounted to one ephah of barley. An ephah denotes the unit of measurement used for dry goods, especially grain and flour. According to Ezek 45:11 it was equivalent to the bath, used in the measurement of liquids, and one-tenth of a ḥōmer, the amount of grain a donkey (ḥāmôr) could carry. Scholars are not agreed on the size of an ephah. Containers marked bt found at Tell Beit Mirsim and Lachish averaged 22-24 liters (5.5-5.8 gallons). To thresh an ephah of barley grain from one day’s labor is an extraordinary feat, not to mention Ruth’s having to carry it home! Depending upon the quality of the grain and which standard one uses, an ephah of barley could have weighed from thirty to fifty pounds.

The harvesters obviously followed Boaz’s instructions and allowed Ruth to scavenge liberally. According to 1 Sam 17:17, an ephah of grain could feed fifty fighting men. According to Old Babylonian records from Mari (nineteenth century B.C.), the ration of threshed grain demanded of a male harvester rarely was more than one or two pounds.


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