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Daily Devotion for August 4, 2010
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh God the King eternal, who divides the day from the darkness, and has turned the shadow of death into the light of morning; I pray that this day you will incline my heart to keep your commandments, driving temptation from my mind. Guide my feet into the way of peace; that having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, I may, when the night comes, rejoice in giving you thanks for a day lived in your presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer of Saint Francis of AssisiLord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
I will take care to lead a life without blame — when will you come to me?
I will walk in my house with blameless heart.
The Story of Ruth (part 5)
[If you have not been following along, you might want to read Ruth 1 before reading today's selection.]
"May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord," she said. "You have given me comfort and have spoken kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servant girls."
At mealtime Boaz said to her, "Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar." When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over. As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, "Even if she gathers among the sheaves, don't embarrass her. Rather, pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don't rebuke her."
So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about six quarts. She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had left over after she had eaten enough.
Her mother-in-law asked her, "Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!" Then Ruth told her mother-in-law about the one at whose place she had been working. "The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz," she said.
"The Lord bless him!" Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. "He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead." She added, "That man is our close relative; he is one of our kinsman-redeemers."
Then Ruth the Moabitess said, "He even said to me, 'Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.' " Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, "It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with his girls, because in someone else's field you might be harmed."
So Ruth stayed close to the servant girls of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law.
Notes on the Scripture
Naomi calls Boaz "one of our kinsman-redeemers". The concept of a redeemer was part of the Jewish law of the time. When a person died, certain close relatives would have certain duties and rights concerning the estate and family of the deceased. Usually, this role would fall upon a brother.
For example, if the deceased had owned land but had lost it, the redeemer might be able to repurchase it or even retake it for free, for the benefit of the heirs. A brother might be obligated to marry his dead brother's wife. In some cases, if a man had been murdered, his redeemer might be obligated to kill the murderer. The rights and obligations varied from time to time and place to place.
Naomi is, perhaps, being optimistic when she calls Boaz a kinsman-redeemer. Although he is a kinsman, he is not an immediate relative like a brother of her husband, and so it is doubtful that the Law required a great deal of him. It seems that Boaz is following the spirit of the Law, trying to take care of the widows of his distant relatives when they had nobody else.