Thursday, January 22, 2009

Amazing Grace

Last night we were continuing our Fellowship Group in the Book of Ruth. After the devastation of chapter 1, in which Naomi loses virtually everything - home, husband, sons, food, land - yet vitally gains a faithful daughter-in-law, Ruth, and clings to her flickering faith, chapter 2 provides some relief, in the over-abundance of favour shown by their worthy relative, Boaz.

That word favour is the same as 'grace' - the unmerited, undeserved blessing and pleasure of God. In 2:2, Ruth goes out to glean 'after him in whose sight I find favour.' She finds this favour in the eyes of Boaz, who provides for her, protects her, ensures she prospers, and cares for her. Twice, she remarks on the amazingness of this favour: 'Why have I found such favour in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?' (2:10); 'I have found favour in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.' (2:13)

The favour or grace that Ruth finds from Boaz is a small picture of the abundant, amazing grace that God showers on those He loves. You see, often we have this false picture of God which states that the God of the Old Testament is wrathful and angry and loves to smite people, but that Jesus in the New Testament is a much more likeable character, full of love and mercy and grace.

The Bible simply will not allow us to hold this false picture. On the one hand, Jesus speaks more about hell and eternal punishment than anyone else. And, as we see when we survey the Hebrew Scriptures of the Old Testament, that Yahweh, Jehovah, the capital letters LORD is gracious and merciful.

But Noah found favour in the eyes of the LORD. (Genesis 6:8)

Behold, your servant has found favour in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. - Lot (Genesis 19:19)

But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. (Genesis 39:21)

And the LORD said to Moses, "This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favour in my sight, and I know you by name." (Exodus 33:17)

And (Gideon) said to him, "If now I have found favour in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me."
(Judges 6:17)

Now the young man Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favour with the LORD and also with man. (1 Samuel 2:26)

Then Jehoahaz sought the favour of the LORD, and the LORD listened to him, for he saw the oppression of Israel, how the king of Syria oppressed them. (2 Kings 13:4)

Truly, amazing grace!

1 comment :

  1. What a blessing it is to be favored by God. You are are right: It's truly, amazing grace!