So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”Ruth 2:11
Haven’t we all asked this question- in some manner- at various points in our lives? Haven’t we regarded our circumstances with unease and skepticism? Who am I Lord? What have I done? Even, is this a trick? How about, what’s the catch? Human beings tear themselves and each other down. Accepting God’s blessings is not always easy.
Let’s look at some scripture about blessings:
- Proverbs 10:22 – The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it
- Exodus 23:25 – And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water, and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.
- Luke 6:22 – Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the son of man’s sake.
As children, we are taught that what we have is what we earn. We earn good grades by studying and investing energy in our education. We earn paychecks by showing up and completing the job we were hired to do. We earn extra credit or bonuses. But can we earn God’s blessings? The answer we came up with depends on our understandings of God.
Point 1: We do not deserve God’s blessings.
In Ruth 3:10-11, Boaz told Ruth, “Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.” Ruth toiled in the fields to help feed Naomi and herself. Now, if you’ll remember, Ruth was a widow from Moab who really did not have any perceived value. Even her mother-in-law had wanted Ruth to return home. Quite plainly, there was no way she could have earned the blessings she received through her own merits.
God does not create a value system for us to earn His grace. Rather, it is absolute submission and obedience to Him or we are set apart from Him (i.e. the separation of the Nonbeliever). God does not bless us because we have proven faithful. He does not reward us because we go through the Son to get to Him. Those are expectations placed on us. If we are to follow Him, the only reward- if you will- that we can expect is that our sins are no longer weighed against us because we have turned the bill over to Jesus. We do not deserve this, but have been given it all the same.
All things are meant for the glory of God. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28). We are called to love Him, to accept what He sends us, whether they be- to our estimation- trials or benefits.
Point 2: We must change our perceptions of glory.
Since we cannot earn the Lord’s blessings, why do we receive them? Surely not because of our service to Him. Surely, not because we have gifts intrinsic to ourselves. God takes care of His flock. His blessings are sometimes hard to bear. His blessings are meant to forge us into what best serves His glory. We are on this earth to make disciples, to bring more souls to His flock.
When we look at our blessings, we must alter our perception. When we think about it, we envision happy things: a raise, an unexpected bonus, a book deal… so much. These are happy things. What about the times we lose? What about the times we lose our jobs? Where we go through the suffering? When events just do not go according to how we are expecting? All things to the glory of God.
God’s blessings are more than good or bad. Let’s look back at Ruth. She toiled in the fields, going behind the reapers to pick over the leftovers. Bare scraps. She tried to take care of Naomi. She struggled to take care of a woman who would have abandoned her. But God blessed her. Ruth’s is the bloodline that lead to David. Remember whose bloodline involves David? Jesus. God blessed her. He blesses us too.
By accepting our circumstances, whether good or bad, we start to see that God works through everything. He guides our circumstances to work towards His own designs. So, it does not matter. It is not a trick. There is no catch.