CrossReads Weekly Devotional: Building a Culture of Honor 5/6/2024

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by Precarious Yates

Narrated by Artificial Intelligence – Kayla

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So many of us long to transform our families and communities. We long to see transformation from a culture of backbiting and gossip into a culture of honor. Chapters 3 and 4 of Ruth give us great insights on how to build a culture of honor in our family and communities.

Chapter 3 of Ruth opens with Naomi proposing to Ruth a plan to secure the affections of Boaz. It seems that Naomi already suspects Boaz’s growing affection, and she suggests that Ruth go lay at his feet after he has threshed the barley and has had plenty to drink. Ruth takes this advice, and Boaz awakes in the middle of the night, startled to find a woman at his feet.

When Boaz learns that the woman at his feet is Ruth, he gives the gentlest and most honoring response, which we read earlier. He is more than willing to marry her, but he does the honorable deed of alerting her to a closer kinsman redeemer. All throughout their encounter, Boaz does everything he possibly can to preserve her dignity and honor by making sure his servants did not spread any rumors about her. He also makes sure she has plenty of food to bring home to Naomi. According to many scholars, the amount he gives her is around 150 pounds of food!

In chapter 4, Boaz talks to one of Elimelech’s relatives. Elimelech was Naomi’s husband who died in Moab. The unnamed man in this chapter is a closer relative, so Boaz treads the waters carefully. This unnamed relative could take the rights as kinsman redeemer. The conversation between Boaz and this nearer relative takes place at the city gate. In the ancient world, the city gate often became an impromptu court room where the most honorable men of the city gathered. These men exercised the greatest discernment and character of anyone in town and they kept watch over who entered and whether they were allowed. Here at the city gate, these two men negotiate a legal transaction regarding a piece of land owned by Naomi. The closer relative had the option to purchase the land if he also married Ruth. He decline the offer, which meant that Boaz could become the kinsman redeemer for Ruth.

When Ruth and Boaz marry, everyone in the town pronounces blessings upon them. In this way, they show honor to both Boaz and Ruth, two people who have lived honorable lives.

Ruth has a son. She takes this child and puts it onto the lap of Naomi. This brings joy to Naomi’s heart, and melts away the bitterness. This is when we learn, at the close of the book of Ruth, that the baby boy on Naomi’s lap, Obed, is the father of Jesse, and thus is the grandfather of David.

So what is a kinsman redeemer?

The Leviticus 25 states:

If one of your fellow Israelites becomes poor and sells some of their property, their nearest relative is to come and redeem what they have sold. “ – Lev. 25:25

Genesis 38 establishes the idea of the kinsman redeemer. Judah’s eldest son died, leaving Tamar widowed. Tamar was then given to the second oldest son. That man died as well. If a man died and his wife had no children, then the kinsman redeemer, a close relative, had to take the woman in, care for her, and provide children to raise in the dead man’s name.

Boaz was more than willing to do this for Ruth. And God honored Boaz’s willingness. Many more people remember the name Boaz than the name Mahlon, Ruth’s first husband. Because of Boaz’s willingness, he became a direct ancestor of the Messiah, Jesus! Ruth was given this honor as well.

These two individuals chose to live according to God’s law: not just the 613 prescribed regulations in the Torah, but the law of love. This simple yet profound story shows us that when we live lives that seem simple, they will be profound when we show love within a culture of honoring each other. Ruth honored Naomi by staying with her and providing for her; Naomi honored Ruth by looking out for her future; Boaz honored Ruth by protecting her person and her character; Ruth honored Boaz by her humble affections; Boaz honored the nearer relative by giving him the choice first regarding Ruth; the nearer relative honored Boaz by allowing him to pursue a relationship with a woman whom he obviously loved. All the townspeople of Bethlehem showed honor by pronouncing blessing.

Sometimes we find that people are honored only after they pass, and we eulogize them at the funeral. Romans 13 tells us to give honor to whom honor is due. That means we should not wait until people have passed to show them honor. We can do that now. We can build a culture of honor where we recognize the faithfulness people have shown through the years. We can build a culture of honor by talking kindly about people behind their backs, and by praying for them when they don’t even know.

Ask the Lord to show you someone He would like you to honor And then make an effort to show that honor, even if it seems awkward at first.

God bless you!

Precarious Yates

The CaptivesThe captives will only be free when Shunda loses his fears about who he is. Yet what Shunda fears more than anything is loneliness.

Qoshonni figures she has become too violent and will never come back from the brink that the MerKing has pushed her to.

Mookori knows his father loves him best, but this has no consolation as war invades the shores of his father’s kingdom.

The Heart of the Caveat Whale is an epic trilogy that takes place both under water and on land. Book 1, The Captives, in the beginning of a journey into joy and terror. Sea monsters abound, as does the valor of both simple folk and nobles alike.

About the Author:

Precarious YatesPrecarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their big dogs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.


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