On the Jewish Calendar, today is the celebration of Shavuot, or the Festival of Weeks.
Shavuot marks the fiftieth day on the Jewish Calendar after Passover, this is believed to be the anniversary of the day God gave the Torah to Moses at Mount Sinai. This marks the time when God made them a Nation with the purpose of serving Him. Shavuot is also the celebration of the Jewish harvest. And it just happens that, as we are reading through the Bible around here, we arrived at the book of Ruth this week. And the book of Ruth is a story which is set almost entirely during the barley harvest in Isreal, and this story has strong associations with Shavout among Jewish people today.
Jon had some good insights that I wanted to share here. Ruth, the Moabitess widow who has come to Isreal, meets Boaz, the wealthy Jewish landowner. The Moabites were outsiders and were certainly not well-loved in Isreal, yet Boaz attentively cared for Ruth as if she were one of his own. When he hardly knew her, he invited her to share bread and wine with him, and then he sent her home weighed down with gifts of food. As it turns out he is a kinsman redeemer with a duty, under Jewish law, to protect her. But this detail was unknown to Ruth…. at first.
But, as Ruth responds to her mother in law in humble obedience (in ways I might have balked at..) she is ultimately redeemed by Boaz. It always amazes me how beautifully Ruth obeyed, without any arguing, and was later blessed for her obedience. Boaz takes Ruth as his wife and she later has a lovely baby boy and ultimately becomes a grandmother of king David, and a part of the lineage of Christ.
And just as Boaz rescued her from poverty and a life of degradation, so we are rescued by Christ. And he offers us wine and bread, and he lavishes us with gifts. Christ is our kinsman redeemer, and I can see the relationship in new ways here in the book of Ruth.
So, Rejoice, and have a Happy Shavuot!