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Hard Ground and Tender Mercy

Today's Devotional

Praise be to the Lord. Ruth 4:14

When James was just six years old, his older brother David died tragically in an ice-skating accident. It was the day before David’s fourteenth birthday. In the years that followed, James tried his best to console his mother, Margaret, who in her deep grief sometimes reminded herself that her elder son would never have to face the challenges of growing up. In James Barrie’s fertile imagination, decades later that same idea would burgeon into inspiration for a much-loved children’s story character who never aged: Peter Pan. Like a flower pushing its way through pavement, good emerged even from the hard ground of unthinkable heartache.

How comforting is the thought that God, in an infinitely more creative way, is able to bring good out of our most difficult circumstances. A beautiful illustration of this occurs in the Old Testament story of Ruth. Naomi lost her two sons, leaving her without means or support. Her widowed daughter-in-law Ruth chose to remain with Naomi to help provide for her and to serve her God (Ruth 1:16). In the end, God’s provision brought them unexpected joy. Ruth remarried and had a child, “and they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David” (4:17). He would also be listed among the ancestors of Jesus (Matthew 1:5).

God’s tender mercy reaches beyond our ability to fathom and meets us in surprising places. Keep looking! Perhaps you’ll see it today.

When have you seen God bring unexpected good out of difficult circumstances in your life? How can you share what He’s done with others?

Loving God, I thank You that one day You’ll wipe every tear from my eyes because You’re greater than every heartache or difficulty I’ll ever face.


Obed, the son of Ruth and Boaz, is referred to as a “guardian-redeemer” or “kinsman-redeemer” (Ruth 4:14). The Hebrew go’el refers to a nearest relative who would buy back, redeem, and restore something to its original or proper state of existence. The guardian-redeemer has various duties: to redeem the property of his relative and keep it in the family (Leviticus 25:23–34); to redeem a poor relative who has sold himself as a slave to an outsider (vv. 35–55); to seek out the murderer of his kinsman and bring them to justice (Numbers 35:9–34); and to marry a childless widow of a deceased brother to carry on his family line (Deuteronomy 25:5–10). The “guardian-redeemer” is the central focus of the book of Ruth (2:20; 3:9, 12; 4:1, 3, 6, 8, 14). God refers to Himself as the Redeemer of Israel (see Isaiah 41:14; 44:6, 24; 47:4; 54:5; 63:16).

By |2021-04-18T09:06:10-04:00April 18th, 2021|
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