The word Chesed (Ke-sed) plays a vital role in our Bible. Hidden under layers of translation, culture, and language, we don’t understand the measure of its importance. “Kindness” fulfills one aspect of its meaning, but grace and mercy also define the word.
Chesed also reveals a covenant, a relationship. The story of Ruth displays a wonderful example of this biblical word. Boaz, the land-owner/relative who provided for Ruth and Naomi exhibited chesed. Kindness and faithfulness flowed through his heart. His kindness blessed both women.When Ruth came home from gleaning in the fields with arms filled with barley and leftovers, Naomi began to find hope again.
Chesed will do that for you.
This Week’s Scripture Focus Ruth 2:20
We’re in week 14 of our Ruth Bible study continuing chapter two where the dark cloud of grief and bitterness over Naomi began to dissipate.
“The Lord bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. “He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.” She added, “That man is our close relative; he is one of our guardian-redeemers.”
Ruth 2: 20 NIV
At first glance it seems Naomi spoke of Boaz’s kindness to the living and the dead. But a close look at another translation reveals a clearer understanding. It also reveals more than kindness is involved.
Na‘omi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by Adonai, who has never stopped showing grace, neither to the living nor to the dead.” Na‘omi also told her, “The man is closely related to us; he’s one of our redeeming kinsmen.”Ruth 2: 20 CJB- Complete Jewish Bible
I love this translation. It makes it clear that Naomi praised God for His kindness and grace. Did you notice the difference in these two translations? One speaks of God’s grace while the other translates it as kindness. There’s a reason for that. The Hebrew word translated differently here is chesed.
God’s Chesed and Kindness
In ancient days, two parties would promise chesed. Often on of the people involved held a higher social standing than the other. Think of Rahab of Jericho and the spies. Before the spies went back, she asked they return the chesed she’d shown them hiding them from the authorities. The spies promised to return her merciful kindness. They kept their promise by saving her family.
Scripture promises God’s chesed. The Bible reading plan below contains five scriptures and prompts that will help you better understand God’s character and kindness. Remember, kindness or chesed restores hope. This is a great Bible reading plan if your heart needs hope.
Bite of Bread Reading Plan for Hope
Monday: Ruth 2: 20 (Two translations as shown in the article above.)
“The LORD bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. “He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.” She added, “That man is our close relative; he is one of our guardian-redeemers.” NIV
Na‘omi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by Adonai, who has never stopped showing grace, neither to the living nor to the dead.” Na‘omi also told her, “The man is closely related to us; he’s one of our redeeming kinsmen.” CJB
Prompt: Naomi, who was once bitter because of God’s judgment, now begins finding her joy again as she proclaims HIS grace. Has there been a time in your life when God seemed absent until a glimmer of hope arrived? What brought you hope?
God’s Wisdom and Chesed
Tuesday: Leviticus 25: 23-25
“‘The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers. 24 Throughout the land that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.“ ‘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.”
Prompt: Read this three times. I’m not sure if this provision/law God made stirs your heart as it does mine, but there is such kindness and wisdom in it. This law provides for redemption of the land. Write down what this says to you.
Wednesday: Deuteronomy 7: 7-8:
The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. 8 But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
Prompt: First, please remember these words were written to Israel. Let that settle in your heart. Take a deep breath and ask yourself how we can apply this scripture. So many times we try to put scripture into our context, but when we do we miss truth. All scripture is not about us, but it is all about God. With this perspective read the bite again and write down what it tells you about God.
Thursday: Deuteronomy 7: 7-9
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.
Prompt: What does this tell us about God? How can this apply to your life?
Friday: Romans 11: 28-29:
As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.
Prompt: Underline verse 29. We always think very individualistic about our faith. But try to think “people” when you apply this verse. What gift has God given us? Can it be taken away?
Thursday Night LIVE
Dear friends, I apologize for not being consistent with the night and time of our LIVE fellowship. This week I hope you can join me on Thursday at 7:30 PM ET. Gather your Bible, journal, BOB reading plan printable or your Ruth Bible study. I can’t wait to encourage you with God’s Chesed!
Here’s last week’s teaching about the God who sees us. You are not invisible.