Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go back, each of you to your mother's home. May the LORD show you loving devotion, as you have shown to your dead and to me.
I. THE FOUNDATION OF KINDNESS. We must seek this below what is called "good nature;" and, taught by Christianity, must find it in the brotherhood of man, the fatherhood of God. The sacrifice of Christ is the power and the model of true Christian kindness.
II. THE SPHERE OF KINDNESS. The family, as in the passage before, s, comes first. "Kind" is related, as a word, to "kin." "Charity begins at home." But, as has been remarked, it does not end there. Kindness should be shown to our fellow-creatures, as Christians, as neighbors, as fellow-countrymen, as members of the human race.
III. THE DIFFICULTIES in the way of kindness. It is not always easy for persons of one nation to agree with those of another; foreigners are often foes. It is not always easy for mothers-in-law to agree with daughters-in-law. Yet these difficulties may be overcome, as in this narrative.
IV. THE RECOMPENSE of kindness. Naomi's prayer was answered, and the Lord dealt kindly with those who had shown kindness. True kindness will breathe many a prayer. And the Lord's loving-kindness, condescending, unmerited, and free, is his people's most precious possession; it is "better than life!" - T.
The Lord deal kindly with you.I. THAT IT IS A DUTY TO PRAY FOR THOSE WHICH DO EITHER US OR OURS GOOD.
III. THAT THE GODLY ARE PERSUADED THAT THE LORD IS A MERCIFUL REWARDER OF THE DUTIES OF LOVE WHICH ONE DOTH TOWARDS ANOTHER (Colossians 3:24).
IV. THAT CHILDREN SHOULD SO WELL DESERVE OF PARENTS, yea, though but parents-in-law, AS THEY MAY BE MOVED HEARTILY TO PRAY FOR THEM, as Naomi doth in this place. A good carriage is a duty towards all, then much more to parents; and the prayers of parents is a means to put a blessing upon their children.
V. THAT GOD WILL NOT ONLY BARELY REWARD, BUT SO DEAL WITH US AS WE DEAL WITH OTHERS.
I. THE LORD KNOWS BEST WHAT KINDNESS IS. The Lord deal kindly with you. Has He been kind? At times we should have been tempted to answer, No! The vine is blighted, the fig-tree withered, the locusts have spoiled the green of spring. Kindly? Yes, we shall answer one time when we stand in our lot at the end of days. For kindness is not indulgence. God's kindness to us may take forms which surprise us. At the heart of His severest judgments there is mercy, in the bitter spring there is healing water. The kindest things God has ever done for us have been, perhaps, the strangest and severest. So it was with Daniel and Jacob and Joseph and Abraham, our father. All God's ways are done in truth, and truth is always kindness.
II. THE LORD KNOWS BEST WHAT OTHERS HAVE BEEN TO US. "As you have dealt with the dead and me." It is a touching little sentence. The dead. So silent now. Never to come back, for us to touch imperfectness into riper good. Gone! What a word of vacancy, and silence, and subtle mystery! Is it strange we should wish well to those who were kind to the dead? And Naomi links her own being with them still: "The dead and me." And with true hearts they never can be dissociated. Anniversaries of remembrance make our separations no more distant. They soften them. They give place for comforting remembrances: but the dead are near as ever. "The dead and me!" Who shall separate? None. Christ died, yea, rather is risen again, and He will raise us up together to the heavenly places.
III. THE LORD ALONE WILL BE WITH US ALL THROUGH OUR FUTURE PILGRIMAGE. Apart from Divine power, which we have not to bless with, there is Divine presence which we all need. Christ will be with us to the end. Never will come a battle, a temptation, a solitude, a sorrow, a needful sacrifice, but the Lord will be at hand.
IV. THE LORD HAS GIVEN US GUARANTEES OF HIS KINDNESS. We are not left to meditate on rain and fruitful seasons only. Not the green of spring, nor the south wind of summer, nor the gold of autumn alone proclaim His goodness.(W. M. Statham.)
As ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.Revelation 14:13). He leaveth behind him —
I. His BODY, to which we must be kind, by burial and lamentation.
II. His ESTATE, to which we must be kind, by careful and faithful administration.
III. His CHILDREN, FRIENDS, or KINDRED, to whom we must be kind, by love and affection.
IV. His FAULTS and FAILINGS, to which we must be kind, by silence and suppression.
V. His MEMORY and VIRTUES, to which we must be kind, by congratulation, commemoration, and imitation.
(T. Fuller, B. D.)
(A. Thomson, D. D.)
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