I had just finished up a load of laundry and went downstairs to the kitchen. The sink was full of pans and bowls, covered in buttercream from my son’s baking adventures for the day. I walked over to the side door to grab the mail and there were 6 pairs of shoes blocking me, all different sizes with grass and dirt on the bottoms. I stepped over them and made my way to the mailbox, passing soccer and basketballs. Once I finally sat on the couch, I noticed my middle son’s ice cream bowl on the end table from the night before.
I finally took a breath and smiled. I smiled for several reasons. Laundry meant I had a family full of people to dirty clothes, buttercream dishes meant Mack had made another creation. Dirty shoes and soccer balls meant friends who love my boys had been over, and a leftover ice cream bowl reminded me of how much Ben love’s sweets. All of this meant life was happening around me, a beautiful life God had given me, full of His bounty.
But I mostly smiled because I could smile. A year ago, all this mess would have frustrated me. I would have sighed and beaten myself up for not being more organized or more on top of the chores or for being lazy. I smiled because smiling meant growth. A sigh of gratefulness meant I was changing. A thankful heart meant my mind was seeing beauty and bounty instead of scanning for problems and feeling lack. This last year has been hard and heavy work for many of us. But the learning has been exponential. So much was taken from us, so it forced many of us to make some choices; stay stuck in the lack or begin to shift and look for beauty and become bounty hunters.
Bounty: a great harvest, abundant, generous
There is a bounty for us. Sometimes we just have to hunt for it.
God is ever before us. God is timeless. He is setting things up in the heavens and on the earth right now that will benefit and bless and provide bounty for us. He has done things in the past, in His secret space, that we are only realizing today.
Deuteronomy 1:30 “The Lord your God who goes before you on your way to seek out a place for you to encamp…to show you the way in which you should go.” Bounty.
In the old testament, God established a law regarding the harvest that would protect the hungry and hurting: “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:9
Gleaning was the act of getting the leftovers, so because of this law, the hurting and the hungry would come and glean the wheat or fruit that was left over and would be provided for.
The book of Ruth tells the beautiful story of Naomi, her daughter-in-law, Ruth, and Boaz. Naomi’s husband and sons die. Ruth and Naomi are both widowed and poor. They leave their land of Moab and return to Judah, Naomi’s homeland, because of rumors of a bountiful harvest there. Ruth, hurting and hungry, goes to glean from the wealth of Boaz’s field.
Because of Ruth’s love and care for Naomi, Ruth’s reputation had gone ahead of her and Boaz knew what she had done. “I know about the love and kindness you have shown your mother-in-law since the death of your husband. May the Lord, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully.” Bounty.
Not only did Ruth receive permission to glean from Boaz’s field, he also showed her great favor. He fed her and told his men, “pull out some heads of barley from the bundles and drop them on purpose for her.” Naomi’s response at the amount of food Ruth gleaned was, “So much!” Bounty.
Ruth later married Boaz and their lineage leads to the birth of Jesus. Bounty.
God’s law for gleaning went before Naomi and Ruth and provided their survival. It went before Boaz and led to his marriage and family. It also went before Jesus and made a way for his birth.
Do you see this? Do you see that God is always before us, always ahead of us, making provisions for our good?
God is timeless. He is setting things up in the heavens and on the earth right now that will benefit and bless and provide bounty for us. He has done things in the past, in his secret space, that we are only realizing today. We just need eyes to see, to see the beauty, to become bounty hunters.
Isa. 45:2 “I will go before you and make the rough places smooth.” Bounty
Believing that God has gone before us requires faith. It requires trust that God keeps his promises and assurance that he sees our hurt and hunger and knows what we need.
Vs 3 Trust in the Lord and do good, then you will live dwell in the land and prosper.
Vs 4 Take delight in the Lord and he will give you your heart’s desires.
Vs 5 Commit everything you do to the Lord, Trust him and he will help you.
7 Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.
Are you hurting and hungry today? What is the act of trust you must take? Can you believe he has gone before you? That he has made provisions for your good as he did for Ruth, Naomi, Boaz and even Jesus?
Can you take delight in Him knowing he saw this difficulty coming and has already made a way through it? Do you trust Him with your heart’s desires? Can you commit this pain or worry to Him and just be still? Can you wait for Him to act?
This is hard, holy work and it is a big ask, but I know He has not forgotten or overlooked you. He is the God who sees all and knows you. He precedes all and prepares you.
He will come through, just keep your eyes and your hands open. He has already put things in place and is right now setting things in motion to make a way for you, a bountiful harvest.
And you will be able to just glean, to just pick up the bounty off the battlefield. There will be fruit leftover because He always wins the war and His harvest is so large and He is so generous!
Do you believe it? Just watch, just wait, the battle is waged, the heavens are set, the table is being prepared…all for you.
“The Lord who goes before you will fight on your behalf” (Deut. 1:30)
Heaven has gone ahead of you and is fighting right now for you.
Just as it was fighting for Naomi and Ruth as they were hurting and hungry, just as it was fighting for Boaz as he was single and lonely, just as it was fighting for Jesus as he hung on the cross….And bounty came from all their pain.
God is always before us, always aware of us, making provisions for our good. God is timeless. He is setting things up in the heavens and on the earth that will benefit and bless and provide bounty for us. He has done things in the past, in his secret space, that we are only realizing today.
Psalm 139:5 “You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing upon my head.” Bounty