Ruth 4:13-22 The Lord Gave!

The redeemer was given by the LORD Himself. The LORD provided redemption through the child born to Ruth and Boaz. This is clearly seen in the Scripture. The child was given by the LORD to be the kinsman-redeemer of Naomi. Note that this is the climax of this wonderful short story of unusual love between Ruth and Boaz. And the climax focuses not upon the parents, but upon the child born to the loving couple. The redemption provided by Boaz was to be carried on through the child. The redemption of Naomi and Ruth from poverty and hopelessness was not to end with their death. The child was to become the kinsman-redeemer of Naomi and the family, and he was to pass on the work of redemption through the descendants of the family.

As soon as the child was born, the women of the neighborhood gathered together with Naomi to celebrate the birth of this very special child. Their praise was lifted up not to Boaz and Ruth, but to the LORD Himself. For it was the LORD who had given the child to the family, given a kinsman-redeemer to Naomi and the future descendants of the family. Note that the women offered up a prophetic prayer: they prayed for the child to become famous throughout all Israel. And the child did: through the life and ministry of the great king of Israel, David, and through the promised Messiah, the Savior and Redeemer of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ.The child was also to be a “restorer of life” to Naomi: he was to renew and sustain her in her old age. He was to reinvigorate her, give her a new outlook and perspective on life—more purpose, meaning, and significance in life. The child was proof of Ruth’s love for Naomi, a love that was proven better than having seven sons.

Because of Ruth’s great love for Naomi, Naomi was guaranteed that the child would be taught the duties of the kinsman-redeemer. Naomi could rest assured that the child would provide and take care of her throughout all her life. Seven sons could not do any more for her than what the love of Ruth was doing by providing this child for her, this kinsman-redeemer. The child was to be nurtured, reared, and cared for by Naomi. In fact, the child was to be considered the very son of Naomi herself. When the child was finally handed to Naomi, she took the child, laid him in her lap and cared for him. Some commentators feel that this act was a legal ritual indicating that Naomi was adopting the child as her own son. However, most scholars
feel that this was simply an act of love, not of law. Naomi was simply nourishing and caring for the child as a grandmother. Naomi had a son in the sense that she had a grandson.

Just as the LORD gave the child to be a kinsman-redeemer of Naomi, so the LORD has given the child Jesus to be the Redeemer of the world, the Messiah and Savior of all mankind.

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Ruth 3:6-18 Fear Not, I Will Do

Boaz accepted Ruth and gave her the great promise of marriage, of being redeemed.

What happened between Ruth and Boaz is a descriptive picture of what it means to be received by Christ and given the great promise of redemption. As painted by the Scripture, this moment shared between Ruth and Boaz was an exciting, exhilarating experience. The longing of Ruth’s heart for a home, a resting place, a place of provision, love, peace, and security— all that is provided by a loving husband—was soon to be experienced.

Boaz praised Ruth’s sacrificial kindness. What did Boaz mean by this? Note that he addressed her as “my daughter,” indicating that she was much younger than he. Thus, he could be commending her for offering to marry a much older man when she could have a much younger husband. But Boaz could also be commending her for marrying out of a sense of duty to Naomi, marrying in order to save Naomi’s family name and estate.

Robert L. Hubbard points out that today people marry for different reasons: for love, for lust, for money, for status, but Ruth did none of these. She was not running after a younger man nor was she seeking to marry a rich man. Instead, she was choosing to marry because of duty. She sensed deeply the need for redemption, for her and Naomi to be rescued and delivered from the hopelessness of their lives. She wanted to marry Boaz and bear a son so that Naomi could have a child to carry on the family name and receive all the other benefits of the kinsman-redeemer.

Boaz gave assurances to Ruth. He could have rejected Ruth and had nothing to do with her, but he obviously cared for her deeply. Perhaps he even loved her. Thus, he accepted her and calmed her fears, encouraging her not to be afraid. He would do all she asked. He gave her the promise of marriage, of redemption. She and Naomi would be redeemed, rescued and saved from their hopeless, miserable life.

Boaz praised Ruth for being a woman of virtue, of noble character. She had the reputation of being a virtuous woman. She was faithful, trustworthy, hardworking, giving, and committed to the LORD. Boaz was telling Ruth that she possessed all the qualities that would make an ideal wife. Boaz vowed to see that Ruth was married (redeemed) despite a complicated barrier that faced them.

No doubt, what Boaz said next utterly shocked Ruth and took her by total surprise. There was a closer kinsman than Boaz. This meant that someone else had the first right to marry Ruth, someone other than Boaz. This was devastating news to Ruth, for she obviously had her heart set upon marrying Boaz, not someone else.

Nevertheless, Boaz promised to marry and redeem Ruth if the other relative refused. Boaz promised to approach the closer kinsman immediately, the very next morning, and present the proposition to him. If the closer relative wished to marry and redeem Ruth, then it would have to be accepted. But if he was not willing, then Boaz himself would redeem her.

Obviously longing for the right to marry Ruth himself and wanting to give her full assurance, Boaz even took an oath. He swore that he would fulfill his promise. Just as the LORD Himself lives, Boaz would redeem Ruth; rescue her by marrying her and bringing her into his home.

Having done all he could to give assurance to Ruth, Boaz instructed her to guard against the appearance of unrighteousness. They must guard against rumor and gossip. He suggested that she remain at the threshing floor until early morning, right before everyone would be arising from their night’s sleep. If she were spotted leaving the threshing floor during the night where he had been sleeping, gossip would begin to swirl throughout the city and rumors would spread. The consequence would be catastrophic: their reputations would be ruined and his position as a leader would be threatened. Right before daybreak, before anyone could be recognized, Boaz sent Ruth on her way. But he first gave her an abundance of provision, filling her shawl with six measures or scoops of barley. Just how much barley this was is not known, but it was no doubt a generous amount. Once he had filled her shawl with grain, Boaz set the grain either on her head or across her shoulders and sent Ruth back into town. If an early riser happened to see her, the person would think she had been in the fields gathering grain throughout the night. No suspicion would be aroused, and no gossip would be rumored.

Once she had left, Boaz himself returned to town to fulfill his promise made to Ruth. Boaz gave Ruth the great promise of marriage, of being redeemed, of being rescued and saved from a life of hopelessness. Thus it is with Christ when a person approaches Him. Christ gives the promise of redeeming, rescuing, and saving a person from the hopelessness of this life.

No matter how discouraged, depressed, guilt-ridden, distressed, grief-stricken, poor, helpless, diseased, handicapped, empty, or lonely—no matter how gripped we are by the hopelessness of this life—Christ will redeem us, rescue and save us.

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Ruth 2:18-3:5 The Difference of a Day

There was the stirring of great hope in Naomi and Ruth. Boaz’s interest in Ruth aroused the hope of rescue, the hope that Naomi and Ruth might be saved, redeemed from a life of poverty and destitution. Unknown to them, the wonderful day of redemption, salvation, and rescue was rapidly approaching.

Great hope was aroused in Ruth because of Boaz’s gracious provision. Ruth continued to glean, to gather all the grain she could throughout the afternoon and up until the early evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, which amounted to about an ephod (three quarters of a bushel). No doubt, great hope and joy flooded Ruth’s heart as she labored throughout the afternoon, for Boaz had assured her that she could continue to glean until the end of the harvest season.

Great hope, a renewed hope was aroused in Naomi. As soon as Ruth returned to Naomi, she showed how much grain she had gathered. And she gave Naomi the leftovers from her lunch. Knowing that two-thirds of a bushel was far more grain than what was usually gleaned by the poor and that the poor were never given food by the landowners and his workers, Naomi were utterly surprised. Somewhat shocked, but overjoyed, she questioned Ruth: Where had she been gleaning and working? And she blessed the man who had taken notice of Ruth and had been so generous to her. Excitedly, Ruth shared her story and experience, identifying the man as Boaz.

Keep in mind the bitter life that Naomi had lived, the terrible sufferings she had borne through the hand of God’s chastisement. She had lost her husband and both sons and had been gripped by the depths of grief and discouragement. Her life had been empty and tragic ever since her marriage.

But now, a renewed hope was aroused within her. Hearing the name of Boaz stirred within her the hope of being rescued, redeemed from a life of poverty and hopelessness. Great hope was aroused because Boaz was the kinsman-redeemer of Naomi. This is a striking picture of Jesus Christ, the believer’s Kinsman-Redeemer. When Naomi heard the name Boaz, she immediately exclaimed, “That man is our close relative; he is one of our kinsman-redeemers”. This fact meant a most wonderful thing to Naomi. In Jewish society, the kinsmen-redeemer was just that, a near relative who could redeem or rescue a needy family member.

What a difference a day can make!

Ruth 2:1-17 The Times they Are a Changing

Boaz is introduced, so it seems, out of nowhere. As we begin Chapter 2, there has been no mention, not even a hint that a new character was to appear on the scene.Only Boaz’s name and a few facts about him are given at this time. He does not yet enter the lives of Naomi and Ruth. The opening verse only introduces him to the reader, suggesting that he will soon become a part of their lives, a significant part.

The name Boaz most likely means, in him is strength or son of strength. Boaz was a man of wealth or standing in the community of Bethlehem. The Hebrew word has a wide range of meanings such as warrior, a well-to-do man of wealth, a distinguished, honored man. This means that Boaz was a man of considerable position and influence in Bethlehem.

Boaz was a relative, a kinsman of Naomi’s husband, Elimelech. This fact—plus the fact that he was a wealthy, honorable man—is a strong suggestion that Boaz will soon become the savior of Naomi and Ruth. In fact, this is the very purpose for introducing him at this time in the story.

Naomi, who had suffered so much throughout her life, and Ruth, her daughter-in-law who had accompanied Naomi back to Bethlehem, were destitute. They were both widows, left all alone to fend for themselves in a male-dominated world. They even lacked the money to buy food, the most basic necessity of life.

But here is Boaz thrust upon the scene, introduced as a wealthy, honorable man. The implication or suggestion is clear: God appears on the scene to save these desperate, needy widows. Boaz will be their savior. He will rescue, deliver, and redeem them from their distress and sufferings. Their hopelessness will be turned to joy.

Keep in mind that Boaz was the son of Rahab, the prostitute who was saved. This means that Boaz and his mother Rahab were to become a part of the lineage of Jesus Christ. Naomi and Ruth were totally unaware that God was about to save them from their desperate plight. But this was not to be all, God was also planning to use them to fulfill His great promise to Abraham, the promise of the promised seed—the wonderful promise that the Savior or Messiah would come through the descendants of Abraham. Ruth was to become a part of the lineage of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The sovereign power of God was moving the events surrounding Naomi and Ruth in order to fulfill His promise made to Abraham centuries before. Naomi and Ruth were to play an important part in fulfilling God’s great promise to send the Savior into the world. They were totally unaware that God was preparing to use them in His great cause to save mankind.

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Ruth1:6-22 On the Road Again

Ruth’s decision is one of the most memorable, powerful confessions in all of Scripture. In contrast to Orpah, Ruth made a magnificent confession of total commitment, a commitment that was to lead to her conversion and redemption.

Ruth demonstrated a deep, undying sense of devotion. She loved Naomi and clung to her. In contrast to Orpah, she did not give up, but bluntly rejected Naomi’s pleas for her to return to Moab. But Naomi continued to insist that Ruth return to her people and her gods, just as Orpah had done.

However, Ruth refused to listen to her mother-in-law. Forcefully, Ruth insisted that Naomi back off, stop urging her to leave and turn back. And then Ruth made her memorable declaration, a stunning, profound commitment. Was Ruth actually converted at this point, or was she converted earlier in Moab due to the belief of Naomi and her family? Or was she to be converted later, after arriving in the Promised Land? Scripture does not specifically say, but she had come to trust in the LORD and to take “refuge under His wings” by the time she met Boaz.

Whatever the case, the startling and total commitment now declared by Ruth is a clear picture of conversion. She made three strong pledges:

First, she made a strong commitment to family. Technically, Ruth was now a part of Naomi’s family, under her guardianship. Consequently, Ruth should have obeyed Naomi’s urging to leave and return to Moab. But Ruth loved Naomi and was totally devoted to her. Thus, she insisted that Naomi stop urging her to return to her people. In a straightforward manner, she declared that she would not leave. But rather, she would go wherever Naomi went and stay wherever Naomi stayed. Her devotion compelled her to remain by Naomi’s side, never leaving her.

Second, she made a strong commitment to God and to God’s people. Unequivocally, she declares, “Your people will be my people and your God my God.” By this statement, Ruth was renouncing her Moabite roots, the world of unbelievers and false worshipers. This included both her family and her citizenship in Moab. She was now putting her faith in the only living and true God, the LORD Himself. And she was determined to become identified with the people of God, the Israelites. What a strong, striking commitment, a willingness to forsake her own family in order to know the true and living God!

Third, Ruth declared that her commitment was until death; it was total, final, and unshakable. To this she swore or took an oath: where Naomi died, she would die, and there she would be buried. She would stay with Naomi and serve the living and true God until death. With this declaration, Naomi realized that Ruth’s commitment was unshakable, set as though in concrete. Consequently, she accepted Ruth’s decision.

Ruth’s total commitment is a strong example for us. She was not indecisive or neutral; neither can we be. Our commitment can be no different than hers. Just as she made a total commitment to God and His people, so we must make a total commitment to Jesus Christ, to follow Him and to become identified with the people of God, the church. We must be totally, wholeheartedly committed to Jesus Christ.

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Ruth 1:1-5 The Runners

The next crisis faced by Naomi and her family was that of distrust, unbelief, apostasy. Naomi’s family included her husband, Elimelech, and their two sons, Mahlon and Kilion. Because of the famine, Naomi and her husband forsook the promised land to live in Moab. This was a clear symbol of turning away from God, of turning to the world. How can this be said? Because they abandoned the people of God and their inheritance, the promised land of God. They turned away to live among the enemy, in the land of the enemy.

Warren W. Wiersbe says this:He [Elimelech] honored the enemy and not the LORD. By going fifty miles to the neighboring land of Moab, Elimelech and his family abandoned God’s land and God’s people for the land and the people of the enemy. The Moabites were descendents of Lot from his incestuous union with his firstborn daughter (Genesis 19:30-38). And they were the Jews’ enemies because of the way they had treated Israel during their pilgrim journey from Egypt to Canaan (Deuteronomy 23:3-6; Numbers 22:25). During the time of the Judges, Moab had invaded Israel and ruled over the people of Israel for eighteen years (Judges 3:12-14); so why should Elimelech turn to them for help? They were a proud people (Isaiah 16:6) whom God disdained. “Moab is my wash pot,” said the LORD (Psalms 60:8, KJV), a picture of a humiliated nation washing the feet of the conquering soldiers….The name Elimelech means “my God is king.” But the LORD was not king in Elimelech’s life, for he left God completely out of his decisions. He made a decision out of God’s will when he went to Moab.

Naomi and Elimelech had already received their inheritance in Canaan, the promised land of God. But here they were abandoning, forsaking their inheritance and the promises of God. They failed to trust God, to trust His care and provision during this crisis. God had promised to take care of His people no matter what they had to face. But Naomi and her husband were gripped by a spirit of unbelief and distrust. They were not living closely enough to the LORD to lay claim to His promises, to believe His Word, that He would do exactly what He had promised. Consequently, they turned away from the people of God and abandoned their inheritance. They chose to live in the world among the enemies of God. Naomi and Elimelech’s crisis of distrust and unbelief led to apostasy.

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Devotional: Introduction to Ruth

Most crises in life are the result of bad decisions or irresponsible behavior. We either make poor or wrong judgments or else fail to do what we should do; consequently, crises strike and problems are created. A person may eat too much and create a health crisis. A person may drive too fast and cause an accident. A person may act irresponsibly and face a broken relationship, divorce, loss of job, loss of finances, bankruptcy, a failed grade, injury, disease, even death.

The results of bad decisions and irresponsible behavior could go on and on, but the point is well illustrated and experienced by us all. When we make bad decisions or act irresponsibly, we often create crises for ourselves or for others. This was true in the life of Naomi and her family. She and her family made several bad decisions and the result was catastrophic. Her husband and two sons died in a foreign land, leaving her destitute and poverty-stricken.

But God, in His marvelous grace, had mercy and compassion upon Naomi. And He actually took the crises of her life and worked them out for good, using them to bring about the wonderful redemption or salvation of Ruth. The first crisis faced by Naomi and her family was day-to-day corruption.

The family lived in the corrupt days of the judges. The judges ruled throughout Israel after Joshua’s death up until the coronation of the first king, King Saul .These were turbulent days, very troubled times—some of the darkest days of Israel’s history. Morally, society collapsed, becoming a cesspool of moral corruption and injustice. Families, society, and the nation as a whole were gripped by a sinful, evil spirit of lying, stealing, and cheating ,selfishness, greed, and covetousness, even within the priesthood and ministry, false religion and religious deception, unbelief, idolatry, and false worship, immorality, drunkenness, and partying, extreme prejudice and discrimination, homosexuality, sexual perversion, and brutality, rape, lawlessness, violence, and murder, national division, disgrace, and civil war, deception and the terrible abuse of human rights by national leaders.

This cesspool of evil permeated and ran rampant throughout the society of Israel during the days of the judges. This vile, shameful, and wicked behavior was due to one fact, every man did what was right in his own eyes. As Naomi and her family arose from bed each day, this was the first crisis they had to face: the crises of a corrupt society. Escape was impossible. For this was the world in which they lived and moved about—a corrupt world gone mad, gripped by a spirit of sin and evil. A person or society gripped by sin and unbelief must face the indictment, the accusation of God. God charges the sinful and evil of this world with the most serious of offenses.

We can learn a strong lesson from the fact that the wonderful love story of Ruth took place during the corrupt days of the judges: God reached out to redeem or save people even during the darkest days of human history. No matter how corrupt a circle of friends or society may be, God will save any person who will ask Him to be redeemed, and delivered from sin and death.

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