We’ve reached our final redemptive chapter of this book. When we first met Ruth, she was a poor widow who was fresh to the faith (representative of a Gentile new believer). Since then, she has gleaned handfuls of purpose in Boaz’s field, been covered by his goodness, and now approaches a wedding day. Though not all stories have endings this romantic and buttoned-up, may it serve as a deep-seated reminder that our Savior always writes the final chapter.
1 Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there; and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz had spoken came by. So Boaz said, “Come aside, friend, sit down here.” So he came aside and sat down. 2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down. 3 Then he said to the close relative, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, sold the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech. 4 And I thought to inform you, saying, ‘Buy it back in the presence of the inhabitants and the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am next after you.’”
And he said, “I will redeem it.”
- As we learned previously, the word redeem means “to set free by paying a price.” In this case, Elimelech’s property was either tied up in some kind of a mortgage or had been sold, so a near kinsman (Leviticus 25:25) could perform the duties of redeeming the property and all which was attached to the transaction.
- Boaz’s hurdle was that there was a closer relative than he was who had to be given the redemption opportunity. So, he went to the city gate with a goal in mind: pay the price for his love. Note how Boaz lays the issue right out on the table in the presence of others – this is great counsel for those of us who do business. Don’t show half your hand; state the facts, give the conditions, and then move forward as the Lord leads.
5 Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also buy it from Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance.”
6 And the close relative said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance. You redeem my right of redemption for yourself, for I cannot redeem it.”
- And…there was the twist. God Almighty knows how to create a theatrical climax! The other kinsman was willing to buy the land until he learned that Ruth was part of the deal, and then he backed out. Boaz understood all he was committing to and said, “Bring it on.” I adore this because it’s exactly how our Redeemer responds to us. He gets that it’s a package deal: our hang-ups, bang-ups, and the dark crevices we don’t want anyone noticing. He knows…and He said YES! #youarecrazyloved
7 Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging, to confirm anything: one man took off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was a confirmation in Israel.
8 Therefore the close relative said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself.” So he took off his sandal. 9 And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, from the hand of Naomi. 10 Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from his position at the gate. You are witnesses this day.”
11 And all the people who were at the gate, and the elders, said, “We are witnesses. The Lord make the woman who is coming to your house like Rachel and Leah, the two who built the house of Israel; and may you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. 12 May your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring which the Lord will give you from this young woman.”
- I can’t help but wonder what Boaz and Ruth were each thinking as this transaction took place. Was Boaz completely confident he would be the redeemer? Were there doubts whispering in his mind as he walked in his sandals that morning to the city gate? Was Ruth pacing the floor and her mind gushing with scenarios as she waited to hear the outcome? Most likely. Yet, God sustained them both through the transaction. Even though the morning was utterly unnerving, the matter had to be settled because the process fulfilled the requirements of the law.
- It was no different with Jesus – He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). His process of death and resurrection was absolutely necessary for us to be wedded to Christ eternally.
- Scroll back up to the beginning of the chapter and note how many times the phrase “sat/sit down” is bolded (go ahead, I’ll be here when you get back). Now, look at Hebrews 10:12 and read it with me: “But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right side of God.” Why is sitting such a pivotal concept for us to grasp as believers? Because Christ’s fulfillment of the law gave us rest. We do not need to rely on our own worthless works and efforts to maintain a relationship with God. Christ did the perfect for us and expects nothing from us. That’s grace. That’s agape love. Rest in it, because it’s finished (John 19:30)!
13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. 14 Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel!15 And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.” 16 Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him. 17 Also the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “There is a son born to Naomi.” And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
18 Now this is the genealogy of Perez: Perez begot Hezron; 19 Hezron begot Ram, and Ram begot Amminadab; 20 Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon; 21 Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed; 22 Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.
- After three funerals and a long road to Bethlehem, there was a wedding and a perpetuated life. The precious life of Obed was not only a blessing to Boaz and Ruth, but also to Naomi. She became a woman who now knew joy and no longer bitterness. There’s no blessing quite as rich as being a parent, and I’ve heard being a grandparent is all the grander (when they come to visit and when they leave!). What a privilege it is to influence and guide a generation younger than us. When you rock a baby, you are rocking the future. Coddle with care.
- Thanks to the genealogy provided in this book, we know that Obed was the great-grandfather of King David. While David had his ups and downs (see 2 Samuel), no one can deny that he loved his Lord and had a significant impact on the Israelite nation.
Final Reflections from Ruth
The book of Ruth is an epic love story which provides us with an intimate look of how our Savior loves us. It puts Fifty Shades of Grey to absolute twisted shame. God realizes that we come from a story rooted in death (sin) and so He created a road to the House of Praise through Jesus and He desperately desires us to travel it.
Unfortunately, many are like Orpah – ones who weep and wail, but consciously and intentionally choose not to follow. Others of us, like Ruth, make an alternate decision. Over time, Providence’s hand guides us to fields of purpose where blessings are deliberately left on the ground for us to collect. Our fruitful character begins to draw notice as we lay at the feet of our King and request His covering. He’s so overjoyed with us!
Here we stand today, anxiously pacing and awaiting to hear that trumpet call. We long to be clothed in that fine, linen garment we’ll wear when we finally get to see our Boaz (Jesus) face-to-face. What a blessed day that will be! I pray you make the choice Ruth did and rest in the work He accomplished just for you. Amen.