Redemption & Restoration!

Ruth 4:1-22

We come to the end of the book of Ruth today as we see God dynamically restoring Naomi’s life and causing all the past events to work out for good into in a glorious end. Not only was Naomi’s joy restored, but the seed was sown for the restoration of the whole of mankind, as Ruth and Boaz became man and wife.

As earlier noted, Boaz was a man of integrity and valour. He called on the closest kinsman and also invited the elders of the city. He then made him aware that Naomi was selling the land belonging to Elimelech, and asked if the kinsman would purchase it. The kinsman first responded in the affirmative, but when he learnt he would have to also take unto him Ruth and allow the generations of Elimelech to continue to have an inheritance through her, he declined the offer.

As a sign of fully passing out his rights to Boaz, he took of his shoe and gave it to Boaz. This was a gesture in Israel that showed that a man transferred his redeeming rights, and also served as a witness and testimony for all to see. So Boaz got the land, and had Ruth as his wife with everyone clearly witnessing this.

The Lord blessed the union of Boaz and Ruth with a boy, and they named him Obed, he was the father of Jesse, the father of David, all in the lineage of Christ – the one who redeems us all to himself. The ending was a happy one for Naomi, she had hope and she had a future to look up to.

In the darkest moments, god is still working all things, and the most tragic of events have the potential to become the most joyous of all in the long run. He is an awesome God.

Some verses to remember

Vs 14 & 15: And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the Lord which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.

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My near Kinsman

 

Ruth 3: 1-18

In the ancient culture in which Ruth and Boaz lived, kinship is a very strong word. When the husband of a woman dies, the widow becomes the responsibility of the man’s family. She could marry the next brother who continues to take care of her or a very close kinsman.

Today, Naomi told Ruth that Boaz was a kinsman, and she gave her a plan to bring this to his awareness. Ruth was to go to Boaz field in the evening, and once he had slept, remove his covering and lay at his feet. The using of the blanket to cover the woman means protection, care and ownership, this was the symbolism this passage implied. It is quite different from seduction as some people would think this passage implies, it is protection.

So after Boaz had eaten and drunk, he went to sleep, and Ruth did as was planned. When Boaz woke up in the mid of the night, he was afraid to see a woman at his feet. Ruth told him why she was there, and Boaz did a very impressive thing. First, he did not take advantage of Ruth because of the situation, secondly despite his liking for Ruth, he noted that there was another closer kinsman, and until the man was aware of this responsibility, he could not take over. Boaz is clearly a man of very strong principles, a man of order, a man of integrity.

Finally, he sent Ruth off very early in the morning, giving her more wheat for her and Naomi. As Boaz noted Ruth was a very virtous woman, she did not go awhoring after young men, she also respected her mother in law so much and was willing to walk by the rules she gave her, the customs of the land. She indeed stayed through with her vow – ‘your people shall be my peole, your God my God’. Naomi’s people and their customs today practically became Ruth’s.

We will soon see the conclusion of the book tomorrow, but the story has been so insightful, could be related to, as it mostly involved common people and their everyday living, not priests, heroes, leaders but people just like us, trying to live everyday under God’s rule.

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“When Ruth Met Boaz”

Ruth 2:1-23

Although it was not stated directly in this passage, I believe the moment Boaz first saw Ruth he loved her, or at least he liked her. He was definitely favourably disposed to her, to the extent of telling the young men to deliberately drop some wheat for her to glean.

It was the time of wheat harvest, and Ruth asked Naomi to go and glean on one of the fields, which she allowed her to do. As God would have it, she went to Boaz’s field. Boaz was described as a mighty man in wealth, but not just that he was a kinsman to Elimelech, Ruth’s father in-law. Boaz was a godly man, goodly natured to his workers as seen even in the way he greets and treats them – The Lord be with thee.

Also noteworthy was the fact that the good deed Ruth did in following her mother in law down to Bethlehem preceded her. Boaz was aware of this and saw it as a desirable attribute. Leaving father, mother and kindred to join a people you have not known before is similar to what Christ calls us to do when we follow him. It brings to fore the meaning of the phrase, “if you must follow me, you must be willing to leave father, mother, or love me more than family” (paraphrasing mine). Ruth has shown this kind of commitment to her mother in law and the God of Israel whom she decided would now be her own God too.

Ruth was allowed to continue to glean in the field of Boaz right up till the end of the wheat harvest. She indeed found grace and favour in the sight of Boaz and of God.

Some verses to remember

Vs 12: The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.

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Introducing Ruth!

Ruth 1:1-22

The book of Ruth begins by giving us a background to the family of Elimelech a Bethlehemjudite, who went to sojourn in Moab with his family because of famine. However Elimelech died and Naomi his wife was left with their two sons. The two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, got married to two Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth. However the two brothers also later died, leaving their wives behind with thier mum.

Later Naomi heard that famine was over in Israel, and decided to return, and her two daughters in law went with her along the way to Judah. On the way she told them to return to their own people and start a new life. Initially both women resisted, however after some more persuasion Orpah kissed her goodbye, but Ruth persisted, telling Naomi she would never leave her. Ruth made a very strong choice to follow her mother in law. She decided not to turn back to her own people or her own gods, she wanted the God of Israel to be her God, the people of Naomi to be her people, she wanted to be with and help Naomi even till death. Wow, what a love, what a commitment! Naomi could not resist this any longer and she allowed Ruth to follow her to Bethlehem.

When the women saw Naomi and welcomed her back, she showed remorse and bitterness, being sad at all the tragedy that befell her. She believed she went out full but the Lord has brought her back empty. She did not even consider Ruth and her love anything at all, Ruth said nothing all through this but continued to be with and suppport her mother in law.

All this happened at the beginning of the barley harvest in Bethlehem. As we continue we will see how the story develops.

Some verses to remember

Vs 16 – 17:  And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

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