Devotion on Notable Firsts of the Bible (First Book Named for a Woman – Ruth) 31 July 2015 Anno Domini
PART X – Ruth’s Reward
“13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son. 14 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. 15 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. 16 And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it. 17 And the women her neighbours gave it 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 these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron, 19 And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, 20 And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon, 21 And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, 22 And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David. (Ruth 4:13-22)
A friend expressed regret to me yesterday that we would be reaching the conclusion of the Book of Ruth with today’s devotion. It is a common emotion of the heart to linger as long as possible before an object of great beauty whether it be a wonderful scene of nature, a garden, a masterful work of art, or a biblical account such as Ruth happens to be. There is, of course, a perspective from which we leave the beauty of this Book in the Library of our Bible today in order to explore other great gems of beauty from that Library of God’s Word; but, in another perspective, those who are joined in love to the people of God (living or dead) such as Ruth is to us, will not be leaving the beauty of the Woman, Ruth, or the Gospel message it incorporates. God has painted a beautiful Word-Picture for us of the Church (Ruth) and her Redeemer (Christ) in the real characters of Ruth and Boaz. Boaz was ever a perfect gentleman and compassionate master of Bethlehem-Judah. Ruth, however, was as unlikely a beneficiary of the blessings of Israel as you and I are today. She came, as we all have come, from a outcast and ungodly land (sin). She had already been married and widowed. The people of the Church, too, had fallen widow to their first spouse, Satan, whose defeat made possible our common betrothal to our new Spouse of stainless character and immense wealth – the Lord Jesus Christ.
As we shouldered our pilgrim’s burdens and passed through the eastern gate of Bethelehem-Judah, we tarry for a long look back at the beauty of the little hamlet, the purity of the pasturelands on the hills overlooking that blessed little city, and reflect on all that we have gleaned from this Book as Ruth had gleaned from the fields of Boaz. If you are like me, you will find it difficult and saddening to leave a place that has proven so much of a blessing to your heart. But leave we must. In a few short years, more will happen in Bethlehem that will turn the world upside down. How can it be that from such a tiny corner of the earth, such immense and earth-shattering events could occur. Soon, the grandson of Ruth, King David, will be born in this blessed city, and, little more than one thousand years later, the Lord Jesus Christ, too, will be born here in perfect conformity to ancient prophecy. According to Jewish chroniclers, Ruth lived to see David on the throne of Israel. You may be sure as well that Ruth lived to see her greatest recorded descendent, Jesus Christ, born here. God is the God of the living and not the dead – let him who has wisdom understand!
We see some particular points of salience in the progressive account of this Book:
Ruth’s love, loyalty, and resolve (1:1-22)
The setting (1:1-5)
The decision to return with Naomi to Judah (1:6-18)
The disgraceful return to Bethlehem (1:19-22)
Ruth’s generosity and unselfishness (2:1-23)
The request to glean in Boaz’s field (2:1-7)
The provision of Boaz (2:8-17)
The report to Naomi (2:18-22)
The continued labor of Ruth (2:23)
Ruth’s appeal (3:1-18)
The plan of Naomi for Ruth’s security (3:1-5)
The request of Ruth for Boaz to act as a kinsman-redeemer (3:6-15)
The request of Ruth (3:6-13)
The gift for Ruth (3:14-15)
The report to Naomi (3:16-18)
Ruth’s great reward (4:1-22)
The redemption of Ruth by Boaz (4:1-12)
The option of the nearest kinsman (4:1-5)
The refusal of the nearest kinsman (4:6-8)
The redemption by Boaz (4:9-12)
The marriage and prodigy of Ruth and Boaz (4:13-17)
The genealogy of David (4:18-22)
(above outline taken from Hannah’s Bible Outlines)
In Chapter three, we saw Ruth at the feet of Boaz on the threshing floor. Ruth has come to Bethlehem with Naomi seeking Grace and Rest. She has found both, and added to those two in service to her chosen husband.
The Church seeks, first of all, the Grace of Christ. In gaining that GRACE, she finds her REST in Christ – for the Lord Jesus Christ is our Eternal Sabbath and Passover. In finding REST, Ruth has also found the joy of service in the household of Boaz. That service is not laborious because Boaz has seen to it that “Handfuls on Purpose” are broadcast before Ruth as she gleans. The labors of Ruth are those of Boaz, and so the labors of the Church are those of Christ.
The story of Boaz and Ruth is the story of Christ and His Church in microcosm. It is a Garden of Grace in the midst of Judgment (Judges) and the rule of the kings (1 Samuel). Ruth had no claim on Boaz except by way of Naomi. She would not have come to Bethlehem except for Naomi. She is a gentile woman whose race was not well-received by the Israelites. Yet, Ruth comes to be redeemed by Boaz just as was Naomi – the Hebrew wife of Elimelech.
It is easy to draw herein a parallel between the Jew and the Gentile who were both redeemed by Christ (the Jewess being Naomi, and the Gentile being Ruth – the Church). “But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God.” (Romans 2:10-11))
After being confronted with his love for Ruth, Boaz wastes no time in finding the nearest kinsman to settle the matter over who will redeem Ruth and Naomi. He has a plan that works perfectly to his favor.
“Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here.” ((Ruth 4:1)
It was the custom to settle all disputes at the gate of the city. So Boaz goes to the gate and awaits the accustomed passage of the nearest kinsman-redeemer. The kinsman redeemer was the closest male relative who could purchase all of the properties from loss of those he should redeem of his family’s widowed wives.
Boaz was a very able business man who knew how to negotiate and close the deal. He would open with the advantage of redemption rather than its adverse element, but close with the unpleasant aspects thereof. “ . . . he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down. And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down.” ( Ruth 4:1-2)
Boaz made the nearest kinsman redeemer feel that he (Boaz) had no special interest in redeeming Ruth. “What a deal I have for you” it would seem! Boaz had brought ten men of the city as witnesses to insure the deal stuck! “And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech’s Ruth.” (Ruth 4:3)
*Note that Boaz does not mention the beautiful Ruth to the man! This kinsman redeemer probably has not seen Ruth.
“And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it.” (Ruth 4:4)
Boaz begins by appealing to the man’s greed for land – the same greed that will finally cause him to refuse the redemption. (The law of redemption was in place to prevent the land which God had given to Israel from falling into the hands of strangers.) Boaz has enticed the man with the best of the story, but will next reveal a most unbecoming feature of the redemption.
“Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance.” (Ruth 4:5)
This last responsibility is a bridge too far for the kinsman-redeemer. Probably unaware of the value of Ruth, he thinks of his own inheritance and his own children who would be losing out if he redeemed Ruth.
“And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it.” (Ruth 4:6) Boaz is inwardly elated as his plan is successful. He will now seal the deal according to tradition!
“Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel. 8 Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe.” (Ruth 4:7-8))
“And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi. Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day. And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem: And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD shall give thee of this young woman.” (Ruth 4:9-12)
The blessings uttered by the witnesses were more profound than they understood for Ruth truly would preserve the line of Jacob as through Leah and Rachel – the whole of Israel – but by means of the womb of a gentile. So perfectly preserved was the accounted line that Jesus Christ would be accounted of the line of Boaz and Ruth – one Jewish, the other Gentile. Do you see God’s perfect plan of redemption coming into focus here?
“So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son. 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.” (Ruth 4:13-14)
It is important to point out that, like Christ for His bride, Boaz was not ashamed of his bride, Ruth – the Moabitess gentile of a cursed race. We are all of the race of Adam and we are cursed by his blood; in fact, the last Word of the Book of the Old Testament is “CURSE” for the Law is a curse to us; but the last Word of the New Testament is “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” (Rev 22:21)
Please observe the blessing which the women of Bethlehem convey upon Naomi, Ruth, and her seed:
“Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. 15 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.” (Ruth 4:14-15)
There is no name like unto that of Jesus – either in Israel or beyond. He is the most known ever born of woman. Jesus is a restorer to life of Naomi and all who sleep in the dust of the earth and know Him. And Jesus is a nourisher of our old age. “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” (Isaiah 11:10)
It should be remembered that Ruth became the grandmother of Jesse, the father of David, through which the recorded line of Jesus descended. Jesus is that Root of Jesse and that Ensign behind which the Church rallies. It is seemingly by the magic of Grace by which Ruth, a member of the accursed Moabite Gentiles, became presumed ancestor of our Lord Jesus Christ. “And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it. And the women her neighbours gave it 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. Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron, And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon, And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.” (Ruth 4:16-22)
Remarkable is the fact that Ruth (a Gentile) gave birth to the child, and Naomi (a Jewess) nursed it. (You can’t make this stuff up! God is amazing!) This completes our cursory study of the Book of Ruth. It is the desire of the writer that this presentation will spur a greater interest in the Book of Ruth and be a means by which far greater study is made by the reader.
The Book of Ruth is a veritable Gold Mine of Scriptural and prophetic treasures for the Christian believer. God bless you!