Summary: Ruth and Naomi had seen the desperate side of life and now they were beginning to not only see God's hand in their lives but they were beginning to experience God's deliverance and mercy.
Date Written: August 15, 2012
Date Taught: August 15, 2012
Church: OPBC (Wed Night)
Series Title: A Study in the Book of Ruth
Sermon Title: Faith Answered
Text: Ruth 4:1-22 NLT (read ALL passage here)
How many times have we come to a point in our lives when we looked back and the plan of God is revealed to us and we see just how God has worked out things…through the course of our life… and how He has delivered us and provided for us even when we did not see it at the time?
I am sure that all of us have had that experience, not just once but many times! I know I have… I believe that Ruth and Naomi were RIGHT there as well…
I don’t believe we need to complain about those women of this time who were forced into marriage with a man who could have been a stranger.
This was a desperate position to be in and the woman had to do what was needed so it was the widow who usually would have had initiated the proceeding for redemption… this is what Naomi was doing thru proxy by sending Ruth to Boaz on the threshing floor in chapter 3.
Normally we would think that it would be the kinsman who initiate the process and I guess Boaz had somewhat initiated the process by being so kind to Ruth when it was not required of him…
But a marriage ‘forced or not’ was really the only way a widow of this time would have had the opportunity to have children, and carry on her husband’s lineage but this also meant food, clothing and shelter that might otherwise have been hard to find.
The widow 1st had to claim her right to what was called a Levirate Marriage. There was an order of precedence with the oldest brother of the deceased first in line. If he refused then the second brother could accept, and if he refused then it continued down the line…
If no brothers accepted or were available to accept this request then the opportunity fell to other male relatives in the family. The widow could make the claim for Levirate marriage BUT she had to accept the first man on the list who said yes.
When we left the story last week Ruth had been sent by Naomi to make her claim for the Levirate marriage and propose to Boaz… Ruth had done what Naomi had sent her to do and Boaz’s reaction was very favorable.
He told Ruth that he was impressed that she chose him rather than a younger man, and that he would do all in his power to become the redeemer kinsman she had asked him to be…However, Boaz informed Ruth that there was another closer in the blood line that he had to ask first and if that man desired to redeem Naomi then it was his right and there was nothing Boaz could do about it…
At that point, Boaz had done all he could to protect Ruth’s reputation and he had sent her home with MORE food (yet another act of kindness by Boaz) and Ruth had reported to Naomi all of what Boaz had told her and the positive report that she had…
Naomi, whose faith had been strengthened since she returned had told Ruth at the end of ch3… “sit still my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man (Boaz) will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day…”
Naomi was now confident that God had brought them to this place and that Boaz was the instrument thru which God was going to redeem her and Ruth… Naomi rested in her faith in God to provide redemption!
So when we left the story last week the ladies were in a waiting mode, until Boaz went about the business of redeeming them…
What we have learned from the 1st 3 chapters is that Ruth and Naomi have come from desperate and hopeless to the verge of redemption… they had seen their faith strengthened through God’s work in their situation.
Theirs is a picture of redemption that we can relate to today… As sinners we are on the outside looking in… we are a foreigner in a strange land with NO hope or rights… But Jesus has come and He has shown his compassion thru His provision of forgiveness and grace so that we can know redemption and deliverance!
So the ‘verge of redemption’ is where we pick up the story in ch4…Now chapter 4 is basically a description of a business deal that is happening because of Naomi and Ruth’s situation…
Naomi had sold OR was seeking to sell her property (just which is not clear) and the law says that she could ‘redeem’ this property and keep it in her family, but she could not do this on her own… it had to be accomplished by the closest willing MALE kinsman to her husband Elimelech… Boaz qualified for this position: