Summary: This message is a study in the role of grandparents in the Bible, and of the imporantace of their role in every age.
GODLY GRANDPARENTS Based on Ruth 4:13-17
By Pastor Glenn Pease
Among the many things that makes man unique in creation is the presence of, and the influence of, grandparents. F. W. Boreham many years ago pointed out that in the vegetable world, "The bursting buds of spring push off the last lingering leaves of the previous season, and thus decline to have anything to do with the generation that preceded them, to say nothing of the generation before that. Among animals and birds a certain filial affection is sometimes found for fathers and mothers, but of the grandfather and grandmother never a trace. But a man is so much greater than either a tree or a beast that a special factor is introduced into his training. He comes under the influence not only of teachers and tutors, of fathers and mothers, but grandfathers and grandmothers as well."
The impact of grandpas and grandmas in history is beyond calculation. Most of the famous people of the Bible from Adam and Eve on were grandparents. Often the grandparents played a key role, if not the major role, in the way history went. Hezekiah was one of the best kings God's people ever had, but his father was Ahaz, and he was one of the worst they ever had. But his grandfather was Jotham, and he did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord. Hezekiah took after his grandfather rather than his father, and the result was victory for the kingdom of God.
Because of the powerful influence of grandparents there is always hope even if one generation goes astray, because the next generation can be brought back, and in that lies the glory of grandparents. They often bridge the gap between parents and children, and they make major differences in the course of history. The relationship of grandparents and grandchildren is so unique because it is so full of hope and expectation. This explains the mystery of how a boy who is not good enough for your daughter can father such marvelous children. And it explains why the girl unworthy of your son can bear such brilliant beings as your grandchildren.
It is a strange question to ask, but the book of Ruth makes us ask it: Is a baby on the day of its birth more a child or a grandchild? In other words, who is to be more congratulated, the parents or the grandparents? For some reason the book of Ruth votes for the grandparents, and it makes this passage one of the most powerful exaltations of a grandmother you will find anywhere in human literature. It is almost as if the goal of this book was to come to a happy ending with grandma Naomi holding grandson Obed in her lap, and everybody singing her praises.
Note how suddenly the story of Ruth and Boaz comes to an end. Their romance has dominated the stage for most of the book, but their wedding and 9 months of pregnancy, and their whole life together is wrapped up rapidly in verse 13. When Ruth gave birth to that baby boy, she and Boaz left the stage, and the spotlight focuses on grandma Naomi for the closing scenes of the story. There is not one more scene about the parents, for the star now is grandma. All of the praise and rejoicing now revolve around her. Naomi has a kinsman- redeemer. Naomi has a comfort for her old age. Naomi has a grandson, and they say she has a son.
This radical removal of the parents, and this thrusting of grandma and grandchild front and center is a powerful revelation of just how important a role grandparents play in the life of a child, or should we say, can play, or should play? Every person in the blood line from Adam to Christ was a grandparent. The genealogy that ends this book is a list of people all of whom became grandparents. Obad, the baby of Ruth, was the grandfather of King David. What a delight it would be to know more about these grandparents, but the book ends with a special emphasis on grandparents, and with such a deliberate focus on Naomi that I do not know of anywhere in the Bible where you can find a better text for grandparents day.
Someone may point out that Naomi was not Ruth's mother, but her mother-in-law, and so technically she was not the grandmother, but just the opposite is the case. This first child of Ruth and Boaz was to preserve the name and inheritance of Ruth's first husband and Naomi's son Mahlon. It was equivalent to Mahlon's son, and thus, technically it was her grandson. But who cares? Who cares about the grandparents of George Washington, or Lincoln, or any other famous man or woman? Apparently God cares, for the book or Ruth only exists because all of these people were grandparents and great grandparents of David, the great king of God's people. God is into genealogies and roots. And so God is into grandparents. God has so made life that grandparents play a major role of what happens in history, and it is because of their special love and influence on grandchildren.