Summary: What lengths would you go to in order to secure God’s blessing on what you do? Do you want God to bless your desires? How can we be sure of God’s blessing in what we pursue?
HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO?
INTRO: Film clip showing something going the great lengths to get someone’s blessing: Meet the Parents.
I’m always surprised at the lengths people sometimes go to in order to get my blessing on something. I guess they think that, since I’m the pastor, if they get my approval, that will satisfy God…
My first counseling appointment with an adult was a man who wanted me to bless his affair subsequent abandoning of his wife.
One former church member constantly sought my blessing on his shady business pursuits.
How far would you go to get God’s approval on your pursuits?
What lengths would you go to in order to secure God’s blessing on what you do?
Do you want God to bless your desires?
How can we be sure of God’s blessing in what we pursue?
In Ruth chapter 4 we approach the stunning conclusion to our story, and find out who gets to marry who.
How far are you willing to go for God’s blessing on your pursuits?
As we pick up our story in the book of Ruth, we remember that Ruth has, in one of the funniest and most surprising scenes in the Bible, proposed marriage to the much older Boaz. Thrilled, Boaz accepts, but must first deal with a closer kinsman who has right of first refusal. So their excitement is tempered by the tension of this little wrinkle – another man who has the ‘right’ to marry Ruth.
Let’s see what happens today, as Boaz, the groom-to-be, heads into town early on the morning following Ruth’s proposal.
Let’s read Ruth 4:1-4a.
1Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate and sat there. When the kinsman-redeemer he had mentioned came along, Boaz said, “Come over here, my friend, and sit down.” So he went over and sat down.
2Boaz took ten of the elders of the town and said, “Sit here,” and they did so. 3Then he said to the kinsman-redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our brother Elimelech. 4I thought I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, do so. But if you will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.”
A. Boaz pursues his desires with integrity
First, Boaz approaches the kinsman-redeemer.
He’s unnamed – this translate, roughly to “Mr. so-and-so”
Like Jack Webb in “Dragnet”, the names are changed to protect the innocent…
This Mr. So-and-So. has right/obligation to redeem land sold or about to be sold out of the family, and other family debts.
Boaz was forthright and didn’t avoid the proper channels.
He went to the city gate – the large, open space at the gate; a significant place of meeting and business.
He convened an official, legal proceeding. Elders had lots of authority, and served a judicial function. This was on the record!
Imagine Ruth’s (& Naomi’s) anxiety at this point.
He presents the situation to the kinsman-redeemer. Its very important - keeping land in the family was a big deal, because God had given the land to them.
Illus: In my father’s family of Nebraska farmers, keeping the land in the family was a significant issue. When my father married my mother (I was 5), his family was concerned that the family farm would pass to non-blood relatives. My father put a stop to that thinking, but it was a big deal.
Boaz, in fact, charges Mr. So-and-So with his responsibility! Boaz would have let him redeem if he wanted to!
There’s a word for what Boaz is doing. No, it’s not ‘stupid,’ it’s integrity. The two are often confused in our culture…
Integrity is doing the right thing, in the right way, even when no one is looking.
Boaz wanted to marry Ruth. Remember what he said the night she proposed? Ruth 3:10 But he was willing to risk their relationship in order to do the right thing. That’s integrity!
Boaz shows his integrity by not cutting corners. He shows his integrity by doing the right thing in the right way.
Most us us, as we read this, are wanting to yell, “What are you doing? Don’t do it! You’ll lose her!” He just risked their whole relationship to follow some silly-sounding rule.
B. God wants us to puruse our desires with integrity
God wants us to show integrity as well.
In our culture, we tend to let the end justify the means. If something seems right, it doesn’t matter much if you have to cut corners to get there – that’s how we think.