Summary: How much risk have you taken in your relationship with God? In the final chapters of Ruth we learn how far and how anxious God is to have a relationship with us and what commitment he makes to us.
Every good relationship takes risk and commitment. Don’t you find that to be the case? If we never risk letting our true selves out there we will never have good relationships and if we don’t commit to those relationships in a meaningful and ongoing way we will not keep them.
Certainly, every good love story has these elements as well. Romeo and Juliet risked putting two families to war, for instance. Even in our fiction, we know that real relationships take risk and commitment.
The love story we’ve been studying in Ruth is no different, except that it is real. Today we see the seeds of the relationship blossom as both Ruth and Boaz take great risk and make great commitments in order to be together. And in the same way God’s love story for us shows how far God will go to have a relationship with us. The question for us, then, is how much of a risk will we take?
We pick up the story as Ruth, the Moabite, has found favor in the eyes of Boaz, a close relative.
Naomi wants to find a marriage for Ruth, as was the custom in that day. Remaining in a widow’s house would not provide much security for her. But I do notice that Naomi waited until she saw the character of the man and the response of Ruth. There was love first, then arrangement.
2 - 5
Naomi basically hatches this plan to see if Boaz wants to marry Ruth.
Covering over with a garment was an act of asking for an engagement to marry:
Ezekiel 16:8 "When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord God, and you became mine. ESV
6 - 7
The men and women doing the threshing would often spend the night with the crops to keep them safe. This is not a sexual overture by Ruth. In our own approach to God we come softly - not demanding, but asking, hoping, seeking.
8 - 9
"Wings" can also mean the corners of a garment. There is obvious double meaning going on here. Ruth is asking for Boaz to cover her and protect her more from just one night’s cold. We too ask God to protect us not just from one day’s trouble but for all of eternity, under his wings.
And God is willing:
Matthew 23:37-39 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ’Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’" ESV
10 - 11
Boaz is a much older man and it pleases him that though she could find someone younger, she chooses him. It’s a choice we make as well. We could go off and marry ourselves to youth, beauty or pleasure, but instead we choose the security of a redeemer. But there is a problem for Boaz:
12 - 13
Apparently there was a relative that was closer to Elimelech than he, and he must be given first rights.
14 - 18
It’s likely that Boaz just digs into the grain with his hands and puts it in her shawl. Naomi realizes that Boaz will settle the matter quickly. I think it is also like God that when we reach out to Him he doesn’t leave us hanging but comes to save us instantly. Just as Boaz is anxious to take Ruth as his bride, Jesus longs for us to belong to him.
Isaiah 65:24 Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. NIV
4:1 - 4
Sitting down with witnesses was the way business, political and legal dealings were handled. Boaz has a plan to discourage the other man from buying the property so he offers only part of the deal at first.
Land was supposed to say within families (Lev 25:23-28) and normally land would pass to a son or a daughter if there were no son, but there was no provision for land to pass from husband to wife. So the man thinks it is a good buy and says he’ll do it.
5 - 6
Boaz gave up raising children in his own name by taking Naomi as his wife. According to the Law the children would be raised in Mahlon’s name and would inherit the land. Maybe the other guy realized that money he would pay for this land would not go to his own sons. That’s why he says "lest I impair my own inheritance." Jesus gave up His life to be eternally human in order to be with us.