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Summary: Naomi fades into the backdrop and Ruth rises to the forefront of this story and a new character is introduced... but in all of the action, God is still preeminent.

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TEACHING BRIEF

Date Written: July 15, 2012

Date Taught: July 18, 2012

Church: OPBC (Wed Night)

FOUNDATIONAL ELEMENTS

Title: A Study in the Book of Ruth

Text: Ruth 1:22-2:3 NLT (read ALL passage here)

Introduction:

v.22 is a transitional verse... it wraps up the introduction of the situation and is also serves as a great introduction to the next section that begins in 2:1

When we read this it seems as if Naomi will continue to be the main character as she is mentioned singularly with Ruth tagging along... but the author sets forth 3 very distinctive hints that reveal that RUTH and not Naomi would be the central character of this book...

First Ruth was a foreigner, a Moabite which serves as an underlying context throughout the entire work. This standing creates tension with the native Jewish population... and Ruth herself had little expectation of acceptance from the local people.

Secondly Ruth is Naomi’s daughter in law who has just left all she had behind out of her love for her mother in law... showing great faith in a God she really did not know...

Finally, Naomi was the one who had returned empty but it would be RUTH whose life would soon be filled with first food, soon a husband and eventually a son...

At the end of this verse it indicates the time of the year when these women returned home... at the time of the Barley Harvest which lets us know a couple of important things... first the approx time March/April time frame and second there was an abundance of food as the harvest was being gathered so they would have opportunity for provision...

READ / SHOW v1 HERE

Here a new character is introduced into the story... BOAZ. And here we find several details about Boaz that play an important part in the story...

1) He is a relative of Naomi’s dead husband

2) He is mentioned as a man of substance or position, in other words Boaz was man of ability to get things done... a man important/respected in his communty

3) He was from the clan of Elimelech solidifying the kinship on Naomi’s husbands side...

4) Is in his name BOAZ... It appears no where else in the OT. HIs name can mean ’vigorous and strong of spirit’ which he was, but it can also mean ’in the strength of Yahweh I will trust...’ so we can make the leap that he was also a devout man.

v2-3 - Ruth’s initiative (Read verses)

here is the transition that places Ruth at the forefront and move Naomi to the rear...

Again the writer stresses her foreign status which makes this even more impressive at what she sets out to accomplish here...

Gleaning was a common and God commanded act done by several groups... God commanded those who owned the fields to leave grain in the corners of their field and NOT to go back and pick up what they had dropped but to leave it for those less fortunate: a) the foreigner b) the widow and the destitute... Ruth qualified on TWO accounts

Now we need to look at the providence of God that plays out here... look at this verse where it says, "...as it happened..." or "...as chance would have it..." reveals a literary tool used here by the author. HE is drawing attention to Ruth’s "chance" arrival at a field owned by Boaz...

The statement here is ironical in nature as its purpose is to undermine any ’rational’ thoughts/explanations and to refine the readers view about the providence of God’s hand in this matter.

It is a providential appt on 2 counts: 1) Boaz was a gracious man in whom Ruth would find favor; 2) Boaz was a relative of Ruth’s Father in Law... both critical to the outcome of this story!

He had to be a kind man... one who would NOT shoo her away for wanting to glean in his fields... He also had to be a relative of Naomi’s husband to qualify to ’redeem’ Naomi and Ruth...

Now when we look at this situation as it stands here in v3 we can paint a portrait of significant worth from these words... let me explain.

Remember last week when I pointed out that the book of Ruth is a great book about faith and redemption... and I painted the picture of the sinner coming home?

Well let’s continue this theme... tonight in v22 we find Naomi and Ruth turning to the homeland for salvation... Salvation could NOT have occurred unless they turned toward the homeland!

For the sinner, salvation is waiting for them, but until they take the human initiative and responsibility to turn toward God... they will never experience the redemption God has set aside for them...

Boaz is set forth as the Kinsman Redeemer... the only one willing to pay the price to redeem Naomi and Ruth

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