Summary: Final in a four-part series from Ruth. Boaz fulfills his promise to redeem Ruth and illustrates Christ’s redemption of us.
Trinity Baptist Church July 1, 2007
Ruth: God Redeems
The best is yet to come
I love a good read. And I really like stories with good endings. The book of Ruth gives us both. We’ve seen what a great piece of drama it is. Ruth is one of the Bible’s shorter books -- it only has 85 verses. If you did the homework I assigned when we started, you discovered that you can read through the book in about 20 minutes. But tucked into it is serious Truth about Jesus Christ.
We observed when we began that Ruth follows the book of Judges -- and its events happened In that same time frame. But Ruth’s events, compared to the ones in the book of Judges couldn’t be more different. Reading Ruth after reading Judges is like walking a river bank littered with thousands of common rocks and then suddenly stumbling on a rare gemstone.
I read a story involving this little book. Benjamin Franklin, who never professed to be a Christian, still understood how excellent and valuable the Bible is. According to the story, he was in Paris, representing the new American Republic. Franklin was dismayed to hear supposedly educated Frenchmen ridiculing the Bible. Some even expressed contempt for anybody who would read it.
Franklin decided he’d test how well they knew the book they condemned. He told some of them that he had obtained a copy of an ancient manuscript. He invited they to come to his apartment one evening where he would have a dramatist read the manuscript. Those polished and educated people came. The reader read the “manuscript“ with great ability. When he finished, Franklin’s guests gushed with praise for the old manuscript. The most critical man among them proclaimed it was a better story than anything they had ever read or heard. They asked how to get copies.
Franklin shocked them beyond belief when he said, with a twinkle in his eye, they had heard read one of the 66 Biblical books for which they had such contempt.
They had heard this book of Ruth, with God’s name omitted, and a few other minor alterations so they wouldn’t suspect it was the Bible that was being read to them. The beauty of the book is gripping. The story contains tears and toil and triumph.
In chapter 1, Elimilech and Naomi left God‘s land and people and promise and went off to a pagan country to find provision. The husband and two sons died there, leaving three widows behind. Naomi and one daughter-in-law made the trek back to the land of Israel, arriving like a two beggars with no hope. But in chapter 2, hope was restored.
Ruth demonstrated faithfulness and love -- she went out t glean in the barley harvest to help meet their needs. She moved and God directed. She came to the field of Boaz and it was there that God demonstrated to Naomi and Ruth that He had not abandoned them.
At the close of harvest in chapter 3, Ruth sought out Boaz in the dark of night. She approached him with a bold request -- that he fill the role of kinsman-redeemer. Like we saw, if he were to take that role it would include him taking Ruth to be his wife. In her approach and words, she asked that he do precisely that.
At the close of chapter 3, Naomi told Ruth, “Wait my daughter, until you know how the matter turns out; for the man will not rest until he has settled it today.” (Ruth 3:18)
Today, in chapter 4, The matter gets settled
We’ve said from the start, Ruth is a story of redemption. At the threshing floor, Boaz promised Ruth that redemption would happen. In chapter 3, verse 11, he told her, do not fear, I will do for you whatever you ask. He informed her that there was a relative closer than he -- and that the other relative would have first opportunity to redeem the land and Ruth -- but again, he promised in verse 13, if he does not wish to redeem you, then I will redeem you, as the Lord lives.
Naomi and Ruth have come to know Boaz, and the depth of his character. He said he would do it -- and that’s why Naomi tells Ruth, the man won’t rest today until he gets it done; that’s precisely what happens.
* Boaz at the city gate
4:1 -- The morning following the encounter at the threshing floor, Boaz goes straight to the city gate. The city gate was the equivalent of the town hall or court house. Business and legal affairs were handled there -- out in the open -- in the light of day and in the presence of many witnesses. Maybe we should take a lesson! Not nearly as much had to be written down because of the public nature of the transactions and of the witnesses who were there to hear all that was said and done.