Summary: Exposition of Ruth 4:1-12
Text: Ruth 4:1-12 Title: The Twists and Turns of Life Date/Place: LSCC, 6/4/06, AM
A. Opening illustration: tell a story about getting lost here in Maine
B. Background to passage: Recount the entire book of Ruth. We have just come from the threshing floor incident. Anticipation builds as we wait to see what will happen to Ruth and Boaz, as the closer relative was promised to be given preference in the last chapter. Ruth 4 drives home the point of Romans 8:28, that all things work together for good to those that love God and are called according to His purposes. And at the same time demonstrates the truth that the road that we are on is not like a four lane interstate highway like the turnpike, but more like one of the roads down in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains that winds this way and that following the lay of the creeks and hollows.
C. Main thought: In our text we will see some of the final twists and turns of Ruth and Boaz’s path toward God’s plan for their lives.
A. Submission to Order (v. 1-2)
1. Boaz heads off the next morning to the city gate. The gates of the cities of that time served many functions. They were a place of business, an official court, an immigration office. Boaz intended to do things properly, decently and in order. He was placing himself, Ruth, Naomi, and the other go’el in submission to the Word of God and to the town council, ten elders. Whatever their decision, he would submit to it. We all have authorities in our lives that God has placed over us. This is part of God’s direction for our lives, our homes, our churches, for governments, nations, and the entire world.
2. 1 Pet 2:15, Rom 13:1, 1 Tim 2:1-3, 1 Sam 15:23
3. Illustration: Anne Atkins, in her excellent book Split Image, says, "Before we can hope to be good husbands or wives, we must learn to be good Christians. We must all become self-sacrificial and submissive." Special magnets embedded in the asphalt every four feet would transfer signals between vehicle and main computer system. Steering, acceleration, and braking would be controlled by sensors, computers navigation systems, and cameras along the side of the road. Control would be returned to drivers at their specified exit. Says Mike Doble, Buick’s technology manager, "The only thing we can’t do yet is get people to comfortably trust the system. It’s not a technology issue. Would you drive, closely spaced, at high speeds, through San Diego?" Trust is always the question
4. Our walk with Christ and quest to determine God’s will for our lives will be stifled if we do not learn to submit to authority. This is His leading. We justify our rebellion by saying that the rule of law is not fair or inappropriate. Or we just simply list all the other good reasons that will benefit us personally if we go around the authority placed over us. Normally in the bible the verb is used in a middle passive voice, which means that you place yourself into submission. So you have a choice: Are you submitting to the authorities in your life, whether you like their mandates or not? If you are not, whether it be at work, in the church, in the home, or outside the home, you are exhibiting rebellion against God.
B. Selfishness of Individuals (v. 3-8)
1. Back in v. 1 Boaz called this other go’el by name, but the author of the book deliberately chose to omit it. He inserts “peloni almoni.” This translates Mr. So and So. So the author begins to communicate that this guy’s name would be written out of history because of his improper motivation. Explain the situation with the land. When the land is mentioned, peloni almoni is all over it, although he probably would have stood to inherit it when Naomi died anyway, at least during the year of Jubilee. But then, when Ruth and Naomi are mentioned, and raising up an heir to Elimelech and Mahlon, the circumstances change. He is concerned about his inheritance, his money, his land, his control.
2. 1 Cor 10:24, Philip 2:4,
3. Illustration: Eugene Peterson relates selfishness to atheism, see below. “The secret of every discord in Christian homes and communities and churches is that we seek our own way and our own glory.” I love Jesus, but…below, Marriage is God’s favorite tool to break selfishness, selfishness is Satan’s favorite tool to break up marriage, Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, “Ryan, you be Jesus!”
4. Most of our lives we spend looking out for ourselves. Other people’s affects us. Selfishness is the primary motivation for just about every kind of sin. It is the root cause of most sin in our lives, because we want what is most beneficial, most financially profitable, most sexually or emotionally fulfilling, most pleasing to our lifestyle, our goals, and our needs. It crops up in all our relationships, and short-circuits them. It crops up in our finances, and brings debt. The ironic thing is that it never fulfills! You will always come up empty when you are out for #1. And worse, your legacy will fade from existence.