(originally published October 14, 2012)
I think I just created the world's most intense cliffhanger...well, except you could have just read Ruth 4 in the Bible and found out what happened. Sorry for the long dramatic pause, dear friends.
Here we are, the end of our look at Ruth. Perhaps it it this final look that is the most important in our study. A few devotionals ago I mentioned that throughout the book there is a comparison of Boaz to Jesus Christ as a redeemer, which is highlighted most closely in this chapter as Boaz redeems Ruth.
Chapter four opens up to Boaz at the gate, which would have been the center of the town. He is here because if you remember from Ruth 3, Boaz would like to marry a godly woman we are all well acquainted with. He is looking for the appropriate kinsmen redeemer of Ruth, which he does find. The nearest living relative to Ruth and Naomi is a man we do not know, however we can learn quite a bit about his character just by this short passage. We know that this man is obligated to take care of the two women, but not once has he stepped in to offer them any help since they have returned to Bethlehem. Beyond that, when Boaz asks the man if he would like to redeem Ruth, he declines to do so. This was a man who lacked integrity and character, especially in comparison to Boaz. Boaz was a man who treated Ruth with kindness when she was a stranger in a new land. He took care of her and Naomi. He treated her with respect at the threshing floor. Even now, when he wants to marry Ruth, he doesn't try to deceitfully do so, but takes the appropriate actions to redeem her. What a man!
Boaz make s a legal transaction with the relative to have the redeeming rights to Ruth so that he may marry her. He had no legal obligation to do anything for Ruth, however he has done nothing but care for her throughout the book. Boaz has extended grace to the woman just as Jesus extends grace to us. Let me be clear so as to paint the picture vividly for you; Jesus has no obligation to do anything for us. He didn't have to give up Heaven and come to Earth to die for us. But he did. He gave up the glory of Heaven and humbled himself to death on a cross so that we might live.
God's grace is sufficient for us. And we should all, any of us who have experienced the grace of God (which we have), should be constant in our thanksgiving and worship. We have been redeemed by Jesus Christ, foreigners who deserved nothing but have been given the rights of a son. Now as Jesus redeems his bride (the Church), Boaz redeems his bride (Ruth). He marries her and she conceives.
Interestingly, Ruth had not conceived in her previous marriage, which lasted ten years. We can assume that she had been barren during this time, however God has opened her womb at this time in order to give birth. She does so to a little boy named Obed, who becomes the grandfather of the great King David.
I want to paint one more picture of God's grace and sovereignty through the birth of this child. Ruth was a Moabite, a foreigner who had no rights. However, through grace and redemption she becomes a part of the genealogy of Christ. How incredible of a story!
It wasn't an easy life for Ruth. She grew up in a wicked nation. She suffered the loss of her husband. She followed Naomi to a foreign land. She was poor and needy. All very difficult circumstances to say the least. However, as I pointed out in the beginning of this series, we can see Gods fingerprints all over Ruth's story and there is no doubt He was at work the entire time. It was a long and difficult journey, but it ended with redemption. Ruth started out empty, but she ended full!
Friend, be encouraged. No matter what your season may be, however difficult the situation you are facing, remember that God is at work in your life. He is weaving a beautiful tapestry...it's not finished, but it is in progress. Know that God is gracious and good and that He loves you. If you find yourself discouraged on this journey, take another look at the life of Ruth and remember that God works for the good of His people.