Book of Ruth Commentary
The Book of Ruth
In this study we are going to look into one of my favorite books in the Old Testament, The Book of Ruth.
Before I commence I share with you something about preparing lessons to teach.
In addition to the Bible I also study a great deal and have read countless books and commentaries and the influences of those authors is what God has also used to teach me and as well as helping me prepare lessons to be taught, but ultimately it is the Holy Spirit who is the great teacher.
Sir Isaac Newton, the noted English physicist and mathematician once said, “If I have seen further than most it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants!”
So was the case here as well as other lessons I have written. I have been influenced by great men of God who taught me this as well as all the lessons I have presented. It is in this manner that the Holy Spirit used to compose what I will share with you this evening, to God be the glory!
This book is a love story of not only Boaz and Ruth but also the story of God’s romance of redemption and we can easily substitute our name for Ruth’s and it is just as apt for it deals with God’s Amazing Grace and Love and his unrelenting pursuit of each of us.
It is a book of God’s redemption as he wooed us into a relationship with him that will one day culminate in the marriage feast between his Son and us in which all are invited, but not all will attend for though salvation was bought and paid for by Christ for all, not all will receive this gift of God’s Grace.
The Book of Ruth, as are all the books in the bible, is a love story, and although never mentioned by name, it is the picture of Jesus Christ and as other books in the Old Testament Jesus is seen as a foreshadow prophesized who will be manifested in the New Testament revealed.
It is a small book, only four chapters, but each deals with a separate facet of Redemption as a multi-faceted diamond given to a bride at her engagement and they include,
Chapter 1 – Deals with Sin and its Bitter consequences, a picture of the fall of man.
Chapter 2- Deals with Grace
Chapter 3- Cleaning up Debts
Chapter 4- Restoration and Redemption
This book is a literary masterpiece in and of itself as well as a picture of Jesus Christ and his mighty Amazing Grace.
In this first chapter we will be introduced not only to the characters but in doing so we will see the story of creation, the fall and redemption of man through the Grace of God, Jesus Christ.
Chapter 1- Deals with Sin and its Bitter consequences, a picture of the fall of man.
Ruth (1:1) In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. (1:2) The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. (1:3) But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons.
So the husband and father was dead! Naomi was left as a widow in a land they should never have gone to in the first place.
Verse (1:4) continues… These (meaning the sons) took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years,
If Elimelech had not died, the sons probably would not have married Moabite women because God had told the Israelites specifically not to intermarry any of the tribes when they first came into Israel and the Moabites were one of these. Why would God say this? Because the Moabites were the offspring of the incestuous relationship between Lot and his daughters and they were a cursed people. God didn’t want his chosen people marrying a cursed people.
So these 2 sons disobeyed God’s instructions when they married. What was the result?
Verse (1:5) and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.
They were all dead; all that remained were 3 women who had no source of provision, in a foreign land, cut off from their people.
Totally impoverished and destitute, a clearer picture of our condition without Christ could not have been better drawn.
Talk about isolated and lost!
Now as we dig deeper in this chapter we will seen hidden within the fall of man and the consequences that followed and we can unearth that treasure by looking at the names of the characters and what they mean.
The first person we need to meet is Elimelech which means, “my God is King”. Just as the Bible begins with God, so does this book. The God of the Bible is the God who is and he is the great “I AM” which is the name he first used when he introduces himself to Moses. There is ample evidence, simply by looking around that God exist. If a man never finds God it is because he isn’t looking it is never because God doesn’t exist. When God created Adam and Eve he did so for his pleasure and as an expression of his love.
God being love needed an object to express that love to and Adam and Eve were created for that purpose and God provided everything they would ever need, this was the picture of the Garden of Eden and it was God’s intention and will that they remain there as well as their descendents forever, it was never God’s will and intention that they or us should live in a fallen world as we do.
The scene then is one of God’s communions with his creation in which he provided abundantly all of their needs and desires but in that he also set a boundary in that a specific tree they were not to eat the fruit thereof. The issue was never about the fruit, it was boundaries for the purpose of obedience, one simple task; don’t eat the fruit of that tree. (Gen 3:3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”)
God gave them very simple instructions, or so it seemed.
Therefore man was to look to God as his King. It was a very intimate, personal relationship they had in the Garden. There was God, as a man walking with them and he had complete authority.
Next you have Naomi which means “pleasure”. Just as Adam and Eve were to look at God as their king, their source of everything and abide by the boundaries he set now comes Satan to bring division into the mix.
Now Elimelech married a woman whose name was Naomi, which means "pleasure." In the joining of these two names you have the entire doctrine of the fall of man. When Satan came to Eve in the Garden of Eden, he said to her, "Did God say, 'You shall not eat of any tree of the garden'?" (Gen. 3:1) In the clever phrasing of that question he suggested that God was denying that which would bring pleasure to her. Then he dangled the fruit in front of her and said. "It looks good, doesn't it? I'll tell you something. It tastes better than it looks. And if you will take of it, you will find that it will make you wise."
That is the subtly of sin that ultimately gets all of us, it doesn’t come in an obvious disguise, it comes looking good to the senses and what seems pleasurable at the moment, turns really ugly later on. Anyone who’s ever satisfied their flesh in direct disobedience to God’s instruction can rightly attest that the pleasure last for a moment and the consequence can last a life time; can I get an “Amen” here? I remember a friend of mine telling me once that ‘sin will take you where you don’t want to go, it will keep your there longer than what you wanted to stay and cost you more than you were willing to pay’…but it first comes looking pleasurable!
The devil in his cleverness did not lay before Eve a temptation which she could obviously see through. He offered her a very delightful proposition. He suggested to her that if she would take of this fruit, which God in his sovereignty had forbidden them to take as a test of their obedience; she would be given the ability to become like God. She would be entering into a new domain where she could step out into her own independent activity and be "god" without God. Satan offered man pleasure without God’s boundary and to this day he is still using this tactic simply because it works!
Being independent was an illusion he offered her then as he offers us still. Think about that. No matter how much we “prize” independence there is none other than God who can be self sufficient, everyone else will either depend on God or Satan but none of us is independent, it is an illusion, a fantasy.
Man fell. Ever since that day that man sinned, God has been orchestrating events and his story with the ultimate goal being that we who are in Christ can return to the place of his full provision under his complete sovereignty.
When "my God is king" married "pleasure" he stepped outside of the limits God had placed upon him. He sought his own pleasure before he sought his own God. What was the result? Exiled from the Garden just as we see Elimelech and his wife Naomi leaving Israel (a picture of the place of God’s provision) to go to Moab, (a place forbidden that would become desolation to all).
In the marriage of Elimelech to Naomi we have a picture of the fall of man. When "my God is king" marries "pleasure" the result is death. Where do we see that? In the offspring’s.
Now this couple had two children whose names were Mahlon and Chilion. Mahlon means "sick" and Chilion means "pining away." Imagine naming your children that! How would you like to go visit this home and ask about the boys, Mahlon and Chilion? There was little Mahlon lying in the corner, sick, pasty face with a temperature, hovering between life and death. Little Chilion was nothing but skin and bones wasting away. When these boys grew older they went into the country of Moab. While they were there the boys married girls who were Moabites. Their names were Ruth and Orpah. Now Orpah means "fawn”, a little young deer. We also use the word in English to mean a superficial kind of love fawning upon someone a kind of surface love or attention. I imagine her husband called said, “yes, dear deer!”
Ruth means "beauty."
The next thing we read was that Elimelech died. Mahlon died, and Chilion died. All three died---and this was exactly in line with the picture in scripture of the results of the fall. After Adam and Eve were excluded from the Garden of Eden we read that they had a son, Abel, who was murdered by his brother Cain. Then we read of the generations of Adam. Adam had a son whose name was Seth. Seth died. Seth had a son whose name was Enos. Enos died. Enos had a son. He died and he died, and he died, and he died, all down through that chapter death rang out again and again. Here in the land of Moab these three men died and left behind three heartbroken, lonely and desolate widows.
Death was birthed when man sinned and was exiled from the Garden; that was the fruit of sin.
Now the heart of the story really began with these three widows in the land of Moab. (1:6) Then she (Naomi) arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the LORD had visited His people by giving them bread.
So Naomi decided to return to her home in Bethlehem in Judah. Both of the daughter-in-laws made a promise to accompany her back into the land. As they started out along the road and got further from Moab, Orpah kept dropping behind. At last Naomi saw that Orpah's heart was really not in this journey that she longed to go back into Moab.
Beginning in (1:7) So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. (1:8) But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go, return each of you to her mother's house. May the LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. (1:9)The LORD grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!" Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. (1:10) And they said to her, "No, we will return with you to your people." (1:11) But Naomi said, "Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husband’s? (1:12)Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, (1:13) would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the LORD has gone out against me."(1:14) Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. (1:15) And she said, "See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law."
Whereas Orpah was quick to leave, Ruth replies with one of the most beautiful expressions of love found in the Bible.
(1:16) But Ruth said, "Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. (1:17) Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you."(1:18) And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.
Ruth is not only a woman of beauty but also of character and in her statement she professes reliance on Naomi’s God, a statement from a heart transformed whose fruits would come to bless her abundantly as we shall see.
(1:19) So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, "Is this Naomi?" (1:20) She said to them, "Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. (1:21) I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the LORD has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?"
How quick we are to blame God for the consequences of our sin, this was what Naomi was doing, and obviously she has not attended my bible study or she would know better! Let’s remember that the husband should never have taken his family to Moab in the first place that was not where God intended his people to live. She can’t blame God for this but now in her bitterness she complains yet despite this we will see God’s Grace turn things around for that is the nature of God’s Love always!
(1:22) So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.
Let’s go back and look again at verse 16 again.
Ruth 1:16 "Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.
In these two girls, Orpah and Ruth, we will see that there are two kinds of commitments that are made to Jesus Christ or said differently we have the difference between Religion or the Law and Grace.
Whereas initially both had made a commitment to return with Naomi, Orpah’s commitment was done more for the sake of an obligation rather than the product of a heart transformation, she started her journey simply stirred by an emotional or carnal response to Naomi rather than a real heart’s desire to go with Naomi. This behavior modification has no roots and eventually will cease as seen when Orpah returns back to Moab.
This is what religion is all about. People are drawn by some superficial view or feelings or a sense of obligation. They do not actually meet the Lord or experience his heart transforming Grace. Initially you can’t tell the difference between this and a real experiential change, they both look alike but over time their commitment will waver and die. But as the two walk in the Christian life, one begins to hang back and, like Orpah, comes to the place where, as she says. "I can't go on any longer." We read that Orpah turned and went back to her own people and her own gods. It was only a superficial change that had occurred; they had always been her own people and her own gods and in the end she abandons her mother-in-law and Ruth in exchange for returning to her gods, her world. Orpah’s behavior was not a heart transformation that comes with Grace, hers was simply an obligation that weighed more heavily on her as she distanced herself further from Moab and her previous surroundings that she loved more.
But in Ruth you see in her gracious response a heart transformed, "Where you go I will go." I am wholly yours---body, soul and spirit. "Where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people and your God shall be my God. I will die where you die. I will never go back." That commitment will be the source of many blessings later on and for the rest of her life and the life of her descendents; these seeds that Ruth plants with her words will produce an abundant harvest! A harvest I might add that includes all of the believers in this room. Why? Because the moment she expressed that “your God will be my God”, God in heaven took note of her heart and began orchestrating circumstances of favor to come to her. This is how God grace superabundantly provides.
Say with me, “I am like Ruth, highly favored, full of Grace!”
There is a promise in the Bible that says,
Luke 6:38 (NKJV) "Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."
Unbeknownst to her at the time, Ruth was going to see this promise of God fulfilled in her life although at this point in her journey this is the further thing in her mind.
We read in verse 19: So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them; and the women said, "Is this Naomi?" She said to them, "Do not call me Naomi, call me Mara..."
Naomi means "pleasure" but Mara means "bitterness." She goes on:
"...for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me." (1:19-20)
Elimelech married "pleasure," but the result was "bitterness." When "my God is king" marries 'pleasure," "pleasure" is turned into death and the consequences are “bitter”.
Let’s think about this for a moment, have you ever walked away from God’s direction to satisfy your “pleasures” only to find bitterness? Did you step outside of the boundaries of “my God is king”?
I have been there, I have tasted and it was so bitter for so long!
It isn’t that God doesn’t want us to have pleasures, but they must remain within the boundaries he sets otherwise sin will always lead to bitterness; those are the wages of sin, death. It was here that Naomi voices her present condition though her blaming God was unjust for he wasn’t the author of this bitterness, sin was and sin was not of God. Furthermore, boundaries are for our protection, for our safety but if we insist on our own way, on exercising our free will while excluding God’s Word, we have no one to blame for the consequences of our actions. The truth was they never should have gone to Moab in the first place and what Naomi doesn’t see yet was that God had orchestrated the circumstances so that he can bless her and Ruth. It was not a coincidence that they went back to Israel, it was orchestrated by God and here we’ll see how Grace worked that out even in spite of everything.
The bible says in Rom 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. That is what we will see as this story develops, that is also our hope now and forever.
That is the essence of Grace that despite us, it is working for us to be blessed, not embittered!
Why had the women come to Bethlehem? We read that they "had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food." (Ruth 1:6)
So they had come to the place where God visited his people and gave them bread.
(1:22) So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.
They returning to Bethlehem was no coincidence either for the name of the village means "House of Bread" They don’t know it yet but they are about to meet the Bread of Life in the House of Bread!
Furthermore, the reference to the fact that the harvest was for barley tells us that this was around May or June of the year.
Although the Moabites were cursed we are about to see that God never, ever intended this for anyone and we are going to see the transforming power of Grace that will turn bitterness to joy.
So in the end of Chapter 1, it ends in death and bitterness, we now come to Chapter 2 which is where we will meet God’s Grace.
Chapter 2- Deals with Grace
Having been abandoned by Orpah, Naomi and Ruth leave Moab and began their journey to Bethlehem, the birth place of God’s Grace through Christ, Our Lord.
2:1 Now Naomi had a relative of her husband's, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz.(the KJV says … a mighty man of wealth)
The name Boaz means "strength"---a man of strength and of wealth, he is a picture of Jesus.
(As a side note: all throughout the Old Testament you can see foreshadows of Jesus Christ in every book, if you see it you will understand Grace, look for Jesus and you will understand Grace that much more!)
2:2 So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, "Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor." And she said to her, "Go, my daughter."
Although Naomi remembers she has a kinsman named Boaz when Ruth goes into the field neither she nor Naomi knew that the field Ruth goes to “happens” to belong to Boaz. REALLY IMPORTANT. There is no such thing as a coincidence. Before the creation of the Universe God had already purposed and orchestrated these events on her behalf just as he purposes and orchestrated all the events for us as well, there is NO SUCH THING AS A COINCIDENCE.
Ruth isn’t looking for Boaz, she is looking for favor which is another word for Grace and Grace by its very nature will reveal Himself each and every time we look for him as he will reveal Himself to Ruth.
They had arrived at Bethlehem. In the bitterness of their widowhood, with no help, or home, broke and with virtually no hope, a more perfect picture of poverty could not be drawn, this was how Ruth and Naomi came. This in essence is how all of us come to Grace, with nothing regardless of our material wealth we are all destitute and morally bankrupt without Christ.
The only thing left to them was to take the place of destitution and bankruptcy. But somehow Ruth knows what to do when they get there. For she said to her mother-in-law in v2 "Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor." She was looking for grace, looking for favor.
Here is a guarantee, if you look for Grace, Grace will reveal Himself to you, this promise of God is just as valid today as it was in the time of Ruth.
We have to assume that as Naomi and Ruth walked back from Moab to Bethlehem they must have talked a great deal about what they would do when they got there. These women were impoverished, without resources and no means to support themselves. They were going to literally starve to death if a solution wasn’t forthcoming. At some point Naomi must have remembered the Word of God and the provisions that God had made for the destitute and the bankrupt in the law:
Leviticus. 19:9, 10 (NKJV) “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. (19:10) 'And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the LORD your God.”
(The reference to the fields harvested was as follows:
In their custom when the harvest time came the harvesters were not suppose to harvest the entire field but rather, leave good sized portions of the corners of the field so that the poor, destitute and weary travelers would be able to harvest that for themselves and not starve, this was what gleaning meant in verse 10, collecting the leftovers bit by bit. In that manner God had ordained that the poor would be provided for and in doing so the owners of the fields would be blessed; note again, the blessing for the landowner was not solely in the physical harvest but rather honoring God’s Word. Naomi would have known this custom and would have discussed it with Ruth so that she went to get food to harvest. Once they got that they could eat or sell it as they wished. So in both fields and vineyard God instructed the people not to pick it clean but leave some leftover for others and in so doing provide for the poor as well as receive blessings from God for doing so.)
What else can we learn from this? That Boaz was a man who honored God as a response to the blessing he had received, it was a heart transformed by God that expressed this transformation by loving obedience from an appreciative heart, not ritual obligation solely in response to the Law and as such he had prospered mightily and was very wealthy because of this. This is the perfect picture of Grace and how to respond with love, not obligation, being the fruit of a heart transformed by God’s Love and Grace. (1 Samuel 2:30 Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained)
God had made provision for the poor, isn’t that what Grace really is? Provision, not only of material things necessarily but of the spirit as well. God purposed salvation and provision; Jesus secured it and promises it to us in His Word and the Holy Spirit applies it – that is Grace! Here is another way to see this and this comment I write specifically to my sons, God planted a seed that died, the seed was Jesus Christ, when the seed of salvation budded it produced a harvest of immeasurable abundance of which we are the fruit thereof! Now go plant seeds for others, share your abundance as well!
When Ruth and Naomi arrived in Israel, Ruth took the place of destitution and went out looking for Grace, looking for Favor. And because she looked, she found it. If you seek for Grace, you will find it.
Ruth 2:3 So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech. I love it…just happened…
A coincidence… I don’t think so... I love Albert Einstein’s definition of “coincidence”… “"Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous."
She was looking for Grace; she wasn’t just sitting around being idle.
Their victory isn’t the provisions or changes in their circumstances; their victory was when they realized they couldn’t do it on their own and had to find Grace, Favor. A clear picture of salvation, it comes not from our strength, it comes from his favor.
The changes in our circumstances are the evidence of God’s favor but it is the submission and reliance on him, when you come to the end of yourself, which activates Grace that is the definition of humility and that is evident in Ruth.
Now begins the "boy meets girl," part of our love story!
(2:4) Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, "The LORD be with you!" "The LORD bless you!" they answered. (2:5) Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, "Who does that young woman belong to?" (2:6) The overseer replied, "She is the Moabite who came back from Moab with Naomi. (2:7) She said, 'Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.' She came into the field and has remained here from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter."
The harvesters told Boaz who she was, and Boaz went down to meet Ruth. It doesn’t tell us how it all evolved but I am sure it was awkward for both of them. She was working away when this man comes along that she must have recognized as wealthy simply by his appearance and clothing. Ruth was a humble woman, she probably didn’t look at him straight away, matter of fact it tells us that later on, but most likely she was maybe bashful, she has no clue who this man is.
Then he said to her in verse, (2:8) So Boaz said to Ruth, "My daughter, listen to me. (the term daughter used here was a term of endearment, not being fresh but respectful, not because of the differences in their ages, but of kindness, the essence of Grace), Don't go and glean in another field and don't go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. (women who work for me means his servant girls).
Despite the fact that Ruth’s position in life right now was even below that of Boaz’s servant girls, favor has found her and she was encouraged by this. He goes on, (2: 9) Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled."
She wonders what was happening. So finally she asks:
(2:10) At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, "Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?"
When writing this I noticed that though she had originally set out looking for favor so she could provide for Naomi and herself and now has found it, she was not presumptuous but respectful, she does not have a sense of entitlement but rather she bows down and inquires, Grace always responds to that attitude of humility and in this there is a lesson for all of us.
(2:11) Boaz replied, "I've been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before.
The seeds of faithfulness Ruth had planted earlier when she remained with her mother-in-law will now bear much fruit. The importance of this was seen in that even when we think no one noticed, God didn’t forget Ruth in her faithfulness and now she was going to reap bountifully!
Never think for one moment that those who serve God in solitude when no one else watching are ever forgotten by our Heavenly Father!
When Grace is present solitude is never lonely, think about that…
She acted humbly and submitted. Grace covered her with his protection and favor. Grace knew her before she met Grace.
Boaz is the picture of Jesus Christ who never, ever refuses when we come to him submitted and in humility. It doesn’t matter what our background is, Jesus never reject us; that is his Amazing Grace!
Look at Chapter 2 verse 12-14 now where Boaz blesses her for her faithfulness to Naomi,
(2:12)May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge."
(2:13) "May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord," she said. "You have put me at ease by speaking kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servants."
NOTE: this is very important that you get this aspect of Grace; God’s unmerited favor is for the purpose of giving us peace and rest, to put us at ease. God’s Grace, Jesus Christ, has already done it all for us in every aspect of our life, “it is finished!”, you can be at peace and rest, you are covered in his righteousness under God’s wings you are protected. When we learn to sit and be at rest in him, believing his promises, He will arise and work to provide for us. This is what is going on here; let me say this again,
When we learn to sit and be at rest in him, believing his promises, He will arise and work to provide for us.
That is Grace, unmerited favor, whose name is Jesus Christ, simply believe.
She recognizes she was meeting Grace and when Grace appears, our lives are transformed though at this point she was lower than the lowest of Boaz’s servant girls.
But he raises her up through favor. When you have God’s favor, it doesn’t matter how low you may be… there is no depth so low that it can’t be reached by Grace from so on high!
(2:14) At mealtime Boaz said to her, "Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar." When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over.
Here is an important point you need to note, Religion or the law makes demands but does nothing to help you, God’s Grace through a relationship with Jesus Christ supplies all demanded by the law but does it all for US as a favor. You simply receive the favor of God and he keeps all the demands through Christ‘s finished work at the Cross!
Grace supply ALL we will need to be satisfied and there will be plenty leftover!
So Boaz blessed her, she responded humbly and he takes and provides for her meal, all she wanted, with enough to take home with her for Naomi.
God’s supply ALWAYS produces abundance, there is no lack in Christ!
This is how Jesus is; he gives all we need and then some. He came that we might have life and life more abundantly, not sparingly!
Grace isn’t stingy. He gives supernaturally till we are satisfied and still have plenty left over, this is the abundant life. So in communion, Ruth was blessed and probably thinks; this can’t get any better than this…
(2:15), As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, "Let her gather among the sheaves and don't reprimand her.
In other words, Boaz is instructing the others that if she wants the good stuff of the field out of his personal harvest, don’t deny her anything!
This reminds me that we are joint heirs with Christ and that God supply all the riches in glory by Christ Jesus Gal 3:29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. That is the picture being drawn here.
Just when you think Grace has been poured out in abundance for you… God pours out even more…
(2:16) Even pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don't rebuke her."
In other words, purposely drop some bundles for her, don’t deny her anything and take from the best you have picked for me and set it aside for her. Take from my wealth; give it to her, unconditionally!
In Boaz we see the picture of Jesus’ provisions for us as well, do you see this?
Do you know why Boaz was favored and very wealthy? Not only did he set aside part of his crops for the poor, as required by the law, he gave above that. He was a man who was under submission and in that submission God exalted him with wealth, strength and great authority. He gave generously out of Love, which is the fruit of Grace, not obligation. He was conscious of this and now, he was blessing Ruth as he had been blessed. For those of you who run a business and want to prosper above all you ever thought or imagined, this is how it is done, humble yourself before God and he will exalt you, give and it will be given back, full measure and running over.
Ruth may have thought that these workmen were undoubtedly the sloppiest workmen in the whole of Israel, because they leave huge quantities of grain on the ground already bundled for her! The reality was that the kindness shown to Naomi were seeds she inadvertently planted whose harvest comes now through Boaz as explained in Luke 6:38. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
In addition, Boaz was attracted to her. She wasn’t just a beauty to look at, easy on the eyes; she also had an inner beauty greater than her physical attraction. No need for Revlon or Oil of Olay! (maybe I don’t need to go there!...)
OK, let’s call this what it is…Grace has fallen in Love with Humility! Boaz has fallen in Love with Ruth!
(2:17) So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah. (2:18) She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had left over after she had eaten enough.
When she goes home that night with her apron full, she beats out the grain and comes to Naomi with a whole ephah. An ephah is probably a little more than a bushel of barley.
(2:19) Her mother-in-law asked her, "Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!" Then Ruth told her mother-in-law about the one at whose place she had been working. "The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz," she said.
Naomi's response was:
(2:20) "The Lord bless him!" Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. "He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead." She added, "That man is our close relative; he is one of our kinsman-redeemers."
The Hebrew word for nearest kin means literally “one who has the right to redeem”. It was a rich relative who could purchase the freedom of one who had been sold into slavery.
This is a picture of Jesus in relation to us. We were born as slaves to sin and abject poverty and he came in and paid the ransom for our freedom and gaves us abundance and all the riches in Christ Jesus!
So Ruth continues, as directed by Naomi, to gleam in Boaz’s field, not only during the barley season but the wheat season as well.
Really important you get this… Ruth is a picture of the Gentiles, a picture of us, grafted into the family of God. She is about to become a free person because of her relationship with Boaz, the picture of Christ.
(2:21) Then Ruth the Moabitess said, "He even said to me, 'Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain. (2:22)Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, "It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with his girls, because in someone else's field you might be harmed." (2:23) So Ruth stayed close to the servant girls of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law.
Here is a principle we need to get, the Will of God will never take us to a place where the Grace of God can’t provide for us. Grace is our protection and if we are doing the Will of God, His Grace will be sufficient, by the same token, if you are not in the Will of God, especially if you know you are not, the Grace of God will not protect you. Naomi sees this and tells Ruth to stay in Boaz’s fields throughout all the harvests. (Naomi was to Ruth a picture of what the Holy Spirit is to us, guiding us)
Not only has Ruth found favor to gather some of the grain, she has found favor to gather throughout the entire harvest time. I am thinking Boaz has fallen in love with her, a picture of Christ loving us as well.
I don’t know how many of you have thought about this but do you realize what Boaz was doing? God is showing us through Boaz a picture of how Jesus loves us and does favors for his beloved. He is wooing us…. He does this with a gentle touch, a moment, a passing favor when we least expect it, a Word to remind us of the depth of His Love, sometimes the deepest and most powerful proclamations of that love come in silence,… as at the Cross!...priceless moments that say, “I Love you!”
This is what is going on.
So as Chapter 2 end, we see the introduction of Grace into Ruth’s and Naomi’s life that will bring about an end to their bitterness, but first we have to deal with the clearing up of old debts.
Chapter 3 - Cleaning up Debts
Previously we saw how God’s Grace, working through Boaz, the picture of Christ, has supernaturally improved Ruth’s and Naomi’s situation by adding favor. In Chapter 3 we will see the continuation of that move of God but whereas Chapter 2 added now we will see God’s higher math whereby through subtractions it now opened up for much more Grace superabundantly!
If anyone has ever experienced how God sometimes subtract from us, remove hindrances from our life in order to add to us then they will really enjoy this chapter!
Ruth 3:1 One day Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, "My daughter, should I not try to find a home for you, where you will be well provided for? (3:2) Is not Boaz, with whose servant girls you have been, a kinsman of ours? Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor.
("Winnowing" was a process whereby the grain was put in a flat straw basket and then thrown up in the air several times to separate the chaff from the grain. They sometimes remained all night with their grain on the floor of the threshing floor. Naomi knew that Boaz would be at the threshing floor, because that was the normal practice at end of harvest. Boaz was their near-kinsman. Ruth's husband had died without having a child. The law of their land was that the brother would marry the wife, and give the first child the name of the dead brother. In this case, the brother was dead, also. Boaz was the nearest of kin. This is found in Deuteronomy Chapter 25.)
(3:3) Wash and perfume yourself, and put on your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don't let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking.
Ruth was to prepare herself by washing and applying perfume. She was to dress attractively, and go down to where Boaz was working. She was not to interrupt his work by letting him know she was there. She should wait, out of sight, until all of the workers have eaten and gone to their respective homes for the night. Ruth’s beauty was in her character but let’s be real, nothing wrong with fixing yourself up!
(3:4) When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do." (3:5) "I will do whatever you say," Ruth answered. (3:6) So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.
I think Naomi had realized, during these months that Boaz had known Ruth, that they loved each other, this particular marking of the spot where he lay, and also, Ruth uncovering his feet had to do with him being her near kinsman redeemer. She was making it clear to him that she wanted to marry him. Boaz was, possibly, a bit shy in making his feelings about Ruth known, so Naomi had figured out a way for Ruth to show her feelings for Boaz. He can accept her, or reject her, as she lies down beside him. In their customs, it was not out of line for Ruth to expect him to become her husband. He was the nearest kin of her husband. We can assume, from this, that Ruth already knew the feelings of Boaz, even if he had not expressed those feelings in words. It will, now, be up to Boaz to tell her to go, or stay. Also, by doing this in private she was giving him the ability to respond without being embarrassed should he choose not to do what the law required. There was no pressure that would have come about had she done this in public.
In reading this, given our culture and mindset it appeared that Ruth acts in a way that to us may seem presumptuous and very un-maidenly. But she was really acting quite strictly in accordance with the law of Israel. This is also a picture of Christ and us, He doesn’t force us into a relationship by imposing Himself on us, he loves us and when we submit that is the beginning of a genuine relationship.
Ruth followed the advice of Naomi. Ruth, probably, was not as familiar with the law of the near-kinsman redeemer as Naomi was. She followed Naomi's instructions exactly. This is also a picture of how the Holy Spirit leads us to Christ and then stays forever in relationship with Christ and us as well.
(3:7) When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly; uncovered his feet and lay down. (3:8) In the middle of the night something startled the man and he turned and discovered a woman lying at his feet.
When Boaz lies down, there was no one at his feet. He was startled, when he realized someone had lain down at his feet. He realizes it is a woman. He would have been even more frightened, if this had not been Ruth.
(3:9) "Who are you?" he asked. "I am your servant Ruth," she said. "Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer."
In the dark, he could not see who this was, so he asked? What a pleasant surprise for him, when he discovered this was Ruth. She was at his feet, because she feels she was his handmaiden. He still can accept her, or reject; her at his time. "The spreading of his garment over her", a sign of authority would show he had accepted his duty as her near-kinsman, not unlike when we come to Christ as our redeemer and he covers us with his robe of righteousness for us the Bride of Christ! He would be her protector as her husband just as Christ is ours. Also, Ruth by lying at his feet was coming with an attitude of submission yet boldness in that she believed and acted in faith that he was an honorable man who would act accordingly. She was appropriating by faith that which was to be her inheritance; this is how we should likewise appropriate by faith the promises of God. This is how it is done. This was a really attractive woman!
This act by Ruth highlights the promises of God in 1 John 5:14 this is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (15) And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him.
Although she was a Moabite and not under the law of Moses, she was doing what she was told and willingly submitting accordingly to God’s Word, the God she decided to call her own when she and Naomi first decided to come back to Israel, God who is always faithful to His promises does for her what she was believing by faith. God still does things the same way, nothing has changed. God honored her steps of faith both when she first believed as well as now at Boaz’s feet.
Ruth 3:10 "The Lord bless you, my daughter," he replied. "This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. (3:11) And now, my daughter, don't be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character.
Boaz had observed that Ruth was not a loose woman. She had not sought a husband of the young men, whether rich or poor. His comment also implies he may not have been a younger man. He had great admiration, as well as love, for Ruth. He was saying that, the blessing that came upon him by her choosing him; was the greatest of the kindness she had shown. He was very pleased, not unlike God being likewise pleased with us when we come in faith (Hebrews 11:6 (KJV) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him). Everyone was aware of the fact that Ruth was a virtuous woman especially in light of how she had treated and had been faithful to her mother-in-law, Naomi. Ruth would have been a wonderful wife for anyone, because of her strength of character. Boaz was more than willing to accept her as his wife!
(3:12) Although it is true that I am near of kin, there is a kinsman-redeemer nearer than I. (3:13) Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to redeem, good; let him redeem. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it. Lie here until morning."
This was certainly not what Ruth wanted to hear. She wanted Boaz to be her husband. There was someone closer related than Boaz, however and the law was not only explicit in this it was inflexible in its application .
(3:14) So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, "Don't let it be known that a woman came to the threshing floor."
Boaz and Ruth loved each other, and they wanted to marry, I have no doubt about that especially at this point in the story. Furthermore, they had chosen to live by the law God had given so they are going to walk accordingly, trusting God in all of this. She spent the night with him, but did not become his wife that night, in other words, they were not intimate with each other. They would wait for the answer from the other near-kinsman. This meant that they would honor God and not have relations with each other before marriage. She had to leave early to keep her good name. No one was to know she spent the night at his feet on the threshing-floor. They each wanted to protect the honor of the other and this is the essence of love, it protects the other, puts them above our own desires not to be confused with lust which is selfish and prideful and takes what is not meant to be taken. Our children need to be taught the difference as this generation is confusing lust and pre-marital sexual intimacy with Godly love and they are far from being the one and same!
If you are single, this isn’t what we think in this nation, we are not to spend the night with a man or woman that isn’t our spouse, not at all. I hope that is obvious but if it isn’t, don’t do it.
(3:15) He also said, "Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out." When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and put it on her. Then he went back to town. (3:16) When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, "How did it go, my daughter?" Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her (3:17) and added, "He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, 'Don't go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.' "(3:18) Then Naomi said, "Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today."
As I stated at the beginning of this section, God was now going to clear up debts in order for him to add to the blessing he had first given Ruth and now will give to Boaz as well. In clearing these debts, in satisfying the Law, a picture of what Christ did for us, they will be free to marry.
Back in Chapter 1 when Ruth had told Naomi that “your God will be my God”, God took note and as far as he was concerned, she was a believer. The fact that Ruth knew little if anything about the customs, traditions or the commandments of God was irrelevant in that she was walking according to what little she knew and if you think about it this is how God responds to us. It isn’t what we know as much as are we walking with the little faith we have. Ruth was doing exactly that and thus she would be blessed.
I like this woman, she is walking by faith and believing accordingly as she understood God’s Word and is responding to the Grace of God, she will shortly see the fruits thereof of that course of action.
Being a kinsmen of Boaz places her under the covenant of God even though she was a foreigner, a Moabite and not obligated under the law. When she submits to Boaz, she was submitting to God through him and will be blessed through him; this is a picture of us being “In Christ” who through submission to the Father opens the doors for us to receive “all the riches in glory by Christ Jesus”.
The problem was that just as Boaz had to deal with the kinsman who was before him, Jesus, the Grace of God, too had to deal with the kinsman who was before him that he might secure our freedom and position as his bride, that kinsman being the Law which had to be satisfied and that was accomplished at the Cross. What guarantee does she have that Boaz will respond? He is a man under submission to God and recognizes the promises of God. A picture of Jesus.
When we come to him in faith, he responds because he always keeps his word to his promises.
But there was an obstacle that needs to be cleared away before he can act as a redeemer. Turn to the opening part of chapter four and you will see how he demonstrated his interest and how he removed the obstacle.
Chapter 4 - Restoration and Redemption
4:1-4 And Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there; and behold, the next of kin, of whom Boaz had spoken, came by. So Boaz said, "Turn aside, friend; sit down here;" and he turned aside and sat down.(4:2) And he took ten men of the elders of the city (The gate of the city was more than simply an entrance/exit to the village, it was a meeting place where the affairs of life in the village were managed and settled; the reference to ten being the number of government in the Bible refers to the authority of those individuals who act as witnesses for what was transacted there.), and said, "Sit down here;" so they sat down (as witnesses).(4:3) Then he said to the next of kin, "Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land which belonged to our kinsman Elimelech. (4:4) So I thought I would tell you of it, and say, 'Buy it in the presence of those sitting here, and in the presence of the elders of my people.'"
The court is now assembled.
"If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not, tell me, that I may know, for there is no one besides you to redeem it, and I come after you."
Can't you just imagine Ruth and Naomi hiding behind a bush listening to what is happening and wondering what the man will say? I don't know what he looked like but I imagine Ruth was not too excited about this because if this man redeemed the land, he also bought the right to her, she had no rights on her own.
To her dismay the man replies. "I will redeem it."
This wasn’t what she had expected, I am sure her heart sunk when the man replied
But all is not lost; Boaz has a plan that he is going to work out just as Jesus worked out the plan of salvation God willed and so Boaz responds,
(4:5) "The day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you are also buying Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of the dead, in order to restore the name of the dead to his inheritance."
Notice he stressed the fact that she was a Moabite.
It is one thing to purchase the piece of property from Naomi, and the kinsman was willing to do that, it is an entirely different matter to take on a wife, an affair of the heart, since that would threaten the inheritance of his present family. I am sure it didn’t take him long to figure out that bringing a Moabite into his household would cause more troubles than the land was worth so he responds,
(4:6) Then the redeemer said, "I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I impair my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it."
And Ruth's heart grew light again. Now what does this picture?
Here we see the fore shadow, the difference between the Law given my Moses and the Grace of Jesus Christ given to us as a gift from God.
Although the kinsman had a legal right to the land as well as Ruth, there was no compassion or love that came with those rights and he was incapable of being gracious for that is the nature of the Law.
The Law can make demands but cannot redeem man, for if it could then there would not have been a need for Christ to go to the Cross.
The Law can make demands but does nothing to help the person meet those demands, the kinsman only saw that she was a Moabite and the Law specifically said not to marry them since they were a cursed people. Furthermore if he did marry her it would put in jeopardy the inheritances of his present family, there is no room for others. The Law is cold, unfeeling and inadequate on its own, but Grace, it is always sufficient and in Boaz we see the picture of Grace not only in Ruth’s life but it foreshadows Jesus’ dying for us that we who were likewise cursed might be redeemed.
The Law of Moses was given to men to point them to Jesus Christ, it was never, ever God’s intention that men keep the Law, sinful men can’t do it but Jesus Christ, our redeemer came and did it on our behalf.
John 1:17 says, For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Note that the Law was given by a servant but Grace and Truth came by the Son of God, a much better covenant. Grace and Truth; are singular in that they are not two separate entities but rather one because Grace and truth IS Jesus Christ. Did Jesus abolish the Law? Absolutely not! The Law is perfect, Holy and from God who was looking for a way to make a covenant with man. Since sinful man was incapable of keeping his part of the covenant Jesus now does it for us and by Grace, unmerited favor, we receive all the benefits of that covenant. When Father God willed and purposed for Jesus to die he did so because God needed an equal partner to be a covenant keeper and since man was incapable Jesus, who is God the Son, came and kept the covenant provisions of the Law for us.
He did it for us; we don’t have to keep it, all we have to do is believe by faith and receive.
This is God’s favor, his Grace given to us!
We are now led by the Holy Spirit, not a set of regulations, not a set of “do’s” and “don’ts” to make us righteous, we have been made righteous by Christ, not our works. Grace has transformed our hearts and the fruit of that is the Love of God in us for ourselves and others.
Whereas the law produces no fruit, Love now produces a great abundant harvest far exceedingly the works of the Law. It is no longer an obligation defined by religion but rather a relationship defined by love! Put simply, we obey not because we have to but because we want to, the difference is as radical as night and day!
Boaz is the gracious redeemer of Ruth as Jesus would become the gracious redeemer of all of us. Whereas Ruth had previously been a cursed woman from a cursed tribe, she was now blessed and a new creation as we are likewise new creations in Christ when we accept him who took upon himself the curse of the law. (Gal 3:13 (KJV) Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree)
Note what the Apostles Paul and Peter said regarding these matters. In Christ we are a new creation: old things are passed away; all things are become new (2 Cor 5:17) we are led by the Spirit of God (Rom 8:14) we are delivered from the powers of darkness and brought into the Kingdom of his Son (Col 1:13.
We are now partaker of his divine nature (2 Peter 1:4)
This is the covenant of Grace whose name is Jesus Christ.
We who are in Christ have received his Grace as a free Gift of God, unmerited, unearned, undeserved!
So how does this apply to Ruth, who is a fore shadow of us the Bride of Christ?
Whereas previously she was below the servants in status, now she was the bride of the redeemer and the Master as we who were once slaves are now the bride of Christ the Lord, she has favor, wealth, prosperity and high standing just as we do who are in Christ and likewise blessed; this is the full definition of salvation and the evidence of redemption.
When the obstacle (The Law) was removed, Boaz, the picture of Grace, moved to redeem Ruth.
This is the greatest love story ever told!
Ruth 4:9 Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, "You are witnesses this day that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelelch and all that belonged to Chilion and Mahlon. (4:10)"Also Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from the gate of his native place; you are witnesses this day." (4:11) Then the elders and all the people at the gate said, "We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the family of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. (4:12) Through the offspring the LORD gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah."
Jesus Christ left the glory of heaven to come and be our redeemer on earth that we can be seated with him in heavenly realms. This is how the Apostle Paul explained it in Ephesians (2:4-7):
(2:4) But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (2:5) even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), (2:6) and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, (2:7) that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Jesus’ death fulfilled all the requirements of the Law once and for all times at the Cross we do not have to do it. We can rest and be at peace in his perfect work which was completed when Christ spoke and said, “It is finished!”
The single act by Christ redeemed every man, woman and child who has ever lived and in doing so Jesus bought back the fallen estate of the sons of Adam, which includes all of us, just as Boaz redeemed and bought back the estates of Mahlon and Chilion and Elimelech.
Whereas previously Ruth and we were “in Adam” cursed and in bondage we are now “in Christ” redeemed, freed and highly favored!
Ruth would be greatly blessed by this but what about Orpah!?
Boaz bought her estate as well though she never knew it nor benefited from it as she had gone back to her own people and to her own gods, she was never heard from again she has no part in the inheritance. Orpah was lost forevermore and she represents ALL who have been redeemed as well but will never receive the blessing and life that comes with it.
Not unlike the workings of Grace when Jesus Christ purchased salvation for ALL men! Yet not all will receive.
But of Ruth we read:
(4:13-15), So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and he went in to her, and the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son. (4:14) Then the women said to Naomi, "Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without next of kin; and may his name be renowned in Israel! (4:15) He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has borne him."
The boy, who was to be born of this union, of the "strength" of Boaz the redeemer and the "beauty" of the humble Ruth, was to be a “restorer of life”. This was then and is the ministry of Jesus Christ, our restorer of life: he takes the dead, and the things of death in our life, and replaces them with vitality and life.
Grace breathes life into dead things and makes them whole again!
Grace is now an acronym meaning Grace Restores And Comforts Everyone!
Then we read:
(4:16-17) Naomi took the child and laid him in her bosom (like any good grandmother) and became his nurse. And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, "A son has been born to Naomi!" They named him Obed; he was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
And of the Lord Jesus! (Rev 22:16 the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star).
It was written that Christ was David's son. Ruth was one of the forebears of the Lord Jesus Christ and her name became great in Bethlehem as the people predicted that it would and from this city, Jesus would be born!
This child's name, of the union of Boaz and Ruth, would be, Obed, which means "worship" and our story has now come full circle.
When Elimelech, "my God is king" married Naomi, "pleasure" she fell into the “bitterness of death”. Out of that comes Ruth, in the “beauty of humility”, taking her place as a destitute stranger, dependent upon the Grace of Boaz, "the strong one, the one of wealth and strength." He redeems her and binds her to himself in marriage. When "beauty" is married to "strength," the house is filled with "worship."
Here is a last thought I want to leave with you…
Ruth was now a prosperous, highly favored bride. Imagine if one morning she gets up and goes back out into the field to work in order to work and earn favor from her husband.
Imagine that having received all the favor she will ever need she now goes out to work for it again!
That sounds ridiculous, right?
Yet many of us do this all the time. We have been incorrectly taught that we need to WORK to receive the Lord’s favor even though he has given us ALL the favor we’ll ever need.
This is analogous to going to the store and paying them for a gift that someone else has given to you!!!
Think about this for a moment. If God didn’t deny us his son, anything else we can ever conceive of as being something we need is obviously of lesser value, why would we not think God wouldn’t want to give us that as well, especially in light of his promises he has already made?
This is what God’s Word tells us…Matthew 7:11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Our thinking is wrong.
We think that once we are saved that we need to believe for the promises that from our wrong thinking seem more difficult for God or that having given us Jesus he suddenly becomes reluctant to give us anything else. That is a consciousness based on Sin and Condemnation rather than the Consciousness of grace and Righteousness we need to have.
Our wrong thinking therefore cheapens the sacrifice of Christ at the Cross. For example, if we are sick we have troubles believing for healing as the God who gave us his son would have difficulties providing health or if we need a financial breakthrough we now struggle believing for that as if God Our father who did not withhold his ONLY child would now becomes stingy with needed resources.
We need to understand that God doesn’t provide salvation he IS salvation, God doesn’t provide healing he IS healing; God doesn’t provide financial breakthroughs he IS financial breakthrough’s.
The totality, the sum of ANYTHING we need is NOT separate from Jesus Christ, it is part of Jesus
The reason God honors ALL his promises is because they have his name on them, the name of Jesus and God always honors that name above all names!
His Promises and his Name are One and the same not separate entities and in that we can rest!!!
Don't you suppose that the Lord Jesus looks at us sometimes in amazement and says, "What are you doing? Why do you keep coming to me and asking for the thing that you already have? Why do you ask for health and strength and grace and joy and peace? I have given you all this. All that I am is all that you need. Why keep begging for that which you already have?”
In Jesus, the totality of everything we will ever need is realized. We are in Christ, In Him there is no lack, simply believe. We have been made the Righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.
Rom 1:17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
2Co 5:21 God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him (in Christ) we might become the righteousness of God.
Rom 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
Rom 8:10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.
Abundance is given to you in every single aspect of your life because you are already as righteous as you will ever get to be because of Jesus’ perfect work, “it is finished!”
We need to rest in Christ that through faith we can believe that the husband who gave everything for us can provide all we need.
We need to walk in Grace believing by faith rather than thinking we have to curry favor from the one who has already given us ALL THE FAVOR WE WILL EVER NEED!
We need to let Grace do its mighty work and transform our hearts of which the Book of Ruth is but a small window into that Grace.
Do you not realize that we have been redeemed and saved? Do you not realize that salvation in the Greek is the word “Sózó” and means….. “To save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction or one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health, to prosper”
The redemption Christ purchased the Salvation that was produced is all inclusive and covers every aspect of our spiritual, physical and Soulish realms!
This is the Grace of God and his name is Jesus Christ!
That is what it means; we just need to learn to live out in fact what God has deposited already in our hearts.
We have been redeemed by he who was raised from the dead, the man of strength and of wealth, the Lord Jesus Christ, who has given to us all that he IS and all that he has yet we keep going out into field we own jointly already looking to curry favor when we have it already!!! We simply need to believe by faith. If we would do that, our lives would be radically transformed. And the evidence would be so pronounced that is would impact not only our lives but those around us.
God took Ruth from abject poverty from being lower than the lowest servant girls to abundant prosperity as the bride of the master of the house, position and privilege as he has done for all of us. When we start living in reality what God has placed in us factually, we too will see the extraordinary life God meant for us to have rather than the scraps we settle for.
Then the church will begin to make the radical difference it was destined to make!
Just as Ruth had to become familiar with what she had inherited when she married Boaz, we need to become familiar with what we inherit in Christ.
How do you do this?
We have to spend time alone with him in an intimate, personal relationship. We need to spend time in the Word, take notes, learn, ask questions, pray often; write down what the Holy Spirit shows you.
Personally I think the 2nd most important decision I ever made was to take God at his word and ask him to teach me, I have not been disappointed ever.
When you submit in beauty you will see his powerful Grace in your life.
This is the Book of Ruth; this is your book and mine, we are The Bride Redeemed by Grace!
Thank you for the opportunity to serve each of you, I pray you enjoyed this as much as I did in presenting it!