The Road to Redemption Ruth 3-4 Read Ruth 3-4 Introduction Review Ruth 1 – Naomi lost her husband and both sons. Ruth resolved to live with her and care for her. The chapter closes with Naomi being bitter. Ruth 2 – Ruth goes about fulfilling her commitment to Naomi, and in the providence of God, she finds herself laboring in the field of prominent member of Elimelech’s family. The man’s name was Boaz. At this point, a glimmer of hope starts to appear for Naomi and Ruth. Exposition I.
The Selflessness of Naomi (Ruth 3:1-5)
In verses 1 through 5, we find Naomi preparing a plan for Ruth to catch Boaz’s eye with the hopes that he will find her attractive, marry her, and redeemer their family from despair. Last week, we briefly spoke of the concept of a “family (kinsman) redeemer,” but we didn’t really dig into the concept. So what is a kinsman-redeemer (a family redeemer)? A kinsman redeemer is a close male relative of a deceased male relative that assumes the responsibility of perpetuating the family lineage of the deceased by marrying their wife and producing children for them. In addition to this, the kinsman redeemer also acquires the land of the deceased and takes on the responsibility of caring for their remaining family members. In one sense, it was a benefit to be a kinsman-redeemer because of the acquisition of land. In another sense, it was a burden because the redeemer took on the responsibility of caring for more family, which meant a greater expense was incurred by the redeemer. The role of kinsman-redeemer, then, was to redeem a deceased family members lineage and land by marrying their widow and caring for their family and assets. Biblically speaking, this social custom of the Jews is taught in detail in Deuteronomy 25:5-10.1 1
Deuteronomy 25:5-10 says, “When brothers live on the same property and one of them dies without a son, the wife of the dead man may not marry a stranger outside the family. Her brother-in-law is to take her as his wife, have sexual relations with her, and perform the duty of a brother-in-law for her. 6 The first son she bears will carry on the name of the dead brother, so his name will not be blotted out from Israel. 7 But if the man doesn’t want to marry his sister-in-law, she must go to the elders at the city gate and say, ‘My brother-in-law refuses to preserve his brother’s name in Israel. He isn’t willing to perform the duty of a brother-in-law for me.’ 8 The elders of his city will summon him and speak with him. If he persists and says, ‘I don’t want to marry her,’ 9 then his sister-in-law will go up to him in the sight of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, and spit in his face. Then she will declare, ‘This is what is done to a man who will not build up his brother’s house.’ 10 And his family name in Israel will be called ‘The house of the man whose sandal was removed.’”
Ruth, being the woman that she is, commits to do all that Naomi has planned. Wearing and smelling her best, she heads out to the threshing floor to see Boaz. II.
The Submissiveness of Ruth (Ruth 3:6-18)
Once she arrived at the threshing floor, she did everything that Naomi said. She allowed him to finishing eating and drinking, then, when he lied down, she uncovered his feet and laid herself down at his feet. Understandably, this startled Boaz. He asked who it was, to which, Ruth replied, “It is Ruth, your slave. Spread your cloak over me, for you are a family redeemer.” Now, for some, this scene may be a little provocative, but it should not be taken that way. Ruth and Boaz are both people of character and integrity. She was not proposition Boaz in an immoral way. Instead, she was asking him to marry her and redeem her and Naomi’s family from despair. Boaz’s response is equally honorable and full of integrity. He compliments her willingness to approach him about this matter, speaking of her kindness toward him. As much as Boaz is interested in marrying Ruth and caring for her family, he recognizes that there is another family redeemer that is closer than him. He promised to go resolve this issue in the morning, telling Ruth that as sure as the LORD lives, he would redeem her if the closer family redeemer were unwilling. III.
The Sacrifice of Boaz (Ruth 4:1-17)
Chapter four is relatively simple and straightforward. There is no need to elaborate on the storyline beyond what is written. In short, Boaz speaks with the other kinsmen redeemer about redeeming the land left behind by Elimelech, which also included marrying Ruth and providing an offspring for her dead husband’s in order to carry on his family name. Given the costliness of such redemption, the other kinsmen redeemer refused the offer. In the presence of the elders of the city, Boaz and the other relative agreed that Boaz would be the kinsmen redeemer of the land and marry Ruth. Things move rather quickly from this point in the story. Boaz returns to Ruth and reports the details of the meeting. In verse 13, we find them being married. Fast forward nine months or so, and we find Ruth bearing a son by the name of Obed. The next thing we see are the ladies of Bethlehem praising the LORD for the redemption that He has brought to Naomi through the marriage of Boaz and Ruth. No longer would Naomi be known as the woman with no descendants. Now should we be known as the Great-Great-Great Grandmother of Israel’s greatest Old Testament king, David, the son of Jesse, the grandson of Obed.
The Salvation of the World (Ruth 4:18-22)
As this story comes to an end, we see two redemptions explicitly resulting from the faithfulness and compassion of Ruth and Boaz: Naomi’s Redemption - Obed Israel’s Redemption – David For the original audience, the book of Ruth would have helped them to see the impact that their faithfulness to God has on the redemption of others. As Ruth and Boaz showed compassion for others and sought to be faithful to God, God worked to bring about not only Naomi’s personal redemption, but Israel’s national redemption through a king after “God’s own heart.” However, there is a bigger story being told than the mere redemption of Naomi and Israel! The redemption of humanity through Jesus Christ is also related to the compassion and faithfulness of Ruth and Boaz. Clearly, God works through the faithfulness and compassion of His people to bring about His redemptive purposes. Naomi, Israel, and even We testify to God’s faithfulness to fulfill His eternal purpose in Christ! Conclusion As we conclude this study through the book of Ruth, I want you to recognize that God often works in the darkest of times to bring about the redemption of others. Do not allow the darkness to produce doubt in your heart toward God’s ability to save! Times Were Dark for Naomi – Obed was Born! Times Were Dark for Israel - David was Born! Times Were Dark for the World – Jesus was Born! Even in the darkness and uncertainty, God is faithful to bring about his saving purposes!