A REDEEMER WHO IS WILLING, QUALIFIED AND CAPABLE BRINGS ABUNDANT BLESSING IN DELIVERING OUTCASTS WHO WERE DESPERATE AND DESTITUTE
We have very quickly arrived at the conclusion of this short story of Naomi and Ruth and Boaz. It is appropriate on this Sunday before Thanksgiving, that we note how the Lord has brought Naomi full cycle – from a life of hopelessness and bitterness and a testimony of how the Lord has rendered her empty – to now this state of fullness where she is thankful for the blessings associated with the Lord’s provision of a husband for Ruth and a son to carry on the family name – a son who will eventually yield King David and ultimately the Messiah Himself.
What is so important about God blessing Ruth with a son?
– Someone to take away the shame and stigma of being without a male descendent
– Someone to rescue the family financially (connection to the ownership of land and the passing along of the inheritance from generation to generation)
– Someone to carry on the family name
– Someone to rise to an important role of leadership in the nation = in God’s kingdom program
God’s people were characterized in the times of the judges as those who living in a state of anarchy with no righteous king to govern them so that everyone did what was right in his own eyes. We saw at the end of the book of Judges how this was a disaster – both in a religious and moral sense. But Ruth communicates hope for the future as we see God’s provision of the coming Righteous Ruler. God takes someone who is a nobody – a Moabite immigrant with no status – and makes them a significant player in the line of the Messiah – Incredible!
Of course the picture of the marriage relationship between the Kinsman Redeemer Boaz and the Moabite bride Ruth is that of Christ our Redeemer and His bride the Church. So as we gather together today as the people of God we want to be reminded of the blessings that we enjoy in connection with the Redemption the Lord Jesus has accomplished on our behalf. We have much to be thankful for that goes way beyond our physical circumstances and the abundance of food on our plates.
Remember the earlier chapters we have already studied:
1) Loyal Commitment – Background of Ruth
2) Kind Providence of God – Backbreaking Labor of Ruth
3) Righteous Character of our Redeemer – Boldness of Ruth
4) Blessings of Redemption
Redeemer: 3 Requirements
– Must be Willing to Redeem – Count the cost
– Must be Qualified — Have to be a near kinsman – this was the problem for Boaz
– Must be Capable — Have to be able to pay the price
A REDEEMER WHO IS WILLING, QUALIFIED AND CAPABLE BRINGS ABUNDANT BLESSING IN DELIVERING OUTCASTS WHO WERE DESPERATE AND DESTITUTE
I. (:1-6) THE REDEEMER MUST BE WILLING – CONTRAST BETWEEN BOAZ AND THE UNNAMED CLOSEST RELATIVE – “BEHOLD I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD” (Heb. 10:7)
A. (:1-2) Staging the Legal Transaction
1. Boaz Sits Down
“Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there,”
Boaz wasted no time after his encounter the evening before with Ruth in the middle of the night on the threshing floor when he was startled awake to discover a woman lying at his feet.
This was the “fullness of time” for Boaz to act –
Gal. 4:4-7 “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ Therefore you are not longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.”
Significance of events taking place at the gate of the city – disputes settled and judgments rendered; business conducted; you could expect the wise elders of the city to be present
“Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.” (Pr 31:23)
Significance of sitting down – Heb. 10:11-14 “Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”
Boaz is preparing to make a great sacrifice and accomplish the work of redemption in typical fashion – so we want to be alert to the parallels in his experience and that of Our Redeemer – recognizing that the Reality goes way beyond the Type.
2. Unnamed Closest Relative Sits Down
“and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz spoke was passing by, so he said,
‘Turn aside, friend, sit down here.’ And he turned aside and sat down.”
Matthew Henry: Providence favored Boaz in ordering it so that this kinsman should come by thus opportunely, just when the matter was ready to be proposed to him. Great affairs are sometimes much furthered by small circumstances, which facilitate and expedite them.
PreceptAustin.org: Friend is a Hebrew idiom (used two other times in OT = “such and such” = 2Ki 6:8YLT, 1Sa 21:2YLT) which translates the rhyming expression peloni almoni which means “a certain unnamed person or place”. The words “my friend” became a catch phrase in Israel. Rabbinic writings used the designation for an unknown “John Doe.”
The idea in Hebrew is “Mr. So-and-so” or “Mr. No-Name” either whose name is not known (unlikely in this case) or who is not worth mentioning. How ironic that the very one who was so anxious for the preservation of his own inheritance, is now not even known by name! . . .
This unnamed individual is presented as a foil so we can contrast his unwillingness with the gracious willingness of Boaz; the way in which he is addressed is intended to diminish our respect for him – understand that Boaz is making a significant sacrifice for the benefit of Ruth and Naomi
3. Ten Elders of the City Sit Down
“And he took ten men of the elders of the city and said, ‘Sit down here.’ So they sat down.”
PreceptAustin.org: Centuries later 10 became the number necessary for a Jewish marriage benediction or a quorum for a synagogue meeting. For an official prayer meeting in modern Judaism 10 men are required. The point is that this was a time in history when few written records were kept, and attestation by a number of witnesses was the most efficient way to be certain that a transaction was made legally secure.
B. (:3-4a) Stressing the Urgency and Exclusivity of Redemption
“Then he said to the closest relative, ‘Naomi, who has come back from the land of Moab, has to sell the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech. So I thought to inform you, saying, Buy it before those who are sitting here, and before the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if not, tell me that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am after you.’”
Not just anyone could be the kinsman redeemer
With respect to our salvation: Acts 4:12 “there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
Any so-called gospel preacher who does not take a stand on the exclusivity of the Christian gospel is preaching another gospel – you cannot waffle and say as Joel Osteen likes to when questioned on whether Jews or Muslims are going to heaven .. “I just can’t say … I leave those types of judgments up to God” – God has made the judgment and revealed it to us in Acts 4:12. The message could not be clearer – there is only one Redeemer.
C. (:4b-6) Clarifying the Cost of Redemption
Emphasis in this passage is on the Willingness of Boaz to make the necessary unselfish sacrifice and perform the function of kinsman redeemer
1. (:4b) Initial Superficial Willingness to Assume the Obligations
“And he said, ‘I will redeem it.’”
As long as you don’t ask me to do too much or make too big of a sacrifice, no problem; it is a no brainer; did not take days to ponder the matter; gave a very quick and therefore superficial response — not counting the cost and fully understanding the nature of the obligation
Cf. how superficially many people respond to the Gospel – to the command to repent and put their faith in Christ – “free ticket to heaven – sure, I will take that; pray to have Jesus enter my heart and become my Savior? No problem” – that is why Christ had to call out the rich young ruler who came to Him asking the works oriented question: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” “sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, ad you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Luke 18:18-27 – an impossible passage for the easy believism camp to deal with) – understand what you are doing when you are transferring your allegiance to a new Lord of your life – are you really willing to give up your autonomy and submit to my rule?? No way said the rich young ruler
2. (:5) Explanation of the Extent of the Overall Obligations
“Then Boaz said, ‘On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of the deceased, in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance.’”
Remember the despised outcast position of the Gentiles:
“remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” Ephes. 2:12
3. (:6) Selfish Rejection of the Obligations of Redemption
“And the closest relative said, ‘I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I jeopardize my own inheritance. Redeem it for yourself; you may have my right of redemption, for I cannot redeem it.’”
Deffinbaugh: the obligation to raise up offspring to a deceased brother was a part of the culture of Judah’s day, long before the Law of Moses was given, and this became one’s duty under the Law. This is why Judah directed his second son to take Tamar as his wife, and why he should have done likewise with his third son, Shelah. (Deut. 25:5-10) . . .
The nearest kin was willing to redeem the land when that would be to his advantage, but he was not willing to marry Ruth because it appeared to require a significant sacrifice on his part. If Elimelech and Naomi had no heirs, then the closest kin would inherit the property. But if old “so and so” married Ruth and produced a son, that son would inherit the land. The nearest kin would not gain the property permanently and he would assume whatever expenses were associated with raising the son he produced. (Would this son also inherit some of this man’s property? I’m not sure.) The nearest kin had quickly calculated a “profit and loss statement,” and marrying Ruth seemed to promise a loss, and so he declined.
What type of Unselfishness did Our Redeemer display?
– Fully aware of the cost of Redemption –
– Set aside the manifestation and enjoyment of His heavenly glory
– Humbled Himself and impoverished Himself to take on humanity
– Love and compassion to benefit even Gentile rebels – the enemies of God’s kingdom
– Suffered the greatest shame and indignity imaginable
– Obedient to lay down His life willingly on the cross
“Alas and did my Savior bleed and did my Sovereign die”
II. (:7-11a) THE REDEEMER MUST BE QUALIFIED AND CAPABLE – EMPHASIS ON THE LEGAL NATURE OF THE TRANSACTION – “IT IS FINISHED” (John 19:30)
“Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning the redemption and the exchange of land to confirm any matter: a man removed his sandal and gave it to another; and this was the manner of attestation in Israel. So the closest relative said to Boaz, ‘Buy it for yourself.’ And he removed his sandal. Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, ‘You are witnesses today that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and Mahlon. Moreover, I have acquired Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, to be my wife in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance, so that the name of the deceased may not be cut off from his brothers or from the court of his birth place; you are witnesses today.’ And all the people who were in the court, and the elders, said, ‘We are witnesses.’”
Just going to touch on this section – not the emphasis of the chapter
The custom of the day involved the giving of the sandal – symbolizing putting your foot down on the property that was now yours and taking possession of the land – you have the other man’s sandal so you have rightful possession of the land that you have acquired
This other man never buys into the unselfish nature of the transaction – he says “But it for yourself” – but the motivation of Boaz was to buy it for Ruth and Naomi and their household – he was not concerned with what he was acquiring for himself … even though there was joy on his part associated with the anticipated marriage relationship to Ruth – just as Christ willingly went to the cross and endured the shame and suffering “for the joy that was set before Him” – Heb. 12:2
Boaz has witnesses to testify that he is qualified to be the unique kinsman redeemer. Christ was born of a woman – taking on human flesh – and lived under the law to accomplish all righteousness so that He would be qualified as the perfect lamb without blemish to offer Himself up as a sacrifice for our sins.
Only Christ is qualified as the perfect God-Man to be the one Mediator between God and man.
Boaz also is capable to pay the sufficient price to accomplish the redemption – he doesn’t have to take out any loans or get any other principals involved to raise some venture capital; he pays the full and sufficient price and accomplishes the transaction so the matter is finished
PreceptAustin.org: this matter of redemption was a forensic or legal matter, indeed paralleling the truth that the believer’s redemption in the NT is a forensic matter, whereby the guilty sinner as if standing in a court of law is declared in right standing with God on the basis of our Greater Goel’s eternal work of redemption accomplished at Calvary.
The Apostle Paul in the book of Romans presented the legal argument for how a holy God could remain just and holy while still declaring righteous those who had no righteousness of their own to offer. Justification is a legal transaction where God takes the righteousness of the second Adam and applies it graciously to undeserving sinners because Christ has Himself paid the price – bearing the punishment of death as our substitute on the Cross for our sins. So He is capable to pay the price to redeem us and cause us to be born again into the family of God.
Is He the God of the Gentiles also?? Yes, of the Gentiles also
III. (:11b-17) THE REDEEMER BRINGS ABUNDANT BLESSING
A. (:11b-12) The Anticipated Blessing of Kingdom Fruitfulness
1. Parallel with Rachel and Leah
“May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built the house of Israel;”
Deffinbaugh: Why do the townspeople pronounce a blessing on Ruth that would make her like Rachel and Leah? There is the sense which we have just noted – namely that these two women (with their handmaids) produced the patriarchs of the twelve tribes of Israel. But I believe that there is also a more subtle blessing here – that of being enabled to conceive. First Rachel (Genesis 30:1), and then Leah (Genesis 30:9-13), were unable to conceive. In both instances, God (see Genesis 30:14-24) opened their wombs and enabled them to conceive. We know from the earlier chapters of Ruth that she had borne no children, and in Ruth 4:13, we are told that God “enabled her to conceive.” Thus, this blessing may have assumed that God would open Ruth’s womb so that she could bear children and thus build up the house of Israel.
Twelve tribes of Israel came from the union of Jacob with the two daughters of Laban. The Lord providentially provided those wives as well.
2. Prosperity and Fame in the Midst of the Kingdom
“and may you achieve wealth in Ephrathah and become famous in Bethlehem.”
Boaz was already wealthy and somewhat famous in the city gates – but these blessings would be multiplied in terms of what the Messiah would eventually enjoy
3. Parallel with House of Perez whom Tamar bore to Judah
“Moreover, may your house be like the house of Perez whom Tamar bore to Judah, through the offspring which the LORD shall give you by this young woman.”
B. (:13a) The Blessing of Marriage Union
“So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife, and he went in to her.”
So obviously there had been no previous illegitimate sexual encounter on the threshing floor
C. (:13b) The Blessing of Fruit of the Womb – Particularly a Son
“And the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.”
Ten years of infertility in Moab, but one night of quick fertility in her marriage to Boaz
D. (:14-15) The Blessing of Replacing Emptiness and Bitterness with Fullness and Joy
“Then the women said to Naomi, ‘Blessed is the LORD who has not left you without a redeemer today, and may his name become famous in Israel. May he also be to you a restorer of life and a sustainer of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.’”
Note that the focus switches back to Naomi so that we can contrast her journey from Bitterness to Blessing
E. (:16) The Blessing of Nurturing and Growth
“Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her lap, and became his nurse.”
Look at the path that Naomi has travelled in this short book – from Bitterness to Blessing; from a nobody who returned in shame to her home base of Bethlehem to the significant matriarch of the Davidic line that would eventually bless the world through the coming of the Messiah
F. (:17) The Blessing of a Significant Legacy
“And the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, ‘A son has been born to Naomi!’ So they named him Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.”
Worshiper or Servant
(:18-22) EPILOGUE – APPRECIATING THE SIGNIFICANCE OF REDEMPTION
“Now these are the generations of Perez: to Perez was born Hezron, and to Hezron was born Ram, and to Ram, Amminadab, and to Amminadab was born Nahshon, and to Nahshon, Salmon, and to Salmon was born Boaz, and to Boaz, Obed, and to Obed was born Jesse, and to Jesse, David.”
Remember where we started out in Ruth chapter 1 – time of the Judges; situation in Israel seems hopeless; spirit of anarchy; no righteous deliverer to rescue them from their desperation; disciplined by the Lord with a severe famine …
Look at where we end up in the last verse – flashing forward to the glorious days of King David who speaks to us of the ultimate Righteous Branch who will arise to redeem God’s people