Boaz said to the elders and all the people, You are witnesses today that I am buying from Naomi everything that belonged to Elimelech, Chilion, and Mahlon. 10 I will also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, Mahlons widow, as my wife, to perpetuate the deceased mans name on his property, so that his name will not disappear among his relatives or from the gate of his home. You are witnesses today.
11 The elders and all the people who were at the gate said, We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is entering your house like Rachel and Leah, who together built the house of Israel. May you be powerful in Ephrathah and famous in Bethlehem. 12 May your house become like the house of Perez, the son Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring the Lord will give you by this young woman. ESV
The Bible is the story of God’s glory in Christ. Our God has revealed himself through his word, the Bible, and we can listen to it, and be filled with worship, confidence, and joy, because of the greatness of our God. In this story, we are happily surprised that he includes people, including people that seemed ruined and forsaken like Ruth and Naomi, as well as an ordinary guy like Boaz, who trusts the Lord and tries to imitate his kindness. We are part of the great story or purpose that he is working out in life’s history. By the grace of God we have significance; our lives are important; we are here for God’s purpose. And in this account of redemption accomplished, we view God move toward fulfilling another part of his plan of redemption.
In our previous message we saw that Naomi and Ruth needed to be redeemed, but their closest relative refused to do what was necessary for them. Therefore, he gave the right to redeem them to Boaz. Now we come to the great moment of this story.
I. Boaz fulfills his promise and redeems (4:9-10).
A. He redeems the property that Naomi wanted to sell—what belonged to her husband Elimelech, and her sons Kilion and Mahlon.
1. Buying this much land must have been costly for Boaz, but by doing it Naomi has sufficient to live on, and Boaz is able to gain the crops that the land would produce. This transaction benefits both of them in different ways. Naomi gets short term cash, and Boaz gets long term profits. It is a fair deal in many ways.
Apply: Jesus Christ redeemed his people by dying on the cross. (To redeem means to set free by the payment of a price.) We were in bondage to sin and Satan and in this bondage had earned the hard wages of eternal death. But by his redeeming blood, Jesus set us free! We are free to live forever, and Jesus receives glory and joy by rescuing us. Here is the great deal. Trust in Jesus and he will set you free.
2. By buying her land, it stays in the family. They could keep what the Lord gave them as their inheritance. God’s gift and purpose are respected.
R.Q.: Do you know what are God’s gifts and purpose for the church, Christ’s new assembly? Are you respecting them in your approach to life?
B. He redeems Ruth. For the first time we learn that she was the widow of Mahlon, but now she will become the wife of Boaz.
1. In this way, the names of both Elimelech and Mahlon would be maintained in Israel, since the first son born to Ruth and Boaz would inherit their land. This was important in old covenant Israel. The land would stay in the family, not just to the Year of Jubilee, but beyond—to him and his heirs. The end of the story tells who got this land.
2. Ruth also is redeemed from what had seemed a hopeless future. She becomes the wife of Boaz, and is provided for through his riches. In all this we should see a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we should live.
a. Jesus paid the very costly price of our redemption by shedding his blood on the cross. Ruth was desolate; she had neither husband nor children, but Boaz set her free to become his wife and the mother of his children. So also, we were spiritually desolate, but through Christ, we died to the law that we might belong to the resurrected Jesus, and so be able to bear fruit for God (Rm 7:4-6). Ruth was a foreigner, a stranger to the covenants of promise, but when Boaz married her, she had a place in the covenant nation. So in Christ, though we were far away, we are now brought near to God and have a place in God’s household and are fellow citizens with God’s people (Eph 2:11-22). The Spirit of God is showing us in this story that as Boaz received Ruth the Moabitess as his wife, so he receives people from all the people groups of the world.
b. Jesus wants us to set others free. There are so many people that need to be redeemed and set free! We live in a messed up world. Some are in misery because of addictions; they need people to bring the good news of the Redeemer to them. He alone is strong enough to break their chains. Some are ruined by poverty; they need people to befriend them and help them in their struggles. Some have had their family lives ruined by sexual immorality and abuse; they need someone to love and accept them. When we reach out to them, we can lead them to the Lord Jesus, who can bring about true restoration.
Apply: Our local assembly must be known as a place of love and acceptance. First, of course, we must accept one another as Christ as accepted us (Rm 15:7). But then we need to provide opportunities where people can experience the acceptance that the grace of Christ gives.
II. Boaz is praised by the people (4:11-12).
A. The importance of worship: they ask God’s blessing
1. Ruth in some ways could be called “a book about prayer,” because we have heard many prayers in it (1:8; 2:4, 12, 20; 3:10). “Now all the people respond with prayer to the transaction at the gate by seeking God’s blessing on Boaz and Ruth… Every aspect of life, from misery to joy, from the routine to the extraordinary, daily work and social intercourse, as well as the very private moments, are lived in the faith that God is there and God cares” (Atkinson, my emphasis). Prayer ought to be natural to redeemed people. It should be so much a part of us that we naturally flow into and out of it (cf. 1 Th 5:17). We should be able to be talking with one another, and then begin to talk with our Father in heaven together. Since Christ has set us apart for God (made us holy—definitive sanctification), we should be living such holy lives that we can approach God at any time.
2. The elders and the rest of the people pray for three blessings.
a. They pray that Ruth would be fruitful, bearing many children like Rachel and Leah together did. Children are a great blessing from the Lord. Have as many as you can! (Yeah, I know that is not politically correct, but don’t believe all the propaganda put out by anti-family types.)
b. They pray that Boaz would have a high standing in the community. Obviously, they were not jealous of his present success and prayed that he would become greater. The increase of a kind man like Boaz contributes to the prosperity of the community.
c. They pray for the good of their family. God had worked through the life of Tamar, who was from the people groups of the nations (a Gentile), to build up the tribe of Judah. They pray that the family of Ruth and Boaz would also prosper.
B. The importance of community
1. They joined together to maintain order; for example, by being witnesses. The new covenant community is to maintain the unity of the Spirit.
2. They joined together to celebrate. Sharing joy is significant. When you share your joy, it multiplies. It is like the bread and fishes of the boy. If he kept them, only he would have ate them and been satisfied. But when he gave them to Jesus for the good of others, a great crowd was satisfied—with leftovers.
Apply: Don’t waste your life on yourself. Offer your life to the Lord in sharing it with others, and he will multiply its worth beyond your ability to calculate.
Pastor Dave Frampton
The faithful and spiritually profitable labors of Dave Frampton are featured here at CMC. As a Bible teacher he excels. Teachers and student alike will profit much from his labor in the God’s Word. Visit Newtown Square Baptist Church.