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Trevor Huthnance speaks of the relationship between Ruth and Boaz and the parallels and lessons we can learn.
Today I want to go through a book of the Bible which has been described as the perfect story. In fact when you look into this book, you'll find that it is, in fact, the perfect love story. Of course, it is the book of Ruth and God placed the book of Ruth in the Bible for our benefit.
Before going into the book itself, I'd like to address some of the background material that is very relevant, because this book brings together many important and very fundamental Biblical themes.
The first theme is: God looks after us as we follow Him. He is always personally involved in our lives, even in difficult times, and the final outcome will always be good.
Turn to Psalm 103:17. This is God's message to mankind: The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him and his Righteousness to children's children to such as keep his Covenant and to those who remember His commandments to do them.
So God is real. God provides blessings to all those who fear him from generation to generation. God always seems to want to bless a righteous person's descendants as much as He can. Now we, in this country, are blessed because we are the recipients of the blessings given to righteous Abraham. It is also interesting that in the story of Ruth, the main character, Boaz, is a descendant of faithful Rahab, the Canaanite.
Psalm 103:19 says, The Lord has established His throne in Heaven and His Kingdom rules over all.
God has a throne of glory, a throne of government. God rules over all his creation and brings all His plans to fulfilment by His own great power.
The story of Ruth is set in the time of the Judges, and the book of Judges was written by Samuel. Now some believe that the book of Ruth was also written by Samuel but there is no way to really know that. But the book of Judges shows that there was a period of war, of fighting and bloodshed, where many did what was right in their own eyes. It was much like our time today I imagine. They did as they pleased. The period was marred by an appalling decline in spiritual, moral and social values - this is the period of the Judges. However, in that difficult period and within that corrupt society, the book of Ruth by comparison, brings out the personalities of three righteous people who lived in that era. It brings out their values, ethics and their character. It shows that there were still true believers around at that time - during the period of the judges. They were people that loved to serve God and people who were generous in their dealings with others. God used Ruth and Naomi, who were destitute widows, to bring the story of salvation to us! Specifically the book shows God's purpose for us in his church today, because Ruth is a type of the church. This whole message is wrapped up in a few chapters, in the book of Ruth.
The second theme concerns aspects of what we call a sceptre promise. The book, in fact, bridges the gap in the genealogy of King David. A sceptre is a symbol of royal authority but the term is also used specifically of the ruling line of Judah; the unconditional sceptre promise that God gave young Judah through Jacob.
Go to Genesis 49:9. I'm going to do something unusual, I'm going to read from The Message. The Message isn't an actual translation at all, but in this case, it conveys the essence of what is meant. You're a young lion Judah, home fresh from the kill. Look at him, prowls like a lion, king of the beasts, who dares mess with him? Don't you love that, who dares mess with him?
So Judah here is compared to a lion, a royal king of beasts. Picture this, the noble lion has eaten his fill, he lies down in his majesty and looks around contentedly. But the warning is, don't annoy him, don't poke him with a stick. It says, Who shall rouse him up and escape the consequences? It's just not on. Consider the nation of Judah today, if anyone threatens their extinction, they have threatened to bring down the portals of civilisation. They will use the nuclear option. Don't mess with him, the scripture says.
Genesis 49:10 The sceptre shall not leave Judah, he will keep a firm grip on the command staff (that is the judicial staff - the right to judge) until the ultimate ruler comes and the nations obey Him.
Now, even today, we know that the royal families of Europe, including Britain, are descendant from Judah. They have the sceptre of rulership that God had predicted many thousands of years previously. They still have it today. Now the ultimate ruler mentioned here, is Jesus Christ, King of Kings and the ultimate judge of all people. Jesus Christ was called in scripture, the mighty lion of Judah.
The book of Ruth gives historical details about the period of the judges and in this we see a glimpse of how God guides events to bring about His important promises to fruition and bring together those he chooses to be the ancestors of King David and Jesus Christ, who would rule all nations eventually under the sceptre promise. Again, Christ's ancestry included Rahab, including her descendant who is Boaz and includes Ruth. They are all faithful people of different nations and today the Father chooses who He wills to be the future bride of Christ. He calls individuals into His church whom He chooses from different nations and all around the world from different ethnic groups. He works with them, and with us, who are ordinary, every day people.
The third theme of the book involves the harvest of Pentecost. The events of the book of Ruth took place between Passover and Pentecost. That was when the smaller barley harvest and wheat harvest were being brought in from the fields. Because of this, it has been a Jewish tradition to read the whole book of Ruth on the day of Pentecost. They read it in full - it is only a short book, but I doubt whether they fully understand the real impact of what that book is saying. You actually need Jesus Christ and the New Testament teachings to understand it.
Let's look at the symbolism. Leviticus 23:15 is set during the days of Unleavened Bread and mentions the waving of the wave sheaf. The wave sheaf represents Jesus Christ being offered to the Father as an acceptable sacrifice during the Days of Unleavened Bread. The fulfilment of this occurred when Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven, after his resurrection, to be accepted by the Father. From that day, we count fifty days to Pentecost.
Leviticus 23:15-17 says, You shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath (that's one day later) then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord (this is on Pentecost). You shall bring from your dwellings, two wave loaves of two tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour, they shall be baked with leaven, they are the first fruits of the Lord.
In Leviticus 23:20, we see that these two loaves are offered as a wave offering at Pentecost - and the two loaves can apply to the church. There is always a discussion of the meaning of the two loaves, but one of them does apply to the church which is also called the first fruits of God in the New Testament - part of the early harvest of mankind. People are chosen to help God through eternity - people are chosen to help God bring the rest of humanity into salvation. The church came into existence at that first Pentecost after Christ's resurrection when the Holy Spirit was given. The church became the first small spiritual harvest for God. There will be a greater harvest when Christ returns when all have access to the church.
James 1:17-18 says, Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of his own Will, he brought us forward of the word of truth that we may become first fruits of his creatures (or creation).
Now, Ruth, who was initially an unbeliever like we all were, accepted the laws of God and became part of God's people during this harvest period. Ruth therefore became a type of the early spiritual harvest of spiritual Israel in the New Testament Church of God era. In this story, she represents the church.
The fourth theme of the book concerns the marriage covenant. When the old nation of Israel left Egypt, they eventually came to Mount Sinai at the time of Pentecost. There, God gave his law to them and outlined the blessings of keeping that law and also the curses of not keeping that law. Those curses were really the automatic result of going against God's way. They brought an automatic penalty.
He offered to be Israel's God in a formal agreement which was a marriage contract. Israel formally accepted this contract of marriage which we call the Old Covenant. God became their protector, He became their husband. He would look after them. We see God referred to as Israel's husband in Jeremiah 31:31.
I want to go through all of these scriptures because they all come together in the book of Ruth. Jeremiah 31:31-32 says, Behold the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand and led them out of the house of Egypt. My covenant, which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord.
So in this picture that God paints for us, He refers to the old covenant agreement where promises of loyalty and fidelity were made by both parties - made as a marriage covenant. Going on in Jeremiah 31:33 it says of this new covenant, but this is a covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days says the Lord, I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts and I will be their God and they shall be My people.
It was at the first Pentecost after the death of Jesus Christ, after his death and resurrection, that God gave the Holy Spirit to his church, His spiritual bride-to-be. It is a betrothal, or engagement, as we would say today. We are betrothed to Jesus Christ. As his future bride, we are to prepare ourselves now for our future relationship with him and develop the righteous character to be a suitable help-mate for Him for ever.
Revelation 19:7-9, Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marry to the Lamb has come and the wife has made herself ready and to her was granted to be a robe in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints, and then He said to me, blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb, he said to me, these are the true sayings of God.
So, love and marriage - or horse and carriage as some say - love and marriage as representative of God's relationship with his people is also a theme in the book of Ruth. Boaz represents Jesus Christ. He eventually marries Ruth, who represents the church. He is the husband in the story who protects, provides for and cares for his future bride as God is doing for us today.
The fifth and last theme is perhaps the major one. It is a major overriding theme in the book of Ruth. This is the role of the kinsman redeemer - the role which Boaz held. The Hebrew word for kinsman in the Bible is go'el. I have also seen it written as ga'al. It appears thirteen times in the book of Ruth and means a kinsman who redeems.
The need for redemption is made clear in the story and it is accomplished through two events happening. The first event is buying back an inheritance. The second event is the type of what is termed a levirate marriage. These two actions in old Israel would result in the restoration and the perpetuation of a family line which had been lost.
Now Ephesians 2:12 tells us that we were once lost... That at that time, we were without Christ, beings aliens, from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenant of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
That was our situation before God entered our lives. Going on, a kinsman redeemer is an individual who is able to intervene on a family member's behalf. In this role, Boaz actually prefigures Jesus Christ, who became a real human being, so that He might be our kinsman. If He wasn't human, he couldn't have been our kinsman. Also he came to meet the conditions required to become our permanent kinsman redeemer. So another wonderful picture is painted here in this story. I repeat, we are the ones who need redemption - redemption equates with deliverance.
Now, King David understood this principle clearly. In 1 Chronicles 17:20-22 we can have a look at part of his prayer to God when he was given the promises of the Davidic Covenant. It says, Oh Lord there is none like you, nor is there any god beside you, according to all we have heard with our ears and who is like your people, Israel, the one nation on the earth who God went to redeem for himself as a people, to make for yourself a name by great and awesome deeds by driving out nations before your people whom you redeemed in Egypt for you have made your people Israel, your very own people forever and you Lord have become their God.
God is our great redeemer - He really is. This fact is expanded on in the New Testament. I'll just look at one scripture here, Ephesians 1:3-6, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the Heavenly places in Christ just as he chose us in Him in the foundations of the world that we should be Holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us as adoption by sons by Jesus Christ himself according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise and good glory of His praise by which He has made us accepted in the beloved.
In Ephesians 1:7-8 it says, In Him we have redemption through His blood the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound us in all wisdom and prudence.
So our redemption includes a complete restoration of our body from corruption and death and our inheritance is to be permanent - permanently with Jesus Christ, our husband. Now Romans 8:17, another scripture, says we will be joint heirs with Christ in the Kingdom of God. Join heirs with Christ, our kinsman! This is our eternal inheritance.
In Ephesians 1:9-10, it says, Having made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure which He purposed in himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times he would gather together in one, all things that are in Christ, both which are in Heaven and which are on earth in Him.
Ephesians 1:13-14, In Him, you also trusted (the same way that we see Naomi trusting Boaz, a type of Christ, in the book of Ruth.) After you have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation in whom also having believed you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (I add that that was first given at Pentecost) which is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession to the praise of His glory.
It's an incredible opportunity which we have all been given by our kinsman redeemer, Jesus Christ. When old Israel went into the Promised Land, it was a type of our going into the Kingdom of God. For them, it was to be a permanent physical inheritance. And this explains some of the laws that people query today. You have to understand this was a type of the Kingdom of God - a type of permanent inheritance. The land was divided among the tribes and families of God. They were given statues to preserve each family's permanent inheritance. One such statute was the levirate marriage which was all about redemption. We find that in Deuteronomy 25 and this principle is very relevant to the story of Ruth.
Now people say, Why would anyone have a law like that, how stupid. But they just don't understand God's mind. This was a type of a permanent inheritance.
Deuteronomy 25:5, If brothers dwell together and one of them dies and has no son, the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family.
Why not? Because they would lose their inheritance. Their children would lose the inheritance.
Deuteronomy 25:5-6 cont... Her husband's brother shall go into her and take her as a wife and perform the duty of a husband's brother to her. It shall be that the first born son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel.
Again this is all about the preservation of descendants and their inheritance in future generations. It was a very important issue at that time. As I said, it is a type of our permanent inheritance in the Kingdom of God.
Deuteronomy 25:7, If a man does not want to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gates of the elders and say, My husband's brother refuses to raise up a name to his brother in Israel. He will not perform the duty of my husband's brother.
It is interesting that the brother did have a choice in the matter in Israel.
Deuteronomy 25:8-9 Then the elders of the city shall call him and speak to him, but if he stands firm and says, I do not want to take her, then his brother's wife shall come to him in the presence of the elders, remove the sandal from his foot, spit on his face and answer and say, so shall it be done to the man who will not build up his brother's house.
Now at this time, taking a shoe off and handing it to someone else signified a renunciation of his rights and interests. In this case he renounces his right in taking the brother's inheritance. And it says,
Deuteronomy 25:10 His name shall be called in Israel, the house of him who had his sandal removed.
This was the law and this was the custom. In fact in Genesis 38, you'll find it as a custom before the law of Moses. But from this written law, came a general recognition or a social custom, of what would be the overall responsibility of what we call the go'el, the kinsman redeemer.
The kinsman redeemer would be responsible for the continuation of families on ancestral lands in circumstances similar to what was described in Deuteronomy. And in the book of Ruth, the situation described in Deuteronomy 25 was not directly applicable but the principle certainly was. Let's go to the Book of Ruth. I am not going through the whole book, you can do that yourself, I just want to hit the highlights here.
The word Ruth means friend or companion, which is what church people should be - friends and companions. That is how we are to be with people.
Ruth 1:1-3 Now it came to pass in the days when the Judges ruled that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the land of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech (which means my God is King).
Note here that Elimelech would have been a land owner in Bethlehem, but he only left because of the drought.
Ruth 1:1-3 cont... The name of his wife was Naomi (meaning sweet and pleasant) and the name of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion (meaning sickly and failing), Ephrathites of Bethlehem-Judah. And they went to the country of Moab and remained there. Then, Elimelech, Naomi's husband died and she was left with her two sons.
Ruth 1:4-6 Now, they took wives for themselves from the women of Moab. The name of one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. They dwelt there about ten years, then both Mahlon and Chilion also died. The woman was left without her two sons and her husband. She arose with her daughters-in-law so that she might return from the country of Moab because she had heard in the country of Moab how the Lord had visited his people by giving them bread In other words the drought was now finished in Israel.
Ruth 1:7 Therefore she went out from the place from where she was and took her two daughters-in-law with her and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.
Ruth 1:8 Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, go return each to her mother's house, the Lord deal kindly with you as you have dealt kindly with the dead and with me. They were good daughters-in-law.
Ruth 1:9-13 The Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband, (saying get married again and get on with your life). She kissed them and they lifted up their voices and wept. And they said, surely we will return with you to your people. And Naomi said, Turn back my daughters. Why will you go with me? Are there still sons in my womb? That they may be your husbands? Turn back, my daughters, go - for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have a husband also tonight, and should also bear sons, would you wait for them until they are grown? Would you restrain yourselves from having husbands?
Naomi indicated here that she was past child bearing age. Remember that – it is quite significant to the story.
Ruth 1:14 And they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, saying goodbye here and going back to her people. But Ruth clung to her.
This is a love story; it is a story full of symbolism. Ruth clung to Naomi who was an elderly widow who had just lost all her family. Ruth will not be separated from Naomi, because she loved her and is making a commitment to look after her. This is also a story of morals, ethics and character.
Ruth 1:15-16 And she said, Behold, Your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. Return after your sister-in-law. And Ruth said, Do not beg me to leave you, to return from following after you. For where you go, I will go. Where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.
So here, Ruth is making a firm rejection of the gods of Moab and makes a definite, firm choice to follow Israel's God and be with God's people, Israel. It is a similar choice to what we make when God begins calling us. We have to forgo our gods and follow the one true God and be with God's people. It is a definite choice. Ruth is leaving her old life behind and is making a clean break to be with God and to be with His people. That is the choice we make in the church as well.
Ruth 1:19-22 And both of them went until they came to Bethlehem. And it happened when they had come to Bethlehem, all the city was excited about them... They hadn't seen them for a long, long time, over a decade... and they said, Is this Naomi? And she said to them, Do not call me Naomi (which means sweetness), call me Mara (which means bitterness). For the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full... this means that she went out with her husband and two sons, a future posterity and a potential for future descendants... and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since Jehovah has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me? And Naomi returned; and Ruth, who was of Moab, her daughter-in-law, was with her, returning out of the fields of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.
So this is now just after Passover.
Ruth 2:1 And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech. And his name was Boaz.
Apparently this name means quickness or strength and valour.
Ruth 2:2-3 And Ruth of Moab said to Naomi, Let me now go to the field and glean ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said to her, Go, my daughter.
And she went. And she came and gleaned in the field after the reapers. And she happened to come upon a part of the field of Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.
Now it is quite possible there was no real intent to target Boaz's field. Apparently at that time different owners owned different parts of the same field. But God's hand was involved in the whole process, as God's hand is involved with us today.
Ruth 2:4-5 And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem and said to the reapers, the Lord be with you. And they answered him, the Lord bless you. And Boaz said to his servant who was set over the reapers, Whose young woman is this?
It is interesting to note that Boaz did not recognise who Ruth was at this point. When he is told who it is, he grants her special favours in the gleaning process and tells her to stay in his fields. Ruth is grateful. God, of course, blesses us continually and we must be grateful to Him as well on a daily basis.
As a side point, Psalm 146 shows that the Lord restores widows and Boaz is a type of the Lord. Both Ruth and Naomi, destitute widows, are blessed by him.
Ruth 2:10 Then she fell on her face and bowed herself to the ground... this is in total humility as we must be in Christ... and said to him, Why have I found grace in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?
We could say the same thing to God, couldn't we?
Ruth 2:11-12 And Boaz answered and said to her, It has been fully shown to me all that you have done to your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, And you left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before now. May the Lord repay your work...
I think this is interesting; Boaz is not taking credit here. He simply considers he is passing on the blessings that God has already given to him. He is passing them on to someone else who he thinks is worthy. It is a very refreshing attitude to see for us living in this society. This should be how we view things as well.
Ruth 2:12 cont... May the Lord repay your work, and may a full reward be given you from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to trust.
Remember that phrase too, it means a lot... under your wings. When we come before God in total humility, He begins to grant us blessings and we come under His wings as well. In Boaz, we see the characteristic of Christ our loving God.
So Ruth continues gleaning in Boaz's field.
Ruth 2:23 And she kept close by the maidens of Boaz to glean until the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest. And she lived with her mother-in-law.
So at the end of the barley harvest, we are now approaching Pentecost. Festivities were beginning with great rejoicing.
In chapter three of Ruth, Naomi decides to take initiative. She goes to Ruth, asks her to go to Boaz one night when he's asleep, uncover his feet and lie down at his feet. This apparently would give a message to Boaz that Ruth was looking to him for special favour. The same way we go to Christ to find grace and favour.
Ruth 3:8-9 And it happened at midnight, the man trembled and turned himself. And, behold, a woman lay at his feet. And he said, Who are you? And she answered, I am your handmaid Ruth... Listen to what she says... Take your maid servant under your wing, for you are a go'al (you are my kinsman redeemer).
That is what she said...you are my kinsman redeemer. Now Ruth is asking Boaz to fulfill the responsibility of being her kinsman redeemer. When a man spreads his wings or garment over a woman, it means he becomes her protector and husband. Boaz replies:
Ruth 3:11 And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do to you all that you ask. For all the city of my people know that you are a woman of virtue.
So why would she fear? The most likely explanation is because she was a Moabite, not of Israel. But Boaz says do not fear, everyone knows that you are a virtuous woman or a Godly woman. This is the point; she followed the true God, not the Moabite God. Therefore she was qualified to participate in Israel's inheritance as did Rahab the Canaanite.
Ruth 3:12 And now it is true that I am your (go'el') kinsman-redeemer. But there is also a kinsman nearer than I.
Normally, under the levirate law that we read about in Deuteronomy 25, Boaz would perhaps marry Naomi. But Naomi is past child-bearing age. So to keep the line alive, Boaz needs to marry Ruth, (Naomi's daughter-in-law) and have a child. Part of this deal would be that Boaz buys the land belonging to Naomi for the benefit of Ruth and Ruth's descendants. You will notice it is a costly business. He buys the land and then he loses it, eventually.
Ruth 3:13 Stay tonight, and it shall be in the morning, if he will redeem you, well; he will redeem. And if he does not delight to redeem you, as the Lord lives, then I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.
Ruth 4:1-4 Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there; and behold, the KM close relative of whom Boaz had spoken came by. So Boaz said, "Come aside, friend, sit down here." So he came aside and sat down. 2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, "Sit down here." So they sat down. 3 Then he said to the KM, "Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, sold (is selling) the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech. 4 "And I thought to inform you, saying, 'Buy it back in the presence of the inhabitants and the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am next after you.'" And he said, "I will redeem it."
At this point, he hadn't read the fine print, which is a warning to all.
Ruth 4:5 And Boaz said, In the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must buy also from the hand of Ruth of Moab, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance.
This then became the first land-package deal in history. Buy some land, get a wife. Then this kinsman redeemer realises that on the birth of the first child, he will lose all the land. In other words, Boaz is saying that if you buy this land, you have to marry Ruth and the first child will be regarded as Elimelech's, and the land would pass to that child. This made the relative re-evaluate his position. He back peddles a little bit.
Ruth 4:6 And the kinsman redeemer said, "I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance. You redeem my right of redemption for yourself, for I cannot redeem it." 7 Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging, to confirm anything: one man took off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was a confirmation in Israel. 8 Therefore the kinsman redeemer said to Boaz, "Buy it for yourself." So he took off his sandal.
Again - a symbol of his rejection of his claim on Naomi's land and on Ruth!
Ruth 4:9-11 And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech's and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, from the hand of Naomi. And also Ruth of Moab, the wife of Mahlon, I have purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead on his inheritance, so that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his place. You are witnesses this day.And all the people in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses...
And then the witnesses blessed Boaz and Ruth! Boaz and Ruth were betrothed during the Pentecost period, a time which pictured God giving of Himself, giving of His spirit to the Church, the beginning of the process of becoming one with His bride! Ruth gained an inheritance in the land of Israel, which is a type of our entering into a permanent inheritance in the Kingdom of God.
Ruth 4:13-15 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the LORD (Notice, God's hand is seen in all these events!) the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son. 14 Then the women said to Naomi, "Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a kinsman; (actually speaking here of Ruth's baby) and may his name be famous in Israel!
15 "And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter–in–law, who loves you, (this is emphasised many times) who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him."
In those days a son would be regarded as better than seven daughters. But to say Ruth was better than seven sons was the most gracious compliment which could be made of her! Her value to this family was priceless!
Ruth 4:16-17 And Naomi took the child and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse to it. And the women, her neighbors, gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi...
Meaning that Naomi lost her family and expected a lonely old age! Thanks to Ruth's devotion, everything was now different. She belonged to a family once more, she was loved and recognised and the baby symbolised all of that.
The baby, in Ruth 4:17, is shown to be the grandfather to Israel's greatest king - King David - and the ancestor of Jesus Christ, who will become the kinsman-redeemer for all mankind.
Boaz was the forerunner, or type of Jesus Christ, a righteous man living in an unrighteous society.
Ruth 4:17 cont... And they called his name Obed (which means servant). He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
The book then ends with the genealogy, beginning with Judah's son, Pharez, going down to King David. This genealogy records one part of the fulfillment of the Sceptre promise.
Conclusion: Ruth, as a type of the church, and Boaz, as a type of Christ, clearly show us what sort of people we should be or must become!
We see demonstrated in the story, love, kindness, helpfulness, commitment, integrity, trustworthiness, fidelity, honesty, generosity, respect, honour and thankfulness for blessings! All are values which must become part of our character! And from this story, we also know that we are under the wings of our loving kinsman-redeemer, Jesus Christ, who will be helping and protecting us all through our life, as we look to Him.
So in this small book of Ruth, set at Pentecost, we find a morally refreshing love story, which pictures in type, the relationship between Christ and His church!
Acknowledgement: RUTH An Introduction and Commentary by LEON MORRIS - The Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries
The Christian calling is a combination of grace, faith, law and works. Each has a specific place in the life of a Christian seeking to follow God.