Archive for the ‘Ruth’ Category


Under Gods Command (Ruth 4:13-22)

Ruth 4:13-22 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”     

16Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. 17The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David. 

The Genealogy of David   

  18This, then, is the family line of Perezl:    

 Perez was the father of Hezron,

 19Hezron the father of Ram,    

 Ram the father of Amminadab,  

 20Amminadab the father of Nahshon,  

   Nahshon the father of Salmon,  

 21Salmon the father of Boaz,   

  Boaz the father of Obed,  

 22Obed the father of Jesse,  

   and Jesse the father of David. 

To some, the book of Ruth may be just a nice story about a girl who was fortunate. But in reality, the events recorded in Ruth were part of God’s preparations for the births of David and of Jesus, the promised Messiah. Just as Ruth was unaware of this larger purpose in her life, we will not know the full purpose and importance of our lives until we are able to look back from the perspective of eternity.

Lets Bring it Home: We must make our choices with God’s eternal values in mind. Taking moral shortcuts and living for short-range pleasures are not good ways to move ahead. Because of Ruth’s faithful obedience, her life and legacy were significant even though she couldn’t see all the results. Live in faithfulness to God, knowing that the significance of your life will extend beyond your lifetime. The rewards will outweigh any sacrifice you may have made.



Under Gods Command (Ruth 4:1-15)

Ruth and Boaz are married   

Ruth 4:1-15   1Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate and sat down there just as the guardian-redeemer he had mentioned came along. Boaz said, “Come over here, my friend, and sit down.”

So he went over and sat down. 2Boaz took ten of the elders of the town and said, “Sit here,” and they did so. 3Then he said to the guardian-redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our relative Elimelek. 4I thought I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, do so. But if you will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.”    

 “I will redeem it,” he said.   

  5Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.”

  6At this, the guardian-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.”

 7(Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other. This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel.)     

8So the guardian-redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it yourself.” And he removed his sandal.  

   9Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelek, Kilion and Mahlon. 10I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite,r Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown. Today you are witnesses!” 

   11Then 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. 12Through the offspring the LORD gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.” Naomi Gains a Son  

   13So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”

 Boaz knew he could find his relative at the town gate. This was the center of activity. No one could enter or leave the town without traveling through the gate. Merchants set up their temporary shops near the gate, which also served as “city hall.” Here city officials gathered to transact business. Because there was so much activity, it was a good place to find witnesses (4:2) and an appropriate place for Boaz to make his transaction.

Boaz cleverly presented his case to the relative. First he brought in new information not yet mentioned in the story—Elimelek, Naomi’s former husband, still had some property in the area that was now for sale. As the nearest relative, this man had the first right to buy the land, which he agreed to do (Leviticus 25:25). But then Boaz said that according to the law, if the relative bought the property he also had to marry the widow (probably because Mahlon, Ruth’s former husband and Elimelek’s son, had inherited the property). At this stipulation, the relative backed down. He did not want to complicate his inheritance. He may have feared that if he had a son through Ruth, some of his estate would transfer away from his family to the family of Elimelek. Whatever his reason, the way was now clear for Boaz to marry Ruth.

Of all the ancestors (including Abraham) they could have named, why did these men mention Perez? The birth of Perez was an example of the “levirate” practice, whereby the brother or relative of the dead husband married his widow (Genesis 38). Boaz, as guardian-redeemer, was following this levirate practice since Ruth’s former husband had no living brothers. (See the note on 3:1-9.) The descendants of Perez made Judah a prominent tribe. Boaz, David, and all the Judean kings were descendants of Perez.

Ruth’s love for her mother-in-law was known and recognized throughout the town. From the beginning of the book of Ruth to the end, her kindness toward others remained unchanged.

God brought great blessings out of Naomi’s tragedy, even greater than “seven sons,” or an abundance of heirs. Throughout her tough times, Naomi continued to trust God. And God, in his time, blessed her greatly.

Lets Bring it Home: Even in our sorrow and calamity, God can bring great blessings. Be like Naomi, and don’t turn your back on God when tragedy strikes. Instead of asking, “How can God allow this to happen to me?” trust him. He will be with you in the hard times.


Under Gods Command (Ruth 3:7 18)

Ruth 3:7-18 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. 8In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet!  9Who are you?” he asked. “I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.”  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. 11And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. 12Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I. 13Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer, good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the LORD lives I will do it. Lie here until morning.”     14So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, “No one must know that a woman came to the threshing floor.”  15He 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 placed the bundle on her. Then he went back to town. 16When 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 17and added, “He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, ‘Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’ ” 18Then Naomi said, “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.”

Ruth and Naomi must have assumed that Boaz was their closest relative. Boaz, too, must have already considered marrying Ruth because his answer to her shows he had been thinking about it. He couldn’t have considered marrying Naomi because she was probably too old to bear any more children (1:11-12). One man in the city was a nearer relative than Boaz, and this man had the first right to take Ruth as his wife. If he chose not to, then Boaz could marry Ruth.

Naomi implied that Boaz would follow through with his promise at once. He obviously had a reputation for keeping his word and would not rest until his task was completed. Such reliable people stand out in any age and culture.

Lets Bring it Home: Do others regard you as one who will do what you say? Keeping your word and following through on assignments should be high on anyone’s priority list. Building a reputation


Under Gods Command (More on Ruth)

Ruth:3:1-9 1One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home for you, where you will be well provided for. 2Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. 3Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in 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. 4When 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.”  5“I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered. 6So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do. 7When 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. 8In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet!  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 guardian-redeemer of our family.”

The threshing floor was the place where the grain was separated from the harvested wheat. The wheat stalks were crushed, either by hand or by oxen, and the valuable grain (inner kernels) separated from the worthless chaff (the outside shell). The floor was made from rock or soil and located outside the village, usually on an elevated site where the winds would blow away the lighter chaff when the crushed wheat was thrown into the air (or winnowed). Boaz spent the night beside the threshing floor for two reasons: (1) to prevent theft and (2) to wait for his turn to thresh grain. (Threshing was often done at night because daylight hours were spent harvesting.)

Naomi’s advice seems strange, but she was not suggesting a seductive act. In reality, Naomi was telling Ruth to act in accordance with Israelite custom and law. It was common for a servant to lie at the feet of his master and even share a part of his covering. By observing this custom, Ruth would inform Boaz that he could be her guardian-redeemer—that he could find someone to marry her or marry her himself. It was family business, nothing romantic. But the story later became beautifully romantic as Ruth and Boaz developed an unselfish love and deep respect for each other.

As a foreigner, Ruth may have thought that Naomi’s advice was odd. But Ruth followed the advice because she knew Naomi was kind, trustworthy, and filled with moral integrity.

Lets Bring it Home: Each of us knows a parent, older friend, or relative who is always looking out for our best interests. Be willing to listen to the advice of those who are older and wiser than you are. The experience and knowledge of such a person can be invaluable. Imagine what Ruth’s life would have been like had she ignored her mother-in-law.


Under Gods Command (More on Ruth)

Ruth2:17-23 17So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah. 18She 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. 19Her 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. 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 guardian-redeemers.”  21Then Ruth the Moabite said, “He even said to me, ‘Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.’ ” 22Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with the women who work for him, because in someone else’s field you might be harmed.”  23So Ruth stayed close to the women of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law.

Naomi had felt bitter (1:20-21), but her faith in God was still alive, and she praised God for Boaz’s kindness to Ruth. In her sorrows, she still trusted God and acknowledged his goodness. We may feel bitter about a situation, but we must never despair. Today is always a new opportunity for experiencing God’s care.

Though Ruth may not have always recognized God’s guidance; he had been with her every step of the way. She went to glean and “just happened” to end up in the field owned by Boaz who “just happened” to be a close relative. This was more than mere coincidence.

Lets Bring it Home: As you go about your daily tasks, God is working in your life in ways you may not even notice. We must not close the door on what God can do. Events do not occur by luck or coincidence. We should have faith that God is directing our lives for his purpose.

  A guardian-redeemer was a close relative who volunteered to take responsibility for the extended family. When a woman’s husband died, the law (Deuteronomy 25:5-10) provided that she could marry a brother of her dead husband. But Naomi had no more sons. In such a case, the nearest relative to the deceased husband could become a guardian-redeemer and marry the widow. The nearest relative did not have to marry the widow. If he chose not to, the next nearest relative could take his place. If no one chose to help the widow, she would probably live in poverty the rest of her life, because in Israelite culture the inheritance was passed on to the son or nearest male relative, not to the wife. To take the sting out of these inheritance rules, there were laws for gleaning and guardian-redeemers.     We have a guardian-redeemer in Jesus Christ, who, though he was God, came to earth as a man in order to save us. By his death on the cross, he has redeemed us from sin and hopelessness and thereby purchased us to be his own possession (1 Peter 1:18-19). This guarantees our eternal inheritance.

 


Under Gods Command 

Ruth 2:13-16“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.”  14At 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. 15As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, “Let her gather among the sheaves and don’t reprimand her. 16Even pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuke her.”

The characters in the book of Ruth are classic examples of good people in action. Boaz went far beyond the intent of the gleaners’ law in demonstrating his kindness and generosity. Not only did he let Ruth glean in his field, he also told his workers to let some of the grain fall in her path. Out of his abundance, he provided for the needy.   Boaz told his workers to provide handfuls of grain on purpose; God has a way of providing hand fills for each and every one of us if we just trust him.

Lets Bring it Home: How often do you go beyond the accepted patterns of providing for those less fortunate? Do more than the minimum for others.


Under Gods Command (More on Ruth)

Ruth 2:8-12 So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. 9Watch 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.”   10At 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?” 11Boaz 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 not know before. 12May 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.

Now Ruth had to be beautiful for Boaz to recognize her, and to tell her not go glean in another field. He wanted her right there in his field. Then he told the young men not to touch her. When God singles you out and puts his hand on your life He will order His divine protection around you.

Boaz could have said “She is all mind”, but did not. He was more impress of the fact that she stuck next to Naomi and came back under the care of the God of Israel.

Ruth’s life exhibited admirable qualities: she was hard working, loving, kind, faithful, and brave. These qualities gained for her a good reputation, but only because she displayed them consistently in all areas of her life. Wherever Ruth went or whatever she did, her character remained the same.

Lets Bring it Home: Your reputation is formed by the people who watch you at work, in town, at home, in church. A good reputation comes by consistently living out the qualities you believe in, no matter what group of people or surroundings you are in.