Spring 2022 Bible Reading Plan - Ruth, Part 4
Seek the kindness of God as it is weaved throughout the book of Ruth.
At the end of Ruth Chapter 3, it seems the stars are aligning for Boaz to redeem Ruth. Then Boaz says, “yet there is a redeemer nearer than I” and it seems a new character is going to swoop in and redeem Ruth. Chapter 3 leaves us on the edge of our seats wondering how things will play out for Ruth. Will Ruth be redeemed by this new character? What about Boaz? Today we are going to study how the kindness of God comes through a person, through Ruth’s redeemer.
When you hear the word “redeem, redeemed, or redeemer,” what comes to mind?
III. Read Ruth 4:1-4
Ruth 4:1-4 - Now Boaz had gone up to the gate and sat down there. And behold, the redeemer, of whom Boaz had spoken, came by. So Boaz said, “Turn aside, friend; sit down here.” And he turned 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 redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belonged to our relative Elimelech. 4 So I thought I would tell you of it and say, ‘Buy it in the presence of those sitting here and in the presence of the elders of my people.’ If you will redeem it, redeem it. But if you will not, tell me, that I may know, for there is no one besides you to redeem it, and I come after you.” And he said, “I will redeem it.”
IV. Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- Where does chapter 4 take place? Why did Boaz meet this unnamed redeemer at the town gate instead of privately?
- The city gate is where important transactions would take place. Anybody could observe the proceedings and say something relevant if necessary. Thus it was much like the modern question we sometimes ask at weddings, “If anyone knows any reason why these two should not be joined, let him speak now or forever hold his peace.” Nobody could later accuse Boaz of dealing less than honorably.
- We notice Boaz taking initiative. He is a man of action! He told Ruth in chapter 3, verses 11-13, that he would find a redeemer for her. He walks like he talks. The flipside to one who takes initiative and action is passivity. What are examples of passivity and its consequences?
- Why do you think Boaz invited the elders of the city?
- READ: He was very willing for there to be witnesses to this conversation. But these were not only witnesses. As the city leaders, they were spiritual authorities. The elders of the community did not have to listen to Boaz, but they had mutual respect because of the type of man he was. They had the authority to step in and correct Boaz if he got out of line. So Boaz was humble enough that he was willing to submit himself to the wise counsel of his elders. He realized this was a very important decision and he wanted to make sure it was done properly and in agreement with Scriptural principles.
How can you cultivate the type of community Boaz establishes?
VI. Continue Reading Ruth 4:5-13
Ruth 4:5-13 - Then Boaz said, “The day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the widow of the dead, in order to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance.” 6 Then the redeemer said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I impair my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it.” 7 Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging: to confirm a transaction, the one drew off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was the manner of attesting in Israel. 8 So when the redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself,” he drew off his sandal. 9 Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and to Mahlon. 10 Also Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day.” 11 Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, 12 and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the Lord will give you by this young woman.”
VII. Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- What do you think the “redeemer” (Mr. So-and-so) initially thought when he said he would redeem Ruth? Why does he forfeit the opportunity to redeem Ruth?
- He is concerned about his name: He does not want to be associated with a Moabite woman. The irony is that while he is trying to protect his name and future, he is not even named in the Bible or ever recorded in Scripture again.
- He is concerned about his inheritance: The law was that if he were to marry Ruth and they had a son together, the son would inherit the land. He did not see it as a great investment opportunity. His thinking was self-centered and short-termed.
- Boaz is not dragging his feet when he has the chance to redeem Ruth. He is glad to redeem her! Boaz understands the heart of the law: to love his neighbor as himself, to love the sojourner, the widow, and the needy. He pays a great cost. What are some of the potential risks he is taking?
- His reputation: Marrying a Moabite- what will the village think of that?
- His wealth: Taking on a wife and her mother in law plus investments into their new field
- His investment: If they have a child, the child will have all the land
- His legacy: Ruth had been married for a number of years and does not have children. Could she be barren?
- Boaz gladly pays this cost.
God’s math is not the same as the world’s. Like Boaz, we need to understand that the way to fullness runs through emptiness. We need to act in the interest of others, not ourselves. Boaz worries about others and lets God worry and care for him. What are some practical ways we can care for the interests of others rather than ourselves?
IX. Continue Reading Ruth 4:13-22
Ruth 4:13-22 - So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and 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 redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! 15 He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” 16 Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse. 17 And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
The Genealogy of David
18 Now these are the generations of Perez: Perez fathered Hezron, 19 Hezron fathered Ram, Ram fathered Amminadab, 20 Amminadab fathered Nahshon, Nahshon fathered Salmon, 21 Salmon fathered Boaz, Boaz fathered Obed, 22 Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered David.
X. Questions for Reflection and Discussion
Think of God’s kindness flooding verses 13-17. How is the kindness shown to each character in the book of Ruth?
- Boaz: He plays a part in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the coming Messiah of Israel.
- Ruth: She had lost a husband and is now married to one who has chosen her and redeemed her.
- Naomi: In the beginning, she lost her sons, her husband, and potentially her hand. Chapter 1 ends with her bitterness. She is given a son and a daughter-in-law worth more than seven sons! She holds in her hands the kindness of God in her son.
- God is the Restorer of Life. All the emptiness of chapter 1 is filled in chapter 4.
Read Galatians 4:4-5 and Colossians 1:13-14. In what ways has Jesus redeemed us? Jesus goes further than Boaz. Ruth goes to Boaz. Jesus goes to us in “Moab” to give us a new home, adopts us as His sons, frees us from our sin, transfers us from darkness to light, and redeems us through His blood.