Sunday 1 November
The Book of Ruth chapter 4 verses 1 - 17
Boaz Marries Ruth
Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate and sat down there just as the guardian-redeemer[a] he had mentioned came along. Boaz said, “Come over here, my friend, and sit down.” So he went over and sat down. Boaz took ten of the elders of the town and said, “Sit here,” and they did so. Then 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. I 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[b] 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.
Then 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.” At 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.” (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.) So the guardian-redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it yourself.” And he removed his sandal.
Then 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. I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, 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!”
Then 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. Through 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. 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. The 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! He 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.”
Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
Message: - God’s provision never ends
Today we come to our last week looking at the book of Ruth. We have just heard how her future was to be guaranteed, first by her marriage to Boaz and then through the birth of her son, Obed. She would be looked after in the event that she outlived Boaz.
Naomi too, is being looked after by Boaz and now she has a grandson, she can look to her old age knowing that Obed is there to care for her too, when the time comes.
There is a lot of other things going on here. Take the actions of Boaz for example. He goes to the other, closer relative and invites him to do what is right. We don’t know who this other relative is but we can see that he knows it is his duty to take care of Naomi yet he chooses not to. Time for plan B!
I see similarities here with our lives today. The difference is that the Boaz character is God! Wanting us to do what is right and we choose to do our own thing and God then goes onto plan B!
The first point I need to make clear is that our futures are not all mapped out for us! God began, his journey with humanity, by allowing freedom of choice to Adam and Eve. A freedom that continues to this day. There is no Groundhog Day! If you don’t know the film, Bill Murray played a weatherman, Phil Connors, who was sent to Punxsutawney to see if Spring was to arrive early or late that year and had to relive the same day over and over again. If we had to relive a day until we do as God has determined, I think life would be like that and then some. After all, if anyone on the whole Earth had to relive a day, we all would! So, the chances are we would all be stuck in time. If there was predestination as it is called, there could be no sin. As we would be reliving the moment when a sin was committed until the person chose not to sin. Arguably there may be no human race at all! Just Adam wondering where Eve has gotten to and Eve facing up to the serpent over and over again. Enough on predestination, now, let's get back to our reading!
Boaz’s plan B is to marry Ruth and yet I can’t help but think this was his plan A all along. Going to the other relative was only to do what would be seen to be right and proper. And of course, God’s blessings continue. Ruth’s son Obed, is going to be the father of Jesse who in turn is the father of King David and from there the lineage continues down to Jesus himself.
When we look at the detail in God’s plan it is quite incredible how fickle our futures are! Had Ruth stayed in Moab, as she was invited and urged to do, there would be no Jesus Christ. Last week I was sharing my thoughts on the Lamprocapnos Flower and how the level of detail in God’s provision just blows my mind! Well this week is the same. Ruth’s choice was to go with Naomi. A choice that brings every one of us here today! A choice that brings every Christian to Christ in fact and yet all she did was accompany Naomi and help provide for her.
As you dwell on that, perhaps you might resolve to listen and act on the opportunities God places on your path! Who knows what blessings may come out of it, for future generations if not for this one? That said, as we have seen God didn’t just bless future generations, he blesses Naomi, Ruth and Boaz too.
I hope you can see, we have little to lose, if anything at all. When our heart is aligned with God’s will we have nothing to lose at all. It is a win-win scenario.
Please pray with me; - Father we give thanks for the book of Ruth and for the chance to study your handiwork flowing through it. Bless it to our hearts that we may be encouraged to follow your call on our lives all the closer. May we be willing to be willing to act as you guide us. To your glory, Amen