Preached at Straightway Bible Church on December 12, 2014. Join me as we begin a study on one of the most beautiful stories and theologically important books of the Bible.
Introduction to Ruth – Part 2
Brent Riggs – www.seriousfaith.com
NOTE: My notes were drawn from Chuck Missler’s comments on Ruth in his book “Learn the Bible in 24 Hours”
- Chapter 1 is “Love’s Resolve,” where Ruth cleaves to Naomi.
- Chapter 2 is “Love’s Response,” Ruth’s gleaning.
- Chapter 3 is “Love’s Request,” a very pivotal threshing floor scene.
- Chapter 4 is “Love’s Reward,” the redemption of both the land for Naomi and a bride for Boaz.
Chapter 1: “In the days the judges ruled,” famine drove a family to Moab.
- Elimelech (which means “God is my king”) and his wife Naomi (“pleasant”) lived in Bethlehem.
- Because of a serious famine they moved to Moab along with their two sons, Mahlon (“unhealthy”) and Chilion (“puny”).
- The sons marry, but within ten years all the men are dead (Mahlon, Chilion, and Elimelech), leaving Naomi destitute.
- Orpah ultimately decided to stay with her people, but Ruth (which means “desirable”) remained with Naomi.
In chapter 2, Ruth is gleaning. One of the values of the book is that to understand it, you have to do a little homework about the Law of Gleaning and the Law of the Levirate Marriage.
- The Law of Gleaning was a form of welfare. If you owned a field, your reapers could go through the field once, and only once. Whatever they missed was left for the widows, the destitute, orphans, etc.
- The Law of the Levirate Marriage: If you were a widow without issue, you could ask your nearest kinsman to raise up issue with you. He didn’t have to, but if he did, it would continue the line (see Deuteronomy 25).
Chapter 3 is the interesting opportunity.
- Naomi understood all of this background. When she realized that Ruth had happened upon the field of Boaz, she saw an opportunity because Ruth could put the bite on him to solve everybody’s problem. He could get Naomi back the land she had forfeited years ago and give Ruth a new life.
That brings us to the climax of chapter 4, the redemption itself.
- Boaz was at the gate, which is like the city council, and told the nearer kinsman that Naomi had a piece of land to sell and needed a redeemer.
- The nearer kinsman said that it was no problem. But Boaz said, “By the way, the man who does this also has to take Ruth to bride.” But the nearer kinsman replied, “I can’t do that; it’ll ruin my inheritance.”
- The nearer kinsman took off one shoe and gave it to Boaz, a symbol of him yielding the opportunity or the obligation.
- So Boaz purchased the land for Naomi and purchased Ruth as his bride. And that’s the term he used: he “purchased a bride.”
The story of Ruth also illustrates the meaning of the Hebrew word ga’al, which means to “play the part of a kinsman.” In Old Testament Law, a near relative had the right to act on behalf of a person in trouble or in danger. When persons or possessions were in the grip of a hostile power, the kinsman might act to redeem (to win release and freedom). The marriage of Boaz to Ruth involved buying back Naomi’s family land, and meant that their son would carry on Naomi’s family line. Jesus, by taking on humanity, became our near Kinsman, with the right to redeem you and me.
What are the requirements for a kinsman redeemer?
- He has to be a kinsman;
- He must be able to perform;
- He must be willing; and
- He must assume all of the obligations.
The message of RUTH: God has a goel for you and me.