The Bible is the story of God’s glory in Christ. Our God has revealed himself through his word, the Bible, and we can listen to it, and be filled with worship, confidence, and joy, because of the greatness of our God. In this story, we are happily surprised that he includes people, including people that seemed ruined and forsaken like Ruth and Naomi, as well as an ordinary guy like Boaz, who trusted the Lord and tried to imitate his kindness. We are part of the great story or purpose that God is working out in life’s history. By the grace of God, we have significance; our lives are important; we are here for his purpose. And in this account of redemption accomplished, we view God move toward the fulfillment another part of his plan of redemption.
In previous articles, we saw that Naomi and Ruth needed to be redeemed, but their closest relative refused to do what was necessary for them. Therefore, he gave the right to redeem them to Boaz. Now we come to the great moment of this story.
Boaz kept his promise and redeemed (4:9-10). He redeemed the property that Naomi wanted to sell—what belonged to her husband Elimelech, and her sons Kilion and Mahlon. Buying this much land must have been costly for Boaz, but by doing it Naomi had sufficient to live on, and Boaz was able to gain the crops that the land would produce. This transaction benefited both of them in different ways. Naomi got short term cash, and Boaz acquired long term profits. It was a fair deal in many ways.
Jesus Christ redeemed his people by dying on the cross. (To redeem means to set free by the payment of a price.) We were in bondage to sin and Satan and in this bondage had earned the hard wages of eternal death. But by his redeeming blood, Jesus set us free! We are free to live forever, and Jesus receives glory and joy by rescuing us. Here is the great deal. Trust in Jesus and he will set you free.
By buying Naomi’s land, it stayed in the family. They could keep what the Lord gave them as their inheritance. God’s gift and purpose are respected. Do you know what are God’s gifts and purpose for the church, Christ’s new assembly? Do you respect them in your approach to life?
Boaz redeemed Ruth. For the first time we learn that she was the widow of Mahlon, but now she will become the wife of Boaz. In this way, the names of both Elimelech and Mahlon would be maintained in Israel, since the first son born to Ruth and Boaz would inherit their land. This was important in old covenant Israel. The land would stay in the family, not just to the Year of Jubilee, but beyond—to him and his heirs. The end of the story tells who got this land.
Ruth also was redeemed from what had seemed a hopeless future. She became the wife of Boaz, and was provided for through his riches. In all this we should see a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we should live.
Jesus paid the very costly price of our redemption by shedding his blood on the cross. Ruth was desolate; she had neither husband nor children, but Boaz set her free to become his wife and the mother of his children. So also, we were spiritually desolate, but through Christ, we died to the law that we might belong to the resurrected Jesus, and so be able to bear fruit for God (Romans 7:4-6). Ruth was a foreigner, a stranger to the covenants of promise, but when Boaz married her, she had a place in the covenant nation. So in Christ, though we were far away, we are now brought near to God and have a place in God’s household and are fellow citizens with God’s people (Ephesians 2:11-22). The Spirit of God shows us in this story that as Boaz received Ruth the Moabite as his wife, so he receives people from all the people groups of the world.
Jesus wants us to set others free. There are so many people that need to be redeemed and set free! We live in a messed up world. Some are in misery because of addictions; they need people to bring the good news of the Redeemer to them. He alone is strong enough to break their chains. Some are ruined by poverty; they need people to befriend them and help them in their struggles. Some have had their family lives ruined by sexual immorality and abuse; they need someone to love and accept them. When we reach out to them, we can lead them to the Lord Jesus, who can bring about true restoration.
Your local assembly must be known as a place of love and acceptance. First, of course, you must accept one another as Christ as accepted us (Romans 15:7). But then each one needs to provide opportunities where people can experience the acceptance that the grace of Christ gives.
Grace and peace, David