Ruth 4

The book of Ruth’s big, beautiful, theological message can be summed up like this, so I read, 

God cares for needy people like Naomi and Ruth; he is their ally in this chaotic world. He richly rewards people like Ruth and Boaz who demonstrate sacrificial love and in so doing become his instruments in helping the needy. God’s rewards for those who sacrificially love others sometimes exceed their wildest imagination and transcend their lifetime.

We’ve talked each and every week about Jesus in the book of Ruth. He said, didn’t He, that all Scriptures bear witness to Him, and all Scriptures testify of Him. Throughout Ruth, He has been pictured, previewed, and foreshadowed mainly by Boaz and this role of the kinsman-redeemer. Think about just how many ways this little book points us to Jesus…

  • The kinsman-redeemer had to be a family member. Boaz was a relative of the family and people in need (4.3). 

Jesus added humanity to His eternal deity so that He could be our human kinsman and save us (Philippians 2.7ff.).

  • Boaz, as kinsman-redeemer to Ruth, was not motivated by self-interest, but motivated by love for Ruth. 

Jesus’ motivation for redeeming us is His great love for us (1 John 4.10).

  • Boaz, as kinsman-redeemer to Ruth, had to have a plan to redeem Ruth unto himself – and some might have thought the plan to be foolish. 

Jesus’ plan for redeeming us is looked at as being a failure and being foolish (1 Corinthians 1.18).

  • Boaz, as kinsman-redeemer to Ruth, took her as his bride.

We, the people Jesus has redeemed, are collectively called His bride (Ephesians 5.31-32, Revelation 21.9).

  • Boaz, as kinsman-redeemer to Ruth, provided a glorious destiny for Ruth. The bitter life of a childless widow left behind, the glorious life of the redeemed lay ahead.

Jesus, as our redeemer, provides a glorious destiny for us (1 Thessalonians 5.9-11).

It all comes back to the idea of Jesus as our kinsman-redeemer;

this is why He became a man, to redeem you (Guzik).

God might have sent an angel to save us, or some kind of supernatural other-worldly being, but they would not have been our kinsman. Jesus, in His eternal glory, without the addition of humanity to His divine nature might have saved us, but He would not have been our kinsman.

On the other side of the coin, God could have raised up a great person, maybe a great prophet or a fantastic, kind, caring priest. They could be our kinsman because they are like us, but they could never be our redeemer because they would be sinful, like us.

So then, it has to be Jesus, only Jesus, the eternal God who added humanity to His eternal deity. It has to be Jesus because He is both our kinsman and our redeemer.

All of this to say, that for you, and for me, and for us, it simply had to be Jesus. 

It just has to be Jesus.

So what do you do with this then? Yes, take a moment to consider how you are putting your love for others into action, like Ruth, like Naomi, like Boaz.

But more than that, today, right now, I would exhort you and charge you and command you with all the authority of the office and the role that I have to just sit quietly for a few minutes and consider this truth; that it simply has to be Jesus for your life

He is your kinsman having taken on flesh, He is your redeemer because of his eternal deity, and He fused those together, for eternity, so that He is the only way, the only truth, and the only life. It simply has to be Jesus for you and your redemption.  

If all of this is true, and it does simply have to be Jesus, then our aim today and every day simply has to be radical, life offering, self-sacrificing, obedience to Jesus. 

So I will challenge you, command you, exhort you, to take some time today, actually do this, sit, think, contemplate, cogitate, on this wonderful truth that it simply has to be Jesus, and then like Ruth, like Naomi, like Boaz, how are you going to put this into action? What are you going to do? 

I’d love to hear from you this week and for you to share with me what you are going to do when you truly realise and internalise this truth it simply has to be Jesus for your redemption.

Ruth 3

What is going on in Ruth 3? Is there a moral lesson for us? How about this;

  1. Do what is asked of you.
  2. Be submissive, yielded, willing, and take direction.
  3. Put yourself into action and submit, do as Ruth did, and Naomi did, and as Boaz did.

Again though, that is putting you and me at the centre of this, making us the main character in this story, and essentially we’re then saying that the Bible is really about us. But, we know it’s not, don’t we?

So, where is Jesus in this?

Well, Ruth called out to be saved in v.9,

So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down. At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”

Ruth 3.6-9

Ruth here then is living out the truth that redemption is found under the protection of the wings, being in the care of, submitting to, the redeemer. This brings safety, security, and salvation.

This has been a consistent message from Genesis to Revelation, maybe it is easier to see in some places than others, but that’s ok, more light is shone on this as we move along the bigger picture of the Bible. But, at the core, the truth has always been the same – call on the name of the Lord to be saved; call out, ask, seek, knock, trust.

One place that it is really clear and that helps us understand what Ruth has done here, and what you can do, is in the book of Joel, one of the Minor Prophets.

In Joel, we are reading a prophesy, a future prediction about the Day of the Lord. Joel writes on a couple of variations of it, ready?; 

  • The day is past, being experienced in a plague of locusts and in a natural drought and famine in 1.2-12
  • The day is current or imminent, the day was to be carried out by an enemy military force in 2.1-11
  • The day is future: immediately in the salvation of Jerusalem from current problems, long term, in the giving of the Spirit of God on all people and the deliverance of all who call on the name of the Lord, and ultimate in the eternal holiness of Jerusalem, protected from its enemies in 2.28-32 and 3.

In the future day of great judgement (end of the world type stuff) God says to His people Israel look, 

return to me with all your heart,

with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;

and rend your hearts and not your garments.”

Return to the LORD your God,

for he is gracious and merciful,

slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;

and he relents over disaster.

Later in ch.2 we read that at this time of universal judgement, those Spirit-empowered, faith-filled, Redeemer-trusting people will be saved, will be redeemed. Now, Joel 2 is not a blanket truth; we don’t need to pretend we are the people of Joel 2, because we are not the people of Israel, are we, but, the principle within that pledge is so applicable and true; 

call on the name of the Lord to be saved, ask, seek, knock, 

as Ruth said, “Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” 

See, no matter how much evil there is in the world, no matter how far from God we think we may be, no matter how desperate the situation may be in which we find ourselves, no matter if we are childless widows from a different country, no matter the current state of the world or your life, God has already provided the solution, God has already provided a way out.

This solution came, He lived, He died, He rose again, and He ascended, at which time He sent another solution, another solution of the same kind. The Holy Spirit comes alongside us, to abide in us, to walk with us.

Ruth called out and said

Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer. 

Joel says to God’s people of the OT

The sunlight will be turned to darkness

and the moon to the colour of blood,

before the day of the LORD comes–

that great and terrible day! 

It will so happen that

everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be delivered.

Paul says to the believers in Rome

…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 

… because…

“everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

I’m saying to you today, now, that the same God who redeemed Ruth from a desperate and dire situation through the person and work of Boaz, is the same God who Joel says promises to redeem His people who call out to Him on the future Day of the Lord, is the same God who Paul is saying will answer the prayer of salvation from the believers in Rome, and is the same God that stands ready to redeem you if you call on His Name and take refuge in Him through faith in the person and work of Jesus. 

For more on the Minor Prophets, check out this daily devotional walkthrough!

Ruth 2

Yesterday at Saar Fellowship we looked at Ruth 2

As a moral lesson for us in the text we highlighted vv.15-16 and said that we are to practice what we preach.

When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.

Ruth 2.15-16

This is Boaz practicing what he preached back in vv.8-9. The lesson for us, then, is that if you claim certain things, if you make statements about what you will and won’t do it’s important to come through on them, isn’t it, otherwise it’s hollow and empty words and you lose all credibility in your character. When this becomes dangerous is that, whether intentionally or not, you are using your character to display the wonderful truth that you are saved, sealed, and are being sanctified as a believer in Jesus. Therefore, making empty claims and promises really hurts that example and witness, doesn’t it.

But, is Ruth 2 really about ‘practice what you preach’? 

Where is Jesus in this?

Let’s look at the person of Ruth in this chapter again and then apply this to you.

  • Ruth was not originally in the family of God’s people, not an Israelite, she described herself as a foreigner (2.10).

You and me, most of us, are the same. We are not part of God’s family of people by birth or descent and, like Ruth, through grace we have been accepted into the family and now we stand ready to be redeemed by faith alone.

  • Ruth was provided for here by Boaz for the duration of the harvest season.

You and me are so provided for in Christ. We have access to everything you ever need this side of eternity, until this season of our life ends.

  • Ruth has, in a way, already been redeemed. She has been redeemed from a bitter life of a widow to the life of one who is part of the family.

You and me have already been redeemed in our being justified by faith alone. We are being redeemed daily through the ongoing process of sanctification (the day by day becoming more like Jesus). We will be redeemed ultimately and eternally when we close our eyes in death and open them in the presence of our Saviour. 

Friends, you are not Boaz in this story; the wise, benevolent, grace-filled redeemer-type. 

Friends, in this story you are the Ruth character. You are the redeemed, you are the saved, you are the people given a fresh start and a new life through grace alone and faith alone. 

God put His great love for you into action and gives you the opportunity now to be taken under His wing in refuge (2.12). Like Ruth here, we need bring nothing but ourselves and a willing spirit.

In His great love for you He came, He lived, He died, and He rose to become your Redeemer. 

Like Ruth, we ought to say to this wonderful truth “I have found favour in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.” (2.13).

Ruth 1 – Love in Action

After reading Ruth 1, how do we adjust our lives? What do we do?

Just think,

Who are you loving?

How are you loving them? In word, or in deed?

Are you loving them in positive affirmations, or positive actions? When the going gets tough for them, what do you do? 

Is that where we end with Ruth then? Is it just a good old moral motivation, or are you the true hero of this text when you love someone in action?

Where is Jesus in this? He Himself said that Scripture points to the Saviour.

You study the scriptures thoroughly because you think in them you possess eternal life, and it is these same scriptures that testify about me,  but you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life. 

John 5.39-40

Studying Scripture is good, taking moral lessons is good, taking do’s and don’ts is good, but, on their own, they don’t bring eternal life. Lessons like that make YOU, ME, US, the centre of the story, but, Scripture shows the Saviour, we read of the Redeemer, so, in Ruth 1, where is that?

We can all say the right words, can’t we…

Some are content with feeling Christian feelings – with feeling a love for God, with feeling a love for His Word, with feeling a love for His people. But is that good enough for you?

What if God did that?

What if He saw you, loved you, felt like He wanted to be in right relationship with you, knew where you were heading, and left it there? Just think – where would you be?

Aren’t we glad that God didn’t just feel His love for us.

Just think, what did He do to show it?

John 3.16 is a verse many know, but only really know the second half, ‘believe in Him and you won’t perish but have eternal life‘ but, the first two clauses, the first few words, are AMAZING!

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 

For God So loved the world‘ is often skipped over to get to the second half, isn’t it, but you can translate this as 

This is how God showed that He loved the world…

If God had felt love for you but not actually done anything about it we would have perished. 

But, because He acted on what He felt, as Ruth did here, we have the opportunity to have sins covered, have souls saved, to be forgiven, restored, born again, adopted into His family, raised to newness of life, and to inherit eternal life. 

So, yes, work hard to love in deed and not only word, take the resolve of Ruth and come good on what you are promising, claiming, and saying. Work hard to love people in what you DO not only what you SAY, but, friends, never take your eyes off the truth that God has already DONE that for you. 

He loved you and He gave His only son for you, so that if you believe in Him, you will never perish, but have eternal life. 

You don’t need to become a better Ruth, the ultimate true Ruth already came and showed us the ultimate example of love in action.

That was, and always will be, the ultimate example of love in action.