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Ruth 4

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

FRIDAY, MAY 18

SCRIPTURE:  RUTH 4

It seems like we just started this important little book and here we are already finishing it.  You might remember the book opened with three funerals and lots of sadness.  It ends with a wedding and a birth and lots of joy.  But before all that happened there was something else that had to happen.

When this chapter opens Boaz went to the city gate.  His purpose is to make sure that Ruth had a kinsman redeemer.  The law of the kinsman redeemer is found in Leviticus 25:23-34.  The law of the levirate marriage that often accompanied the kinsman redeemer is found in Deuteronomy 25:5-10.  The purpose of these laws was to preserve family names and protect the property of people in Israel.  God ultimately owned the land and didn’t want it exploited by rich people who would be able to take it away from poor people and widows. 

The way the law of the kinsman redeemer worked is that the man most closely related to the family had the first choice of whether or not to redeem the land and in this case the young lady (Ruth) that came with it.  The concept of redeem basically means to “set free by paying a price”. 

As we read this chapter we find that there is an unnamed man who was more closely related than Boaz.  By the Old Testament Law, he had first right at the property.  He quickly said he wanted it.  Boaz told him it came with a young woman and the unnamed man backed out of the deal.  That left Boaz as the nearest kinsman redeemer.  The deal was made in the presence of ten elders from the city.  And a sandal was given as a form of contract between the two.  It seems odd that a sandal had to be given.  This may go back to what God had told Israel before they entered the Promised Land: whatever ground their “feet” touched would be theirs.

The use of Boaz as a picture of Jesus continues through this chapter.  We humans were in bondage to sin and Satan and quite unable to pay the price demanded for our freedom. Jesus redeemed us by giving His life.  Faith in Him sets us free.

Remember that not everyone could be a kinsman redeemer.  To begin with he had to be a near kinsman or someone closely related.  When we apply this to Jesus, He had to become “related” to us to be our kinsman redeemer.  He did this by taking on humanity and coming as one of us.  Also, the kinsman redeemer had to be able to pray the price for the redemption to take place.  For Boaz that was a financial cost.  For Jesus, obviously, it cost Him His life.

Another similarity between Boaz and Jesus is after Boaz took on the role of kinsman redeemer and paid the price for Ruth, she became his bride.  When Jesus paid the price of our redemption and we accept Him as our Savior, we become a part of the church which is described as the bride of Christ.

Sometime after the marriage Ruth had a baby boy whom they would name Obed.  By the way, Obed means “servant”.  As you finish this chapter and thereby this book, you discover that Obed was the father of Jesse who was the father of David.  And, of course, it would be the physical lineage of David that leads to Jesus.

Not all stories end with a “Happily ever after…”  But this one does.  And in the ending of it we look back at how God was involved directing every aspect of it.  We also look forward to see how God will use every aspect of it to orchestrate His great plan.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Ruth 2

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

WEDNESDAY, MAY 16

SCRIPTURE:  RUTH 2

The Lord is much more interested in changing our character than he is changing our circumstances.  It would have been impossible for Naomi and Ruth to know what was coming in the short term (Boaz) and even more impossible for them to know what was coming in the distant future (Matthew 1:5 puts Ruth in the physical genealogy of Jesus).  All Naomi and Ruth would have known is they had been through some most difficult circumstances and unless things changed drastically, their immediate future was bleak.  But God was at work.

In fact, in many places in the Old Testament we read about God’s concern for the poor, for the fatherless, for the widow, and even for the alien or non-Jewish person living in Israel. (Deuteronomy 10:18).  And true to His Word, God was working in the back story to bring about a great story with an incredible ending that wouldn’t be revealed for a long, long time.  And in it all, God was working on Ruth’s and Naomi’s character.

Ruth, by divine providence, ended up at one of the fields owned by Boaz.  Boaz will be a Kinsman Redeemer for Ruth in this story.  This is a particular title of great importance.  We will develop this as we get further into the story. 

Before we get to that, there are some other cool things happening in this chapter.  In verse 2, Ruth goes out to glean (gather up the leftovers from the harvest) believing that she will find favor with some landowner.  We would say that she was looking for someone who would show her grace.  She would find grace in a man named Boaz – a good man of good standing in a culture that had turned away from God.  God always has good people living in bad times.

In many ways Boaz is a Christ figure.  There is much that he says and does that points us to Jesus.  For example, Boaz took the initiative.  He reached out to Ruth first.  That is a picture of the Gospel.  Jesus comes to us.  Jesus reaches out to us first.  Then we reach back to Him.

Another example is found in the fact that Boaz spoke to Ruth first. Culturally, a widow and foreigner would have no right to speak first to a great man like Boaz.  But Boaz could speak to her.  We have no right on our own to speak to the Lord.  But He has already spoken to us and continues to speak to us.  And He has invited us to speak with Him.

A third example is found in Boaz’s promise to protect and provide for Ruth.  In fact, his provision for her included his handing her food during the noon meal.  It is easy to miss the significance of this.  Typically, the master (Boaz) would never serve the servants.  Instead the master would be served.  But Boaz takes on the role of servant and provides for Ruth.  What a great picture of Jesus!

Another example is Boaz made sure that Ruth had all she needed and more.  She ate until she was satisfied.  And she was allowed to keep what was left over. (She would share that with Naomi when she got home.)  True, lasting satisfaction is found only in Jesus.  Other things or people might provide a temporary feeling of satisfaction but lasting satisfaction is found only in Jesus.

And the final example is Boaz gave Ruth and Naomi hope.  When they left Moab they were pretty hopeless.  When they arrived in Bethlehem, they were pretty hopeless.  But now because of the grace and generosity of Boaz, they had hope.  Never forget that 1 Peter 1:3 teaches us that Jesus is our “Living Hope”.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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