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.