27
May
2015

RUTH 4:15-22 THE SERVANT OF GOD COMES

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Ruth 4:15 "And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him." 16 Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him. 17 Also the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, "There is a son born to Naomi." And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David. 18 Now this is the genealogy of Perez: Perez begot Hezron; 19 Hezron begot Ram, and Ram begot Amminadab; 20 Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon; 21 Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed; 22 Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David. (NKJV)

                Obed was also a blessing to Naomi. His grandmother informally “adopted” him as her own son and became his foster mother. The women of Bethlehem shared Naomi’s joy when they said, “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer” (Ruth 4:14, NIV). The reference is to Obed, not Boaz.

Obed did indeed restore life to Naomi's apparently dead branch of the family of Judah (v. 15). Furthermore he sustained her in her old age by giving her hope (cf. 1:20-21). ". . .

Ruth too received praise for her unusually selfless love and care for her mother-in-law. Seven sons symbolized the supreme blessing that could come to a Hebrew family (cf. 1 Sam. 2:5; Job 1:2). Ruth’s worth was related to the occasion of the birth of her son. (cf. 1 Sam. 2:5; Job 1:2; 42:13; Acts 19:14-17). Thus saying that Ruth was better to Naomi than seven sons was to say that she provided all that an ideal family could for Naomi.

It should be noted that the women speak here not of Boaz, but of the child born as ‘kinsman-redeemer’, saying of him, ‘he will renew your life and sustain you in your old age.’ Redemption transforms by renewing life and giving hope for the future. When she first returned to Bethlehem from Moab, Naomi had no hope for the future. Through the Lord’s kindness in providing her with a redeemer, her life was renewed and the child in her lap gave her hope for the future. All this points to Jesus. As the Redeemer, he renews the life of all he redeems and gives hope for the future

Apart from his name Obed we know little else about him, but he was born to be a servant of God’s redemptive purposes. That is exactly what our Lord Jesus was. He was the servant of the Lord, who came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).

He calls all he redeems to follow his pattern of service

Far from being an unimportant addition, this genealogy helps us see one of the main purposes for which God gave us this book.

"The first five names cover the period from the time of the entry into Egypt (Perez, Gen 46:12) to the time of Moses (Nahshon, Exod 6:23; Num 1:7), while the remaining five belong to the period of the early settlement in Canaan to the closing years of the judges."

Boaz, like Enoch in Genesis 5, represented the seventh of ten generations and set the course of his family toward godliness.

In spite of all appearances to the contrary, the faithful God had been about His business on Ruth’s behalf. Believers should also be about His business. The rewards of responsible living are always the sweet fruit of God’s grace.

The story of Ruth started with rebellion—with a family going their own way instead of God’s, suffering the bitter consequences. It ends with the renewal of Naomi’s life—and with others rejoicing with her in the kindness God had shown her by providing her with the kinsman-redeemer she needed. All her hope was now focused on the son that was born, just as the hope of the Christian is focused on the Son who was born to be the Redeemer.

Obed would bring blessing to the whole world. The greatest thing God did for David was not to give him victory over his enemies or wealth for the building of the temple. The greatest privilege God gave him was that of being the ancestor of the Messiah. David wanted to build a house for God, but God told him He would build a house (family) for David (2 Sam. 7). David knew that the Messiah would come from the kingly tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:8–10), but nobody knew which family in Judah would be chosen. God chose David’s family, and the Redeemer would be known as “the son of David” (Matt. 1:1).

The Moabites were not to enter the congregation of the Lord “even to the tenth generation” (Deut. 23:3). But the little Book of Ruth closes with a ten-generation genealogy that climaxes with the name of David!

Never underestimate the power of the grace of God.

Lessons

1.       The crisis’s of Ruth in that day are ours too today

a.       These are the places where God does his best work

b.      He turns curses into blessings

2.       God Honors those who Trust Him

3.       God still writes the last chapter

21
May
2015

RUTH 4:11-14 THE BLESSINGS OF THE LORD

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Ruth 4:11 And all the people who were at the gate, and the elders, said, "We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman who is coming to your house like Rachel and Leah, the two who built the house of Israel; and may you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. 12 "May your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring which the LORD will give you from this young woman." 13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son. 14 Then the women said to Naomi, "Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel!

 The witnesses to Boaz's transaction wished God's blessing of numerous descendants on him. They cited Rachel and Leah, both of whom, like Ruth, had joined the Israelites and had entered their land from alien nations that had demonstrated hostility to God's people. Rachel's tomb was near Bethlehem. She and her sister had given Jacob 12 sons directly and through their maids. They had indeed "built the house of Israel" (v. 11). The people also wished wealth (cf. 2:1; 3:11) and fame on Boaz, which he did obtain thanks to God's blessing on his family, especially through Ruth and David.

They blessed Boaz with the desire that the Lord make Ruth a fertile mother. Their mentioning Rachel and Leah has significance. Rachel, named first, had been barren for many years before she bore children. Similarly Ruth had been barren in Moab.

Ephratah (also spelled Ephrath and Ephrathah) was another name for Bethlehem. The use of the word Ephrathah in Ruth 4:11 is significant, for the Hebrew word means “fruitful.” The people wanted Ruth to be fruitful and famous and bring honor to their little town. It was the place where Rachel was buried (Gen. 35:19), but more importantly, it would be known as the place where Jesus Christ was born.

It was important that the Jewish wives bear children, not only to perpetuate the nation, but also because it would be through Israel that God would send the Messiah to earth.

Pray that Ruth would be like Rachel, Leah and Tamar—this is significant in God’s plan

The reference to Perez (v. 12) is also significant. There are many parallels between the story of Boaz and Ruth and the story of Perez's parents, Judah and Tamar (Gen. 38). Ruth and Tamar were both foreigners who had married into Israel. The first husbands of both women died leaving them widows. Both women participated in levirate marriages. Tamar seduced Judah under cover of a disguise, but Ruth encouraged Boaz under the cover of night. When Judah and Tamar appeared before a public tribunal they were ashamed and condemned, but when Boaz and Ruth did so they received praise and blessing. In both cases the husbands were considerably older than the wives. Both women, however, bore sons in the Davidic messianic line, Ruth honorably and Tamar dishonorably.

Little did they realize that from this union would issue Israel’s greatest kings including David and the Eternal King, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The witnesses also recognized that children are a gift from God (offspring the Lord gives you) (v. 11; cf. Ps. 127:3-5). Psalm 127:3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.

God is the source of all blessing.

What wonderful changes came into Ruth’s life because she trusted Boaz and let him work on her behalf! She went from loneliness to love, from toil to rest, from poverty to wealth, from worry to assurance, and from despair to hope. She was no longer “Ruth the Moabitess,” for the past was gone, and she was making a new beginning. She was now “Ruth the wife of Boaz,” a name she was proud to bear.

Verse 13 is a key verse in the book because it records the fulfillment of Naomi and Ruth's plans to obtain rest (2:2; 3:1-5). A son was indispensable to the continuation of the line of Boaz as well as that of Mahlon and Elimelech. With the birth of Obed, Ruth and Naomi could both rest. They had produced someone who would carry on the program of God for Israel.

          Obed would bring blessing to Bethlehem. The child would bring fame to both the family name and the name of his native town. Elimelech’s name almost disappeared from Israel, but Obed would make that name famous and bring glory to Bethlehem. This happened, of course, through the life and ministry of King David (v. 22) and of David’s greater Son, Jesus Christ. Naomi would have the comfort of knowing that the family name would not perish but increase in fame.

 Lessons

1.  Are you trusting in God fully in all things so that you have His rest?

2.  Because you have been blessed by God, are you a blessing to others as you are supposed to be?

13
May
2015

RUTH 4:1-10 REDEEMING THE BRIDE

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Ruth 4:1 Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there; and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz had spoken came by. So Boaz said, "Come aside, friend, sit down here." So he came aside and sat down. 2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, "Sit down here." So they sat down. 3 Then he said to the close relative, "Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, sold the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech. 4 "And I thought to inform you, saying, 'Buy it back in the presence of the inhabitants and the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am next after you.'" And he said, "I will redeem it." 5 Then Boaz said, "On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also buy it from Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance." 6 And the close relative said, "I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance. You redeem my right of redemption for yourself, for I cannot redeem it." 7 Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging, to confirm anything: one man took off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was a confirmation in Israel. 8 Therefore the close relative said to Boaz, "Buy it for yourself." So he took off his sandal. 9 And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, "You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, from the hand of Naomi. 10 "Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from his position at the gate. You are witnesses this day."

This chapter focuses on three persons: a bridegroom, a bride, and a baby."

The key theme of this chapter is redemption. The words “redeem,” “buy,” and “purchase” are used at least fifteen times. There can be no redemption without the paying of a price. From our point of view, salvation is free to “whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord” (Acts 2:21, KJV); but from God’s point of view, redemption is a very costly thing.

Boaz went to the gate at the entrance of Bethlehem, and there (quite suddenly and unexpectedly, it would seem) he encountered the nearest kin. (One can only wonder why the nearest kin had not done what Boaz is now doing at an earlier time.) It is almost impossible to believe that this is the first time the nearest kin has heard of Naomi’s plight, of her return to Bethlehem from Moab, or of the sale of her husband’s property. Perhaps Boaz is giving the nearest kin the benefit of the doubt here. If this kinsman had chosen to merely ignore Naomi’s plight, he no longer has that option.

Shows God’s providence, Behold the close relative just happened to come by

This is surely a “divine appointment” arranged by God to facilitate what is about to transpire. God is in this transaction!

The fact that the man’s name was not given may have been poetic justice since he refused to become the redeemer. The words my friend became a catch phrase in Israel. Rabbinic writings used the designation for an unknown “John Doe.”

He who was so anxious for the preservation of his own inheritance, is now not even known by name."

The word redeem means “to set free by paying a price.” In the case of Ruth and Naomi, Elimelech’s property had either been sold or was under some kind of mortgage, and the rights to the land had passed to Ruth’s husband Mahlon when Elimelech died. This explains why Ruth was also involved in the transaction. She was too poor, however, to redeem the land.

When it comes to spiritual redemption, all people are in bondage to sin and Satan (Eph. 2:1–3; John 8:33–34) and are unable to set themselves free. Jesus Christ gave His life as a ransom for sinners (Mark 10:45; Rev. 5:9–10), and faith in Him sets the captive free.

The marks of the redeemer. Not everybody could perform the duties of a kinsman redeemer.

To begin with, he had to be a near kinsman (Lev. 25:25). This was the major obstacle Boaz had to overcome because another man in Bethlehem was a nearer relative to Ruth than he was (3:12–13). When you see this as a type of Jesus Christ, it reminds you that He had to become related to us before He could redeem us. He became flesh and blood so He could die for us on the cross (Heb. 2:14–15). When He was born into this world in human flesh, He became our “near kinsman”; and He will remain our “kinsman” for all eternity. What matchless love!

In order to qualify, the kinsman redeemer also had to be able to pay the redemption price. Ruth and Naomi were too poor to redeem themselves, but Boaz had all the resources necessary to set them free. When it comes to the redemption of sinners, nobody but Jesus Christ is rich enough to pay the price. Indeed, the payment of money can never set sinners free; it is the shedding of the precious blood of Christ that has accomplished redemption (1 Peter 1:18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.; see Ps. 49:5–9). We have redemption through Christ’s blood (Eph. 1:7), because He gave Himself for us (Titus 2:14) & purchased eternal redemption for us (Heb. 9:12). 1Co 6:20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body & in your spirit, which are God's.

There was a third qualification: The kinsman redeemer had to be willing to redeem. As we shall see in this chapter, since the nearer kinsman was not willing to redeem Ruth, Boaz was free to purchase both the property and a wife. The nearer kinsman had the money but not the motivation: He was afraid he would jeopardize his own family’s inheritance.

Five times in Ruth 4:1–2 you find people sitting down. When Jesus Christ finished purchasing His bride, He sat down in heaven (Heb. 1:3; Mark 16:19) because the transaction was completed. “It is finished!”[1]

Boaz's emphasis on raising up the name of the deceased (v. 10), namely, Mahlon, and his father, Elimelech, shows Boaz's concern for the reputation and posterity of his family line. These were important concerns in Israel because of God's promises concerning Abraham's seed and especially Judah's descendants (Gen. 49:10).

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6
May
2015

RUTH 3:12-18 WAITING ON GOD

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Ru 3:12 "Now it is true that I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I. 13 "Stay this night, and in the morning it shall be that if he will perform the duty of a close relative for you-good; let him do it. But if he does not want to perform the duty for you, then I will perform the duty for you, as the LORD lives! Lie down until morning." 14 So she lay at his feet until morning, and she arose before one could recognize another. Then he said, "Do not let it be known that the woman came to the threshing floor." 15 Also he said, "Bring the shawl that is on you and hold it." And when she held it, he measured six ephahs of barley, and laid it on her. Then she went into the city. 16 So when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, "Is that you, my daughter?" Then she told her all that the man had done for her. 17 And she said, "These six ephahs of barley he gave me; for he said to me, 'Do not go empty-handed to your mother-in-law.'" 18 Then she said, "Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day

Why did Boaz not initiate a proposal of marriage? Evidently for two reasons: he assumed Ruth wanted to marry a younger man, someone closer to her own age (v. 10), and he was not the closest eligible male relative (v. 12).

Boaz protected her

Kept her from walking the street that night alone

Boaz promised to redeem her and proposed to her provided the other did not want to be the redeemer

He gave his word a second time, this time with an oath to the Lord as the LORD lives

"Not to carry through his commitment after invoking the Lord's name would have been a violation of the third commandment Ex 20:7 "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

Even though Boaz wanted to marry Ruth, he did not violate the Mosaic Law to do so. His submission to God's Law reflects his submission to God. We see here another reason he was an excellent man (2:1)

There was the obstacle of the nearer relative to be overcome, but he committed himself to act on behalf of Ruth and Naomi.

What seemed to Naomi to be a simple procedure has now turned out to be a bit more complicated, because there was a man in Bethlehem who was a nearer kinsman. Boaz didnt withhold this problem from Ruth, for he didnt want her to return home with false hopes in her heart. Joy and peace that are based on ignorance of the true facts are but delusions that lead to disappointments.

The great concern of Boaz was the redemption of Ruth, even if another kinsman redeemer had to do it.

When you see this as a picture of our redemption in Jesus Christ, it impresses you strongly that God obeyed His own law when He accomplished our salvation in Christ.

Boaz not only calmed Ruths fears and gave her assurance for the future, but he also met her present needs in a gracious and generous way.

As before, Boaz's gift of barley was a token of God's blessing on Ruth and on Naomi through Ruth

Naomis question in 3:16 has puzzled translators and interpreters. Why would her own mother-in-law ask her who she was? The Living Bible paraphrases the question, Well, what happened, dear? and both the NIV and the NASB read, How did it go, my daughter? But the Authorized Version translates the Hebrew text as it stands: Who are you, my daughter? In other words, Are you still Ruth the Moabitess, or are you the prospective Mrs. Boaz?[1]

He gave evidence of his commitment as he sent Ruth home with six measures of barley

It is noteworthy that as Naomi, Ruth and Boaz all revealed their active faith in what God has said in his Word, they all acted with unselfish, generous, costly kindness. Naomi took the initiative for Ruths benefit, not her own. Ruth submitted to Naomi and asked Boaz for protection for Naomis benefit and for the sake of her deceased husband. Boaz committed himself to acting for Ruth and Naomis benefit. Each of them therefore points us to the Lord Jesus and the greatest act of unselfish, costly, generous kindnesshis redeeming death on the cross. It is as we continue in the pattern seen both in Ruth and most wonderfully in the Lord Jesus Christ, that God uses our active unselfish faith in the continuing implementation of his great Plan of Redemption.

Waiting is one of the most difficult things for me to do, whether its waiting for a table at a restaurant or waiting at a red light. Im an activist by nature, and I like to see things happen on time. Perhaps thats why the Lord has often arranged for me to wait. During those times, three phrases from Scripture have encouraged me: Sit still (Ruth 3:18, KJV), Stand still (Ex. 14:13, KJV), and Be still (Ps. 46:10, KJV).

Sit still was Naomis counsel to Ruth, and wise counsel it was. Ruth would have accomplished nothing by following Boaz around Bethlehem, trying to help him keep his promises. Their strength is to sit still (Isa. 30:7).

Our human nature gets nervous and wants to help God out; and when we try, we only make matters worse.

Stand still was the command of Moses to the people of Israel when the Egyptian army was pursuing them. There was no need to panic, for God had the situation well in hand. Then the Lord commanded the people to go forward Exodus 14:13

Have you put yourself at the feet of the Lord of the Harvest, and are you trusting Him to work?

One evidence of your trust will be your willingness to sit still and let Him have His way.

Lessons

1. We must respond positively to the love God has shown us to in order to enter into all He wants to give us and bless us with

2. Service towards others will change your perspective

3. Taken as a whole, the chapter teaches that God carries out his work through believers who seize unexpected opportunities as gifts from God."