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?