Photo by Bruno Kelzer on Unsplash
The story of Ruth and Boaz is a familiar one. It is a story of loss, bitterness, redemption, love, and joy. The main characters are the widow Naomi, her widowed daughter-in-law Ruth, and the kinsman redeemer Boaz.
Throughout the Book of Ruth we see God working. I love how the Bible says, as it happened, and as it turned out. Naomi and Ruth didn’t just happen to arrive in Bethlehem at harvest time, and Ruth didn’t just happen to end up gathering grain in Boaz’s fields. The fact Ruth is King David’s great-grandmother, and Boaz is David’s great-grandfather, putting them both in Christ’s genealogy, is by no means mere happenstance.
If you are familiar with Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz’s story, you remember Naomi’s family moved from Bethlehem in Judah to the land of the Moabites during a severe famine. While there, Naomi’s husband and both sons died, leaving behind three widows.
When word reached Naomi good crops were once again growing in Judah, she decided to return. At first, both daughter-in-laws decided to go with her. In the end, only Ruth left her homeland of Moab to join Naomi on her journey.
First off, this was no leisurely stroll to the market. These two women left their home and walked approximately 50 to 60 miles for 7-10 days. They descended from the mountains in Moab, entered the Jordan River Valley north of the Dead Sea, ascended to Jericho, and climbed an additional 2,500 feet near Jerusalem, before walking south to Bethlehem.
Two women traveling such a great distance alone definitely would not be without its dangers. Wild animals and thieves topped the list.
We know their story ends well. However, I’d like to point out a couple things we might miss by just looking at this as a nice love story between Ruth and Naomi, and between Ruth and Boaz.
Ruth was from Moab. The Israelites did not like the Moabites for a number of reasons, going all the way back to their wilderness wandering days. So Ruth’s willingness to embrace the God of the Israelites and live among them was huge.
Boaz’s mother, Rahab, was the Canaanite woman who hid Israelite spies right before the people of Israel circled Jericho, and God leveled it.
There was the very real possibility Ruth would be treated roughly if no one protected her.
As the son of an outsider, Boaz understood what being an outsider meant, and was willing to protect Ruth.
Ruth’s devotion to God wasn’t inherited from her family. They were pagan-worshiping child-sacrificers. Ruth chose to worship God.
Boaz was a close kin who could redeem Ruth according to the Levirate law (Deuteronomy 25:5-10). He chose to redeem Ruth.
In this story, we see a God who works in our lives to achieve his plan whether we are aware of it or not.
We are shown God invites everyone to be a part of his family, regardless of where they came from or what their previous beliefs were.
Before the kinsman redeemer can redeem, he must be related by blood to those he redeems. He must be able to pay the price of redemption. And there has to be a willingness to redeem.
Just as Boaz was Ruth’s kinsman redeemer, Jesus is our kinsman redeemer. Through his sacrificial blood we are related to him. Jesus was without sin and able to pay the cost. He willingly paid the price for our redemption.
What is your favorite part of Ruth and Boaz’s story?
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Naomi took the baby and held him in her arms, cuddling him, cooing over him, waiting on him hand and foot.
The neighborhood women started calling him “Naomi’s baby boy!” But his real name was Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David. Ruth 4:116-17 (MSG)
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I have always loved this whole story and how it points so beautifully ahead to Jesus and that all outsiders can become part of God’s family through His death and resurrection! Francois Millet painted a lovely picture of Boaz’s protection in his painting, Ruth and Boaz..
Kathy, me too. There are no outsiders in God’s love.