Ruth

Naomi & Ruth1

As we open the scripture to the book of Ruth, we will learn that her mother-in-law, Naomi played a big role in the story.  The book of Ruth is a combination of love, risks, patience, and obedience.  The story has many highs and lows.  We’ll see how their lives are similar to ours and how God’s protection was always overshadowing them.

The timeframe of this story takes place in the ruling of the Judges.  It was a peaceful time for the people, but there was a famine in Bethlehem.  This caused an Israelite couple, Elimelech and Naomi, to think about their future for their family.

The Obedient Wife

Naomi loved her country and was content being where she was.  But as famine started to plague the land, her husband, Elimelech, wanted to take the family to Moab.

This concerned Naomi because Moab was a place of idol worshipping and a culture/tradition so different from their own; she feared for their sons’ future.  But Elimelech assured her that the plans were only to be there until Bethlehem’s condition got better and they would return when the famine was over.  With that said, Naomi agreed to go to Moab.

How many times do we, as women, put our family first and don’t consider our own needs and wants.  But as we learn more about the many stories of Jesus, we’ll see how Jesus was with His people when He was on Earth.  His concern was the oppressed and hurting.  Self was not important to Him; serving others was his utmost concern.

To walk in Jesus’ Will, our character has to be transformed to one of service to others.  The Lord will lift us up to receive the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:8-10) and to be part of the body of Christ.  But our character needs molding.

As I look at Naomi, she expressed her concerns to her husband and he gave her reassurance.  She had faith in his words and they were able to move forward.  The same is with Jesus; if He asks us to do something, it’s acceptable to go to Him with your concerns, but then we need to move forward in faith that He will be with us.

Great Disappointment

As years went by, we see that Elimelech died, then Naomi’s two sons died as well (Ruth 1:3-5).  This was a devastating situation for Naomi and her two daughter-in-laws.  They didn’t have any male to take care of them, and it was impossible to receive inheritance because in those days, it was always given to the male of the family not the female (Deuteronomy 25:5-10).

There is nothing left for Naomi in Moab and she decides to move back home to be close to family and friends.  She tells her daughter-in-laws to go back to their family as they have a chance to remarry and have their own family.  At first, they both agree that they will stay with Naomi, but Orpah eventually decides to go back.

How many times do we meet Jesus at the Cross and we give him all of our burdens, and as days go by we start to feel the pressure of the world and we take all of those burdens back and forget and leave Him.  Orpah must have felt the pressure of going into a new culture and not knowing anyone.  She succumbed to the pressure and decided to leave Naomi and Ruth and go back home to Moab (Ruth 1:7-14).

We see again Naomi’s character and the selfless act of sending her daughter-in-laws back home.  She, not once, thought about herself in this situation.  She was concerned of the best interest of these two precious girls and their future.

Ruth, on the other hand, decides to continue with Naomi (Ruth 1:16-18).  We may have to question the relationship Ruth and Orpah had with their husbands.  Did these men teach them about God and his promises?  Did they talk about the wonders and miracles that were done for the Israelites?  Or was Naomi’s character penetrated through Ruth?  When you believe in a God like our God, we can push through any adversity.

Ruth’s Obedience

As they arrive in Bethlehem, Naomi is greeted by her friends and family. She is so bitter at this point, but she is relying on God’s almighty hand (Ruth 1:19-22).

Naomi is too old to go to work but since they’ve arrived at the beginning of barley harvest, Ruth decides to glean in the fields.  With no husbands, these two women are poor and they have to find means to keep alive.

As Ruth realizes that Naomi has a kinsman from her husband’s family, she decides to go to glean in his fields and hopes to have favor in his eyes (Ruth 2:1-2).  What love Ruth portrays towards Naomi.  She has such a commitment for her mother-in-law.  She’s burdened to take care of Naomi no matter what the cost.

Sure enough, Boaz takes notice and allows her to stay in his field.  He even tells her not to glean any where else and stay close to his maidens so she’ll be protected (Ruth 2:8-9).  Boaz becomes a savior to Naomi through Ruth.  In verse 10-14, we see how Boaz was paying close attention to Ruth.  He knew more about her than she thought.  There’s always someone watching you; and as Christian women, we need to be diligent on perfecting our character to model the Lord.  We can’t try to do this in our own strength because we will definitely fail.  Our fleshly body gears towards sin.  But if we give it to the Lord, the Holy Spirit will come upon us and will equip us with the necessary armor to allow that perfection to manifest in our lives.

Ruth is rewarded for her kindness towards Naomi.  This is probably her best meal she’s had in quite some time.  The Lord is a merciful God and he rewards his children when their walking in the path of His Will.  The blessings continue as Boaz tells his men to let her glean, “Don’t bother her, and by the way, drop some extra handful of barley along her path so she can glean” (Ruth 2:15-16).

As the story unfolds, we see that the Lord’s hand is working in favor of Ruth.  As the two women are discussing their day, they realize that their plans are working (Ruth 2:18-23).  It is difficult at times to trust and obey the Lord when you can’t see your future.  But we are guaranteed that if, “We trust in the Lord will all your heart and lean not to your own understanding and he will direct your paths” (Prov. 3:5-6), He will see us to the end of our trial.

Deuteronomy 33:28 says, “Drive out the enemy, Lord, like you did for the children of Israel all those years ago, so that I can dwell in safety – in a land that is blessed with great provision!”

The Lord has driven out the enemies from the fields where Ruth is gleaning.  He’s given her a shield of protection.  She dwells in safety and through Boaz she’s being “blessed going in and going out” (Deut. 28:6).

The end of the harvest is coming to a close and the women have eaten well.  But Naomi is concerned for Ruth’s future.  She wants her to find a husband to protect her future.  Noami has a girl-talk with Ruth and advises her to take the next step towards the likeness of Boaz (Ruth 3:1-5).  Again, you see Ruth being obedient to Naomi’s instructions.

Requirements Of The Kinsman-Redeemer2
There are six requirements of the kinsman-redeemer which are gleaned from these laws. Putting all the information of these laws together, along with the factual information found within the book of Ruth, we find the requirements of the kinsman-redeemer.

  1. The activity of Boaz was based on love. You can’t read the book of Ruth without realizing that as soon as Ruth met Boaz in the field, Boaz fell in love with her immediately. Many women had come to glean in the fields of Boaz through the years, but his attention was directed in a unique and special way to Ruth. He inquired of the men, you will recall, who were in charge of his field, about her so that he might learn more about her. Then he spent a great deal of his own time searching out truths, and in this fashion discovered that he was not only in love with her, but he was kin to her and thus could become her redeemer, based upon love.
  2. The second thing which is not included in the law but is included in the book of Ruth is that Boaz had nothing to do with the bankruptcy of her estate. He had no part in it at all. Elimelech was responsible for the bankruptcy of the estate. Boaz didn’t even know there was any kinship there, apparently, when it all occurred. Perhaps he was too young for it; we don’t know, but he had no part in the bankruptcy of the estate.
  3. The man in question must be a near kinsman in the sense that we have already been speaking of.  Being a near kinsman, he was a mighty man of wealth, he was a mighty man of valor, and he was a mighty man of law.

    You will recall that in the second chapter of Ruth, verse one, Boaz is introduced to us as a “mighty man of wealth.” We suggested to you that statement could be translated “mighty man of valor” or “of strength.” The Caldeans insist that it be translated “mighty men of the law.” Be that as it may, whether it is one or all three, it made it possible for him to be an individual who could meet the requirements to redeem Ruth.

    We spoke of him a moment ago as being a near kinsman of Ruth. You might wonder exactly what near kinsman he might have been. Some of the greatest commentators that theologians have ever studied under insist that Mr. So-and-so, who is not named in the book of Ruth, was a brother of Elimelech. On that basis, he could have redeemed the property of Elimelech and had first right to it. Boaz was a nephew of both Mr. So-and-so and of Elimelech. Being the near kinsman, he was able to redeem the land.

  4. He must be willing to redeem. The uncle to which we made reference a moment ago was a near kinsman, nearer than Boaz as a matter of fact. In verse 11 of chapter three, we find that where Mr. So-and-so was not willing to redeem Ruth; Boaz was willing to redeem Ruth. You will notice in chapter three of the book of Ruth the assurance that Boaz spoke to Ruth:

    Ruth 3:11 – “And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.”

    Long before it ever became a legal matter for the elders to decide in the gate of the city, Boaz expressed his willingness to redeem. Over in chapter four, Mr. So-and-so declined to follow through with the redemption, and Boaz with eagerness willingly redeemed Ruth.

  5. Not only must there be a willingness to redeem, but there must be an ability to redeem. Boaz was a mighty man of strength; and because he was a mighty man of strength, of wealth, of the law, he was in a position to redeem Ruth. It is no good to talk about redemption if the person would say, “I wish I could, but I can’t.”

    He was free to redeem her. There was nothing that kept him from following through. This wasn’t true of Mr. So-and-so. You will recall he was all ready to redeem when he heard about the property; but when he heard about Ruth, he said, “I am not free to follow through. My inheritance will be marred.”

  6. He must have the price. Boaz being a man of wealth would certainly have the price.

The first three things that we brought to your attention that are gleaned from the book of Ruth would be related to the needs of the kinsman-redeemer, and the last three things are gleaned from the law of redemption of both property and person.

The power of serving others is remarkable.  The obedience of Ruth paid off as Boaz married her and was able to redeem Naomi’s property.  Their future changed in an instant.  This is how God still works today.  Our life can change in an instant by focusing not on our problem but on what the Lord directs us to do.

The Lord took this family and added them to the lineage of Jesus Christ.

Ruth 4: 17 – “Then Naomi took the child, laid him in her lap and cared for him  The women living there said, “Naomi has a son.” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.”

Reference:

  1. Inspired by the Holy Spirit to Beverley V.
  2. http://www.livingbiblestudies.org/study/JT48/008.html
Questions
  1. Moab symbolizes uncertainty, difference, and testing of your faith.  How have you handled a Moab in your life?
  2. Naomi lost all she knew just as Job did.  They acted in similar ways where they got to a point of disappointment.  Job asked the Lord to send him back to dust and Naomi told her friends to call her Mara.  These two were at their lowest points.  But they picked themselves back up because they had faith in the God Almighty.  They couldn’t see ahead of them but they knew the one driving was in full control.  How do we take our hands off the steering wheel and allow the Lord to drive?
  3. Ruth is an example of someone trusting and following the instructions given to her.  She never questioned or doubted.  She did what she was told without hesitation.  What holds us back from walking in that same obedience with the Lord as Ruth did with Naomi?
  4. As Boaz was the kinsman redeemer for Ruth how can we experience a kinsman redeemer of Jesus Christ?
  5. How can we be a kinsman redeemer for someone less fortunate than us?
  6. As we conclude our study, let’s pray that the Lord will use us to make a difference in someone else’s life.

Heart


Examples of God’s Promises – Three Cycles God takes us through in response to receiving God’s promises made in faith.

  a. Promise 
  b. Problem 
  c. Provision

Promise:
 Naomi & Ruth1
God promised that a Messiah would be born of a woman.  Genesis 3:15 (AMP) says, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her [Christ fulfills through his victory over Satan the wonderful promise here spoken. See also Isa. 9:6; Matt. 1:23; Luke 1:31; Rom. 16:20; Gal. 4:4; Rev. 12:17.] Offspring; He will bruise and tread your head underfoot, and you will lie in wait and bruise His heel. [Gal 4:4 ].

Problem: Throughout scripture, we see satan trying to spoil God’s plan.  But in every instance, God will ALWAYS outsmart the devil. He will use unorthodoxed, amazing, and extraordinary ways to push the righteous through whatever situation we go through.

Provision:. God used two women to work together to re-establish their status and push another step forward to the birth of Jesus Christ.  Ruth becomes Boaz’s wife and they have a child named Obed.  Obed has a child named Jesse and Jesse becomes the father of King David.

Obedience in every form will always catch God’s attention.  When we obey His Word, God will do His part and work with us to fulfill our planned destiny.

Let’s give praises to our Lord for not giving up on us, but always having mercy and working through every aspect of our lives.

Heart

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