Ruth and Boaz, two wonderful Biblical heroes from the time in Israel’s history When Judges Governed, are both the subject of this devotion using “The Redemption Bible”. The goal of this study is to connect Ruth with Christians and Boaz with Christ, and to grow in gratitude to God!
We begin, though, with Naomi. When famine struck her hometown of Bethlehem (trivia: who else shares this hometown? Bingo! Jesus!), Naomi’s husband Elimelech took her and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, to Moab. There Elimelech died, perhaps as a consequence for seeking relief from an enemy nation instead of from the Lord. Furthermore, Mahlon and Chilion then married Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth. Intermarrying with people of pagan religions was strictly forbidden by the Lord and again, presumably as a consequence for their family’s choices, both sons died without their wives bearing any children.
Completely humbled, broken, and destitute, Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem. Knowing that Moabite women were strangers to Israel, she advised her daughters-in-law to remain in Moab. Orpah returned to her people and their gods, but Ruth clung to Naomi with these beautiful words:
“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”
– Ruth 1:16-17
This Loyalty of Ruth and Devotion of Ruth was more than just to Naomi; it was to the Lord. So as Best Friends with a unique Family Bond, the two widows returned to Bethlehem with no means of provision but to sell their family’s land, move to the city, and take to Gleaning the Fields for scraps of crops. Both the family’s estate and future was lost, seemingly without hope.
But God saw their state of suffering and His loving, sovereign hand is seen in what happens next! Ruth “happened” to glean on a field owned by the wealthy and godly man Boaz who was a close relative of Elimelech’s and thus was an eligible Kinsman-Redeemer for Naomi’s family! The result? Ruth Meets Boaz…Boaz likes Ruth…oooh la la! 🙂 News of Ruth’s extraordinary devotion to Naomi and to the Lord had spread and in turn through the Kindness of Boaz to Ruth he expressed his desire to marry her as her Kinsman-Redeemer.
The Kinsman-Redeemer was a very important concept and provision that God established back in Leviticus 25:24-28. In the case that a family became so poor they had to sell away their land, as happened with Naomi, a near kin (relative) could reverse the loss by paying the Redemption price: the land’s yearly value (its sale price divided by the number of years remaining until the next Year of Jubilee from the time of the sale) multiplied by the number of years remaining from the time of the redemption until the next Year of Jubilee. Essentially, it was a pro-rated lump sum.
Because the Year of Jubilee came once every 50 years, the redemption price could be very high and practically ensured that there would be no financial profit for the Kinsman-Redeemer until after the time of the Jubilee (when, by law, they would have gotten it back anyway!), because they had just paid in full the combined yearly value of the land up until that next Year of Jubilee!
The connections between Ruth, Boaz, Christians, and Jesus are so numerous and important. Just as Boaz was sufficiently wealthy and an unmarried relative to Naomi and thus was able to redeem their family Jesus is likewise the perfect Redeemer. He is God (so He’s “wealthy”) and He became human (to be our kin) because He was willing to pay the price for our redemption.
Consider also how Ruth represents fallen-and-redeemed humanity. Like Naomi’s family before its fall, humanity before The Fall was richly fulfilled and secure in an eternal dwelling with God. We received the privilege of being the steward of the Earth by the dominion mandate of Genesis 1:28. But after the Fall, in our sin we lost it all becoming spiritually destitute and without hope. As The Wages of Sin is death (Romans 6:23), we forfeited our inheritance and instead were to be forever separated from God. Because we all have a huge sin debt with God we are unable to redeem ourselves from this just retribution that we are each “owed” and will surely receive unless we are redeemed. From the Fall, humanity was just like Naomi’s family: condemned.
Thankfully, though, God’s love is unconditional and He made a way we may be saved! We read in Ruth 4 of the key event transpiring in which Boaz sought to redeem Naomi’s family before the witness of the Elders of the City. There is one obstacle, however: the Selfish Kinsman. This unnamed individual was actually a closer kin to Naomi’s family than Boaz was, and thus he had the first right to its taking. When Boaz asked him if he would take the land he said he would, but then when Boaz told him that he would also have to marry Ruth as part of the deal the Selfish Kinsman backed out. He did not love Ruth and Naomi; he wanted only their property and saw Ruth as a threat to his own inheritance by having to share his possessions with her.
I believe that the Selfish Kinsman resembles Satan. Though every person is still made in God’s image after The Fall, we now possess a sinful nature like Satan making him a “nearer kin” to us than the holy Jesus. Indeed, God says that in our sinfulness we are children of the devil (John 8:44, 1 John 3:10). But as Satan showed in the Garden of Eden and throughout history, he clearly does not care for people – only for power. We see this in the Selfish Kinsman’s willingness to redeem the land but not to marry Ruth and save their family. Like the devil, he is motivated by greed, power, and pride – not by love. Satan is of course ineligible by God’s legal requirements to be our redeemer but even if he was eligible he would surely still refuse to do it.
This is very important because of the close parallel here that arises between Boaz and Jesus. Boaz’s primary motivation for redeeming Ruth was not money, power, or prestige…it was love. He was willing to pay whatever price necessary in order to save her because he truly loved her. This directly ties to Jesus, the Kinsman-Redeemer of humanity, whose motivation for paying the extremely steep price for redeeming people is first and foremost His extraordinary love for them.
Redeeming the land is also part of the goal, though. Just as Boaz did want to save Naomi’s estate God’s redemption for humanity includes a returning to His original plan to give the Earth to humans (Psalm 115:16) to rule over as faithful stewards. Jesus, simply by way of being the King of God’s Kingdom forever as the Son of Man, as a human (though always still fully God) shows this. Moreover, humans will reign with Him on the Earth (Revelation 5:10, Daniel 7:13-18) after His return. At the Fall we “opened the door”, so-to-speak, for Satan to operate his evil will in the Kingdoms of the World and thus we lost our full spiritual authority in this matter that God had originally given us (Luke 4:6). Such big-picture storylines are contained in this short Book!
So, when the Selfish Kinsman declined the deal, Boaz – surely grateful and excited – quickly finalized it. Boaz’ Sandal was exchanged for the Selfish Kinsman’s as a confirmation of their agreement and thus Boaz redeemed Naomi’s land and married Ruth! He and Ruth eventually had a son together ensuring the family line would continue on. And continue on it did – all the way to Jesus! Their son was Obed, who fathered Jesse, who fathered King David. Jesus is called in the Bible the “son of David” (Matthew 1:1), the root and offspring of David (Revelation 22:16), and the One who will rule over The Throne of David forever and ever (Luke 1:32)!
In conclusion, the connections between Ruth and Christians, and Boaz and Christ, are quite numerous as well as significant. In our sin we are just like the Moabites – spiritual foreigners and enemies to God. Nevertheless, God loves us so much that He paid the incalculable price that was required for our redemption – His own death on our behalf. The Son of God is the Kinsman-Redeemer of humanity: God who became our kin in order to redeem us because of love. By repentance and faith in Jesus every person is able to receive God’s gift of redemption.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. – 2 Corinthians 8:9
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