….“Now at last Naomi has a son again!” And they named him Obed. He became the father of Jesse and the grandfather of David (Ruth 4:17 NLT).
|Ruth and Boaz
The story of Ruth and her husband Boaz is an excellent lesson in self-sacrifice. They were both consistent in their unselfishness. Though they chose to prefer others through their selflessness, God sovereignly turned their loss into gain. The union of Ruth and Boaz formed the spiritual lineage of King David, of whom God said, “a man after my own heart.” (Acts 13:22 NLT)
“Your God will be my God.”
Ruth, Chapter 1 tells the story of the love and commitment of a daughter-in-law, Ruth, for her mother-in-law, Naomi. Naomi had lost her husband and both her sons in Moab. One of her sons was married to Ruth, a Moabite woman. Naomi planned to return to her native land in seeking to survive. She described the cost of following her back to her homeland to both of her daughters-in-law. Naomi was too old to marry again, and even if she did, her daughters-in-law would have to wait for her sons to grow up to marry them? (Ruth 1:11-13 NLT) Obviously, this was an impossible scenario. Ruth responds with one of the most beautiful responses in all the Bible, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.” Impossible circumstances often test love and commitment.
In Chapter 2 there is a little-recognized event that reveals much about the character of Ruth. One day Boaz provided lunch for Ruth while she worked in his barley field. Ruth did not eat all she was provided but set aside part of it to take back to Naomi (Ruth 2:18 NKJV). Ruth was not just looking out for herself but also for provision for her mother-in-law. It wasn’t all about Ruth. Have you had ever been among a group of Christians at a dinner? When helping themselves to food from common serving plates, how they prefer each other by the portions that they take, speaks volumes about the hearts of those dining at that event. We often reveal our character through our stomachs.
The Kinsman Redeemer
The other person in this love story is Boaz, a wealthy landowner. I am sure that Boaz was physically attracted to Ruth, but there was something far more enticing to him that just her outward beauty. It was the content of her character. Boaz said, “Now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence (Ruth 3: 11NASB). What catches a man’s eye is a commentary on the righteousness of that man.
Naomi realizes that Boaz is a close relative and can buy the land that had been owned by Naomi’s husband and would have been passed down to his sons. He could marry Ruth and provide heirs for her dead son to carry on their family line. She initiates an ingenious plan to ensure security of her daughter-in-law (Ruth 3: 1-3 NLT). But there is one problem. There was another relative who has first right to purchase this land. Boaz engages that relative and tells him of his right to redeem the inheritance. (Ruth 4: 1-4 NLT). At first, the relative agrees to redeem it until he learns he must also marry Ruth and carry on her husband’s inheritance. He declines because it would endanger his estate (Ruth 4: 6 NLT). The close relative chose opportunistically. As long as it only benefited him, he would do it, but when he learned it would cost him something, he was out. In our major decisions in life, if we chose only what serves us, we will never understand or embrace commitment. Without it, we will never fulfill our destiny.
A Marriage Made in Heaven
Boaz chose unselfishly (Ruth 4:10 NASB). He bought the land and married Ruth and provided a son to carry on the family line (Ruth 4: 13NLT). This is a true love story if you define love as willing the highest possible good for all concerned. Ruth thought about the good of her mother-in-law above all. Naomi sought security for Ruth. Boaz chose the best for all concerned, not just him. This was the spiritual DNA of King David, the man after God’s own heart. Ruth and Boaz were committed to doing the right thing, no matter what it cost them. In dong so, they changed the destiny of a family, which was instrumental in fulfilling the destiny of a nation.
Image used with permission by Microsoft.
Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” YWAM Publishing