Tag Archives: Naomi

Ruth and Boaz Marry

This is the fourth post of a four-part series on the book of Ruth.  Today we are looking at chapter four, which you can read here if you would like.

Boaz goes to the city gate along with the elders and there he meets the guardian-kinsman who is of closer relation to Naomi and Ruth than he is himself.  They discuss the redemption of the property, which  the closer guardian-kinsman is eager to do.  However, then Boaz tells him that he would acquire Ruth as well as part of the transaction.  At that, the closer relative backs out and tells Boaz to redeem them himself.  Boaz then calls on the elders to be witnesses to the transaction and states that he is redeeming the property and taking Ruth as his wife.  The elders and other people acknowledge that they are witnesses and they speak blessings over Boaz and over Ruth.

Boaz takes Ruth as his wife and the Lord enables her to conceive.  In due time, the baby arrives, a son.  Traditionally, the first son born to a widow and her guardian-redeemer took the name of the dead man, allowing his name to carry on, so Ruth gives the baby to Naomi.  All the women of the town celebrate, proclaiming Ruth to be “better than seven sons”.

The chapter ends with the genealogy of Perez, which traces down ten generations to the birth of King David.  The genealogy of Perez of course is also part of the genealogy of Jesus, which is detailed in Matthew 1.  Traditionally, only the father of a child was acknowledged in a genealogy, but in Matthew 1 we see four mothers who are listed by name.  Ruth has the honor of being one of those women who is listed by name in the genealogy of Jesus, which stretches all the way back to Abraham.

Once more, Boaz’s role in Ruth’s life mirrors the relationship that Jesus has with us.  He is our redeemer, our friend.  He also is the bridegroom and we his people are His Bride.  He provides for Ruth and for Naomi in the same way that Jesus provides for all of our needs.

What did you take away from this chapter or from the book of Ruth?  I would love for you to join the conversation and add your comments and insights below!  Thanks for coming by!

Meeting Boaz

This is the second of a four-part series on the book of Ruth.  You can read the first part of this series here and you can read the second chapter of Ruth here

In the second chapter of Ruth, we find Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi living in Bethlehem with no means of support.  As a result, Ruth asks Naomi’s permission to go and gather grain in the fields of anyone in whose eyes she finds favor, and Naomi agrees.  We continue to see God’s faithfulness as He guides Ruth to the fields of Boaz, who happens to be a relative of Naomi’s on her husband’s side.  Boaz arrives at the field and immediately issues a blessing to all the workers, who respond to him in kind.  This is evidence of the kind of man that Boaz is – one who is well respected and a man of integrity.

Boaz immediately notices Ruth.  We’re not told what it was that attracted Boaz’s attention; it could have been that he noticed there was an extra person in his fields or he may have been drawn by her style of dress (which was likely to have been different than that of the other Israelites).  He may have been drawn by her looks, as the name Ruth means “vision of beauty”.  However, another person noticed Ruth before Boaz arrives, and that was the foreman of the fields.  Ruth’s polite request to work in the field and her hard labor garner his attention, and the foreman gives Boaz a favorable report of her labors when Boaz arrives at the field.

Upon hearing who Ruth is and how hard she has worked, Boaz offers his provision and his protection to Ruth.  He tells her to stay in his fields with his servant girls (provision) and that he has told the men not to touch her (protection).  Surprised by this favor, Ruth asks, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me – a foreigner?”  (verse 10)  As a foreigner, Ruth was of lower social status than the servant girls, so Boaz has also elevated her position.  Boaz explains that he has heard of all of her sacrifices to accompany Naomi back to Bethlehem and, in verse 12, he speaks a blessing over her.  He continues to provide for her as he invites her to lunch where she eats her fill.  Later, Boaz tells his harvesters to intentionally leave some stalks for her to gather.

Ruth continues working hard all day to gather barley, and at the end of the day she threshes the barley before returning to Naomi’s home.  She brought leftover food to Naomi as well as the barley she had gathered during the day, which was about three-fifths of a bushel of grain.  Naomi is clearly surprised  and pleased at the results of Ruth’s labor and asks her in whose field she had been working.  When Ruth tells her it was Boaz’s field, Naomi speaks a blessing over Boaz and then she tells Ruth that Boaz is one of their kinsman-redeemers.  A kinsman-redeemer could purchase the estate of a dead man to whom he was related, assuming that he would also marry the widow.  If the nearest relative would not “buy back” the widow, another close relative would be given the opportunity.

Ruth continued to work in Boaz’s fields until the barley and the wheat harvests were completed, which was a seven week process.  She continued to live with Naomi during that time.

The parallels between Boaz and Jesus are many.  Jesus is our provider, our protector and our redeemer.  He elevates our position from that of sinner to that of child of God.  Jesus is kind, accepting and loving to us.  He is also our Master.  Boaz was all of those things to Ruth, and through Ruth to Naomi.

There are also parallels between Ruth and humanity.  We are all in need of grace, are we not?  🙂  Ruth also approaches both Naomi and Boaz with humility and deference, two qualities that we need to have as we approach the throne of Christ.  We must rely on Him to provide for us and to protect us.

What stands out to you from the second chapter of Ruth?  What application did you find?  Continue the conversation in the comments below, and come back next Sunday for a discussion of chapter three!

 

 

 

Ruth, The Faithful Moabitess

My discipleship group is doing a study on the book of Ruth in the Old Testament.  I thought it might be fun to share with you some of what God is showing us through our study of this small but remarkable book.  At only 4 chapters long, it is quite short, but it is packed full of wisdom and application.  Today, I’ll concentrate on Chapter 1, which you can read in the NIV here.  (I’ll write about a different chapter for each of the next three Sundays.)

Naomi and her husband, Elimelek, lived in the time of the Judges, when man did what was best in his own eyes.  Famine hit Bethlehem where they lived, and instead of trusting God to provide, they moved to Moab, which was in enemy territory.  Their two sons, Mahlon and Kilion, grew up and married Moabite women, Ruth and Orpah, breaking God’s commands not to intermarry with the Moabites.  However, Elimelek and his sons all died, leaving Naomi, Ruth and Orpah widowed.  Naomi now had no means of support and all the money was gone, so she decided to return to Bethlehem as she had heard that the Lord was providing food for His people there.

As Naomi and her daughters-in-law start out, Naomi commands her daughters-in-law to return to their own homes and not to go with her to Bethlehem.  Both daughters-in-law cry, but Orpah leaves to return to her own mother’s home.  Ruth, however, refuses to go.  Naomi tells her, “Your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.” (verse 15)  Ruth’s stunning reply is, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.  Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” (verses 16 and 17)  This is truly great evidence of her faithfulness; she leaves behind her own family and her old ways and chooses Naomi as family and chooses the Lord as her God.  So, the two women return to Bethlehem.

The journey from Moab to Bethlehem would not have been an easy one, especially for two women travelling alone.  We don’t know if they had any food at all along the way or any money to purchase any, but it can be inferred that they did not as the point of the return journey was to find food.  They would have had to  traverse the River Jordan as they walked around the Dead Sea from Moab to Judah.  The Lord protects them on their journey, however, as they ultimately arrive safely in Bethlehem.

When they get to Bethlehem, Naomi’s return causes quite a stir among the women.  (verse 19)  In testament to the state of her heart at her change in fortune, Naomi tells them not to call her Naomi, which means pleasant, but to call her Mara, which means bitter.  (verse 20)  She is at the lowest point of her life.  She acknowledges her change in status; there is no pretense.  There is no evidence that Ruth was bitter in heart, however.

Verse 22 tells us another piece of wonderful information, and that is that they arrive in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was starting.  (“Bethlehem” means “House of Bread”.)  This is God’s timing for sure, and His plan to provide for these two women was already in motion.  Barley was the first harvest, followed immediately by the wheat harvest.  After a total of seven weeks of harvest, the Jews would celebrate the Feast of Weeks to thank the Lord for what they had been given.

How often do we, like Elimilek, go our own way and try to provide for ourselves, only to have our plans end in disaster?  (I know I’ve done it more times than I can count.)  How often do we, like Orpah, return to our old ways when things get hard?  How often do we, like Naomi, respond to hard circumstances in our lives with bitterness?  May we all instead have the faithfulness of Ruth, leaving our old ways and facing the unknown with God guiding our steps!

What did you take away from reading this first chapter of Ruth?  Share your insights in the comments.  Let’s start a conversation!