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Ruth 4: 5 -6 5 Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance. 6 And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it.
Ruth 4: 7 7 Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel.
Ruth 4: 8 -10 Ruth 4: 8 -9 8 Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe. 9 And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi.
Ruth 4: 10 10 Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day.
Ruth 4: 11 11 And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem:
Ruth 4: 12 Ruth 4: 11 -12 12 And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD shall give thee of this young woman.
Focus Verses Ruth 1: 16 -17 And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.
Focus Thought Choosing the way of God will always lead to receiving His blessings and, ultimately, His redemption.
Introduction Sadly, some people turn from the Christian life and leave the kingdom of God. Individuals employ many excuses in their efforts to justify a return to lives of sin. Some leave from sheer boredom, while others succumb to their longings for various aspects of the old lifestyle just as the Israelites longed for the foods of Egypt.
Introduction Others may stumble at a friend’s criticism and scurry away, never to return. Still others come to a point of spiritual dryness and wander off in search of something to soothe their dry and suffering soul.
Introduction Elimelech’s situation corresponded more to the latter case. The land of Israel was suffering from drought, and he sought relief for himself and his family. Thirsting for something better, Elimelech left the sun-parched land moved next door to Moab where the crops seemed more plentiful. Elimelech and Naomi “continued” in Moab and raised their sons there.
Introduction In the decade that quickly passed, Elimelech died and his sons married local Moabite girls named Ruth and Orpah. Not blessed with good health, both young men died as well, leaving their wives with no children to carry on the family name. Naomi, facing a rare predicament, wisely chose to remedy her misfortune by returning to the place where God had intended for His children to dwell.
Introduction She heard that God’s people now had plenty of bread, which inspired Naomi to resettle in the land of blessing. She turned her heart afresh toward God while fighting the sorrow of wasted years and lost opportunities.
Ruth’s Right Choice I. Ruth’s Right Choice A The people of Moab worshiped their god Chemosh—a spirit of child destruction. One may wonder why any Israelite would want to wander into this land of wickedness, for the Moabites had been God’s enemies for years. Now Naomi was faced with an important decision after Elimelech’s death and the loss of her sons.
I. Ruth’s Right Choice A Suddenly, a flash of hope glimmered in her heart like a gold vein weaving its way through dark soil and hardened stone. She decided to return to Bethlehem.
I. Ruth’s Right Choice A Naomi’s daughters-in-law grew up in a nation infamous for its child sacrifice. Ruth, along with her sister-in-law Orpah, saw hope and potential in the life of their mother-in-law. Despite her broken life and desperate circumstances, they saw something in her that drew them to her and caused them to desire to follow her.
I. Ruth’s Right Choice A However, though they both started to follow Naomi, only Ruth persisted and accompanied her all the way to Israel. A young woman who was probably not much more than a child herself, Ruth determined to rise above the darkness that surrounded her.
Nightclubs, casinos, and brothels I. Ruth’s Right Choice Acontain hungry souls seeking for a higher purpose in their lives. We should never write off as a lost cause any wino, drug addict, or hardened criminal. It appears that Jesus saw more hope and potential in the drunkards and prostitutes of His day than He did in the overstuffed religious hypocrites. Sometimes the brightest star rises from the darkest night.
One should not be Choice A I. Ruth’s Right surprised that both Ruth and Orpah desired to accompany Naomi on her adventure. Everyone desires to better himself in life, seeking after the best opportunities and the most promising situations. However, not everyone follows through with his plans. Only Ruth continued with Naomi on the arduous journey to Bethlehem.
A. Reports of Bread I. Ruth’s Right daily, ” read. A sign “Hot bread served Choice the in the bakery window. The same sign should hang in the window of the church. We should consistently pray that the wayward would return and that backsliders would turn from their rebellion. Consequently, we need “fresh bread, ” spiritual food to sustain them when they return. The aroma of a Holy Ghost outpouring will lure some back to the fold, but the bread of the church is the Word of God.
I. More than just having worshipful and expressive services, the church should Ruth’s Right Choice A provide a depth of teaching and preaching so that people have something of substance upon which they may feed spiritually. Hunger is not satisfied with a campfire, but we must roast something nourishing over those flames. The fire alone will not make permanent Christians. The Spirit-filled apostles were steadfast in doctrine and devoted themselves to the ministry of the Word with prayer.
I. Having bread alone is not enough either. The church could Choice A Ruth’s Rightpresent the Word of God in a stale, crusty form and still never experience spiritual growth within individual members. We need both the fire of the Holy Ghost and the freshness of the preached Word. Jesus said that true worshipers should worship “in spirit and in truth” (John 4: 23). The warm bread of the Word heated by the fire of the Spirit will draw many hungry souls into the kingdom.
I. B. Orpah’s Return to Mother’s. Choice House Ruth’s Right B Not everyone will come to the “house of bread” as the name Bethlehem implies. The scent of God’s power and presence will lure some, like Orpah, but cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches may soon turn them away.
I. Ruth’s Right Choice B Strangely, Naomi could see only the menial issues at stake and seemed unconcerned about the spiritual importance of the decision the two young women faced. Orpah accepted Naomi’s suggestion to return to the old life and to abandon following her to Bethlehem.
Jesus also challenged potential disciples I. Ruth’s Right Choice B who had made a pretense to follow Him to consider the costs and make a wellplanned decision. He did not want people rushing to follow Him only to quit a short time later. Perhaps this was Naomi’s intention in dealing with Orpah as well. We know only that Orpah changed her mind and turned back toward home.
Like Orpah, some Choice B I. Ruth’s Rightpeople continue to allow traditions and familiar surroundings to hold them captive to the old lifestyle. While they admire those who maintain a relationship with God, they are not willing to change. Naomi had determined to return regardless of the choices of her widowed daughters-inlaw, and thankfully, she did not return alone.
I. C. Ruth’s Refusal to Return Home Ruth’s Right Choice C Ruth had heard much about Naomi’s God, and she desired to experience life from this new perspective. She was ready to choose something new and better than her past experiences. Leaving behind the only community and culture she had known, Ruth must have experienced some apprehension and intimidation at the prospect of a new life in a strange land.
I. Ruth’s line in the sand had Orpah’s fresh tracks pointing away from it back Ruth’s Right Choice C to the familiar. While weak believers draw a tentative line and stand gazing back at their old life, Ruth did not. She chose to follow Naomi and then marched away from the life she once knew, never to look back. Jesus taught that those fit for the kingdom put their hand to the plow and never turn back (Luke 9: 62). When God called Elisha, he slew his ox, burned his plow, and followed Elijah without ever looking back.
I. When a person decides to step into God’s kingdom, Right Choice way Ruth’s he turns from his old. C of living. As was the case with Ruth, a new believer should leave behind the old world and not try to live in both. Ruth did not vacillate in her decision like many who run to God at a point of crisis in life only to return to their sins once they are past the turbulence. James declared that the double-minded person will never succeed. (See James 1: 8; 4: 8. )
I. Perhaps Naomi won Ruth to the true God by her lifestyle of devotion to Ruth’s Right Choice C Him. Our Spirit-filled lives should draw others so poignantly that they burst out asking, “What’s different about you? Where do you go to church? ” By God’s grace, let them declare, “Where you go to church, I will go. If you’ve made heaven your home, that’s where I will lodge. The people of your church will be my people. This one true God you’ve told me about —this Jesus—will be my God as well!”
I. Ruth’s Right Ruth’s conversion The unsaid part of Choice C speaks volumes about her impact on Naomi’s own faith. Having a spiritual “child” accompanying her may have motivated Naomi to live correctly more than would her own conscience.
I. Ruth’s Right Choice C True discipleship includes soulwinning. Further, we disciple others through our lifestyles, not just by teaching in classrooms. When believers recognize their responsibility toward new believers in exhibiting a positive example for them to follow, they will think seriously before compromising their life by giving in to temptation.
Ruth’s Redemption II. Ruth’s Redemption Before Ruth ever realized the full extent of what serving God would entail, she followed Naomi’s instructions for what she could get out of the relationship. She picked up leftovers, gleaning for meager survival on the fringes of Boaz’s blessings.
II. a. Ruth’s Redemption try In similar way, many people today to live on the overflow of God’s spiritual blessings. However, a sip from the cup of God’s presence on Sundays and another taste on Wednesdays does not provide enough strength to battle all week against attacks of greed, depression, seduction, and revenge.
II. Ruth’s Redemption from Eventually, after some coaching Naomi, Ruth saw that life was not only about the grain she could glean. One day she looked up long enough to notice the owner of the field, and she began focusing on the one who was supplying her needs.
II. Ruth’s Redemption to shift Like young Ruth, we should learn our focus from what we are receiving and center on the One who is providing for our needs. A new desire was born in Ruth’s soul—more than just to survive, she wanted to belong. Ruth went to Boaz and positioned herself at his feet in a statement of complete surrender and submission.
II. Ruth’s Redemption Too often, we try to live out of God’s hand without ever taking hold of Him. We sometimes demand God’s provision only to return home to emptiness and spiritual poverty. Instead, we should throw ourselves at the feet of Jesus Christ, crying out, “I’ll be yours. For better or for worse, I submit to You as more than my supplier—but as my Savior!”
A. The Meeting II. God never hides His majesty in obscurity. Ruth’s Redemption A Boaz, as a biblical type of Jesus Christ, called his intentions out to the public forum. He left no room for doubt or question in the minds of his contemporaries as he publicly declared his intention to redeem Ruth. Jesus Christ also announced His intentions in the private sector, among the religious officials, and in public forums. (See Matthew 11: 28 -30; 18: 11; Luke 9: 56; John 7: 37 -39; 12: 47. )
II. Jesus came. Redemption A of Ruth’s to transact the business reconciling a lost world to Himself, with the law and the prophets bearing solemn witness to His intent. (See Matthew 5: 17; Galatians 4: 4 -5; Ephesians 2: 15 -20. )
B. The Purchase II. Boaz did not grab the kinsman-redeemer Ruth’s Redemption B of Ruth by the throat and demand his rights. His diplomacy allowed the contender to maintain his prior claim without guilt or criticism. Neither did Jesus Christ stomp His foot and whine until He got His way. Instead, He came in authority, knowing both the facts about a world taken hostage by the enemy and also the nature of the evil one. Clearly, His intention was to redeem mankind from the clutches of sin.
II. Risking the. Redemption B loved, Ruth’s loss of the woman he Boaz gave his opponent a fair chance to exercise the right and privilege that belonged to him. In similar fashion, Jesus Christ took us unto Himself with wounded hands rather than by a heavy fist. Since the Garden of Eden, Satan has craved to own humanity, but Jesus offered Himself as our Kinsman. Redeemer to pay the purchase price for our souls and redeem us from sin.
C. The Conditions Refused II. Ruth’s Redemption C The competitor for the hand of Ruth wanted her property but not the responsibility of her welfare. He turned down the proposition on the grounds of being obligated in a reciprocal relationship. Exactly why he refused is not clear, but some people assume that his statement indicated a concern regarding his possessions falling to his existing children.
II. Ruth’s Redemption C However, it seems unlikely that he would have been a candidate for redeeming Elimelech’s clan had he already been married. The most logical conclusion suggests that he did not want to sully his reputation and risk losing part of his existing assets through marriage to a foreign woman with no heritage in Israel.
The devil wants what we have. He wants II. our peace, joy, money, health, sanity, and Ruth’s Redemption C children. However, he does not want us, and he only takes from us without giving us anything in return. He will not claim us or try to provide anything for our welfare. Like a spider sucking the life out of an insect, Satan drains life out of his victims and drops the empty carcasses as he moves on to more prey.
D. The Agreement Sanctioned II. This scene lacks some of the humor it Ruth’s Redemption D could have contained had Boaz followed the proper protocol. According to Mosaic law, Boaz should have spit in his contestant’s face besides taking his sandal (Deuteronomy 25: 7 -10). Forgoing these formalities, the man gave his shoe willingly to the noble kinsman without concern about the loss of his own reputation among his countrymen.
E. The Terms Explained II. Ruth’s Redemption E Boaz entered into the life-changing obligations of redemption, declaring publicly that the prized possession would now bear his name. In the case of Ruth, it involved marriage and receiving the family name of Boaz.
II. Christ did not just publicly declare that Ruth’s Redemption E we are His any more than we can be saved by simply affirming His lordship. Instead, He took His redemptive power to the cross to wipe away our shame (Colossians 2: 13 -15). The human race lost life itself when Adam sinned. When mankind disqualified himself from Eden and the Tree of Life, death came to enslave and shame him for generations.
II. Mankind had been sold into sin, but by Ruth’s Redemption E the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God provided a means whereby He could repurchase their souls, redeeming them by His own blood (Hebrews 9: 12 -14). The blood of Jesus Christ shed at the cross publicly proclaimed His right and claim to redeem mankind.
II. Redemption means to make someone Ruth’s Redemption E else’s problems your own. Boaz put his name, reputation, honor, protection, and provision at stake. Legalists could ridicule him and talk behind his back, saying that his marriage to a Moabite woman surely indicated that he had backslidden from his faith.
II. God also risked His reputation. E Ruth’s Redemption of holiness, and people accused Him of fraternizing with prostitutes, drunkards, and other sinners. However, His love overlooked the shame, ignored the price, and paid for our restitution.
F. The People Satisfied II. ARuth’s Redemption good godly couple should make a F impact on the world. This marriage unified two honest hearts, two loyal spirits, two characters concerned more about the welfare of others than of their own self-interests. The result of Boaz’s redemption of Ruth and their subsequent marriage was the birth of a son, Obed was the grandfather of David and, consequently, among the lineage of Jesus Christ.
II. When a lost Redemption F Ruth’s soul encounters the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, the resulting redemptive relationship should engender the production of spiritual offspring. It is only natural that believers will reproduce other believers like themselves, which fulfills the ultimate plan of God on earth.
Ruth’s Rewards III. Ruth’s Rewards Alife. Ruth came looking for more to Instead, she found out that she had never really lived. In Moab, she had married a man who was destined to become sick and die. She came to God’s Promised Land with her head down—searching for leftovers of the abundant harvest. Instead, God lifted her head to see a man who owned the field of harvest—Boaz. This man, though older than Ruth, knew both economic success and good character. He was destined to change Ruth’s life forever.
A. Lived in House of Blessing III. Ruth’s Rewards Afound Instead of mere survival, Ruth abundance. Having moved beyond the need of the moment, she saw that the keeper of the harvest was more desirable than just surviving on the gleanings from his harvest. Once Boaz redeemed her, she no longer had to be the one gleaning for a few more meals that she could take home to her mother-in-law. Now, she could be the keeper of the home and enjoy all the provisions her husband made available to her.
III. Ruth’s Rewards A most of When first coming to the Lord, us glean the goodness of the Lord. These gleanings may be from worship services that lift our hearts from the oppression and worries of life, or they may be from sermons where our minds grow in understanding of God’s grace. We may even glean from the peace we siphon off from coworkers or family members who live in the Spirit of abundance around us.
III. Ruth’smatter how well. A person However, no Rewards a can glean, nothing can substitute for the honor of being a member of the Master’s house. Like Ruth, our comprehension should grow until we cease trying to survive on a little of God’s overflow and we move into His house of abundance.
III. Ruth’s Rewardsdreary grind Lifting our heads from the A to which the devil would hold us, we begin to see that life is not about survival at all. Instead, life is about strolling through the fields hand in hand with the Master, sharing His goodness with others. Rather than being included just as a generic gleaner or even a servant, we relish the prestige of the eternal union between ones who once were outcasts and beggars and the Owner of all things.
B. Marriage III. Ruth’sdoes not involve. B Redemption Rewards eternity only—we can live redeemed from the bondage of sin and the oppressive guilt of a wayward lifestyle. Once the Lord redeems our soul, He buries our past. The act of Boaz taking on his bride and giving her his name wiped out her ties with Moab. She was now a Hebrew—a child of Abraham by redemption.
III. Ruth’s Rewards B was The union between Ruth and Boaz not merely cohesion for economic purposes, but it also produced fruit to carry on the name of their posterity. Only by the redemption provided by Jesus Christ can the descendants of Adam live forever.
III. Ruth’s Rewards B race of Had Christ not come, the entire mankind would have vanished without hope—doomed to eternal damnation. Only by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ could mankind ever have a hope for survival, let alone abundance. Now, anyone who takes the name of Jesus Christ can inherit all things in Him.
C. In Lineage of Christ III. Ruth’s Rewardsmomentary C Aside from the menial and benefits accrued to the account of Ruth, her marriage to Boaz allowed her to step midstream into the crimson river of redemption flowing from Adam to Christ. Through Obed, the child of this union, came Jesse, the father of King David, head of the kingly line.
III. Ruth’s Rewards C Only by leaving her temporal heredity behind did Ruth become part of an eternal heritage involving the greatest Redeemer of all time. The grandeur of the legacy that she joined eclipsed her past life. So we too have the hope of a future that totally obscures our past by the glory of the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
III. Ruth’s Rewards Cflows. Today, that scarlet stream still Ruth stepped into the line of redemption far upstream, before the time of Jesus Christ. Now, mankind stands far downstream from that atoning bloodline of our Savior, but we may still partake of its legacy.
Ruth first left Rewards her former III. Ruth’s behindname of. C life; next, she took on the redeemer Boaz; and then she joined him in the intimate union of marriage. We also follow the same pattern so that we may enter the bloodline of the redeemed: forsaking the old life through repentance, adopting the name of the Redeemer in the waters of baptism, and uniting with Him by the intimate and redemptive experience of receiving the Holy Spirit.
Reflections Ruth, Naomi, Boaz. One must ask the question this narrative demands: which one am I? The three lead characters of this tale could depict various states of Christian development.
Reflections First, the young lady Ruth is interesting not only because of the biblical book that bears her name, but also due to the nature of her character. Modern “Ruths” have left behind a world of sin to pursue a better life.
Reflections Our lead character in this impacting drama stood only a step away from returning to her home like Orpah, but she chose to walk to a new and better way of life. New believers should maintain their intentions to join the kingdom of God and remember that great starts do not equal great finishes.
Reflections Beyond the initial commitment to Christ, young believers should realize that the kingdom of God offers more than fringe benefits. Leaving the search for survival, Ruth positioned herself at the feet of her potential redeemer and prepared herself to accept his full supply of provisions.
Reflections So it is with believers today when they turn to the Redeemer of mankind and receive all the spiritual provisions that He has in store for them. True growth comes when a person overcomes the infant mode of spiritual survival and moves into the abundance of life with the Keeper of the harvest.
Reflections Second, like Naomi, believers who have wandered from the “house of bread” need to return. Those who have strayed from the provision of the Holy One should overcome their bitterness— especially if they walked away because of disappointment in God or offense from a brother or sister.
Reflections Only with a renewed spiritual walk will these believers experience inner fullness and relief from their spiritual famine. They must return with their broken hopes and sullied dreams so God can restore their destiny.
Reflections Third, all believers can grow to become individuals who reach out like Boaz did to Ruth. All around the mature Christian, lost souls seek for more than just survival. May a believer lead them to the house of fullness and introduce them to the love of Christ! May someone who lives in the abundance of God’s riches reach out to restore those who suffer from the sourness of a misdirected life.
Reflections God has commissioned His children to “the ministry of reconciliation, ” and He has “committed unto us the word of reconciliation. ” Redeemers open their arms to outsiders and welcome back the wayward without condemnation. (See II Corinthians 5: 18 -19. )
Reflections Boaz and Ruth’s relationship created a child. Neighbors referred to this young one as the “nourisher of thine old age. ” The eternal Redeemer and His redeemed also confirm their union by the birth of spiritual offspring.
Reflections A healthy relationship with the Lord will cause new souls to be born into the kingdom of God. Such new believers become “nourishers” of a person’s spiritual walk by keeping the soulwinner conscious of his actions, focused on others’ needs in prayer, and always growing in relationship with God and others.