Jesus, our Kinsman-Redeemer
Jesus in the Book of Ruth
facilitated by Ptr Joedy
But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.
This particular verse was chosen as the key verse for the entire book, and it was followed up with a counterpart of sorts in the New Testament:
For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
The name Ruth comes from the word Reuit, meaning friendship and association. While the author of the book is not known, it is assumed that it was written around the time of King David.
The Book opens with a family’s hope for a better life, only to find nothing but tragedy in the land of Moab. It can be outlined with Ruth’s decision to stick with Naomi (1:1-19), her devotion (1:20-3:1), her request for redemption (3:2-41), and the complete redemption and new beginning (4:2-4:22)
God works when we trust Him. While we talked about a certain cycle of sin in the book of Judges, It’s a cycle that people fall into when there is an absence of trust in God, or the strong presence of trust in other people or other things. But we are reminded through the lesson of Ruth, of that is said in Psalm 146:2-5.
Tragedies turn to triumph, messes turn to messages, losses turn to posterity, bitterness turns to pleasantness, nothing turns to everything, physical purpose turns to spiritual fulfillment the moment we give even the smallest of trust towards God.
“Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.”
Jesus is NOT the author of our loss. Naomi’s family made the active decision to move to Moab, but the males of the family ended there. That is, the husbands of Naomi, Orphah and Ruth all died. Tragic, considering that they were considered breadwinners, and these three women were rendered widows. They wandered and ended up in the town of Bethlehem, where Naomi (whose name meant ‘pleasant’) was immediately recognized and called by her name.
Naomi, apparently still overwhelmed by all she was going through, insisted that she be called Mara (meaning ‘bitterness’). Looking at this from the perspective of the finished work of Christ, we see that she had an Old Testament view of God – she was directed to think her circumstances defined her identity… but behold, we know better.
Because of what we know of Christ and His finished work, we can say that God is much more than our failures. To know this sets us free of the victim mindset. To know this sets us free of limiting our identity or God’s character to what happens to us. We know much more now. We know that where sin and fear abounds, grace abounds even more…
How does this pan out in the book? Naomi was grieving, but praise God, because Ruth chose to stick to her in spite of all they went through – we’re about to see how our God can turn it all around.
As mentioned earlier, Naomi and Ruth decided to return to Bethlehem. As a Moabite woman Ruth was still blessed and favor (Ruth 2:8-12, 14-16, 20).
How so? By the workings of Boaz and did what he could to draw her closer. Boaz told her to stay and glean in his field for her own safety. He told his men not to touch him.
God’s favor means protection.
At mealtime, Boaz, the prince of the field would call Ruth over. What does this mean? At the time, the workers of the field would be the ones eating together, apart from the prince or the one in authority. But Boaz called Ruth over and not only allowed her in his presence, but gave her enough to eat that there was left over.
God’s favor means presence.
After she got up to glean, Boaz told his workers in secret to lay down some extra grain for Ruth to gather.
God’s favor means provision.
And by the way, it doesn’t just mean provision for us. Take note that the grain wasn’t just for Ruth, but for Naomi as well. Ruth told her mother in law about the excess grain, and she asked where she gleaned. When Ruth gave more details, Naomi, who wanted to be called ‘Mara’ at one point, responded this way:
And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by the LORD, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!”
Naomi was bitter, but the Good News brought her back to her original name: pleasant.
The circumstances do not dictate who we are. It’s in Christ that we understand that we are greatly blessed, highly favored, and deeply loved. It’s in Christ where we see a complete turnaround, unto protection, presence, and provision.
Ruth Resting, Boaz Working – We Rest In The Finished Work Of Christ.
Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you? Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.” And she replied, “All that you say I will do.”
So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down. At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” (the request for redemption)
And he said, “May you be blessed by the LORD, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman. And now it is true that I am a redeemer. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I. Remain tonight, and in the morning, if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the LORD lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.”
So she lay at his feet until the morning, but arose before one could recognize another. And he said, “Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.” And he said, “Bring the garment you are wearing and hold it out.” So she held it, and he measured out six measures of barley and put it on her. Then she went into the city. And when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “How did you fare, my daughter?” Then she told her all that the man had done for her, saying, “These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said to me, ‘You must not go back empty-handed to your mother-in-law.’” She replied, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest but will settle the matter today.”
We see how Boaz assured Ruth of him moving – God is the one who initiates the redemption. Even if we look as far back as Adam and Eve, nobody asked for a redeemer or a savior – but as early as then, we see that God was already working to redeem us.
Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging: to confirm a transaction, the one drew off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was the manner of attesting in Israel. So when the redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself,” he drew off his sandal. Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and to Mahlon. Also Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day.”
There was a serious issue along the way. As mentioned, there was a redeemer closer than Boaz, but thankfully a stipulation prevented his moving to redeem the land and, consequently, Ruth. From this we can see that Boaz was a representation of grace, and the first kinsman was a representation of the Law. It was Boaz that was able to push through and do the redeeming.
The first kinsman took off his sandal, a representation of sonship. This was another sign of Ruth, a Moabite, being accepted into the family where Boaz belonged. As soon as the sandal was given, Boaz did not waste any time to proclaim everyone around that they are witnesses to this transaction… and they did not waste any time to wed.
Ruth bore a child, Obed, who was the father of Jesse, who was the father of the shepherd who would become a King – David.
The Son of God, became the son of man (kinsman), so that the sons of man can become the sons of God (redeemer). He turned everything around for the purpose of redeeming us all.
Jesus writes our story. In Christ, we all have a new beginning. He IS our new beginning. From being a widow of an obscure nation and a shamed family, she was given a new husband, a new family, and was integral in the new lineage, from which Jesus Christ would be born.
The Pencil Maker and the Pencil:
5 important lessons:
- Everything you do will always leave a mark
- You can always correct the mistakes you make
- What is important is inside you
- You will undergo sharpening or lessons which will make you a better pencil
- For a pencil to leave a mark, to be the best pencil you can be, you must allow yourself to be held and guided by the hand that holds you
Forget the first four lessons and focus on the fifth and final one. Ruth allowed Naomi’s God to be her God, allowed to be held and guided by Him.
Life on earth truly has a lot of heartaches, losses and unexpected circumstances. We may have our own pleasant and hopeful beginnings, and we may feel like Naomi… but let us not forget the inspiration drawn by Ruth to believe that there is a God who bestows favors to those who place their trust in Him. Let us not forget that God IS more than able to turn things around for us. Jesus Christ is our Kinsman-Redeemer.
Beloved, let us not lose hope. Let us encourage one another, as Ruths to people who are suffering bitterness. Let us encourage ourselves, to stand and hope in nothing or nobody else but Christ Jesus, who Himself was a demonstration of how our God made a way where there seemed to be no way.
When we feel bitter, when we feel down and out, let us remember Jesus in Ruth!