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Redemption and the Book of Ruth
Redemption and the Book of Ruth

One of the great themes of the Bible is that of Redemption
--Redemption has everything to do with our being reconciled to God/brought into a relationship with Him.

While our redemption was planned before the creation of the world- for God knows all things, the story for us begins in Genesis 3 when Adam rebelled against God and did the one thing that God told and warned him not to do.

Because of what Adam did- for he is our earthly father and acting as our representative head- we fell into sin and separation from God, being under sins curse and the judgment of God.

Because of God's love, grace, and mercy, He began to act out his plan to save us from our sins and the judgment to come (which is the just end of all who rebel against God), and to reconcile us to himself.

At the centre of God's redemptive plan is Jesus Christ and the cross; Hence God the Father sent Jesus, the eternal Son of God into the world on a rescue mission to save us from our sins. In order to accomplish his mission, Jesus had to be both human and divine, live a perfect life, fulfill all the Old Testament prophecies about himself, keep all aspects of the law 100%, die on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins-- for as the Bible teaches "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness"

Leading up to the supreme demonstration of God's love for us-- the sending of his Son Jesus Christ to die for us and take the punishment we deserve, God paved the way for the redeeming work of His Son by demonstrating in a myriad of ways what the redeeming work of Christ was going to look like.

The biggest Old Testament example of God showing what the redeeming work of Christ was going to look like was God redeeming his people from their bondage and slavery to Egypt. In love, mercy, and grace God delivered his people, saved them by the power of his right hand. Set them free from bondage and took them to the Promised Land (itself a picture for Heaven). Standing at the center of this delivering work of God was the blood of a lamb smeared on the doorposts of the Jewish homes. Because of that blood the judgement of the 10th plague passed over their homes and they were saved from the death of their firstborn-- Such is a picture of how the blood of Christ covers us and saves us from the Judgment to come.

Another great picture of Redemption and what the redeeming work of Christ the Messiah was going to look like is found in the Book of Ruth

The Book of Ruth breathes the story of Redemption

For those of you unfamiliar with the basic structure and storyline of Ruth, let me give you a quick overview

Chapter 1

-It is the time of the Judges (which means things are bad morally)
-There is a famine in Bethlehem (the house of bread--- has no bread). Note: Jesus the Bread of Life from Bethlehem
-A man named Elimelech (my God is king) takes his wife -Naomi (Pleasant) and 2 sons and moves to Moab.
-While they are in Moab Naomi's husband dies, her two sons marry Moabite women (they shouldn't have), and then her two sons die
-After 10 years and hearing the famine is over Naomi decides to return to her property back in Bethlehem. While her 2 daughter in laws start out with her, only 1 ends up coming back with her-- and her name is Ruth

For your consideration: Ruth is a wonderful example of what a true conversion and turning to God looks like. See 1:16-17

Upon arriving home in Bethlehem, the women of the town are shocked to see Naomi. Naomi- no longer feeling happy, announces that she has a new name "Mara" which means bitter. v.20. Her rationale: God is against me. He has afflicted me. He has ruined me. (Sometimes people feel like this!). What's interesting is that Naomi held on to her faith in God while being mad at him.

Further: While Naomi thought God had destroyed her life, she was blind to His provision of Ruth in her life. Strange how we are often guilty of the same things.

Chapter 2

-Ruth shows what an amazing woman she is by going to work to provide for her and her mother in law (Ruth is filled with some great themes: Devotion, sacrifice, love, commitment, faith, purity---ALL EXAMPLES TO US FOR LIVING FOR GOD)
-As another display of how God's sovereignty and our free will intersect without conflict, Ruth goes to glean the harvest leftovers in the field of a man named Boaz (who just so happens to be a man of faith and devotion to God-- in an incredibly wicked period of time where everyone was doing what was right in their own eyes) v.2 "As it turned out"
-Boaz inquires as to who the new girl is, hears that its Ruth, tells her to stay in his fields, warns his men to not lay a hand on her, praises her faith, sacrifice, and devotion to Naomi, and asks that the blessing of the LORD be upon her

Irony: He was and would be the channel of this blessing

Key verse: v.12 "May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge."

Note how this speaks to her conversion.

-At the end of the day, Ruth returns home with a huge take of grain, this excites Naomi who begins to realize that God might not be her enemy after all
-Naomi also realizes that Boaz-- who she thinks is awesome for his kindness-- is a relative who is a kinsman redeemer.

Kinsman redeemers

-male relatives charged by the law of looking out for their extended family members.
-before the kings had the duty to mete out justice when crimes committed against family members
-responsibility, if able, to provide financial support, to pay another family members debts, to redeem from slavery, even to marry his brothers wife (if he dies and they had no child) to provide a child to keep the family name going.

Chapter 3

-After 3 months of gleaning in Boaz's fields and thinking about Boaz being a kinsman redeemer Naomi hatches a wild plan to fix Ruth up with Boaz.
-Now this plan is mini moral mine field for it put Ruth and Boaz in a potentially morally compromising position
-The plan entailed Ruth getting showed, perfumed, dressed up in her finest, sneaking into where Boaz was threshing grain, waiting till he fell asleep, lifting up his blanket and lying at his feet.

For most people, this is a recipe for a moral disaster.

A point: Sexual purity is a big deal. Sexual relations is for marriage. Making babies is for marriage. If you are struggling with being sexually pure, confess it to God, ask a trusted person for prayer and help, resolve to do what is right in God's eyes. Honor God with your body, flee from temptation.

Though there is some tension in chapter 3, both Ruth and Boaz come through with flying colors

Our account tells us that Boaz wakes up around midnight and is startled to find a woman sleeping at his feet. He asks who it is and discovers that it is Ruth. Of him, Ruth has a very special request v.9 "I am your servant Ruth," she said. "Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer of our family."

Note: Spread the corner of your garment over men, reminds us of how Boaz commended Ruth for coming under the wings of God, now she is asking to come under Boaz's.

Long story short, Boaz was extremely pumped by Ruth's request. In essence, she was asking him to marry her. He wanted to, he was willing to, he was amazed and flattered that she was asking-- for she was young and desirable and he was quite a bit older.

One problem remained: Boaz was not the closest relative to Naomi and Ruth-- there was a kinsman redeemer who had the first option of acting as a redeemer/rescuer to Naomi and Ruth

CHAPTER 4

In Chapter 4 we are told that Boaz, that very morning, went into town, sat at the city gate and waited for the closer kinsman redeemer to come along. Along he came, Boaz asked him to sit, and then got 10 of the town elders to join them. Boaz proceeds to lay out that Noami was selling her dead husbands property and that if the closer redeemer wanted to buy it, then he could. The man says yes. To his yes, Boaz adds one more term-- that the man would have to marry Ruth, try for a baby to keep the family line of Naomi's dead husband alive, and then raise that child to inherit the property he was buying. After hearing this-- and blanching at the cost, the man refuses and tells Boaz that Ruth and Naomi's property are his to purchase. Boaz happily agrees.

Upon hearing of Boaz's commitment and intent- and recognizing the sacrifice of Boaz and the incredible character of Ruth and her devotion to God and her mother in law, the elders bless Ruth asking God to make her offspring famous in Israel-- and indeed this came to be true-- for a few generations later David was born and then a thousand years after that Christ- THE REDEEMER WAS BORN of the virgin Mary.


SOME THOUGHTS ON THEME OF REDEMPTION IN THE BOOK OF RUTH

A lot of different topics are covered in the Book of Ruth-- family responsibility, sacrifice, sexual purity, God's sovereignty and free will, the work of God in our lives, faithfulness to God in hard times, hard work, what it means to come to God and convert, what to look for in a spouse. Pre-eminent amongst all these topics is the theme of Redemption-- as played out through the role that Boaz had of being a Kinsman Redeemer.

Redemption in Ruth

1. Naomi and Ruth are in need of redeemer
2. God provides one who is willing*** and this is the key
3. From the marriage of Ruth and Boaz comes CHRIST, THE REDEEMER
(see Matthew 1*)

Some additional thoughts

To redeem means to buy back, to rescue, to set free, to deliver

Jesus does this. He came down from Heaven to set us free from sin, its power, from Satan. He delivers us from the judgment to come. He did this by dying in our place as a sacrifice, as a substitute- on the cross- taking the punishment we deserve.
To be a redeemer involves sacrifice

Interesting: Boaz was willing to make the sacrifice-- in fact he gladly and joyfully embraced it. Sacrifice is painful and costly.

The cost for our forgiveness necessitated a sacrifice-- Jesus on the cross- and yes it was painful and costly-- but he did it for the joy set before him (our salvation)

Redemption necessitates a willing redeemer

When it comes to redemption, there is a difference between acting out of duty and love

Boaz was willing, the nearer relative wasn't. Jesus willingly came to earth and laid down his life for us-- as an expression of the love of God for us. (John 3:16)

A favorite verse from Job 19:25-27

"I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes-I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!

Naomi and Ruth needed a redeemer-- we need one
God has provided one-- Jesus Christ
Turn to Jesus and be save
d

Ephesians 1:7

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace



SUMMARY SHEET

1. Biggest theme of the Bible-- Redemption- our being reconciled to God
2. Jesus at the centre of God's redemptive plan-- apart from him, no salvation
3. Bible and Old Testament full of examples of the redeeming work of Christ. i.e God redeeming Israel out of Egypt
4. Story of Ruth-- illustrating what the redeeming work of Christ going to be


To emphasize from chapter 1

1. Elimelech- my God is king Naomi- pleasant Bethlehem: house of Bread--- irony-- it empty Mara-- bitter
2. Naomi holds on to faith despite being upset with God "Hand against me". This important for us. Also note the blindness of Naomi to God's provision to her in her darkest hour-- Ruth. We suffer from the same malady
3. RUTH IS A WONDERFUL EXAMPLE of what a true conversion and turning to God looks like! 1:16-17


To emphasize from chapter 2

1. Things begin to TURN AROUND -process of God filling Naomi and reversing her bitterness
2. "As it turned out" v.4 -relationship between God's sovereignty and free will
3. Duty of a kinsman redeemer
4. Another image of salvation "taking refuge under the wings of God" 2 v.12 Boaz calls it such

To emphasize from chapter 3

1. Sexual tension in the text
2. Purity of Ruth and Boaz--- the expected purity of us-- saving sex for marriage even if the "opportunity" comes along
3. Another point of tension: What will the nearer kinsman redeemer do?

To emphasize from chapter 4

1. Boaz acts as their redeemer: Keys: he willing, he joyful, he eager, he made a willing sacrifice (he a type for Christ)
2. Naomi and Ruth needed someone to save them- redeem them-- God sent Boaz--
3. As Naomi and Ruth needed someone to save and redeem them we need someone to SAVE US FROM OUR SIN! From Boaz and Ruth eventually came David and then THE REDEEMER-- JESUS CHRIST-- who came to save us from our sins. Turn to him and be saved! This is what Christmas is about.
4. Close with Job 19:25-27 and Eph. 1:7