(Ruth 4, John 10.7-15, 1 Peter 1.17-21)
Bible Project: Ruth
Firstly, as we finish our series on Ruth and have been reminded of the whole story: I would like to ask you for some feedback. What has most struck you most about the book of Ruth? Time for comments…
Before we look at some final application points from this amazing story I would like to comment briefly on the incredible richness of the biblical narrative. Here we have a completely different type of writing to other bits in the bible - for example Solomon’s proverbs or Paul’s letters. We see three levels of meaning within the same text.
1. Firstly in chp 4 we see a day in the life of Boaz, Ruth and Naomi as the story draws to a close with a happy marriage.
2. Secondly we see something of the story of a Jewish family who is living in the sad state that Israel is at that time. With no king, they reject their own King God, and this family leaves the promised land, the place of blessing to look for their fortune in a distant and hostile land.
3. But on a third and deeper level we see God doing something more profound. Yes, he is taking care of the situation of two widows - Naomi and Ruth, because he is a God who looks after needy widows. He has also been preparing a virtuous woman for Boaz: a faithful and pious man who reflects God’s own character.
Yes, God is doing something in the short term for the people of Israel, helping them find food. But the book of Ruth also clearly shows that God is working his medium term plan to give a King - David to build an earthly kingdom. But we also can see hints of his long term plans. He knows that the nation and the individuals in this story have been rebels against his sovereignty and that if their sin is not sorted out it will lead them to eternal separation from Him.
In the middle of all these events God is fulfilling his promise, his covenants, that from the line of Eve, from Abraham’s descendants, will come someone who will crush Satan’s head, be a blessing to the nations and a Redeemer to his people. Boaz redeeming Elimelech’s land and widowed daughter in law points to Christ redeeming us all.
Do you have that promised Messiah in your life? Do you know what it means to be redeemed by J Christ? He who created you and also bought you by his blood on the cross? Today you can trust in him. If you would like to take that step do come to chat to me or sign up for our CE course to find out more about Jesus.
One of the things that John Piper concludes from this book of Ruth is that:
‘The life of the godly is not a straight line to glory, but they do get there in the end’. We often expect that the Christian life will be plain sailing. But, the life of the godly isn’t a straight road with few ups and downs like the A12 from here to Ipswich and beyond. It is more like the B6278 crossing the Durham dales and part of the Pennines. Up and down, up and down. The Christian life can be like that but it always has signs on it saying ‘The best is yet to come’. And this is illustrated in the life of Naomi - who is just as much a protagonist in the book as Ruth is.
In this chapter we see the last remaining obstacle in our story. A closer family member than Boaz offers to redeem Elimelech’s land until he discovers that he would have to provide for Ruth too. So Boaz redeems the land and marries Ruth. We see God behind all this. In chapter one Naomi has no hope that Ruth might provide her with grand children but now all her worries of poverty in old age have been transformed because God has preserved god-fearing Boaz to be Ruth’s kinsman-Redeemer. Boaz is a great gift to Naomi - transforming her life.
We also see the gift of Ruth to Naomi. Ruth’s steadfastness to her MIL helps turn Naomi’s life around. From the bitterness of chapter one to great happiness in chapter 4. God opens Ruth’s womb and she produces a baby - what a joyous occasion - as I am sure that many of you have experienced with both children and grand children.
The women say to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.” Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him.”
When we are faithful to God, no matter the ups and downs of our life we can be confident that ‘The best is still to come’. In the words of Jesus he came ‘so that we might have live, and have it in abundance’ John 10.10. Not only here on earth but eternally in heaven with him. The book of Ruth encourages me to trust wholeheartedly in Jesus, no matter what the circumstances are. I trust that it encourages you in the same way too. Let us pray…