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Ruth 4:9-22: As Promised, God Brought the Redeemer and King Jesus Into the World

As Promised, God Brought the Redeemer and King Jesus Into the World

Ruth 4:9-22       Kevin E. Jesmer 1-20-21

Key Verse 4:21-22                                                                                                           

21 Salmon fathered Boaz, Boaz fathered Obed, 22 Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered David.” (ESV)

      The book of Ruth began with the story of Naomi’s and Ruth’s tragedy, including the death of their spouses. Life under judgment was very difficult. Naomi returned to Bethlehem such an empty, sorrowful woman that she wanted to changed her name to “Mara” (meaning bitter). But the time of judgement ended. Her suffering was over. Her sorrow turned to joy. God ushered in a fruitful, joyful new beginning for both Naomi and Ruth working through a kinsman redeemer named Boaz. God brought forth a baby. Holding baby Obed, Naomi’s heart was full. The Moabite daughter in law, whom God had brought into her life, Ruth, was proven to be better than seven sons. Ruth, a Gentile woman who lived by faith, became a source of blessing to her mother-in-law and to the nation of God’s people. Naomi also caught a glimpse of how God was working powerfully to fulfill his redemptive plan and she rejoiced. Let’s see.

Part 1: Redeemed by The One Willing to Pay The Price (9-10)

      God moved Boaz’s heart to become the kinsman redeemer. The most eligible redeemer, “Mr. So and So”, did not want to sacrifice anything to redeem Naomi. He was not willing to step back and take a supportive role in upholding the names of the late Elimelech, Chilion and Mahlon in Israel. He did not want to jeopardize his own wealth and standing by taking care of Naomi while marrying and fathering children for Ruth. Nor was he willing to sacrifice and make himself vulnerable. He only wanted to better his own situation and build up his own kingdom on earth. But there was one waiting nearby who was more than ready. His name was Boaz.

     When the first candidate said, “no” to being the kinsman redeemer, Boaz’s heart leaped for joy with a resounding, “Yes, I will do it then !!!”.  Boaz saw God opening a door very wide. He immediately declared to the elders and to “Mr. So and So” in verses 9 & 10,

9 …‘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. 10 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.

     When God moved his heart,Boaz wasted no time. He was eager to embrace all the responsibilities that being a Kinsman Redeemer entailed. By the grace of God, Naomi and Ruth now had a place among the people of God. The names of their husbands will be included among God’s people. Ruth and Naomi had security and provision. They had a new family. Ruth received a husband’s love and a new baby boy. Naomi had a grandson. They even had a sense that somehow, they were called to a greater purpose. God was blessing them.

     The redemptive act of Boaz reminds us of God’s redemptive act through Jesus Christ. Jesus is our Redeemer. The prophet Isaiah, living around 800 B.C., prophesied Jesus’ coming as Redeemer. Paul also wrote about this. To begin to understand this look at the following verses…

 “’The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,’ declares the Lord.” Isa 59:20.23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Ro 3:23-24.

     Jesus came to this world as our Redeemer. Redeeming something has connotations of paying a price for a slave to be released from slavery. Jesus came to pay the price so that we can be set free from our slavery to sin. This would be a costly endeavor. Jesus knew what this would entail. Yet he embraced it, giving up all of the glory, power and majesty of the Kingdom of Heaven to come to earth as a man. He was born into a poor family in a dusty, rocky, harsh part of the world. His mission to be our Redeemer required his willingness to suffer and die at the hands of sinners. He would die a cruel death on the cross. Yet, he would rise again on the third day and sit at the right hand of the Father alive and ruling forever more. Though Jesus willingly surrendered it all, his name was elevated above every other name so that at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. (1 Thess 5:21)

    Because of Jesus’ love and sacrifice, we have been redeemed for the empty way of life handed down to us from our forefathers. (1 Peter 1:18) We have been bought back from slavery to sin and Satan, by the precious blood of Jesus. (1 Peter 1:19) Because of Jesus’ redemption, we can now live a life free from the bondage of sin, as we live in the freedom of being children of God. (Romans 8:21) This is extremely costly grace, but the price was willingly paid by Jesus our Redeemer. What can we say then? Only, “Thank you Jesus for redeeming me from sin”, and “Help me live in the freedom that you give and bring glory to your name…Amen!”

Part 2: Finding Confirmation in God (11-12)

     The elders were in complete agreement with Boaz’s act of redemption. Look at verse 11a, “Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, ‘We are witnesses. …”  With joy in their hearts, the elders at the gate blessed their marriage. Together they prayed for Ruth. They said, “May the Lord make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, 12 and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the Lord will give you by this young woman.’” (11b-12) Everyone forgot about the drudgery of day-to-day survival and celebrated what God was doing in their midst. With the elder’s conformation, Naomi, Ruth and Boaz would have the calm assurance that what had just occurred was by the hand of God, publicly affirmed by God himself, by his Spirit and through the elders at the gate.

    There is great joy when we receive confirmation from God. I think about Julie’s and my marriage. We were engaged because two pastors prayed and introduced us. We prayed and by faith made a decision to marry. The marriage was celebrated by our home churches. Not only that, members of Julie’s family came to Chicago. Her father gave her away in marriage to me. Later on, my parents came from Canada to meet Julie. They expressed their happiness and gave us a wedding gift. There is no doubt in our minds that this marriage is the will of God. That has given us a calm assurance as we serve God together as husband and wife.  There is also deep joy when you have confirmation that your job is blessed by the Lord. What about knowing that your ministry is blessed by God? It makes a big difference in our lives and it increases our joy as we walk with Christ.

      Most importantly, there is a calm assurance when we know with certainty that we have been forgiven and that Christ dwells in our hearts by faith. His Spirit confirms that we are children of God and that we have a living hope in the Kingdom of God. We will be resurrected. That is the beauty of the Gospel. Because Jesus, the holy Lamb of God shed his precious blood on the cross and rose again in the third day, we are forgiven. Jesus dwells in us by his Spirit. That is the seal of approval. (2 Cor 1:22) We are utterly saved unto eternal life. The hallowed halls of heaven rejoice, with all the angels and God himself giving resounding praises over one sinner who repents. (Luke 15:7) Blessed assurance. Jesus is mine!

Part 3: Like Rachel and Leah, Judah and Tamar (11-12)

     Our lives have absolute meaning and purpose in God. We find this in the declaration of the elders. Look at verses 11b-12, “…May the Lord make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, 12 and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the Lord will give you by this young woman.’” 

      Rachel and Leah, wives of Jacob, struggled with each other, but through their struggles, God built up Israel (Gen 29-30). They became the mothers of the founders of the Twelve Tribes.  Tamar, like Ruth, did a hard thing to preserve her husband’s family line (Gen 38). Her circumstances required her to make some difficult decisions that are hard for us to understand. But God honored those actions as acts of faith and blessed these women. His plan of salvation rolled forward though their faith.

      The elders saw that this was no ordinary marriage. It was a marriage set on the foundation of God’s history. It was a marriage linked to the expansion of God’s Kingdom. It was a marriage that would play a vital role in God’s plan of redemption, for through their marriage would come King David and later on, the Redeemer and King, Jesus Christ.

    Ruth’s legacy of faith was being established even though she couldn’t see all the results. How could she really? Jesus would not come into the world for 1,200 years. From her vantage point, she only saw that her family was redeemed by Boaz’s selfless act. Yet, she caught a glimpse of what would happen in the future, through the elder’s praise and God’s Spirit.

       Just as Ruth was unaware of God’s larger purpose, we will not know the full purpose and importance of our lives until we get to heaven and look back to see all that God had accomplished. And so, how should we respond? It is not just a matter of us shrugging our shoulders and saying, “Oh…that’s nice” and living for ourselves. Trust that God is working powerfully in your life and ministry. While we live our lives, we must make choices with God’s eternal, redemptive purposes in mind. We must live in faithfulness to God knowing that the fruit of our lives will extend beyond our lifetimes. Know for certain that God’s rewards will surely outweigh any sacrifices that we are called to make today.

     All believers are called to play a vital role in God’s history. Generally speaking, these roles have to do with making Jesus Christ known. Formerly, before meeting Jesus, we obscured Jesus and his Gospel. We were slaves to sin and lived as enemies of God. (Col 1:21) We could never obey the Lord. And were subsequently unable to bear fruit that lasts. We were destined to be fuel for the fire. But God, in his grace redeemed us. We became his children…. ingrafted in the vine. (Romans 11:17) We become vital members of God’s heavenly Kingdom. God now works in and through our lives.

      We have roles to play in fulfilling of God’s plan. We are set free to serve those roles in faithfulness. I am not just a nurse waiting to retire and spend the rest of my days traveling and getting weaker and older. No way! Since Jesus saved me, I could be a witness to my entire family. They could hear about the name of Jesus for the last thirty-four years. There is now a branch of my family tree where some call on the name of the Lord. There can be a handful of people who have come to saving faith. I trust that God is working in my life so that the Second Coming of Jesus can be hastened.

Part 4: Naomi’s son (13-17)

     Naomi was blessed beyond measure. Even though Ruth was the mother of the child, the people of the village attributed the birth to Naomi. Look at verses 13-17,

“13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. 14 Then the women said to Naomi, ‘Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! 15 He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.’ 16 Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse. 17 And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, ‘A son has been born to Naomi.’ They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.”

       The fact that the child was credited to being Naomi’s child, meant that he was born to Naomi through Ruth and Boaz. Ruth was fulfilling the Law by raising up a child for the dead, her dead husband. In doing so Ruth was keeping Naomi’s husband and subsequently the name her own husband alive. All of their children would be counted to carry on Naomi’s husband’s place in Israel. (Look at Deuteronomy 25:5-10). This is a fine example of faithfulness.

       When Naomi looked at the newborn baby boy, certainly many thoughts ran through her mind. There is no way she could understand where it was all leading. But on that day, one thing was for certain, God brought great blessings out of Naomi’s and Ruth’s tragedy. Through her tough times, Naomi continued to trust in God and God, in his time, blessed her greatly.

Part 5: Israel’s King (18-22)

     Naomi, Ruth and Boaz were blessed beyond what they could ever imagine. Look at verses 18-22, “18 Now these are the generations of Perez: Perez fathered Hezron, 19 Hezron fathered Ram, Ram fathered Amminadab, 20 Amminadab fathered Nahshon, Nahshon fathered Salmon, 21 Salmon fathered Boaz, Boaz fathered Obed, 22 Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered David.”  (Matthew 1: 5-6)

       God had a plan of salvation. His plan started right at The Fall of mankind from the Garden. It carried on up through King David and onto Jesus Christ. It is continuing to the day that Jesus will come again. When Boaz married Ruth and had a child with her, the child became part of the line of David.  This is significant, because we know that Jesus, the Messiah was prophesied to come from the house and line of David. (Luke 2:4) David lived around 1000 BC. Ruth’s son became the grandfather of David, the great king who unified Israel, extended the borders to full the promised footprint, and brought in Israel’s golden age. David was greatly loved. He was called a man after God’s own heart. He was the man through whom God promised to send the Messiah.

     God has always been setting the stage for Jesus’ ministry. God had in mind all who would believe in his name, even me. God revealed himself to me on August 1, 1986. This is not just a small matter concerning my own personal salvation. It was all part of the greater plan! I became part of God’s salvation history. God saved me, not simply for my happiness, but for the furtherance of his plan so that the good news of Jesus may spread throughout the world and his Kingdom may come on earth as it is in heaven. Nothing is more important than that.

     In this passage we see that when God redeems us, he makes us one of his own. We are given joy, peace, eternal security. We find ourselves playing vital roles in God’s redemptive history by his grace. God is in the business of redeeming people. Jesus paid it all through the shedding of his blood on the cross. By his resurrection, we are set free to live as God’s redeemed people. We are free to, not live by our sinful nature, but to live by the Spirit. Let is take the freedom we have in Christ and proclaim to the whole world that Jesus is the promised King and Redeemer. He has come. He is alive and reigns. He is our Lord. And he will come again.