About Kevin Jesmer

Kevin Jesmer has been a member since July 10th 2011, and has created 2326 posts from scratch.

Kevin Jesmer's Bio

I am a originally from Canada. I am a lay person in the church and I work as nurse. I study the Bible with a few people. My wife, Julie and myself had the pleasure of raising five wonderful children in DeKalb. And now we can enjoy seeing them blossom as adults.

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Rosalie, “Rosa”, “Rose” Soquet Noe.

Rosa Soquet was a child of Jean Phillip Soquet and Esperance Soquet.

A descendent of Rosa stated, “Rose was always this mystery person. She is buried in Aniwa Wisconsin next to lots of my other family but only 1 of her kids in cemetery. She had 3 husband’s we know of. Always heard rumor of a divorce.”

Link to Jean Phillipe Soquet and Esperance Soquet

Rosalie, “Rosa”, “Rose” Soquet Noe.

Rosa Soquet was a child of Jean Phillip Soquet and Esperance Soquet.

A descendent of Rosa stated, “Rose was always this mystery person. She is buried in Aniwa Wisconsin next to lots of my other family but only 1 of her kids in cemetery. She had 3 husband’s we know of. Always heard rumor of a divorce.”

Link to Jean Phillipe Soquet and Esperance Soquet

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.

Ruth 4:1-8: Place Jesus At Center Stage, For He Is The One It Was Always Meant To For

Place Jesus At Center Stage, For He Is The One It Was Always Meant To For

(Inspired by notes from a message preached by *Jesse-Meekins* at Kishwaukee Bible Church 12-20-20)

Ruth 4:1-8                                    Kevin E. Jesmer

Key Verse: 4:8                                             12-23-20

                   “So the guardian-redeemer said to Boaz, ‘Buy it yourself.’ And he removed his sandal.”  (ESV)

      Today, in the advent calender, we light the candle of joy. This reminds us, as God’s people, when the promise to send Jesus into the world is fulfilled, we catch a taste of heavenly joy that we have never experienced before. The birth of Jesus is not he first time that people experienced joy in the expectation of the coming of the Savior. Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem empty handed after the death of their husbands, only to be surprised by the lavish love of God demonstrated to them in the life of Boaz. Naomi experienced the love of God and that love inspired her to think that maybe Ruth and Boaz could make a match and the family they had lost could somehow be replaced. If only they were aware of the greater story that was folding. Ruth was going to be the grandmother of King David and Jesus, the Savior, would come through the house and line of David.

     But still, in Ruth chapter 4, there appeared a possibility to derail this “Cinderella” story that was unfolding.  Let’s see how God intervened to ensure that his plan that would bring true joy to the world…would unfold…Let’s see.

      One of the saddest things to have been lost in this COVID pandemic, is the Christmas pageant. These pageants are where we are excited to see our kids performing. Sometimes what we see leaves us in shock and roaring in laughter. Especially when we see the main characters in the play going “rogue” as they scramble to take center stage. At times anarchy can ensure as the kids ignore the baby quietly resting in the manger. Why is so uproariously funny? It is because the baby Jesus and the scene in the manger is what the pageant is all about. The kids’ hijinks are taking away from what should be the obvious focus. The best pageant occurs when someone steps aside and surrenders the stage to the one whom it was meant for and chooses to uphold Christ instead.

      But the image of the Christmas pageant can also capture what Christmas is all about for many of us. In a sense, we are all vying for center stage in life, while the baby Jesus lies next to us. For too many of us, Christmas is not about Christ and his glory and the joy that upholding this Jesus brings. It is all about upholding our own glory and seeking joy from turning the limelight on ourselves. This never works.  This passage helps us examine what we risk if we fail to give up center stage the one it is meant for. One person tries to take center stage and suffers for it.

      Look at verses 1-4, “Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate and sat down there just as the guardian-redeemer he had mentioned came along. Boaz said, ‘Come over here, my friend, and sit down.’ So he went over and sat down. 2 Boaz took ten of the elders of the town and said, ‘Sit here,’ and they did so. 3 Then he said to the guardian-redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our relative Elimelek. 4 I thought I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, do so. But if you will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.’ ‘I will redeem it,’ he said.”

     Boaz wanted to be the kinsman redeemer for Naomi and Ruth. But there was something hindering his plan. There was one man who had the legal right to become the kinsman redeemer before Boaz. Boaz knew this and he had a plan. He was going to set out in the morning to put his plan into play.  

     Boaz came to the city gate to deal with the issue of being a kinsman redeemer. The city gate was where the elders met to discuss legal matters. Boaz knew that a certain man would be there and the place was the right venue to carry out such a discussion. And so, he sat at the gate waiting for him to come along. When he showed up Boaz initiated the conversation.

     Boaz call him “friend” (1). Boaz didn’t refer to him by name. It was not an endearing phrase made by one who is a close friend. It was impersonal. The English translation from this Hebrew word for “friend” here, can be translated as “Mr. So and So.” One thing is for certain, there was no recollection on who that person was. His name is forgotten in the antiquities of time. That will be significant.

     The stage was set for this courtroom drama to begin. Boaz gathered ten elders to listen the case (2). The presentation is found in verses 3-4, “Then he said to the guardian-redeemer, ‘Naomi, who has come back from Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our relative Elimelek. 4 I thought I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, do so. But if you will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.’ ‘I will redeem it,’ he said.”

      Land was very valuable in that agrarian society. If you had land then you had power, influence and security. Naomi was a daughter of the Israelites. She and her husband were allowed to have a piece of land in Israel. It was part of their inheritance. Acquiring the land was a means of keeping her dead husband’s name and lineage alive among the Israelites, and not only the name of her husband, but also the name of her son’s. Naomi had the right to land, but she didn’t have the money. She needed someone to buy the land on her account. The man could purchase the land, but that means he would have to take care of the widow, Naomi.

      The wheels started to turn in this man’s mind. He thought that for a little “buy in”, he could receive a big reward. He could get land and farm it, year after year and make a lot of money. And since Naomi was a widow and elderly, he would not have to produce children by her and name a son after her dead husband. This whole situation was a chance to expand his kingdom a little bit more. And so, he made a decision, saying “I will redeem it.”  (4). He decided with clarity, confidence and without question. When he does this, our hearts sink a little, for Mr. “So and So” ‘s decision seemed to derail this Cinderella Story.

       But then God inspires Boaz to throw a “Hail Mary” pass to save the day. Look at verse 5, “5 Then Boaz said, ‘On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.”  Boaz meant to bring a certain legal technicality to this whole interaction. It included the part about Ruth. Boaz reminded “Mr. So and So”, that if he decides to be Naomi’s kinsman redeemer, he would not only have to take care of the widow, Naomi, but also care for and produce children for Ruth’s husband, through Ruth. This stopped his plans. It meant that “Mr. So and So” would have to give up center stage and live for another person, having a child and perpetuating a name that was not his own. Not only that, Ruth was also a Moabite.

       The man changed his mind. Look at verses 6-8, “6 At this, the guardian-redeemer said, ‘Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.’ 7 (Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other. This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel.) 8 So the guardian-redeemer said to Boaz, ‘Buy it yourself.’ And he removed his sandal.”  His issue with the whole deal was that he did not want to risk his estate.

      Ideally, if he was a man who put God first, he should have accepted the calling to care for the aging widow. He should have accepted his role to perpetuate the name of the deceased sons of Israel. He should have accepted God’s will in the matter and make the necessary sacrifices to do his duty before God. But he was not that kind of man. He thought about his own estate, his wealth, his name and the inheritance he would be passing onto his own children.  When he considered this, he declared, “I cannot redeem it.” He was not willing to take the risk for someone else.   In other words, he was not able to step back and give up vying for center stage for himself. He needed to give it up for Naomi, Ruth and their dead husbands and ultimately for God’s glory.  But he could not.

      It is sort of like this in our society. What if you have amassed riches and built up a company? Then a tragedy happens where some kids, who are not your own, have lost their parents. You are in a position to adopt them, bringing them into your family and making them your own legal children. You are about to do this, but then you are reminded by your own wife and kids that these adopted kids will never have a part in the inheritance. There is a lot of pressure placed on you and you baulk and change your mind about adopting, in order to save your wealth for yourself and your blood relatives. You let the orphans go. It is not such a beautiful story. Doesn’t it leave a pit in our stomach?

   There were repercussions for this man’s decision. Yes, in the short term, he may have protected his estate for a couple decades. But in the long term, even though he was a rich land owner, a man of standing, today he is forgotten. He is the unnamed one, “Mr. So and So”, who failed to step up and allow someone else to take center stage so that God may work out his plan. That is exactly what will happen to anyone who is only vying for center stage, taking it from the one it was always meant to be for. They risk losing everything. They would not even be acknowledged as one who had even been on stage!

     Jesus is the one who is to be on center stage. When we step back and allow Jesus to take center stage, then we share the joy of being there with Jesus, giving him the glory. If we leave center stage for Christ, think of what we have to gain. We share in the joy of Jesus being revealed!  We can have the joy that comes from being remembered by God. We will be remembered for what we have done for Christ. If we live for self, we will risk losing any acknowledgment that we were “on the stage” at all, both in this world and in the hallowed halls of heaven.

        First, don’t focus on perpetuating your own name. If you live for only vying for center stage you risk losing everything, especially the very thing that you are trying to preserve.

        Second, rejoice that you are called to reveal the one for which the stage is reserved. Center stage was always meant for Jesus. It is not about what you stand to gain. You are simply invited to play your part alongside others. Remember, you are welcomed on the stage to uphold Jesus. You, who were once an outsider, now have been made an insider. Your former train wreck of a life has been redeemed and now it is your turn to give glory to the Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

    Third, follow Jesus’ example, for he himself gave up center stage. The Son was given center stage by the Father.  But yet Jesus is the one who willingly gave up center stage, embracing the scorn of the cross. He gave up all the glory, power and majesty of the Kingdom of Heaven, to willing entered into this world as a tiny, poor, helpless baby in a manger. He suffered, died and rose again. Jesus gave up everything so that we can be found in him and gain the joy of salvation. The Father raised this Jesus from the dead and gave him the name that is above every other name. That at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and person cease from vying for center stage any longer.

Ruth 3:1-18: An Experience With God’s Love Transforms Us

Part 3: An Experience With God’s Love Transforms Us

(Inspired by a message delivered by *Pastor *Jesse-Meekins* at Kishwaukee Bible Church 12-13-20)

Ruth 3:1-18                                                   Kevin E. Jesmer

Key verse 3: 3-4,                                     12-18-20

3 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. 4 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.”  (ESV)

     It is almost Christmas and people are breaking out the Christmas movies. We each have our favorites. It could be “It’s a Wonderful Life” or, “The Grinch”, or “A Christmas Carol”. What attracts us to the Christmas movies is that the main character goes through some transformational change when faced with “love” at Christmas time. “Love” literally transforms them and allows them to accomplish momentous deeds.

     Chapter two ended with Naomi’s heart full of bitterness. Naomi and Ruth had returned back to Bethlehem. They suffered so much, trying to evade God’s judgment on her people in the form of a famine. When they returned, they only had one plan to survive, that was to go to Boaz’s field to glean. For them it was a survival tactic, but from God’s point of view, this whole scene was going to provide the backdrop through which he would reveal his divine love and empower them make decisive acts.

     God’s love was put on display in these fields, displayed in the lives of these three players, Naomi, Ruth and Boaz. We will see that an experience with God’s love transforms people. All of these main actors in the Book of Ruth were transformed. Their hearts were filled with new life, new hope and they had power to obey impossible tasks set before them by God.

     Where does the power to change come from? It definitely comes from experiencing something outside of us. All of these people were not in the spot where God wanted them to land. He had much more in store for each of them. He would impart to them supernatural power to change. This power to change comes from a personal experience with the grace of God. Each of them saw the love of God breaking into their lives and things began to happen according to God’s will. There is power in the love of God to transform the lives of Naomi, Ruth and Boaz. Let’s see…

       First, the love of God inspires. Naomi had fled the famine. She and her family moved further away from the Promised Land and from the people of God themselves. They went all the way to the Land of Moab. She even married her two sons off to two Moabite women. She paid a huge price for her self-preserving tactics. It was ten years of suffering. Naomi could have easily doubted the love of God. After all, she asked people to call her Mara, which means, “Bitter”.  She was in a very spiritually vulnerable spot. But God was with her and he was going to reveal his love to her and her daughter-in-law, Ruth. This would change their lives.

      It was while Ruth was gleaning in the fields that we are introduced to Boaz. Refer back to Ruth 2:4-5, “4 Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, The Lord be with you!’ ‘The Lord bless you!’ they answered. 5 Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, ‘Who does that young woman belong to?’” Boaz was the embodiment of God’s love to so many people, especially to those close to him. His life revealed the kindness of God. That is why people where happy to be workers in Boaz’s fields.

      Boaz showed special concern for Ruth in verses 5-18. He protected her and he made special provision for her so much so that she came home with forty pounds of grain that she gleaned from the fields. It was God’s grace and blessing on their lives.

      Naomi saw God’s love shining through the life of this man. Refer to 2:19-23. She saw the kindness; the concern; the one-sided sacrifice in Boaz. She recognized God’s hand of grace at work. Look at 2:20, “20 ‘The Lord bless him!’ Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. ‘He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.’ She added, ‘That man is our close relative; he is one of our guardian-redeemers.’” Naomi was enlivened. She was delighted. She was no more dwelling on all of the reasons to change her name to “Mara” or “Bitter”. She was now seeing all the ways that she is blessed.

     Second, God’s love changes us to dream the impossible dream. The spark of God’s life ignited in Naomi’s heart. Look at verses 1-2, “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? 2 Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor”. She was set free from her dungeon of despair to dream big. Empowered by God’s love, Naomi made an audacious proposal.  Look at v. 3-4,

3 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. 4 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.”

    At that time marriage was arranged by parents, and it was fitting that Naomi should take the initiative to instruct Ruth in her preparations to meet Boaz.  Yet, this proposal, made by Naomi, was an absolutely crazy idea. Ruth was told to dress up to go to the threshing floor to see Boaz. Ruth appeared as a prostitute. This is the plan?! There is no way that this plan should pan out. Though it sounds crazy, it is not so crazy if God is in it. If God is in it, then it most certainly will work.

    Naomi was changed through her love encounter with God. She was fundamentally changed.  She was no longer overcome with selfish thoughts about her own suffering, urging others to call her Mara. But now she was inspired with a plan to bless Ruth. God’s grace empowered her. She was changed by the love of God.

     Ruth did all she was told to do. Look at verses 5-6, “’I will do whatever you say,’ Ruth answered. 6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.” It took such great courage to obey her mother-in-law. There is such a buildup of suspense. Look at verses 7-8, “When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. 8 In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet!”  By removing the cloak that acted as a blanket, from the feet of Boaz, she would ensure that he would eventually wake up and notice her. She would then be able to talk privately about the claim she wanted to make.

    Ruth’s power to obey was born from her own personal encounter with God’s love. In light of the kindness shown to her, she too became very bold. She simply trusted in the God of Naomi. She trusted in this plan. And by faith in God, she simply obeyed. And the Lord blessed her faith and obedience. God blesses simple obedience born out of faith.

       When Boaz awoke, Ruth demonstrated even more courage. Look at verse 9, “9 He said, ‘Who are you?’ And she answered, ‘I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”  She referred to herself as Boaz’s servant. She was acknowledging him as her master. Ruth boldly says to Boaz, “Be the wings!”. When Ruth asked him to spread his cloak over her she was speaking symbolically of marriage (Ez 16:8b). Ruth’s boldness is what a glimpse of God’s love will do. It will allow us to accomplish seemingly illogical deeds, yet deeds that are all part of God’s plan, because, as we know, nothing is illogical about God’s plans.

    Boaz blesses Ruth’s act of kindness. Look at verses 10-15,

10 ‘The Lord bless you, my daughter,’ he replied. ‘This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. 11 And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. 12 Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I. 13 Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer, good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it. Lie here until morning.’”

    Boaz’s reaction is nothing less, than divine inspiration! Boaz not only gave the best possible interpretation to Ruth’s action, but went so far as to invoke a blessing upon her for all her acts of kindness. He could have rejected Ruth. She came after him while he was asleep and possibly even drunk. She was very poor. She was a Moabitess. He had every right to call her out. But look how Boaz saw her. (11) Boaz saw her as a “worthy woman”. He blesses her. God is pleased when we respond with obedience in light of his love and grace.

       Third, the love of God humbles us.  We see Ruth as the feet of Boaz. She was driven to stoop low as she made her plea. It is an apt symbol of God’s work in her. Her life situation had humbled her. She was brought low. But it was at this time that she hung onto faith and experienced God’s kindness.  

    Boaz demonstrates yet another act of kindness to Naomi and Ruth. Look at verses 15-17,

“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. 16 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, 17 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.’”

      How is Boaz’s reaction like the kindness of God? Boaz is the business owner. He owns the fields. He employs the workers. Ruth is the outsider. Yet Boaz bestows upon her six measures of barely. There is nothing she could do to work for the kindness that she received. It was pure grace. This is the heart of our Lord Jesus.

      We are in Ruth’s situation. We cannot work to gain any of the graces of God. God just lays it out for us. It is a free gift. This grace humbles us. We can see God’s grace at work all around us, especially when we are overwhelmed by the kindness of others towards us. We see it when we are delivered from our dungeons of despair. It humbles us, for through it we find the deep graces of our Holy God towards undeserving outsiders.

      Fourth, the love of God allows us to wait on the Lord. Through the loving kindness of God, we can wait on the Lord.  Just prior to Ruth’s departure from the threshing floor, we see Boaz loading up Ruth with grain. This provides Ruth and Naomi a glimpse of God’s love once again. It gave them confidence in God and allowed them to be able to wait on God. The next morning Ruth came back home. Naomi asked what had happened and Ruth shared with Naomi everything. In verse 18, Naomi urged Ruth the wait, “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.’”  Naomi had confidence to wait in expectation. This was due to the godly character of Boaz, who was reflecting the character of the great and awesome God at work in their lives.

      Waiting is the hardest thing to do in uncertain times. But consider who we are waiting on. Ruth was waiting on Boaz, the one who still could do more. We are waiting on Christ, the one who can still do more in any situation. We have done what we can do and now it is time to wait. The inspiring love of God emboldens us, and gives us confidence as we wait on the Lord.

     With God’s love we can work towards that seemingly unlikely end. God will surely accomplish his purposes. God enables us to stand tall with a victorious sense of confidence born out of the love of God. We have the privilege to wait on the Lord when that is all that we can do. Praise the Lord!

     Let’s summarize thus far. On our faith journey we catch a glimpse of God’s love shining into our life. Our bitterness is changed to hope. This grace emboldens us to do some acts that may not make sense at first, but are all part of God’s plan. The love of God captures us. God’s love emboldens, inspires, and humbles us. We are then able to display the love of God to others as we wait upon the Lord with a victorious sense of confidence.

Ruth 2:1-23: God Packages The Gift of the Gospel to Heighten Our Joy When We Meet Christ

God Packages The Gift of the Gospel to Heighten Our Joy When We Meet Christ

(A message inspired by the notes take when listening to a message by Pastor *Jesse-Meekins* at KBC in Sycamore Illinois. 12-6-20)

Ruth 2:1-23                                                                Kevin E. Jesmer

Key verse 2: 15-17                                            12-13-20

“When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, ‘Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16 And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.’ 17 So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah[b] of barley.”  (ESV)

    Great gift givers know how to package their gifts in excellent ways. There is a such a thing as Christmas hype. There is an expectation generated that will increased day by day, all, the way to Christmas. The decoration of the package is not to just give the gift to someone, but it is to raise the expectation of the receiver. Gd knows how to revive the hearts of the people, by packaging the gift that they would receive. Ultimately this gift will be Jesus and the Gospel.

    God raised the expectation for Naomi and Ruth by wrapping an upcoming spiritual gift in just the right way. Naomi felt empty after as decade of suffering in the land of Moab. Look at verse 1:20-21,

She said to them, ‘Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?’

     Her own people were stirred by her return after a decade. They remembered her and many were calling her by her name, “Naomi”. The etymology of her name is not certain, but it is possible that it means “good, pleasant, lovely, winsome.” (Wikipedia).  She wanted people to call her “Mara” meaning “bitter”. It was an expression of grief after the deaths of her husband and sons, while enduring a hard life, full of suffering.

      But her days of bitterness and grief were soon to be over. God would fill them up after they have been emptied. And this time of filling was beginning now. Look at 1:22, “So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.” The famine was over. The fields were abundant with new grain. The land was experiencing newness of life.  They were led by God’s sovereign hand, to Boaz’s field at this time of a fruitful and abundant harvest. The Sovereign Lord was completely behind this.

    There were harvesters in the field. Some were Boaz’ employees. Others were poor people with little of no income, like Naomi and Ruth. According to God’s word, the employees were allowed to glean the field once and then leave what was left over for the poor. They had to leave the edges. This custom developed from the early agricultural laws of the Hebrews (Leviticus 19:9; 23:22; Deuteronomy 24:19-21). Breaking this law was a punishable offense. It was God’s welfare system. The poor were given food for free, but they still had to work for it. God was protecting their dignity. It reflected God’s heart for the hurting. Through this scene, our hopes rise within us, to see what God had in store for Naomi and Ruth. God is making a wonderful package for his gift, increasing their expectations.

      God was with Naomi and Ruth. He inspired Naomi to tell Ruth to go and glean in Boaz’ field. Look at verses 2:1-3,

Now Naomi had a relative of her husband’s, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. 2 And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” 3 So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech.”

     I don’t get the sense that Naomi knew what was happening. She was simply doing what made sense in order to survive.  She knew where to go for social services and she knew that it was right for Ruth to glean in Boaz’s field. But God was fully aware of what he was doing. He was continuing to put the package on his graceful gift.

       Let’s think a little more about Boaz, especially how he reflected the image of God. Look at verses 4, “And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem. And he said to the reapers, ‘The Lord be with you!’ And they answered, ‘The Lord bless you.’” This quick exchanged revealed so much about Boaz. This man was very graceful, though he was a rich landowner with many people working under him. He said, “The Lord be with you”. People saw God’s image exude from him. He didn’t need to be around his fields all the time. He had trusted and faithful foremen who willingly managed the workers. The workers were faithful and could be trusted to bring in the harvest. His workers were happy to be laborers in Boaz’s fields for Boaz was just that kind of boss.

      He was a man who would care for the commoner and the foreigner. Look at verses 5-9,

5Then Boaz said to his young man who was in charge of the reapers, ‘Whose young woman is this?’ 6 And the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, ‘She is the young Moabite woman, who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. 7 She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers.’ So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest.’ 8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, ‘Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. 9 Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.’”

     Again, we see the image of God embedded into the character of Boaz. God cares about the foreigners. He cares about the commoner. The fact that Boaz took notice of Ruth, meant that God was taking notice of Ruth. Ruth was near to God’s heart all along. By showing us the godly qualities of Boaz’s character, he is raising our hopes and expectations in what part Boaz will play in this who story of God’s abundant grace.  

      God cares for our welfare. He cares for the commoner. This is his character. This is part of his image. Knowing this God, makes submitting to him as Lord comes naturally. Living under his divine care is a blessing for those who know his grace.

    Boaz set out to protect the commoners gleaning in the fields.  Look at verse 8, “Then Boaz said to Ruth, ‘Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women.’”  Boaz was not blind to what could happen to an unprotected, poor, young, foreign woman. She would be one of the most vulnerable in the fields. If it were not for Boaz’ protection, Ruth most probably would have been mistreated if she gleaned anywhere else. She could begin to sense the protection given her by God, through the people of God.

    The grace of God did not stop there. Look at verses 14-17,

14 And at mealtime Boaz said to her, ‘Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.’ So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over. 15 When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, ‘Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16 And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.’ 17 So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley.”

      She was invited to sit beside Boaz to eat lunch and then she was invited to glean once again. The workers were told by Boaz to leave behind grain. This time Ruth gleaned about forty pounds of grain! Ruth had been weighted down and overrun by grace. Who is this Boaz? He is a servant of God, who loved the lowly and reflected God’s care for the hurting. His life was a conduit of the grace of God.

      God was packaging the gift of the Gospel, through Boaz’ service to Naomi and Ruth. God was raising the hopes of Naomi and Ruth for the greater grace to come. And excited they were. Look at verses 20-24,

“20 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 also said to her, “The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.” 21 And Ruth the Moabite said, “Besides, he said to me, ‘You shall keep close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.’” 22 And Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, lest in another field you be assaulted.” 23 So she kept close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests. And she lived with her mother-in-law.” 

     Naomi now can sense that the Lord had more in store. God was raising the expectations that Ruth and Boaz would marry. But we know that marriage to Boaz was not the ultimate gift. It was simply the packaging to the gift. The gift that would come, is Jesus.

    Boaz is a faint refection of who Jesus is. Jesus provides for the poor. He died and rose again to protect the powerless. Under his Kingship, foreigners are foreigners no more. They were now God’s people. Jesus sacrificial love drove him to endure suffering, even death on the cross. To reveal to us, the love of the Father, he suffered, died and rose again. In Him, the living Christ, one grace after another is poured out on his people.

May I suggest two points of encouragement from this passage?

  1. Put your hope in Jesus…not in yourself or not in some other gift, … not even in the packaging that God gives you. We need the wrapping paper. It is all part of God’s gift to us. But we need the gift all the more. All good things point to the real gift, Jesus. We need him. Ask yourself, are you putting your hope in Jesus the true gift or something else? Are you putting your hope in the wrapping paper that God has given and not in Jesus?
  • Are you sharing that hope with others, not just with your lips but with your actions, like Boaz? With your life. Reflect the heart of God for the hurting, the powerless, commoner. Reflect it with forgiveness and lavish self-sacrifice.

Are you doing that? Are you leaving uncut edges in your fields?… Leaving the gleanings for others because you have been blessed with overflowing blessing?

In our living out of our faith, show your love for others. Care for others in the name of Jesus. It will mean some sacrifice. Jesus did that for us in a HUGE way. It is all by his grace. Is this what others in your life, see?

There are two shovels at work here. God measures out shovel-full’s of his grace to us, so much so that you can’t take it back home. It is so big and heavy! Then we shovel God’s grace to others and God gives his grace back to us and others as well.

Ruth 1:1-22: Our Faithful God Working Out His Purposes Even in Devastation

Our Faithful God Working Out His Purposes Even in Devastation

(Derived from the notes taken from Pastor *Jesse-Meekins* at Kishwaukee Bible Church in Sycamore Il.)

Ruth 1: 1-22                                                                  Kevin E. Jesmer

Key verse 1:6, 22                                                                        11-29-20

Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food.”

So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.”

     In this book we will learn what God has accomplished in his daughter Ruth. By his sovereign hand, he was calling her and establishing her to be the great grandmother of King David. God has made Ruth’s story a real Cinderella story. God is the sovereign Lord. He is faithful to fulfill his purposes in this world, in all things and through all things. His ever-faithful love resounds throughout the world…all of creation for that matter. First, God’s love resounds in the midst of disaster.  Second, God is faithful in the midst of personal tragedy. Third, the time of God’s judgement was over.

      First, God’s love resounds in the midst of disaster.  The people of God were experiencing disaster at this time. It was the time that the Judges rules. (1) They were not led by a king. They had compromised their faith by mixing with the false religions of the nations that surrounded them. Their political leaders and their spiritual leaders were compromised. They were not growing in the knowledge of God through his word. They were going through cycles where a judge would be raised up and they would be delivered from their enemies and have a few decades of peace. Then there were other times when the people would receive God’s training and discipline for their sins. Look at verse 1 again. “there was a famine in the land.” Naomi and her family were living where the people of Israel were experiencing famine, which was God’s training and judgement. These were times of judgement meant to help his people to repent of their sins and return to God for forgiveness and new life.

    Famines were very severe. There were no food rations being airdropped in. People could have been asking themselves, “Where is God in all of this devastation?”  In this famine devastation, as well as in any devastation then and now, God is at work, guiding all of us according to his plan. God’s plan was being worked out in Ruth’s life. God is faithful in any happenstance. We can be certain that God works all things according to his purpose and his will. (Romans 8:28).

    Second, God is faithful in the midst of personal tragedy. There was so much suffering amongst this family. There was famine, death, transplanting, poverty. There was so much loss. Look at verse 5. Naomi and her two daughters-in-law were left alone to cry with nothing to cling to. But yet in this time of personal tragedy, God is guiding by his sovereign hand. He is the process of bringing them back to the Promised Land. Some may argue that they could have been a better way, but God, in his vast wisdom, chose to do it this way. God is faithfully at work, moving history to his desired ends.

     There are times when we suffer greatly. At these times we must learn that Jesus is the only one that we can cling to and cry out to. He has promised us, “For I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) God is not the one we should ever shake a finger at. He is the one that we must trust in all things. Look at how he delt with Naomi and Ruth. We need eyes to see that he is moving history to his desired end. God’s faithfulness is revealed in the foreigner, Ruth!

     Third, the time of God’s judgement was over. Naomi and Ruth came to the land of the Israelites. Naomi was broken. She asked to be called Mara because the Lord brought her back empty. (21) But we know it always darkest before the dawn. God is ever faithful to work out his salvation plan in someone’s darkness to reveal his glorious light. Eventually, this will lead, as we will see, to the light of his One and Only Son, Jesus Christ. God does this usually in the midst of devastation. There is not a time that God is not directing and guiding to Jesus. And so, the question is this, are we going to trust the one who is holding the brush and painting the lights on the dark canvas or do we think we know better than the artist himself?

Ida Morton’s letter to Uncle Hubert F. Jesmer in Winnipeg. Written in 1960

Letters sent by Emily (Dobranski) Sawicki, my maternal grandmother

These letters were sent to me from my grandmother, Emily Sawicki. They can give some insight into the type of woman she was.

Paswegin Ladies’ Curling Club Songs 1951

Curling was a big deal in Paswegin. My grandmother Alice loved curling. Some say that she had a hand in the production of these songs.

Some Letters I & My Sister Got from Harvey and Alice Jesmer in the 1970’s

I am publishing these letters to let other people know the kind people my grand parents were. They were very kind hearted. The letters are written by Alice. Harvey was very quiet, but shared her heart and her love for their family. Those that know Alice testify that they can almost hear her voice as she read the letters. What a shame to let these letters be lost. That is why I am posting them.