RUTH GLEANING BARLEY                 RUTH LAYING AT BOAZ'S FEET

      When someone says, "Let me tell you about my mother-in-law", we expect some kind of negative statement or humorous anecdote, as a mother-in-law caricature has been the standard centerpiece of ridicule or comedy. However, in the book of Ruth, a different story is told in that Ruth loved her mother-in-law, Naomi, who was recently widowed. Not much is said about Naomi except that she loved and cared for Ruth.

      The book of Ruth is a literary gem that sets forth redemptive imagery. The principle God proposed through the tradition of levirate marriage (a brother marrying a deceased brother's widow, Deuteronomy 25:5-10) dramatically reveals His will that human loss always be recoverable and that we work with Him in extending such possibilities to those in need.  

      Naomi's husband and two sons who died, which left both Naomi and Ruth as widows. There were no other brothers for Ruth to marry, so they returned to Bethlehem. The story of Ruth takes place during the period of the Judges, which were dark days for Israel. Perversion and moral depravity were the rule, not the exception, yet there were some who still followed God. The little book of Ruth tells of two such people, Naomi and Ruth. They are a beautiful picture of loyalty, friendship and commitment - to God and each other.

      Because of severe drought, Naomi and Ruth return to Bethlehem, arriving at the time of barley harvest. Ruth had chosen to make her home in a foreign land rather than depending on Naomi or good fortune to happen. Inn accordance with Jewish custom, Ruth went out into the fields to gather grain which had fallen or was left at the sides or corners of the fields. The field was owned by a wealthy man of the family of Elimelech, who was named Boaz. Learning from his workers, Boaz learned who Ruth was, and granted her permission to continue gathering grain. He even instructed the other workers not to hinder her.

      Ruth's life exhibits admirable qualities. She was hardworking, loving, kind, faithful and brave. These qualities gained her a good reputation. Your reputation is formed by the people who watch you at work, in town, at home, and in church. A good reputation comes by consistently living out the qualities you believe in – no matter what group of people or surroundings you are in. The little book of Ruth is a classic example of good people in action. Boaz went far beyond the intent of the gleaners' law in demonstrating his kindness and generosity. He instructed his worksers to purposely snap off some grain and let it drop in her path.

      Initially, Naomi had felt bitter (1:20,21), but her faith in God was still alive, and praised God for guiding Ruth to the fields of Boaz. As widows, Ruth and Noami could only look forward to difficult times, but when Naomi learned of Boaz, her hope for the future revived (2:20). True to her character, she thought first of Ruth, encouraging Ruth so see if Boaz would take the responsibility of being a "kinsman-redeemer" to her.

      A kinsman-redeemer was a relative who volunteered to take the responsibility for the extended family. Because Ruth's husband had died, the law provided that she could marry a brother of her deceased husband. But Naomi had no other sons. In such a case the nearest relative to Ruth's husband could become a kinsman-redeemer and marry Ruth. Naomi instructed Ruth to wash and perfume herself, put on her best attire, and after Boaz had retired for the night to slip in and lay down under his covers at his feet.

      Naomi's advice seems strange, but she was not suggesting a seductive act. Law and custom gave Ruth, who was now proselyted to the Jewish religion, a legal claim to Boaz. However, Boaz being a righteous and just man knew of another man who was of closer kinship than he was (3:12) But, the other kinsman hearing the conditions and learns that any inheritance would go to Ruth and her son and that he would have to provide for Ruth declares he is unable to purchase (4:3-6). When a widow requested a next of kin to perform the role of kinsman-redeemer, he was not forced to. In fact three conditions had to be met: A. He had to be qualified as a kinsman; B. He had to be able to perform; C.He had to be willing. Two issues were at stake: First, redeeming the land for Naomi and Second, taking Ruth as his wife.

      Many are ready to grab opportunities to increase their own estates, but fear being laughed at or marring their own estates. Boaz marries Ruth and takes Naomi into his care as well. The couple has a son to the delight of all! They named him Obed. He grew to become the son of Jesse, grandfather of King David, great-grandfather of King Solomon, and an ancestor of Jesus.

      The New Testament story of Mary and Joseph has similarities to the story of Ruth and Boaz. Ruth was an outsider, and that's how Mary would have been treated once her neighbors discovered she had an early baby. Boaz showed compassion for Ruth by agreeing to marry. Joseph showed compassion for Mary, though he knew he was not the father of the divine child. Ruth and Boaz raised a family of kings. Mary and Joseph raised the King of kings Who is our Kinsman-redeemer, who though He was God, came to earth as a man in order to save us. By His death on the cross, He has redeemed us from sin and hopelessness and thereby purchased us to be His own possession (I Peter 1:18,19).

      To some the book of Ruth is just a nice story about a girl who got lucky. Actually the story of Boaz and Ruth portrays a beautiful picture of a sinner laying his/her sins at the feet of Jesus. The beautiful story of Ruth is a series of marvelous events in which God is developing His MAGNIFICENT SCHEME OF REDEMPTION SO THAT WHEN WE DIE TO SIN WE RECEIVE AN INHERITANCE THAT IS BEYOND ONES GRANDEST IMAGINATION! 


Just a thought across the garden gate by Parson Don  



Created on Feb 17, 2019   
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