While we often romanticize the story of Ruth and Boaz, it is a beautiful picture of our redemption through Jesus Christ's death on the cross of Calvary. We have to remember to look at the entire Bible as one big story and take ourselves out of the picture. I have heard preachers tell their congregants that they are the main character of whatever Bible book they are preaching on. "You are David!" or "You are Ruth!" But, beloved, this simply isn't true because the Bible isn't about us. It is one great big, beautiful story of God's love for us and how God redeems us to Himself. It is our handbook to life through the story of the Gospel. Everything points to the Gospel - especially Ruth.
Ruth is a story of redemption.
First of all, what does it mean to be redeemed? The dictionary defines redeem as a verb meaning "to compensate for the faults or bad aspects of something or someone; to gain or regain possession of something in exchange for payment."
I Corinthians 6:20 ~
"For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
In the Old Testament, God set up something called a goel. A goel is a Hebrew noun that is translated to "kinsman."
Ruth 2:1 ~
"And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz."
Goel literally means "redeemer or reclaimant." It was a relative who, according to ancient Hebrew custom, had the responsibility to avenge, redeem, or act in some way to save his kin that fell on hard times. It was his duty to avenge a murdered relative's blood or take care of a relative who fell into debt. In the same way, the Bible instructed the kinsman redeemer to "raise up the name of the dead" by taking his kin's widow to wife.
When Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem after being left without husbands and children in the land of Moab, they were penniless. Ruth could have stayed in Moab and lived with her family, but she chose to follow her mother-in-law. In the famous verse in Chapter 1 of Ruth, the woman told Naomi,
"Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou longest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God, my God: where thou Diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me."
Ruth chose to cleave to her mother-in-law and be faithful to God and her. We can see that God was faithful to the women as they chose to trust Him to take care of their needs.
So, the women returned to Israel with nothing. In Chapter 2, Ruth follows her mother-in-law's command to go to the fields of Boaz and glean the grain that fell to the wayside for poor and beggars. It was here Boaz first sees Ruth and asks about her. We can see that even though she is a pagan stranger, the people of Israel saw her actions as that of a righteous woman. What a compliment it had to have been for Ruth to hear the words of Boaz...
Ruth 2:11-12 ~
"It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou has left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou newest not heretofore.
The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust."
Similarly, Jesus's blood covers a multitude of sins so that God no longer judges us by our past, but rather looks at life after conversion. When we give our lives over to Him, we can enjoy that washing and that regeneration. Like Ruth, we then need to live life regenerated. And when we falter and fall, we know we can come back to Him because He forgives and restores!
Humbly and Boldly
Ruth humbly and boldly approached Boaz one night and asked for her right of being redeemed. Hebrews 4:16 tells us,
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
This is how Ruth approached Boaz and he responded to her with my favorite words of the entire book. In Chapter 3:11, Boaz tell her,
"Now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requires: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman."
What a wonderful concept! What a right that we too have! To boldly come before the throne of grace and be redeemed from our sins, from our trespasses! The story of Ruth is a beautiful story of redemption. We too are outcasts, sinners, unworthy. But we are redeemed through the Blood of Jesus.
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The Nearer Kinsman
In Chapter 4, we are introduced to a "nearer kinsman" who had the right before Boaz to redeem Ruth and Naomi. This kinsman, however, did not want to marry Ruth because he would "mar" his inheritance. He would have gladly redeem the land of Naomi's, but he would not marry Ruth.
What is interesting is that neither Orpah nor the nearer kinsman in Chapter 4 are ever mentioned again. The nearer kinsman was not willing to pay the full price for Ruth's redemption. Orpah was not willing to leave her old life for Naomi.
I love the book of Ruth for two reasons: (1) It is a picture of my redemption (and yours too if you accept the gift!) and (2) Ruth lives out an example of the biblical woman I strive to be.
We already discussed how the story of Ruth and Boaz is not just a love story but a picture of Jesus redeeming the sins of his people completely and entirely by sacrificing His life. But as I study what it means to be a biblical woman, I see an example in Ruth.
Several characteristics stand out to me that I can apply to my own life:
- Faithful in even the little things.
- Willing worker.
- Fully trusting in God.
At the same time, I see characteristics of my Lord and Savior that I would do well to remember.
- He is good.
- He is faithful.
- He is enough.
- He is my REDEEMER.
- He sacrificed Himself for me.
- He restoreth my soul. (Psalm 23:3)
- His love is stedfast.
Sharing is caring. Spread some practical applications for this passage by sharing this infographic with friends. Study Ruth together!
I talked about this topic over on Instagram! Check out the short video here. Follow along on Instagram for more, and always feel free to chat about what you learned, how you were inspired, and what you want to hear about next!
Looking for a deeper read? I encourage you to check out The Daily Grace Co's devotional called "Ruth: Fields of Grace." This is the study I mentioned in the video above. I went through this study with my dearest friend, and we both learned a lot about the love and faithfulness of God. It was a huge inspiration to my life, and I know you will walk away with a refreshed view of the Gospel. I encourage you to check it out.
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I hope that this encouraged you as it did me. I pray that the Lord use this to uplift and encourage someone - maybe it is you or maybe you know someone who needs to be reminded that God has redeemed them and won the war once and for all. Never forget that you were bought with a price! May this be a message that inspires you to live life as a godly woman under the hand of God. Be faithful in the little things and boldly claim that Blood on your life. He promises, and He will be faithful - always has and always will. He is our Redeemer - through Him we have life and life abundant. Praise Jesus!
With all my love and prayers,