The Book of Ruth begins with three funerals and ends with a wedding. Chapter one is filled with sorrow and weeping, but chapter four is filled with rejoicing. Not all of life's stories have this kind of happy ending, but this book reminds us that, for the believer, God still writes the last chapter. This chapter focuses on a bridegroom, a bride, and a baby.
I. The Bridegroom. 4:1-10
A. The meaning of redemption.
Note: The law of the kinsman redeemer is given in Le. 25:23-34 and the law governing levirate marriage is found in De. 25:5-10. The purpose of these laws was to preserve the name and protect the property of families in Israel.
1. The word redeem means "to set free by paying a price".
2. In the case of Naomi and Ruth, Elimelech's property had either been sold or was under some kind of mortgage.
3. The rights to the land had passed to Ruth's husband when Elimelech died.
4. But Ruth was too poor to redeem the land, so we see the need for a kinsman redeemer.
5. When it comes to spiritual redemption, all people were under bondage to sin, and were unable to set themselves free; but Jesus became our redeemer who paid the price that we might go free.
B. The marks of the redeemer.
1. Not everyone could perform the duties of the kinsman redeemer.
2. He had to be a near kinsman...this was a major obstacle for Boaz to overcome because there was a man in Bethlehem who was a nearer kinsman to Ruth than he was.
3. When we see this as a type of Christ, we realize why it was important that Christ be "related" to us before He could redeem us.
4. He became flesh and blood so He could die for us on the cross. cf Heb. 2:14-15
5. The kinsman redeemer also had to be able to pay the price of redemption.
6. And he had to be willing to redeem, as we see in these verses, the nearer kinsman had the ability to redeem, but he lacked the motivation, he was afraid that he would jeopardize his own family's inheritance. v6
C. The method of redemption.
1. The city gate was the place where official business was transacted with the presence of witnesses.
2. Boaz presented the offer to redeem the land first, and the man was ready to redeem it.
3. However, when he presented the need to also take Ruth as wife the man balked and rejected the offer to redeem.
4. He gave his shoe to Boaz which meant he relinquished all rights to "walk on and posses the land".
5. Boaz now had the land, and Ruth!
6. Like Christ, Boaz did what he did because of his love for the bride...Ruth.
II. The Bride. 4:11-12
A. The entire community rejoiced with Boaz in his decision to redeem Ruth.
B. They offered their blessings upon them.
1. "...like Rachel and Leah..."
a. Bearing children was important to the Jewish people.
b. To perpetuate the nation and because through the birth of a child Messiah would come.
c. Their prayer was that Ruth be fruitful and famous.
d. Rachel and Leah bore eight sons to Jacob and they became the leading tribes in Israel.
2. "...like the house of Pharez..."
a. The family of Pharez had settled in Bethlehem and Boaz was a descendent of that founding family.
b. Their prayer was that Ruth and Boaz would bear many children and that their family would bring honor to the city of Bethlehem.
c. Their prayers would certainly be answered as Bethlehem would become known as the place where the Messiah, Jesus Christ, would be born...and He would be descended from Ruth and Boaz.
III. The Baby. 4:13-22
Note: God had been very gracious to Ruth. He brought her out of Moab into Bethlehem. He brought her to trust in Him for salvation. He guided her to the field of Boaz where they fell in love. God's grace continued in seeing her redeemed and married to Boaz. He allowed her to conceive and bare a child...Obed (servant). Now God would use this child to be a source of blessing to many.
A. Obed was a blessing to Boaz and Ruth.
1. Every child born into a home is a blessing from God.
2. Obed would be no exception to that.
3. What a privilege to bring new life into the world and then to guide that life so it matures and becomes all that God has planned.
B. Obed was a blessing to Naomi.
1. He was to be a "restorer of life".
2. He would give her a reason for living.
3. She was no longer empty...now she had a son again.
C. Obed would bring a blessing to Bethlehem.
1. He would bring fame to this small town.
2. This happened through the life and ministry of King David.
3. This would be magnified through the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.
D. Obed would bring blessing to the whole world.
1. The greatest thing that God did for David was not to give him victory over Israel's enemies.
2. But was to allow him to be the ancestor of the Messiah.
3. Obed would have a son named Jesse, Jesse would have eight sons, the youngest of which would become David the king, and Jesus would be born of the house of David.
When we began our study we talked about how that God's providential hand was seen in the lives of these two women. Having completed the book we can look back and see how God has worked to bring about His will. Providence = the hand of God in the glove of history.
Next we will look at the book of Esther. God's name is not mentioned in the entire book, but His hand cannot be denied in shaping the events that we will see transpire. Both Ruth and Esther are great examples to us of individuals who were committed to God and God used them in great ways to accomplish His will.