Previous Page

The Book of Ruth

Feb 18, 2024 | John Talcott

The Book of Ruth (5) - Redeemed

We have been following the story of two women who have the choice to either succumb to their situation or find a way out. We have seen according to the providence of God, how these two women Naomi and Ruth, have their lives disrupted by the cycles of life and death. And yet, what we have discovered is that God disrupts time and eternity so that they may be partakers of his divine plan, the mystery of our redemption.

You see, like Naomi and Ruth, as the redeemed of God, Christ has disrupted our lives, set us free from the past, and drawn us into the mystery of an eternity in his presence. In other words, we’ve been redeemed by God who ministers to us beyond the shackles of time, and who demonstrates his providence most powerfully in the disruptions of our lives. Which is why it is so important that we understand that what we see in the natural is really incomparable to what will be revealed in the supernatural.

And so, today we want to embrace the supernatural presence of God, allowing the disruptions of life to move us into God’s mysterious plan, instead of letting the disruptions of life become a distraction. Because as the redeemed of God we were created with intention and purpose, and in Ruth chapter one we discovered Naomi migrating to Moab with her family because of a famine that existed in Bethlehem. In other words, she and her husband Elimelech didn’t know what else to do, they just knew that they couldn’t stay where they were. And so, instead of seeking God, they went to Moab, a place where God had said in times past that the children of Israel were not to go.

Now, before we are tempted to criticize them for their lack of spiritual discernment, we must acknowledge that most of us at some point in our lives have found ourselves in a situation like this where instead of trusting God we took things into our own hands. In other words, we just knew that we had to do something, and so instead of praying and seeking the Lord, we just made a move because of the famine. It may have been an economic famine, a spiritual famine, or an emotional famine, but there are all kinds of famines that can come in your life.

And so, my prayer has been that this message today is going to be a famine breaking message, because there are some of you who have been in a famine for a long time. Some of you who have learned to function in a famine, you have accepted the famine as your new normal, but I declare to you today that the devil is a liar. Because our God is a Redeemer who declared to his people when he brought them out of Egypt, the enemy you see today you will never see again (Exodus 14:13).

And so, is there anyone here that is ready to receive the word of the Lord? Anybody who wants a breakthrough as the Lord delivers you from a famine in your life? The Lord is your Redeemer and the Bible says,

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles” (Psalms 34:17).

When the famine got bad enough, Naomi said, “I am out of here.” And in the same way, when the famine gets bad enough for you, maybe a famine of provision, a famine of love, but when it gets bad enough, when you get hungry enough, when you get lonely enough, or when you get broke enough, then you will pack up and move.

And so, that’s what happens in the first chapter, Naomi gets the Moab and stays there for many years. Over time her sons find wives and they marry, but after a number of years her husband passed away. Then things got worse. Anybody ever had things get worse? Naomi lost her husband, then she lost one son, and then the other son. All of a sudden, she finds herself in a famine again, this time it was a famine for love, a famine of relationship, a famine of companionship, and so she packs her bags and heads back home to Bethlehem.

Now, one of her daughters-in-law named Orpah decided to stay in Moab, but Ruth was determined to go with Naomi. In other words, she had become attached to Naomi, she had developed a relationship with Naomi, and more importantly she had developed a relationship with Naomi’s God. Her God had become Ruth’s God, and so now both Naomi and Ruth began their journey from Moab, from a place where the Bible says they were excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).

Together they pack up and leave this place where they had lived without hope and without God and they moved to Bethlehem where God is known and worshiped. Naomi remembers Bethlehem, because this was home, all of her relatives live there, she speaks the language, she understands the culture, and so she’s coming back to her people and back to her God.

Like turning the page of a novel, Naomi and Ruth had the courage to finish one chapter of their lives, turning the page to begin a new chapter. And so, much like the experience of the apostle Paul who said in one moment,

“We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8).

In other words, it was like a famine, he said we were without hope. But then in the very next moment he declares, “but God is faithful… he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

And that’s all we really wanted, that’s all we needed, we were just looking for a way out. Which is one thing that is unmistakable throughout the Book of Ruth, the fact that God is working in all things, he is faithful, and he will provide a way out.

Naomi and Ruth have just turned the page, stepping into another chapter of their lives, and we have seen the previous chapters, we have seen the insecurities, the sacrifice, the heartbreak and the loss. Now as we come to the fourth chapter, we’re going to discover that what you decide to do or where you go or who you decide to go with is going to determine what the next chapter of your life will look like.

Now, before we begin chapter four, let me remind you where we left off last week. In chapter 3, Ruth just happened to be gleaning in the field of a man named Boaz. Again, it just so happened that he was family of Naomi’s and so she encouraged Ruth to go back to him. Now, in their culture, if you were a widow, you needed to find your kinsman redeemer. And so, Naomi is intent on writing a better chapter for her life and she basically sent Ruth to Boaz to propose to him.

If you remember from last week, a kinsman redeemer is a family member who would protect a widow and provide for her. The problem is that Boaz knew that he wasn’t the nearest of kin. He said,

“There is a redeemer nearer than I… (And so, he told Ruth,) if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the Lord lives, I will redeem you” (Ruth 3:12-13, ESV).

And so, Boaz wanted to be her kinsman redeemer, he was willing, but he had to work it out. In other words, he had to make a deal with the other guy so that he could step into this role of kinsman redeemer.

The problem was that he didn’t know where he was, he had to find this guy, but fortunately we have seen the providence of God all through this book. And all Boaz needed was for God to intervene once again and use natural circumstances to bring about the supernatural purposes of God. And so, meanwhile, chapter four, verse one says,

“Boaz went up to the town gate and sat there” (Ruth 4:1).

Now, “the gate” was the place where the prominent men were, where the elders were, and so this would be like going to court. This was the place where you would go to work out a disagreement, to negotiate a business deal, or to settle some sort of contract. Boaz goes to the town gate and takes a seat and I want you to notice the next two words.

Let’s all say it out loud. “And behold.” In other words, just then, or it just so happened,

“Behold, the redeemer, of whom Boaz had spoken, came by” (Ruth 4:1, ESV).

And so, it just so happened that he came by at that moment, according to the providence of God, because God was working through the natural to bring about his supernatural purposes. Boaz sees him and says,

“Turn aside, friend; sit down here." And he turned aside and sat down” (Ruth 4:1, ESV).

Now, the word translated “friend” in the Hebrew would be more like saying, “Hey you!” In other words, the Scripture doesn’t include the man’s name, it just says that he happened to show up. And so, we know that this is more than a coincidence, this was the providence of God that brought him to the right place at just the right time.

Boaz is a man of God, he is walking in the will of God, he is not a pastor, prophet, or priest, but he is a godly businessman and a landowner. And so, we’re going to see him implement some very strategic planning to conduct a business deal that is actually very spiritual. Boaz goes to the city gate with his plan, and he called together the elders. Verse two says,

“He took ten men of the elders of the city and said, "Sit down here." So they sat down” (Ruth 4:2, ESV).

Then he said to the unnamed man, to the redeemer,

“Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belonged to our relative Elimelech” (Ruth 4:3, ESV).

Now, this is very shrewd, this is a very strategic business plan, and he is going to make him an offer that he can’t refuse. He says to the redeemer, “I thought I would tell you of it because Naomi is widowed now, and so, if you want this land, here’s what you need to do.”

“Buy it in the presence of those sitting here and in the presence of the elders of my people.' If you will redeem it, redeem it. But if you will not, tell me, that I may know, for there is no one besides you to redeem it, and I come after you” (Ruth 4:4, ESV).

Now, this was a bargain, and so, Elimelech’s next of kin, this unnamed man said,

“Yes, I will redeem it” (Ruth 4:4, ESV).

And then, Boaz says, “But there’s one more thing.” And this is his strategy, he says, “I have got to tell you,”

“The day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the widow of the dead, in order to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance” (Ruth 4:5, ESV).

In other words, your purchase of the land requires that you marry Ruth so that she can have children who will carry on her husband’s name and keep the land in the family.

Now, that little additional clause changed everything, because the redeemer didn’t know that this deal on this land required that he take care of a couple of widows. And so, he said,

“I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I impair my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it” (Ruth 4:6, ESV).

Recognizing that this was a bad investment, and that he would acquire two more dependents, he said to Boaz,

“No thank you. Buy it for yourself” (Ruth 4:8, ESV).

And so, Boaz’s plan worked out just like he had hoped it would, because God’s word tells us,

“Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5, NLT).

In other words, good planning and hard work leads to a life of blessings, reward, and prosperity. I know that’s not understood in our culture today, because nobody wants to work hard, nobody wants to put forth any effort, but the Bible says,

“If a man will not work, he shall not eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

And so, Boaz has been working this deal, he had a strategy that worked out perfectly, but I wonder how many of you today have a plan. In other words, if you are looking forward to a better chapter in your life, do you have a better plan. You’ve got to get a plan, if you can’t figure it out on your own, you’ve got to get some help from some godly people. In fact, the Bible says it this way,

“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14, ESV).

And so, for some of you it could be a financial plan, maybe a health plan, a workout plan, or maybe just a different plan. But it’s important that you have a plan because the decisions that you are making now, will determine the life that you are living tomorrow.

Boaz had a strategy, he’s working his plan, and he said to the elders and all the people,

“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” (Ruth 4:9, ESV).

And so, all of this was very purposeful, very strategic, because through the purchase of the land he becomes the kinsman redeemer. Look at this in verse ten, here is the prize, here is the reward. He says,

“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” (Ruth 4:10, ESV).

In verse eleven, as God enters the story, his story is going to bring out something more powerful than we could ever imagine. As Boaz joins his story with her story, his chapter with her chapter, together through the providence of God they are creating God’s chapter in their lives together. As the Scripture says,

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way” (Psalms 37:23, NKJV).

All the people and the elders said, “We are witnesses.” And then we’re going to see another prayer here in the book of Ruth. They prayed a prayer of blessing over Boaz and Ruth saying,

“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, 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” (Ruth 4:11-12, ESV).

Without realizing what they were saying they mentioned being renowned in Bethlehem, but what they didn’t know was that from Boaz’s offspring there would be somebody else who would be even more famous.

But you see when you understand the providence of God and you realize that he is working his good in all things, the words of the prophet Micah make even more sense. He declared in chapter five, verse two,

“You, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times" (Micah 5:2).

And so, this one who is the offspring of Boaz will be known as the ancient of days. He is the one who was in the beginning, he is the word made flesh. He is the one whom the prophet said, the government will be on his shoulders. He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.

This is our Jesus, our kinsman redeemer, he is all over this story, because this is his story, or you could say its history; because God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son. As the angel declared, “Today, in Bethlehem Ephratha, in the town of David a Savior has been born to you” (Luke 2:11). That is our Redeemer, Jesus our Savior, he was the perfect sacrifice, the sinless Lamb of God who was slain for the forgiveness of our sins. Now, maybe you ask, how could that be, that a man was born without sin? And the truth is that it was because of the providence of God, that God was working in the natural to bring about the supernatural.

In fact, the Bible tells us, “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18). And so, this is the genealogy, the family lineage, Mary was engaged to Joseph, whose father was Jacob, whose father was Matthan, whose father was Eleazar, and you can see this in the lineage of Jesus in Matthew chapter one. It lists them out one after another after another and after another and you can see the providential will of God, the power of God, and the plan of God who was working the whole time.

In fact, if you keep following it back, verse after verse, you come to verse five which says,

“Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David” (Matthew 1:5-6).

That is so amazing because what we see is history, that God in his providence has been working from the beginning of time. In other words, he was working in the good chapters and in the bad chapters and no matter where you find yourself today, and God is still working in every single moment. Even now, right now he is pointing you towards the grace and glory and goodness of his son Jesus Christ.

And so, whatever chapter you may find yourself in today, God is in it with you. In other words, he is still working and according to his providence and through his sovereign plan he sent his son Jesus Christ to be our Savior, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan all along.

In fact, you may remember that before Jesus died, he prayed on the cross, and he declared, “It is finished.”

“With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:30).

In other words, Jesus knew that he had a job to do, that he was working, that he was fulfilling his Father’s plan the whole time. In fact, the Bible tells us his plan for us,

“God has saved us and called us to a holy life — not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time” (2 Timothy 1:9).

And so, by the providence of God the Father, Jesus died doing the work of his Father, serving as our Great High Priest, and on the third day when the stone was rolled away, he wasn’t there. The Bible testifies,

“God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:24).

And so, the tomb was empty, because Jesus is alive, our Redeemer has risen, so that anyone who calls on his name would be saved.

In other words, it doesn’t matter who you are, when you call upon the name that is above every name, the name of Jesus, your sins can be forgiven. And God will help write your next chapter, a better chapter where he is glorified, because he is with you.

Graphics, notes, and commentary from LifeChurch, Ministry Pass, PC Study Bible, Preaching Library, and Sermon Central. Scripture from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.

Series Information

Other sermons in the series