Ruth 4

Ruth 4 is a beautiful story of God’s hand at work.  Boaz heads into town to make something happen in regards to Naomi and Ruth and their situation.  As was the custom of the day, the next of kin had the responsibility if they accepted it, of taking on the wife of the deceased.  Elimelech has died and now “the redeemer” – who is not named here – is in the spotlight.  Boaz asks if he is going to step up and exercise his right/responsibility to take Naomi into his family.

Boaz asks ten elders to be present for the discussion – he wants witnesses to the decision that will be made.  And he lays out the situation clearly for all: “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”.  He says ‘it is your right to buy Naomi’s land and take her on as part of your family’.  But wait, there’s a catch.  Boaz goes on to explain the rest of the story.  If you take on Naomi, you also have to take on Ruth.  So it was a double commitment – the redeemer would have to support two women if he wants to exercise his right as next of kin.

The intial response was yes, but when the commitment was doubled it was too much.  “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I impair my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it”.  The one who was first in line was not willing to put his current situation at risk and take on too much responsibility.  So Boaz immediately steps up and takes on the responsibility.  He agrees to care for the two women, and says “I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance”.  He is going to become the father of Ruth’s child to keep the family name alive.

And what comes of this union?  “Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife”.  It changed Naomi’s world instantly as she went from a widow without any way to support herself to one cared for.  Plus she now has a daughter-in-law who has a husband and can carry on the family name.  Her friends said “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel”!  Talk about a change of situation.  But it gets better.  Ruth gives birth and makes Naomi a grandma.  “Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse”.  She now is caring for a very special child.  “They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David”.  Did you catch that?  This union produced the grandfather of one of the greatest men in scripture – David.  Out of what appeared to be a total disaster God raises up a man after his own heart.  God is able, more than able, to do great and awesome things

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