This devotional is written by Matt Coombs. Matt is one of the leaders of St Mary's, is married to Pip and father to Caleb.

Ruth 4

Boaz marries Ruth

4 Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate and sat down there just as the guardian-redeemer[a] he had mentioned came along. Boaz said, 'Come over here, my friend, and sit down.' So he went over and sat down.

2 Boaz took ten of the elders of the town and said, 'Sit here,' and they did so. 3 Then he said to the guardian-redeemer, 'Naomi, who has come back from Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our relative Elimelek. 4 I thought I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, do so. But if you[b] will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.'

'I will redeem it,' he said.

5 Then Boaz said, 'On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the[c] dead man's widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.'

6 At this, the guardian-redeemer said, 'Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.'

7 (Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other. This was the method of legalising transactions in Israel.)

8 So the guardian-redeemer said to Boaz, 'Buy it yourself.' And he removed his sandal.

9 Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, 'Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelek, Kilion and Mahlon. 10 I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, Mahlon's widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from his home town. Today you are witnesses!'

11 Then the elders and all the people at the gate said, 'We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the family of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. 12 Through the offspring the Lord gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.'

Naomi gains a son 13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14 The women said to Naomi: 'Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15 He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.'

16 Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. 17 The women living there said, 'Naomi has a son!' And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

The genealogy of David 18 This, then, is the family line of Perez:

Perez was the father of Hezron,

19 Hezron the father of Ram,

Ram the father of Amminadab,

20 Amminadab the father of Nahshon,

Nahshon the father of Salmon,

21 Salmon the father of Boaz,

Boaz the father of Obed,

22 Obed the father of Jesse,

and Jesse the father of David.


Here we arrive at the conclusion of the Book of Ruth.

Let's recap our story so far. This story happened during the time of the judges, no kings, no monarchy, for Israel everything is in chaos. It is an awful time.

Some Israelites were living in the region outside of Israel in a place called Moab and a woman named Naomi had two sons and a husband and those sons grew up and married two Moabite women.

Then there is a famine and then Naomi's husband died and then her sons also died leaving her both a widow and without children. This is obviously very bad news.

One of the daughter in laws, Ruth, chose to bind her life to Naomi which was a very risky thing to do because Ruth could have remarried, and as a foreigner, to go to Israel, would really seal her fate.

Israelites did not respect or marry foreigners, especially Moabite women.

Nevertheless, they both go to Bethlehem where Naomi hatches a plan for them to survive. She tries to get Ruth married. Which she does by getting Ruth to work in the field of a rich man called Boaz. They then hatch a scandalous, devious plan and convince Boaz to marry her.

Which, as we see in chapter 4, Boaz does out of love and generosity.

Naomi who was bitter is now sweet, her and Ruth's situation redeemed, and as we see at the end in the genealogy, Ruth and her guardian-redeemer Boaz produce a lineage that eventually leads to (King) David.

And as you probably know, it is from David's line that the messiah - the great-redeemer Jesus comes to redeem not just a family or a nation but the whole world.

This story starts with incredible suffering, which is followed by incredible loyalty, deception, generosity, lust and manipulation.

The things that happen are by all accounts incredibly scandalous. They are devious. They are full of hidden agendas. and mixed motivations.

If we lived the lives of the characters, and made some of their choices, we would want to repent, forget, ignore, or block out the contents of this story.

But those choices become ingredients in the story's redemption.

Even with these bad choices, they become the mechanism by which the story turns and becomes a story of redemption and hope.

I think this actually says something about God and how he works.

The Book of Ruth both the good and the bad, the meat and the bones is all used. Nothing is wasted.

What does this mean for us?

Sometimes, like the famine in Moab, our lives are shaken to the core. Circumstances beyond our control occur. Things are turned upside down. And we're left devastated.

Sometimes others do things intentionally that cause us harm.

Sometimes we make choices we thought were good that turn out to be bad.

Sometimes we make choices even though we know they are bad.

Invariably we're left wondering if things will ever change? Can I get out of this situation? Will it always be this way?

The message we read in Ruth, is that if things are falling apart before you, God can replenish all that has been lost. God can take whatever choice we make and every choice others have made that harmed us and turn them for good. Our mistakes do not have the last word. Our sin, failure, arrogance, rejection of God does not count us out. There is grace enough for us, and God is working things for good.

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