Life Lessons: Ruth: Worth the Wait (Chapter 4)
Here we are at the end of Ruth and I have to say that every time I read this passage my first thought is how clever Boaz seems to be in his dealings with the other potential kinsman-redeemer. I think it’s obvious that Boaz chooses his words carefully not to mislead this guy but to make sure Ruth will really be cared for if he doesn’t get to make the claim but I think he sets the stage for the claim he is hoping to make. Boaz tells the guy there is a nice piece of land to redeem which he is all for, however, when Boaz brings up the point that he will also have to redeem Ruth the other dude backs out for fear of endangering his own estate. This dude then turns around and suggests that Boaz redeem Ruth to which I’m sure Boaz was like, “Well, if you really think so…” *wink, wink*.
Per cultural conditions, all of this took place in front of witnesses, so both Boaz and Ruth are above reproach and this other guy can’t come back and say Boaz stole this wonderful opportunity away because others heard Boaz make the offer. He was wise and understood what was at stake and in the end he was successful but this isn’t where the story ends. Not only does Boaz succeed in getting permission to marry Ruth, the witnesses actually pray a blessing on Ruth. Think about it...Here stands Ruth, who had been known as the Moabitess (i.e. an outcast foreigner), but is now being blessed as Rachel and Leah, the mothers of Israel’s tribes. The town even goes on to pray that she is famous in Bethlehem and it seems that everyone thinks this is a good match.
Don’t you wonder if Boaz and Ruth were the town “ship” that everyone was praying would come to pass? Did everybody see how perfect they would be together but they couldn’t see it? Or maybe the town had witnessed small moments where she would glance at him and smile but turn before he saw or maybe they saw the little kindnesses Boaz performed without her realizing? Don’t you wish you could hear the details of Bible stories? I have so many questions!
The book of Ruth ends with two final sections. The first is titled “Naomi Gains a Son”. That’s right… NAOMI!!! The townspeople who were questioning “Could this be Naomi?” in chapter one are now singing blessings on Naomi, excited for all the goodness that has come into her life and the security she now has with the legacy of a grandson. I love that they even say Ruth is better than seven sons. Who could have guessed that Naomi (or Ruth’s) story would end this way when they started their journey?
But to me, the most beautiful part comes in verse 17, where it says, “And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.” Yes, THAT David and if you flip over to Matthew chapter 1 you find the genealogy of Jesus where Ruth is one of only five women listed. What a beautiful hindsight-is-20/20 moment and speaking of Christ, he is often described as our kinsman-redeemer. The story of Ruth is just a big ole picture of the Gospel told through the life of a humble and unassuming woman.
In the end, Ruth reminds us that the Lord is faith and is in the business of caring for his people, however, waiting on God’s timing requires patient trust and truthfully, the loyalty of others. Your faithfulness is important to your story but it is often crucial to others’ story, as well. Don’t give up on the Lord’s purpose for your life because you can’t see the plan or because it looks different than you expected!
Considerations for the Modern Ruth:
Have you ever had a moment when you looked back on a situation that you could see the hand of God at work when maybe you couldn’t see it while you were in the midst of the moment? What legacy is your life leaving? For your family? Your faith? Is it a legacy that will last hundreds of years, like Ruth’s?
“Lord, help me leave a legacy of faithfulness for the next generations. Please guide my steps to best represent your glory to my family, friends and loved ones. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the story of faith.”