Here’s my sermon out for Ruth 4. You can listen to the sermon here.
Ruth 4: A Costly Redemption
INTRO: Ecclesiastes 3:11: “God has made everything beautiful in its time.” We see this in the book of Ruth. It is a story that began with a famine and death but ends with a marriage and a birth; it began with sorrow and ends with joy; it began with a longing for a redemption and ends with the redemption greater than any of the characters could have anticipated! God has made things beautiful in the life of Naomi and Ruth, and today we get to consider this together. We get to be reminded of God’s grace, kindness, and love for His people.
Recap of ch 1-3: Ruth is a historical book about the great grandparents of king David. It takes place in the dark days of Judges. The account begins with an Israelite family fleeing Israel during a famine to sojourn in Moab. Instead of finding bread and prosperity, they find hardship and death. The husband, Elimelech, dies; the boys Mahlon and Chilion marry Moabite wives, but after 10 years they die too with no grandchildren. Naomi, the mother, is devastated; she heads back to Bethlehem after hearing that God has ended the famine. On the way, one of her daughters-in-law goes back to Moab, but the other, Ruth, clings to her. Ruth declares that she will stay with Naomi and she professes faith in the LORD (‘Your God will be my God, and your people my people’). After arriving in Israel, we hear of Naomi’s condition: she is bitter and empty, and only sees God’s hand working against her. But their arrival happens to be at the beginning of the barley harvest and Ruth goes out to glean in the fields to provide for the two of them. In God’s providence, Ruth ends up in the field of a godly and generous man named Boaz, who it turns out is also one of Elimelech’s relatives. After weeks of gathering grain and experiencing Boaz’s kindness, Naomi hatching up a scheme to see Ruth and Boaz married. Ruth goes to Boaz in the middle of night and boldly proposes to Boaz, who responds favorably! But there is a complication: another relative is next in line who has the legal right to marry Ruth first. So, Boaz has to do something about this, and here in chapter 4 we see what.
Chapter 4 is the great conclusion of this beautiful book. Here we see how everything comes together and we learn that things turn out even more wonderful than the main characters could even have imagined! This passage reminds us to trust in God in the dark and bleak times, God really does bring about all things for our good; sometimes we get to see that more clearly in our lives (MY FRIEND’S broken and restored marriage); other times we have to walk by faith (We suffer, are perplexed, do not see resolution in this live. As Christians, we know and trust that God will make everything beautiful in its time, even if that time in heaven and on the new earth.
In chapter 4 we see A Costly Redemption that brings wholeness better than one could imagine.
1. A Costly Redemption (1-11a)
Remember the situation: Boaz has agreed to take on the role of the kinsman redeemer and marry Ruth. This means he will raise an heir that will take on the name of the deceased and provide for Naomi. But there is a complication: another relative is next in line. If Boaz is to marry Ruth, he must do something about this. Notice with me how he does and also what a costly redemption this is.
-The SCENE is set (1-2)
-“Gate” is where legal transactions took place
–“Redeemer” happens to come by “behold”—subtle clue pointing the providence of God.
–Pieces are in place: the unnamed redeemer, the witnesses (elders of the city)
-The Negotiation (3-6)
–Boaz’s opening address (3-4a).
-Direct in bringing up the topic: Naomi’s land available, your next line, redeemer if you will, if not I will!
–Unnamed Redeemer’s initial response: I’ll buy it! (4b)
–Boaz’s second speech (5). If you acquire the property, you also acquire RUTH! Will raise heir for Dead.
-Unnamed Redeemer’s change of heart (6): I change my mind, YOU take it!
-It is COSTLY, whoever takes on this kinsman redemption will have endure the cost.
-A Deal Signed with a Sandal (7-8)
–“Buy it for yourself, and he drew off his sandal”
-Boaz Acquires the Right of Kinsman Redeemer (9-10)
-This was COSTLY (he would have to take on the cost of Naomi, Ruth, baby)
-This was SACRIFICIAL: son would be raised to perpetuate name of the dead
-This was GODLY: Boaz did what was right.
-The Deal is Verified by the Witnesses (11a)APP: The costly and sacrificial act of redemption by Boaz points to an even great and more costly act of redemption by Jesus Christ. Jesus, at his own expense, came to redeem us from our sin through his death on the cross.
–PENAL SUBSTITUTIONARY ATONEMENT. Heb 2:9, 17b
2. A Costly Redemption That Brings Wholeness (11b-17)
The costly act of redemption brought a deliverance and wholeness to Naomi and Ruth. We’ll see that here in this next section, which has two blessing scenes which surround the announcement of the marriage and birth.
-First Blessing Scene, the Elders’ Blessing (11b-12) -Blessing to be like Rachel and Leah (11b): FRUITFULNESS
-Blessing over Boaz for prosperity and the offspring (11c-12): FRUITFULNESS
-A Marriage and a Birth ANNOUNCEMENT (13)
–Boaz and Ruth get married! (13a)
-“The LORD GAVE her conception”. Only place where the narrator assigns a direct action to the LORD.
-Miraculous conceptionàRemember earlier Ruth and Mahlon were married 10 years, no conception.
–She bore a son (13b)
-Second Blessing Scene [months later after the baby is born], the Women Bless Naomi (read 14-15)
–Recognition that God has given Naomi a redeemer.
-This redeemer refers not to Boaz, but to the baby boy (see 15b)
–Prayer that his name would “be renowned in Israel” (14b)
–Prophetic word about how this redeemer would impact Naomi (15a)
–Restorer of life… Nourisher of your old age
–Recognition of God’s kindness in providing Ruth (15)
-“your daughter-in-law who loves, who is more to you than seven sons” (15b)
-Naomi is FULL (READ 16-17a)
-The book began with Naomi losing her husband and sons, but ends with her holding a baby grandson
-The women give him a name “OBED” which means servant.
APP: Naomi experienced a costly redemption that brought wholeness and redemption to her.
-In Christ we have a redemption that brings a FULLNESS and JOY better than we could ever imagined.
-This is a joy better than things of this world: PSLAM 4:7 “MORE JOY than…”
-It is the joy of KNOWING God: John 17:3.
PACKER: The greatest privilege of a Christian is not justification, but the results of justification, which is adoption!
PERSONAL: I first came to know this when I was 18. Before that, I thought music, relationship with a girl, friends could satisfy my heart. But when I became a Christian I saw how knowing God is truly more wonderful & delightful than all those things, and it actually purifies and changes all those things.
–Growing as a Christian, God continues to teach me that only He can satisfy. It is an ongoing process.
–CALVIN: Heart is a factory of idols.
–Lately, God has been teaching me my heart is made for Him, not ministry success.
QUESTION: Do you see that God is better than everything? Is God what brings you fullness, or have you been seeking to find that elsewhere lately?
–GOSPEL: Jesus delivers us from idols, and brings us to God that we might find life in Him now and into eternity.
3. A Costly Redemption that Brings Wholeness Better than One Could Imagine (17b-22)
The book of Ruth ends with a genealogy. This would be weird if the son of Ruth were insignificant, but he is not. He is the grandfather of king David! Here we see that the redemption Naomi experienced is far better than she could have ever imagined, for the grandson who redeems her turns out to be the grandfather of King David.
-Obed is the grandfather of David (17b-22)
-A recap of significant individuals in the Davidic family line, starting Perez (who was son of Judah).
–King David was the most important king in Israel.
-Man after God’s own heart.
-Prophesy made that he would have a descendant who be the forever king of God’s people (2 Sam 7:12-13) -Jesus is this great descendant of king David
-Matt 1:1; Matt 4:17; Matt 13:44-46.
APP: In the gospel we experience a costly redemption that brings wholeness to our soul in a way better than we could imagine! We get to know Jesus and live in under his KINGLY reign, now and into eternity.