Ruth 3-4 - Skip Heitzig
Calvary Church is dedicated to doctrine. And we want you to experience the life change that comes from knowing God's word and applying it to your life. So we explain the Bible verse by verse. Every chapter. Every book. This is Expound.
This is Bev Rich. She has been a missionary in Uganda. Jinja, Uganda for 23 years. And Bev, I was thinking of you when we were just singing, "You Make Me Brave" because you wouldn't be where you are unless God made you brave. And you've been there for-- well, she and her husband, Jess, were called there many years ago. And I remember when you guys went. So I remember all that. And of course the Lord has taken Jess to heaven. But we have so many treasured memories of him and of you serving there together.
But you're back for another five days. Is that right?
That's right. And then I move on to Colorado, and Reno, and Washington, and Oregon, and Arkansas, and then back to Denver.
OK, so where are you from originally? Are you from Texas originally? Yeah, OK. Because you have a slight Texas accent. I've always noted that but I just want to bring that out. I don't know why. It's just it's a nice thing to listen to.
Well, it's what attracted Jesse to me in the first place. So I'm OK with that.
Good. Good, good, good.
Course when I see my family, I'm much worse.
Yeah, I bet you are. So Bev, when Jess went to heaven, did you think you were going to stay in Uganda? And you've been there how many years without him?
I've been there six years without him now. Most people expected me to come home. But Jess had poured out his life for that mission. We have a vision. It started in 1991. And God very clearly told me that I was to stay. There are a lot of people that tried to chase me out. But God very clearly told me to stay and fight.
Wow. That's so good. Well, I just wanted you to be able to-- we're going to pray for her. But I wanted you to be able to see her, hear from her, she is-- you're a treasure. You're a treasure in the kingdom. And we consider it an honor to be able to partner with you and give you partial support for your ministry there. But you're going to be here for five days. I hope you're going to be here after the service just to talk to people if they want to meet you. Can you do that?
Course, look at that dress you're in. You can't miss that.
That's why I'm wearing it.
Look for the girl with the green flowered dress. And that'll be Bev. But can I lead us in prayer for you?
I have things here to pray for her. But anything in particular of all these things that you are asking people to partner with you in prayer about?
Well, there are senders and there are goers. And the people can't go unless people send. And if the ones that go don't have prayer and financial support, the ministries can't really be done. So I'm praying for senders.
Good, let's do that. Father, we want to thank you for the many years that you have given to Jess and Bev and then these last six years Bev without her partner, her life's partner there. But Lord, thank you that all that we have just sung is true. No matter what we face, no matter what hardship, no matter what purifying trial, you are there with us. You promise that. And here is proof of somebody who's been walking through very difficult circumstances in a foreign field. And yet you have been faithful to her. She is here rejoicing. And we're so thankful for her ministry in Jinja, Uganda. We pray that you would protect her from danger, from diseases, there are many of them there.
And even as she travels from place to place, going to different locations, Lord, there are dangers associated with that. We pray that you would protect them. We pray, Father, that you would give her all the finances that she needs to fulfill the ministry you've called her to there and to finish that out strong. We pray, Father, for other people that may feel called to go on and expand that ministry and to take over in the future.
We're thankful that she's with us tonight. We're thankful, Lord, that she's our sister in Christ who's been faithful to hear your call and to obey no matter what. So we're just thankful for this woman and pray that you would continue to pour out your Spirit upon her in Jesus' name.
Amen. Amen. Thank you.
Thank you. Would you turn in your Bibles please, to the Book of Ruth chapter 3? As you're turning there, let me remind you of what Paul wrote in the New Testament book of 1 Timothy. He said, "I exhort you first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority that we might live or lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence."
It is a command for us to pray for leaders in our world in our country. Whether you were happy about the results of the election or not, you and I are still called to pray for leaders in our country. And I've said that way back when Carter was president, and then Reagan was president, and there have been a lot of presidents that I've watched come and go. But I've always believed as Christians they in the very least deserve our constant prayer support. And we want to make sure that we are faithful to that.
You can disagree in dissent all you wish. And we should be involved vigorously in those processes. Were allowed to. But at the end of the day, to pray for God's wisdom, for God's strength, and for God to place people around that administration who do hear God's voice and will speak God's truth into that administration. So we want to do that.
I'm sure that when Paul-- well, I know that when Paul wrote that he was not too excited about the policies of the one that was in Rome calling the shots, Caesar Nero, the persecutor of Christians, the hater of all that was good. And yet Paul said, pray for kings and all who are in authority. Daniel the prophet, I don't think Daniel agreed with all of Nebuchadnezzar's policies like idol worship. That wouldn't be something Daniel would go, I'm stoked on that. But he was faithful to represent his God and to pray for those who were in charge.
So with that, we come to the Book of Ruth chapter 3. Big things come in small packages. Big blessings come in small books. There are only 85 verses in the Book of Ruth. But boy, is it packed with so many great blessings and lessons. So we have taken two weeks to do Ruth, two chapters last week, two chapters God willing this week. You say, what do you mean God willing? Well number one, you know me. And we may make it through one chapter. Or who knows? The Lord may come before we even finish it tonight. So you always make contingencies for these things.
But it's a great book and it's a book about well, romance number one, Boaz the great landowner from Bethlehem marries Ruth the Moabitess whose husband died in Moab, and she's back with her mother-in-law. So it's a beautiful story of romance. But more than romance, it's a story of providence. And providence can be defined as God weaving natural events super naturally. It is where God works supernaturally naturally. He's supernaturally allowing natural events to be woven together for his glory and our good. It's the Romans 8:28 principle. "God causes all things to work together for good to those who love him and are the called according to His purpose."
That one verse called by some a soft pillow for tired hearts. That pillow of providence is one we can rest on and one that finds itself permeating the book of Ruth. God's providence, God taking natural events but making a supernatural result all the way through.
Now you've heard us talk about providence before. We've mentioned it every time we come to this book, we've seen it in other parts of the scripture. Let me tell you where the word itself comes from. It comes from a combination of two Latin words, pro and video, or video. Provideo. Pro means before, video means to see.
So the combination of those two words, provideo, is the idea of seeing something beforehand. God can see everything before it happens. He knows what's going to happen. Part of God's omniscience, knowing everything, is that he knows what's going to happen in the future. And so because he knows what's going to happen, he can cause things to happen, and he can predict things and then providentially, through natural circumstances, arrange so that those things are happening.
So it's God's seeing in advance and then working those things out for the good. Don't confuse God's providence with miraculous events. Miraculous events are not natural events. I know we use the term lightly like, oh every time a baby is born, that's a miracle. No it's not. Happens every day. It's part of natural law. Happens across several species, including humanity. So these are natural laws and natural occurrences. It is not miraculous. Oh, a sunrise and a sunset is miraculous. No it's not. Happens every day. Happens all the time.
A miracle is when God intervenes natural law or contravenes natural law, interrupts natural law with a supernatural event. Those things naturally don't happen. Walking on water, now that's a miracle. Because water cannot displace the weight of an upright human being under natural circumstances unless God intervenes or contravenes that natural law to enable it to happen.
Taking water and turning it into wine, that's a miracle. There are several miraculous things. And God from time to time historically uses the miraculous. But most often, he uses the providential. He weaves things together just so. As you look back on your life, I bet you can go, man. I met that person, then that happened, and if that wouldn't have happened, then this wouldn't have happened, and then-- right? You can look back and you can see it. You don't see it at the moment.
It just so happened that I broke up with my girlfriend but that she invited me over to her house for a potluck. It was sort of a bon voyage. And I was meeting some new friends. And it just so happened that night that I saw a girl on the other side of the room named Lenya Just happened that way. It just so happened that I was invited to go to Aspen, Colorado to start a church. I was geeked. I was stoked. I was ready to go. But as things would happen, the Bible study broke up and they called me and said, no, we've disbanded. We don't want to start a church. We're not looking for a pastor.
That night, it just so happened that a friend of mine was at my house and he said, I'm moving to Albuquerque. And I went, huh. I've heard of that. And I began to pray about that. And one thing led to another. It just so happened that at a previous building, previous to this one, the owner of the building was having problems with us because the parking lot was too crowded, he wanted to increase the rent, he wanted a longer term contract, we didn't want to go through with it. There was just rumblings, and trouble, and strife. And it just so happened that about that time, this place opened up.
We can look back and we can see the hand of God. So we can here in the book of Ruth. First of all, there was an issue of timing. Back in chapter 1 of this book, verse 22, it says that Naomi and Ruth came to Bethlehem at the time of the barley harvest. Now the barley harvest is late April, beginning of May. And so you have the right timing. It just happens to be the time of the barley harvest. And there also happens to be a law in Israel that if you're poor, you can glean in anybody's fields so that you can get some of the produce and take it home.
So now you have culture and it meets timing. And so you have rich landowners and poor people in the fields together. And something else, location. For in 2:3, "she left and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers." And look at the wording. "And she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz who was of the family of Elimelech."
All of these things just happened. God is leaving them together. So on the horizontal, things look haphazard. Crazy. Scary. From the vertical, they're providential. I don't know what God's doing. You don't need to know what God's doing. And God doesn't owe you an explanation of what he's doing. That's where you just kick back and trust. And you believe all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Let them look haphazard. Let them feel haphazard. Enjoy the tension.
I like adventure. I like not knowing what's going to happen. I'm in for a good ride. But God is behind the scenes working. So that takes us to chapter 3. And it says, "then Naomi, her mother in law", Ruth's mother-in-law, "said to her, my daughter shall I not seek security for you that it may be well with you?" Shouldn't I be a good mother-in-law to you and make sure that you and your future are taken care of?
Now I love Naomi. You're going to see she's very, very practical and very busy. But what she'll discover is though she may be busy, God is busier. And he's already got this thing planned and is using the mental machinations and the drive of Naomi to get his will accomplished. So we come now to a time of after the harvest. After the harvest is gathered in, after the grain, after the barley is collected, there is a time of winnowing. They winnow it to separate the chaff from the wheat.
And so it says in verse 2, "now Boaz whose young women you were with, is he not our kinsman?" Keep in mind that word. It's a very, very important word. And the rest of this book kind of hinges around this idea of the kinsman, a kinsman redeemer. Goel is the Hebrew word. "In fact," here it is. "He is winnowing barley tonight on the threshing floor."
Let me give you a description. Threshing floors were elevated areas out in the fields or near the fields where they would collect the produce from. They would take it to an elevated threshing floor. Usually it was made out of bedrock. And it was elevated so that in the afternoon when the winds come, and it typically in Israel can get breezy in the afternoon. Sort of like the California coast, you've got the prevailing breezes off the ocean, the Mediterranean that blow inland. And they bank on that, they look for that every day.
So they take a five-pronged kind of a forked rake called a fan. And they scoop it up, throw it up in the air, the chaff then blows away, and the kernel falls down to the ground. That's how they winnow. It's interesting. If you go to India, they winnow a little bit differently. Though they have threshing floors in elevated areas, there's a lot of places that are not elevated. So they'll take their grain and they'll put it out in the streets and let cars run over it. And the weight of the tire takes the chaff off the wheat. Then they come and collect it later on and wash it up really well. And that's how they thresh their wheat and barley.
But not so in ancient Israel. It was always on an elevated area. They would winnow it in the evening time when the winds come by. Now this is interesting because we come to Gideon, or we came to Gideon back in chapter 6 and we find him winnowing grain not on a threshing floor but at a wine press. And a wine press is not an elevated area where the winds take it away. A wine press is down at the lowest part of the valley rather than the highest hill. They're very opposite.
You need wine because it's a liquid to be able to flow downward by gravity. So you always pick the lowest spot for the wine press. Gideon rather than being up on the hill is down in the valley. Why? Because he's scared, that's why. He's afraid of the Philistines. If he's up on an elevated area, he could be spotted quite readily. And so he's chicken basically. He's scared.
So he's going through the frustration of throwing this stuff up in the air where there's no breeze. Throwing it up, throwing it up, throwing it up, trying to get some of that stuff separated. And I love it because an angel of the Lord comes to Gideon and says, hey, what's up you mighty man of valor? Which is like an inside joke because he was not a mighty man of valor. He was scared to death. But he was winnowing down at the lowest spot.
Boaz is there in Bethlehem on the threshing floor and he is winnowing on the threshing floor. So look at verse 3. "Therefore, wash yourself. Anoint yourself. Put on your best garment. And go down to the threshing floor. But do not make yourself known to the man until he is finished eating and drinking."
Do you remember Fiddler on the Roof? Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match. Do you remember that? Some of you are looking at me like you've never seen the movie. You need to see that movie. It's a good cultural exercise in your basic education. But that young girl is singing the song for the matchmaker to come and find her a match, catch her a catch, look through her little book and find just the right guy for her.
It seems that Naomi is taking on the role of a matchmaker. She's very practical here and I love that. Hey, sweetie. Take a bath, put on perfume, dussie yourself up, look like a knockout. That's just practical stuff. You want to win a guy, paint the barn a little bit before you go out there. Paint the house. Right? Look like he wants to look twice. So she's very practical. She is spiritual, yes, she has come a long way from being bitter and to trusting the Lord. And last week we saw how she's, praise God, praise God. God's in this. But she's also very involved.
Somebody once said there's three kinds of people. There's the person who makes things happen, then there's the person who watches things happen, then there's the person who has no idea what's happening. Naomi is in the first category. She's the kind to make things happen. She's very practical. She knows that Boaz is interested. That's pretty obvious. Ruth has stated that he acts interested. He's done favors for me. He's given me favor with his people. He's given me this load of produce. And so she goes, OK. So let's keep this thing going now.
So be practical in life. Don't be afraid to make plans. And though you make plans and you are practical, also be flexible. Be practical but be flexible because you don't know what God is doing behind the scenes. You don't understand the full scope of God's providence. So a mixture of you be practical and you be flexible, as I had a friend say blessed are the flexible for they shall not be broken. Bend with it a little bit. Just cast your bread on the waters as the Bible says, but find out what the Lord has going on.
So she gives her this little piece of advice. "Then it shall be", verse 4, "when he lies down that you shall notice the place where he lies and you shall go in, uncover his feet", now this sounds all weird to us, "uncover his feet and lie down. And he will tell you what you should do. And she said to her all that you say to me, I will do."
This is amazing to me. Most young ladies would go, what do you want me to do? Uncover his feet? Yuck. He'd been working in the fields all day. Those things smell. I'm not going to uncover his feet for nothing. But all that you say to me, I will do. So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother in law instructed her.
"And after Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was cheerful, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. And she came softly, uncovered his feet, and laid down. Now it happened at midnight the man was startled and turned to himself. And there a woman was lying at his feet."
Now picture the scene. When they would winnow, they would have a feast in the evening celebrating all that they have collected, there was a huge pile or several huge piles, and the workers would sleep around the pile of barley or wheat with their head at the center and their feet sticking out like spokes on a wheel. Why? To guard what they have collected. There were thieves, there were marauders, there were other nations around them. They had to watch their stuff. So that's why they slept with it.
If you would uncover somebody's feet, it was for a couple of reasons. Number one, in the middle of the night, your feet get cold. Right? You're asleep, blanket was on, somebody uncovers your feet. The middle of the night you'll wake up as you go through your little cycles of sleep and you go, man my feet are cold. You'll find out why and there's a chick down there. You'll wake up and she'll be able to talk to you.
Number two, to lay at somebody's feet was an act of submission. Now this is going somewhere where she is going to suggest that Boaz perform the role of the goel, of the kinsman redeemer. So there in the middle of the night, he was startled. He turned and turned himself and there was a woman lying at his feet. And he said, who are you? So she answered, I'm Ruth your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing. And the idea is take your cloak, or your robe, or your blanket, and place it over me. "Take me under your wing, for you are a near kinsman."
Say, what's going on here? What's going on here is she is proposing marriage to him. You go, she's proposing to him? What is this, a Sadie Hawkins thing? By the way, does anybody here even remember what that is? If you know what Sadie Hawkins is, raise your hand. OK. So it's my age group that is raising their hand. So in high school in the '70s, is that about right for you people that raised your hands? OK. So there was this thing called a Sadie Hawkins dance. Am I right? Older people that raise their hands, is that right?
OK, so Sadie Hawkins dance is where the girl asked the guy to go to a dance. And it was a long standing tradition in America. I'm just really sad that it has fallen out of tradition and just very few people have heard of it. But anyway she is proposing not to go to a dance, but that he marry her. But notice she says, take me under your wing.
Now I'm going to read a passage of scripture to you from the prophet Ezekiel. You don't have to turn there. This is Ezekiel 16. The Lord is speaking to his nation, the people of Israel, the Jewish nation. And he said, "when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood live. Yes, I said to you in your blood live. I made you thrive like a plant in the field. And you grew, matured, and became very beautiful."
Down in verse 8, "when I passed you by again and looked upon you, indeed your time was come, your time of love. So I spread my wing over you." Literally I spread the corner of my garment over you. Translated here, I spread my wing over you.
It's a means of offering future protection, to take you under your wing, take somebody under your wing. It's a metaphor we still use today, to take somebody under their wing, to offer protection, to spread your garment over them. Same idea. It was all a metaphor. She's proposing marriage to him, that Sadie Hawkins thing. But it is based upon a law. If you're wondering, well, what kind of woman has the audacity to go manhunting like that to a threshing floor and uncover some dude's feet?
It's all because of an ancient law called the law of levirate marriage. Have you ever heard of that? The law of levirate marriage. That's the biblical term or the theological term. Levirate is a word that comes from levir, L-E-V-I-R. It's a Latin word that means husband's brother. A levir in Latin is a husband's brother. So a levirate marriage is a law in Israel that if you had a husband and he died, if you're a woman and you had a husband that died, that the husband's brother would take you as wife so that you could bear a son in his honor to perpetuate the family name.
Now I'm going to read that to you. This is in Deuteronomy 25. You can mark this down if you want or you can turn to it and you can read it yourself. Deuteronomy 25:5. "If brothers dwell together and one of them dies and has no son, the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family. Her husband's brother shall go in to her and take her as his wife and perform the duty of a husband's brother to her. And it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother." In other words, you name the son the dead brother's first name, "that his name may not be blotted out of Israel."
This is wild to us. This is weird to us. In our Western sensibilities, this makes absolutely no sense. And it's nothing we'd ever want to do. So why was it done? For a few reasons. Here's how they would see it as an advantage.
Number one, it will tie the whole family together. Everyone is going to be interested in who you marry. Can you understand why? OK, so brother comes home and says, I found a wife. I'm going to marry her. All the brothers are going to go, really? I'd like to see her. I'd like to meet her. We're all suddenly interested in who your wife is going to be because, dude if you kick the bucket and I'm going to have to step in, I want to be a part of this decision. Right? So-- right?
So necessarily, it's going to bring the whole family together on an issue. Number two, it was to protect the woman. She's married, her husband owns land, he might own a farm enterprise. If he dies, she now has the responsibility of that farm and of that business. She may be ill prepared and typically would be ill prepared for that.
So this idea was to protect her. Third, it was to protect the land that the family owned. Every tribe had its own tribal allotment. Within the tribal allotment, each family had its own family parcel. Those family parcels could easily get lost. And so that it would remain within the family and within the tribe especially, that tribal allotment, the law of levirate marriage was an ancient custom.
It's not used anymore in Israel, although in recent times there was a woman who tried to take her brother in law to court and have him perform the duty of bringing up seed in her dead husband's name. Didn't go through. She didn't win the case. But in cultures like that, it is not or has not been that uncommon.
So the young girl may decide to marry a stranger. So the law prohibited that she would marry somebody within the family. So that's the idea of this. OK, back to our text, chapter 3, verse 10. "Then he said", then Boaz said to her-- this is all taking place at night after he's got cold feet finds a chick down there at the bottom of his feet. Now he's having a conversation with her. And she goes, dude I want to marry you. You're a kinsman. You're a goel. I want you to redeem me and the land. You're a near kinsman. So he said, now listen to Boaz. "Blessed are you of the Lord my daughter."
I have loved Boaz's reactions throughout this whole book, whether it's to Ruth or it's to the workers that work for him. He is so courteous. She is so courteous. She says, please to him, and please to her mother in law as we noted last week. You will catch more flies with honey than you will with vinegar. Be a pleasant person. Be a thankful person. Be a nice person.
If you wonder, I don't know why I don't have any friends. That's why. You want to catch flies? You go, not really. Well, if you want to catch anything be sweet instead of sour. So he says, "Blessed are you of the Lord", using the covenant name Yahweh, "my daughter. For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning in that you did not go after young men whether rich or poor."
Now this would indicate that Boaz was an older gentleman, between most guess 45 and 50 years of age, while where she was quite a bit younger. And he is commending her. You could have gone after a lot of young men. But you are so converted, you a Moabite woman, are so converted to the God of Israel that you're obeying these customs and these laws. And he'll make note of that again.
"And now my daughter do not fear. For I will do for you all that you request. For all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman." That's the word on the street. You're a girl of virtue. "Now it is true. I am your near kinsman. However, there is a kinsman nearer than I. Stay this night, and in the morning it shall be that if he will perform the duty of a near kinsman for you, good. Let him do it. But if he does not want to perform the duty for you, then I will perform the duty for you. As the Lord lives, lie down until morning."
We do not know who the other kinsman is, who the other relative is that Boaz is referring to, perhaps an older brother. But we're not told. Perhaps a cousin. But somebody in the chain in the family tree is a closer relationship to Ruth to Naomi than he is. So according to the law, he has to use deference and pass it on to him first to see if he wants to do it.
Now in verse 13, he says, "stay this night." And then at the end of verse 13, "lie down until morning." There was nothing immoral in that suggestion. It's just pass the night here. Don't get up now and disturb everybody in this circle watching the grain. So don't try to read into this that he's saying, come on baby. Snuggle closer. She's lying at his feet. That's where she spends the night, down there. And so there's nothing-- and besides that, there are families all around. They would spend the night, not just the men, but the families would often spend the night there at the threshing floor together. So there's nothing immoral that is suggested.
So verse 14, "she lay at his feet until morning. And she arose before one could recognize her. So the sun's just barely coming out. It's dawn. Then he said, "do not let it be known"-- then he said, "do not let it be known that a woman came to the threshing floor." so it's like, time to get up and go home.
Though nothing immoral was going on, Boaz understands a basic fact of human nature. And that is that assumption is the lowest form of communication. And people will naturally assume not the best, but the worst. There's a woman at the threshing floor at Boaz's feet. They must have done something. No. But he knew that tongues can wag and tweets will get out. People will post it on their Instagram.
So it's like, let's not give them an excuse to do this nonsense. It's time to get up and go. But also he said, verse 15, "bring the shawl that is on you and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six ephahs of barley and laid it on her quite heavy." Probably she carried it on her head as was it the custom and still is in that part of the world. "Then she went into the city and when she came to her mother in law, she said, is that you my daughter?" So it's early. Even mom in law is still snoozing.
"Is that you my daughter? Then, she told her all that the man had done for her. And she said, these six ephahs of barley he gave me. For he said, do not go away empty handed to your mother in law." now this is going to make Naomi feel really gratified, happy that here's a kinsman who can redeem her. The little scheme of dussieing herself up and popping the question worked. The Lord's in this. And boy, this guy's awesome because he wants to take care of mother in law.
But notice what he says. Verse 18, it is a great verse. "Sit still my daughter until you know how the matter will turn out. For the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day." What is the matter? What is the business that he's going to attend to? Redemption. Sit still. The work of redemption is his alone to fulfill. That's what mother in law is saying. You can't add to it. You've done your part. You've asked him in. Now he's going to do it. The work of redemption is his alone
It's a beautiful corollary to the work of Jesus Christ. In John 17, Jesus on the cross prayed to the Father as he knew that final transaction of redemption was about to take place. He said, I have finished the work which you have given me to do. And then he went to the cross. And on the cross, he used those words. "It is finished." In Greek, one word, tetelestai. It is finished. It is completed. The transaction is completed. I have finished the work.
So what did you do to get saved? Well, I gave my life to Jesus. I really turned things over. And I-- I love what Spurgeon said. Spurgeon said, it is not your grip on the Savior that saves you. It's the Savior that saves you. It's not your grasp on Christ that saves you. It's Christ that saves you. Jesus did it. You just said, Lord save me. I believe in you. Saved. By faith. "By grace through faith, not of works lest anyone should boast."
So we sat still. And we should still sit still and know that the ultimate work of redemption, he will complete as well. So chapter 4 verse 1, Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there. "And behold, a near kinsman of whom Boaz had spoken came by. And so Boaz said, come aside friend. Sit down. So he came aside and he sat down. And he took 10 men of the elders of the city and said, sit down here. So they sat down."
In the ancient cities, the ancient cities of biblical times were walled. So they had a perimeter wall all the way around. And they had gates. A gate was not just a little piece of wood that opened and closed or a piece of metal that opened and closed like the gate on your fence at home. A city gate was actually a room with a courtyard, had alcoves in it, it had kind of an entrance, and then a courtyard, then another entrance into the city.
There were typically benches for sitting. Kings would sit at the gates of the city, elders would sit at the gates of the city. That's where people would gather to enter the city. And they would come from a different place. They would tell you the news or tell the elders the news of the city that they have traveled from, news of what they saw along the road.
So the ancient newspaper, ancient CNN, or Fox News, or MSNBC, or whatever network you're into or not into, that's even a divisive issue these days, was at that time it was just the gate of the city. You want to find out what's happening abroad? Go to the gate. Talk to travelers. That's where the newspaper takes place.
If you want to adjudicate a case, if you want a courtroom setting, you go to the elders of the city who are seated at the gate. It was a place of importance. If you wanted to make a legal transaction, you would go to the gate. And that's what Boaz is doing. He wants to make a legal transaction to redeem land and get a bride. So he goes to the gate, finds the nearer kinsman, finds the elders of the city, and is about to state his case.
So we find in Bible times that the gate is a very, very important place. Abraham conducted business at a gate. When his wife Sarah died, Abraham went to the gate of Hebron, the city Hebron, and spoke with the owners of the cave of Machpela so that he could find a place to bury his wife. And they haggled on a price and he buried her there.
Absalom when he wanted to get people on his side when they would travel into the gates of Jerusalem, he'd stand out by the gates and, I'm the King's son. And if I were in charge around here, I would listen to your case. And I would make sure that you get equity and fairness. He's sort of acting like the new judge on the block. So he won people's hearts by being at the gate of the city.
"So he took men", verse 2, "the elders of the city, sit down here. So they sat down. And he said to the near kinsman, Naomi who has come back from the country of Moab sold the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech. And I thought to inform you saying, buy it back in the presence of the inhabitants in the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it. If you will not redeem it, then tell me that I may know. For there is no one but you to redeem it. And I am next after you.
And he said, that unnamed kinsman who was closer than Boaz said, I'll do it. I will redeem it. Verse 5. "Then Boaz said, on the day that you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also buy it from Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead on his inheritance."
Now let me kind of set you up for something that I want to end with. But it's what it is based on. There's a text in the book of Revelation that is based on this idea. When land was transacted, a deed was drawn up, a title deed like today. A title deed in those days was a scroll. And the names were written, the stipulations were written, clauses were written for ownership because you could lose the land. You could then buy it back, et cetera. All of that was written on two scrolls.
The owner kept one scroll and then usually it was kept somewhere in the city in a safe place so you had a reference in case you lost it. And then the scroll was sealed shut. So you had a title deed in a scroll for the transaction of the land. When you wanted to buy land or redeem land, you had to break the seal, unroll the scroll, and claim the stipulations that are in that title deed. So in order to buy back or to redeem something, you had to fulfill the requirements. You had to be related, you had to be in the family. You had to be able to pay it. You had to have the money to do it. You had to be willing to do it.
So so far, Boaz has told this guy, look. There's some land to redeem. Do you want to redeem it? And he goes, I'll do it. I'm a kinsman, I can afford it, and I'm willing to do it. That's what he's saying. OK, so at first before you get to verse 5, Boaz just said there's some land to redeem. Do you want it? I want it. In the presence of everybody. He doesn't tell him the other part of the deal till verse 5, and I think strategically. Now he lays it on him.
In verse 5, Boaz says, "on the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must buy it from Ruth the Moabitess the wife of the dead to raise up the name of the dead for his inheritance." Now that changes everything for this guy. He holds back this bit of information, then he gives the information. And the way he gives the information is quite telling. Ruth, the Moabitess.
If you were a Hebrew and you heard that term, you would go, you'd get shocked a little bit. Because if you were a Hebrew, you knew your Bible. And the Bible said that no Ammonite or Moabite shall enter into the presence of the Lord up until the 10th generation. None of his descendants shall enter it. It was a cursed race. So he's saying, oh really? You want the land? OK. And he's saying this out loud with witnesses. If you want the land, you got to have the girl. And you have to raise up children for her dead husband.
Well, the near kinsman said, I can't redeem it. I can't do it. Deal's off, dude. I cannot redeem it for myself lest I ruin my own inheritance. You redeem my right of redemption for yourself. I cannot redeem it. Evidently, he had a wife and children, thus an inheritance for those children. Buying the land marrying another wife would place the inheritance of his children in jeopardy. So he's going, no man. I can't do this. I don't think my wife's going to be stoked if I tell her I'm going to take another wife and have kids. And so he calls off the deal.
Now I read part of Deuteronomy 25 to you, did I not? The law of the levirate marriage. I didn't read the second part, if a guy refuses to do it. So let me read that to you. Same chapter. This is Deuteronomy 25.
"But if the man does not want to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate to the elders and say, my husband's brother refuses to raise up a name to his brother in Israel. He will not perform the duty of my husband's brother. Then the elders of the city shall call him and speak to him. And if he stands firm and he says, I do not want to take her, then his brother's wife shall come to him in the presence of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, spit in his face, and answer and say, so shall it be done to the man who will not build up his brother's house. And his name shall be called in Israel the house of him who's had his sandal removed."
So take the sandal off, get a loogie in the face, you're publicly shamed because you're saying, I'm not going to perform the duty. I'm not going to fulfill my obligation. By the time it comes down to Boaz, things have changed a little bit. That old law has been revised a little bit. And Boaz is not a brother. And the other kinsman may or may not have been a brother. But that law is a little bit revised because in verse 6 of Ruth 4, for the near kinsman said, I can't redeem it as we said verse 7.
Now here's the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging to confirm anything. One man took off his sandal and gave it to the other. This was the attestation in Israel. Therefore, the near kinsman said to Boaz, buy it for yourself. So he took off his sandal. So they took out the hock a loogie and put it in his face bit mercifully, and now you just kind of in a nice fashion take off his sandal and give it to the guy. That's part of that ancient custom.
So that takes place at the gate of the city. "And Boaz said to the elders and to all the people, you are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech's and all that was Kilion's, and Mahlon's from the hand of Naomi."
Something about Boaz, Boaz is buying a field. Boaz doesn't need a field. Boaz is rich. He's got lots of fields. He's very wealthy. The last thing Boaz needs is more land. In fact, Boaz doesn't want the field. Boaz wants the girl. But he is willing to buy the field to get the bride. Sound familiar? Sound like one of the parables of Jesus where Jesus said, the kingdom of God shall be like a treasure hidden in a field. And a man sells everything he has to buy the field that he might get the treasure.
And what was the treasure that Boaz was getting? Not just a bride, a Gentile bride. You see the fingerprint of the Holy Spirit here. Here is Boaz from Bethlehem willing to buy a field to get a Gentile bride to take the Gentile bride to himself. Beautiful picture of what Jesus did for the church.
Moreover, verse 10. "Moreover, route the Moabitess. The wife of Mahlon I have acquired as my wife to raise up the name of the dead of his inheritance that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from the gate of his place. You are witnesses this day. And all the people who were at the gate, the elders said, we are witnesses. The Lord make the woman who is coming to your house like Rachel and Leah the two who built the house of Israel and may you prosper in Ephratah, that district of Bethlehem, and be famous in Bethlehem. May your house be like the house of Perez whom Tamar bore to Judah because of the offspring which the Lord will give you from this young woman."
In other words, we pray that your descendants will be numerous. By the way, Rachel was buried really close to this area to Bethlehem. You can go to Israel today and still see the tomb of Rachel, where women will go who are infertile and they will pray that God will open up their womb still to this day. So everybody's excited. They attest to it. It's like a big party.
"And so", verse 13. Let's get to the good part. "Boaz took Ruth, she became his wife, and when he went in to her, the Lord gave her conception and she bore a son. Then the woman said to Naomi blessed be the Lord who has not left you this day without a near kinsman that he may-- and may his name be famous in Israel. And may he be to you a restorer of life, a nourisher of your old age. For your daughter in law who loves you who is better to you than seven sons has borne him.
Then Naomi took the child, laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him. Also, the neighbor women gave him a name saying, there is a son born to Naomi. And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David."
Now here's a little appendix, a genealogical appendix. Now this is the genealogy of Perez. So it goes all the way back to when the children of Judah left, and Israel, left Egypt. And they start with Perez because he is of the family of the family tree of the line of Judah that he comes from that Boaz came from.
So this is genealogy of Perez. Perez begot Hezron, Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Amminadab. Amminadab begot Nahshon. Nahshon begot Salmon. Salmon begot Boaz. Boaz begot Obed. Obed begat Jesse. And Jesse begot David. Nine generations going back from the time of Egypt all the way up to just before the monarchy under King Saul and then eventually King David.
OK, so I talked to you about the real estate deal. Right? And the scroll. This is where Revelation 5 takes on beautiful meaning to us. In Revelation 5, John has a vision, right? And he sees he said, "and I saw in the right hand of him who sat upon the throne a scroll written on the inside and on the back sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaim with a loud voice, who is worthy to take the scroll and to loose its seals? And no one was able in heaven, in earth, or under the earth to take the scroll or even to look at it."
So John said, "so I wept much because no one was found worthy to take the scroll and to look at it or to read it. And then one of the elders said to me do not weep, for behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah of the root of David has prevailed to take the scroll and to loose its seven seals. Then praise broke out in heaven. And the praise in heaven is to the Lamb", the Lion of the tribe of Judah, also the Lamb, also the Root of David. It's Jesus Christ. "Saying, you are worthy." Right? "You are worthy to take the scroll and loose its seals. For you have", hears the word, "redeemed us."
You've redeemed us, you've bought us back. You've purchased us back. You have redeemed us by your blood to God out of every tribe, tongue, people, and nation and made us kings and priests to our God. And we will reign with him."
There is in heaven a real estate deal. We would call it the closing. The land at stake, the earth. The future of the earth. That's why John wept convulsively. He wept much because he knew the earth is doomed forever. But the Lion of the tribe of Judah is the only one worthy, the only one who can open up the scroll and meet all of the qualifications. Number one, he was related. If you wonder, why is a virgin birth so necessary? He has to be related. Jesus has to be God and man. He has to be fully man, related to us. Right?
"In the beginning was the Word. The Word is with God, the Word was God. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us." So he has to be related to us. So he was fully man. He has to be able to do it. He has to be able to pay the price. Did he pay the price? Yes. With what? His blood. "You have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every tribe, tongue, nation, and people." So he paid the highest price to buy the field to get the treasure to redeem the world. And he had to be willing.
He was so willing. He said, "no one takes my life from me. I lay it down of myself. I have the power to lay it down, I have the power to take it again." He was related, he was able, he was willing to redeem you. You are so precious to Jesus. Your life, your salvation, is so important to Jesus that he would pay the ultimate price to buy the treasure, the bride, the Gentile bride, in the field, the world. So the title deed to the earth in Revelation chapter 5, the scroll with the seven seals, he is redeeming the earth, buying the field for the treasure.
So it's a beautiful story. Ruth and Revelation 5 go hand in hand. And that's why we wanted to slow down and not just go through it in one fell swoop but take it up two chapters per week. And now we've done it. Your homework for next time is Romans chapters 1 and 2. And I expect you to have read the book of Romans chapters 1 and 2 and to know it fairly well so we can scoot through it, right? Make sense? If we all read together, it'll be a meaningful time.
Father, how we thank you that Jesus Christ our goel, our kinsman redeemer, stepped forward related, willing, able, paying the ultimate price shedding his blood to buy not only the world and to unloose those seals of judgment that would purge the earth of wickedness, but to buy the bride. No wonder then in heaven the anthems of heaven is the church worshipping Jesus saying, he is worthy. You are worthy. Because you have redeemed us by your blood to God from every tribe, tongue, nation, and people and made us kings and priests.
Thank you that you love us. Thank you for that your love is displayed in Christ. Thank you that your love is previewed in this beautiful romance, this romance of redemption between a wealthy landowner in Bethlehem, who was willing to give all to buy the bride and this poor foreigner, this Moabitess, who shows up in the genealogy of King David of Israel and shows up in the genealogical record of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
How honored we are that we are also a part of the family tree, that our names are written in the Book of Life, the Lamb's Book of Life. Thank you for the redemption. We celebrate in Jesus' name, Amen.
For more resources from Calvary Church and Skip Heitzig, visit calvarynm.church. Thank you for joining us from this teaching in our series Expound.