:) Finally had some time! Next week should be fun... we're heading into some messianic prophecies... :)

Happy studying!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ruth Chapter 4

Ruth Chapter 4


- Boaz goes to the town gate. Now I don't know where you live or where you grew up... but have you ever seen a movie where all the old retired men are sitting in the same place hanging out? Like outside the barber shop, or outside the town store, or in the park?

- The town gate was kind of like that... if you needed to know anything or get caught up on anything... that's where you went... but it was also the place you went if you had any business to conduct with anybody, you met at the town gate so you had witnesses and so you were on even ground. If there were court cases or judgments to be made, you went to the town gate and the elders would make a decision. It was kind of like the courthouse. If you had anything major you needed to be public... that's where you went.

- So Boaz went to the gate. About the time he sits down, the man who is the closer relative of Naomi and Ruth walks by. Boaz calls out to him to come and sit for a while for a chat.

- Boaz calls ten leaders of the town together. He has his witnesses and he has a group of very wise counselors if either man needs them.

- Proverbs 12:5-6, 8, 26; 15:22; 11:14

- Then Boaz lays out his proposition... but he's a sly man...

- First, he just says that Naomi needs somebody to redeem the land. She needs somebody to buy the land from her... would he be willing? And if not, then since Boaz is next in line, he'll take it on... but he just wanted to check with the closer relative first.

- And the guy's like... well yeah! I'll take it! Remember... Naomi wasn't exactly poor before this... her husband had stature in the town... this was probably a pretty good piece of land...

- But then Boaz, sly man that he is, says “oh yeah... by the way... if you do redeem the land, it will require you to marry Ruth... the Moabitess... So she can have a child to carry on the name of Mahlon...”

- “What?!” This man, whoever he was automatically started panicking. “it might endanger my own estate!” He was afraid that whoever the child was of Ruth... that he either wouldn't have other children to carry on his own name... and therefore the child of Mahlon would inherit both properties... or that he'd end up having more children than he had land for....

- Whatever the reason, he balked and ran away from the idea. He tells Boaz that he cannot redeem it and if Boaz wants it, he can have it...

- How many times have we ran away from our own responsibilities? Everyone in Bethlehem knew that Noami was back in town... And this man hadn't even made inquiries about helping them in any way... He knew his duty... and he decided to ignore it... and when Ruth was added to the mix... he REALLY didn't want to take on the responsibility...

- Which I can kind of understand... he was going to have to be responsible for two women, he was supposed to provide a son for the family to carry on the name of Mahlon... add to that that Ruth was a Moabite... and intermarriage was sometimes looked on as bad luck... and to top it all off, Mahlon and Kilion had both died after marrying Moabites... not looking like a healthy decision...

- I can see running from that... I've been scared before... we're all human... However, this was a God-given and directed responsibility. This wasn't just his good heart coming in to play... this was God saying, hey, when this happens, you do this... always... and he didn't...

- I Timothy 5:8

- Ever tried to make a deal with God? “Well God, I'll give money to the church, and I'll even pick up payments for a World Vision kid, or I'll volunteer on Saturdays at a soup kitchen... just as long as I don't have to leave my comfort zone... or just as long as I don't have to leave my home church or my home town...” and so on and so forth... However... God doesn't just want that part of you... It's not good enough just to be mostly good... or almost in the will of God...

- A few years ago, we felt like we needed to change churches. Not necessarily anything bad going on or anything... it wasn't like a church split or anything... it just felt like God was starting to move us elsewhere...

- So we moved to a church plant in another town... and you know what? Our first church didn't suffer immensely because we left... it didn't fall apart... and the church we're in now... wow... what amazing things God has done there...

- But had we decided to stay in our first church... after knowing that we were feeling the call to move... man... it would not have been pretty. Just like the story of Jonah... When God wants you somewhere... He can use any means necessary to get the outcome He wants or needs to happen...

- I wonder what this man's life was like after this... I mean he missed out on the chance to become part of the lineage of King David... and Solomon... and Jesus Himself... oops...

- There are great possibilities for our lives... but we have to be willing to follow wherever He leads us...

- Psalm 32, 16, 23
- John 16:1-15
- Proverbs 29:18


- In Leviticus 25:23-55, the guidelines for redemption are laid out.

- Basically, God said that all the land belonged to Him and that no one person should permanently own anything. (Odd concept to us in this day and age...) When the children entered the promised land, all the land was divided up among the families according to tribes. Each Tribe had... a district or a state if you will, and each family in the tribe was given a portion of land within that district/state. Except the Levites. The Levites were given 48 towns within those various tribal lands to be their own. They had their own pasture and their own cities. Six of these cities were to be cities of refuge for those who have accidentally killed someone.

- So, each family had God-given land. If you had to sell the right to the land for any reason, whether bankruptcy or needed redemption... the sale was not permanent.

- Every 50 years, was a year of jubilee. This meant that if you had been sold into slavery, or your land had been sold, that you were free again. It was a year that brought grace. So if you sold the land to someone else, in the next year of jubilee, you got it back free of debt.

- So to redeem a piece of land, basically meant you were just keeping it up until the family could take it back over. I don't know how that would work if Elimelech's family died off with his sons... not sure how that worked... But the fact remains that if this relative took over the land, children or no children... it wasn't something he was going to get to keep for forever. If his kids moved in to take care of the land, they were just going to have to give it back to the family at the end of the 50 year time period.

- Custom was that if you transfer the right of purchase... which the relative did to Boaz, then the seller had to take off his sandal and hand it to the other man. Like a handshake... This was a public transfer that was witnessed by all around.

- Boaz officially bought Naomi's land and took on the task of redeeming the family name.

- “You are witnesses that today I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelech, Kilion, and Mahlon. And with the land I have acquired Ruth, the Moabite widow of Mahlon, to be my wife. This way she can have a son to carry on the family name of her head husband and to inherit the family property here in his hometown. You are all witnesses today.”

- Wow. “Today, I have redeemed this family and I promise to do all in my power to help them carry on their name. I give up my right to claim the first born son of this woman so that Naomi's family name will not die. I will give of myself so that another can prosper. I don't care that Ruth is a foreigner. I don't care that it might be bad luck. I'm going to do what is right and take on the duty that god has asked me to as a close kinsman of this family.”

- That's a man of character... He wasn't worried about personal consequences. He was willing to take on the task at hand.

- God is always looking for willing vessels... There was honor and a whole lot of trust in Boaz taking all this on. He was truly a man of God.

- Are you a willing vessel? Are you ready to take on a new task? Or to continue a previous one? Do you trust God to provide for all your needs while you are working on His project or mission?

- Proverbs 3:5-7
- Matthew 7:21-27, 26:36-46
- John 5:19-30
- Hebrews 13:20-21
- I Peter 4:1-11


- “The elders and the people around replied to Boaz's statement with “We are witnesses! May the Lord make this woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, from whom all the nation of Israel descended! May you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. And may the Lord give you descendants by this young woman who will be like those of our ancestor Perez, the son of Tamar and Judah.”

- That's a blessing and a half...

- But notice at the end there? Perez... son of Tamar and Judah... I think in chapter 2 we were talking about marriages with the brother or relative to carry on the name of the deceased and I mentioned Judah and Tamar...

- So quick recap. Tamar was Judah's daughter-in-law. Her first husband, Er, was evil in the sight of God... so God struck him down. So Judah, to carry on the line of his son, gave Tamar to his second son, Onan, for a wife. Except that Onan wouldn't get her pregnant... he refused to do his duty to his brother... so God struck him down as well... So Judah, for fear that his last son, Shelah, would also be killed, sent Tamar home to her father until Shelah would come of age... except... after Shelah was old enough... Judah still didn't send for Tamar.

- So Tamar took matters into her own hands... she dressed up like a prostitute and sat along the side of the road where Judah was going to have to pass by to get to the sheep shearing...

- So Judah was passing by and saw Tamar... but she had a veil on and so he just assumed she was a prostitute. So he propositioned her... and she said, well what will you pay me? And he said, well I'll send you a young goat from my flock when I get there... “well how do I know that you will send the goat back?... Leave me your identification seal and it's cord and your walking stick as a guarantee that you will follow through on your word.”

- So Judah did... And he slept with her, and she got pregnant.

- After Judah left, Tamar went home and put her normal clothes back on... and Judah sent the goat back with a friend... but they searched high and low and couldn't find any woman along the road... When the friend asked around wondering where the prostitute was... the people were like... “prostitute? What prostitute?”

- So Judah decided it was just better to let it go. If they kept trying to find her, they were going to be the town joke...

- A few months later, word comes to Judah that Tamar is pregnant... oh boy...

- Judah was ready to have her killed... “Bring her out, and let her be burned!”

- As they were taking her out to be killed, she sent message to Judah... “The man who owns these things made me pregnant. Look closely. Whose seal and cord and walking stick are these?” ouch...

- Judah's response? “She is more righteous than I am, because I didn't arrange for her to marry my son Shelah.”

- Tamar had twins. Their story is practically identical to Jacob and Esau... the first stuck his hand out, the midwife tied a string on him, and then he pulled back in and the other was born first.

- Perez, was the eldest of these twins.

- Genesis 38

- I find it a little funny to think back through this genealogy. We have Leah, who was the first wife, the true wife... but the unloved one...

- Three sons were born before Judah... any one of them should have taken the place as the eldest son... but Reuben slept with his father's concubine... so he was disinherited. And Levi and Simeon lost their places because they went in and killed all the men of the city where Shechem lived... Shechem had raped their sister Dinah... and in anger, they went in and killed the whole city.

- Genesis 34

- So Judah now has the birthright. And his eldest son was killed. So the woman who was supposed to carry on his son's lineage... has to be redeemed... but she ends up being redeemed by her father-in-law. Another redemption story... but... a strange twisted one...

- Genesis 43:1-14

- Then there's Rahab. The prostitute who saved the spies when they went in to check out Jericho.

- She promised to keep them safe in return for them saving her family when they took over the land. Which they did. So after the battle, Rahab and her family were spared and Rahab later married Salmon... who if I remember right was a general of a pretty high ranking.

- Joshua 2, 6

- So so far we have an unloved woman, a fourth son, a woman who prostituted herself in order to have children, and a Canaanite prostitute (who the Israelites weren't supposed to marry...), and now we have a Moabitess (Who they were also not supposed to marry...)

- So there goes God again... breaking down our idea of normal and what should be... I see a woman who was unloved... being shown great favor... a son who wasn't supposed to get the main inheritance... being blessed beyond belief... a woman who made one really big mistake, or should have been branded as an adulterer... being given the gift of twins, being given the gift of life and second chances... A woman who wasn't supposed to be accepted... who was supposed to be forever shunned... taken in, accepted, shown favor, and again... getting a second chance. And two gentile women who were greatly rewarded for their great faith and given a chance to be included in the chosen people... even before Christ came to include them all. The whole idea of being grafted in to the main tree.

- Who ever said God was a respecter of persons? God saw something great in these hearts. He saw faithful people who were ready to go to great lengths for Him. And these were the people that He decided to put directly in His blood line... even if they weren't necessarily who you and I would have thought of putting into a King's ancestry... especially not the King of Kings...

- Psalm 139
- I Corinthians 1:18-29


- So Boaz and Ruth got married. And she had a son. The son, was technically Naomi's son... so Naomi cared for him as if he were her own... and they named him Obed. Notice... that the writer doesn't call Naomi, Mara. Through this whole story, other than Naomi asking to be called Mara... they never once called her by that name. And now... she has reason NOT to be called by that name... She has gone back to being pleasant and has reason to be so.

- Psalm 73

- When Ruth and Boaz got married, the women of the town said “Praise the Lord, who has provided a redeemer for your family! May this child be famous in Israel. May he restore your youth and care for you in your old age. For he is the son of your daughter-in-law who loves you and has been better to you than seven sons!”

- What praise for a foreigner! And for a woman!

- Yet again... we see Ruth's character from the eyes of those around her... what kind of character do you have?

- So Obed was the father of Jesse... and the grandfather of David. Ruth has entered into a King's lineage... both in David, and in Jesus Christ.

- (Some praises to end us... : ) Psalm 8, 9, 34, 47, 48, 65, 66, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 111, 112, 113, 115, 116, 117, 118, 121, 134, 135, 136, 138, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150

No comments:

Post a Comment