Text: Ruth 3-4
Introduction: There is an old hymn that we still sing “Blessed Redeemer” by Alvis B. Christiansen written in 1920. It is the last song I heard my grandparents sing together before my grandmother passed away. The first refrain of the song says,
Blessed Redeemer! Precious Redeemer!
Seems now I see Him on Calvary’s tree;
Wounded and bleeding, for sinners pleading,
Blind and unheeding—dying for me!
We understand that the word redeemer is synonymous with savior but how is it different and what made Jesus the only one who could redeem mankind. The answer is actually found not in the New Testatment but in the Old and is most clearly seen in the story of a Gentile woman named Ruth and her Jewish mother-law, Naomi. The story is told at three locations, appropriately, in and around the town of Bethleham. Where 1300 year later Jesus, our redeemer would be born. Turn to Ruth 3.
I. At the Winnowing Field Ruth 3:1-5
1 Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee? 2 And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.3 Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking. 4 And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do.5 And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do.
A. Naomi Tells Ruth Where to Find Boaz
1. Boaz was Naomi’s kinsmen. They were related and under OT law if a man died leaving a widow his brother or other nearest male relative would take the widow to be his wife to protect and care for her. This sounds odd to us but it was necessary in a day of no public welfare, no real jobs for women and in a tribal agriculture land surrounded by wilderness and enemy nations. It was also necessary to carry on the lineage of the family and in God’s overall plan the lineage of his Son, Jesus Christ.
2. The male kinsman would take the widow as his wife but he also had to take on the burden of any debts or obligations that the former husband had as well. So not only did he have to be a kinsman he also had to have the ability to redeem the widow. The word is ga’al in Hebrew and it means to buy back, to seek justice, to avenge or to ransom.
3. Naomi a Israelite woman of the tribe of Judah, understood all this and directed Naomi to Boaz. She knew the place where he would be. She knew the way Ruth should approach. She told Ruth who to look for.
B. Do you know where to find your Redeemer?
1. Just as Boaz could be found working in the barley field, Jesus can be found in specific places as well. Let me act as Naomi today and tell you where Jesus can be found today.
a) He is in a spiritual winnowing field, a place where the chaff is separated from the wheat by the power of the Gospel. Today Jesus can be found in His Church. And as that church preaches the good news of His death burial and resurrection we are all separated by what we believe or refuse to believe.
b) He is found in the pages of scripture, in every one of the 66 book and on almost every page. Jesus himself said, “Joh 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
2. But the most important place a lost person needs to look for Jesus their kinsman redeemer is at Mt. Calvary. It is their that they must see Jesus doing the work of redemption for them. It is there that, just like Ruth, they must place themselves at his feet.
C. Illustration: The Centurian at the Cross
1. Matthew 27:50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. 54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
2. In many ways I must be like that Centurian, seeing Jesus dying, realize that He truly was the Son of God but also that He died to redeem me from sin and the wrath of God.
D. Ruth went to the Barley field but there was a more specific place she had to place herself, At the feet of Boaz.
II. At the Feet of the Redeemer Ruth 3:6-13
6 ¶ And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her. 7 And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down. 8 And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet. 9 And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman. 10 And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich. 11 And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman. 12 And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I. 13 Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman’s part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the LORD liveth: lie down until the morning.
A. Ruth puts herself at the feet of Boaz
1. She could not do this from afar, she must go to where Boaz was. She could not do this with pride or arrogance. She was destitute broken and without any merit in herself. She must go in utter humility and place herself at the feet of Boaz.
2. Nor could she do this without asking Boaz to be her Redeemer.
a) “Spread thy skirt over thy handmaid” means to take her into his provision and protection.
b) In many Jewish and Middle Eastern marriage ceremonies the bridegroom still will place the skirt of his “talith” or outer garment over the head of his spouse signifying his taking her into his protection.
(1) JFB- “To spread a skirt over one is, in the East, a symbolical action denoting protection. To this day in many parts of the East, to say of anyone that he put his skirt over a woman, is synonymous with saying that he married her; and at all the marriages of the modern Jews and Hindus, one part of the ceremony is for the bridegroom to put a silken or cotton cloak around his bride.”
B. Are You willing to bow at the Saviors feet?
1. We can’t stand afar off and hope to find Him.
a) A lost peron must admit He needs a Redeemer, a protector, someone who truly will care for him.
b) We must acknowledge we cannot save ourselves.
c) Jer 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.
d) Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
2. We can’t come near and then not ask of Him.
a) Jesus said, Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:”
b) Jeremiah 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
c) Jeremiah 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
3. We cannot come with pride in our hearts and ask of Him.
a) We must humble ourselves before the owner of the field, before our kinsman Redeemer Jesus Christ.
b) Ps 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
c) Ps 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
d) Isa 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
4. And if we will come to where Jesus is, if we will humble ourselves, if we will but ask, then Jesus will spread his outer garment over us. He will place us under his care and protection for all eternity.
C. Transition: Still there is one last location in our story before Ruth and Naomi can be fully redeemed, that we find in Chapter 4 at the city gates.
III. At the Gates of the City Chap 4:1-10
1 ¶ Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down. 2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down. 3 And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech’s: 4 And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it. 5 Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance. 6 And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it. 7 Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel. 8 Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe. 9 ¶ And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi.
10 Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day.
A. Boaz goes to claim his right as Ruth’s Kinsman Redeemer
1. At the city gates a roofed but open walled building or at least a bench was erected there for the purpose of business, covenants and justice. The elders of the city would gather here if they had business and once a sufficient number were assembled then they would get down to business.
2. Boaz also went there becuae he knew another who had rights to be a redeemer would also pass by. He calls for witnesses and then states the need for Naomi and Ruth’s redemption according to the law of God. The other kinsman is willing to buy the land but he is not willing to redeem the women. If you wanted to get in trouble with your wife you could say “He wanted the profit but not the pain.” You could say that but I wouldn’t say that unless you want to eat lunch by yourself this afternoon.
3. The other kinsman was not willing. He was more concerned about his own interest and inheretence rather than helping Naomi and Ruth. But Boaz was. He had the ability and he had the heart, for if we read between the lines of this story we can see that Boaz loved the humble Ruth.
B. Our Kinsman Redeemer is Jesus Christ, both willing and able to redeem us from sin and death.
1. Jesus is our kinsman because he came to earth and became a man.
a) Scripture Philippians 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
b) Gal 4: 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
2. He is our Redeemer because he paid the price of our redemption with his own shed blood and then had the power to overcome sin and death.
a) Acts 2:23-24 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
3. And finally He is our Redeemer because he love us.
a) Ephesians 2: 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
4. Boaz redeemed Ruth by his relationship and his earthy wealth but Jeus redeemed us by becoming a man and paying with his own life poured out on the cross. We began with the hymn Blessed Redeemer let us also close with it.
C. Illustration: Blessed Redeemer
1. Up Calv’ry’s mountain, one dreadful morn,
Walked Christ my Savior, weary and worn;
Facing for sinners death on the cross,
That He might save them from endless loss.
2. “Father forgive them!” thus did He pray,
E’en while His lifeblood flowed fast away;
Praying for sinners while in such woe—
No one but Jesus ever loved so.
3. Oh, how I love Him, Savior and Friend,
How can my praises ever find end!
Through years unnumbered on heaven’s shore,
My tongue shall praise Him forevermore.
4. Refrain: Blessed Redeemer! Precious Redeemer!
Seems now I see Him on Calvary’s tree;
Wounded and bleeding, for sinners pleading,
Blind and unheeding—dying for me!
A. The importance of Ruth, a Gentile Moabitess, to God’s plan for salvation.
1. Boaz redeems Naomi and Ruth
2. Ruth and Boaz have a son named Obed
3. Obed’s son is Jesse
4. And Jesse’ son is David the King of Israel, though whom came our Redeemer and Saviour Jesus Christ, who the Bible calls Son of God, Son of Man and Son of David.
B. How important is your redemption to God’s plan?
1. So important that he sent his only son the direct descendent of David, Jesus Christ to suffer and die for you.
2. Will you be redeemed this morning?