Yesterday we saw Ruth obediently following Naomi’s instructions and approaching Boaz at the threshing floor to ask him to do his duty as Guardian Redeemer. A Guardian Redeemer was a close relative who had a duty under the law to buy back the land of a family member who had fallen into hard times and to provide an heir for a brother who had died.
Today we see Boaz’s faithfulness in straight away going to find the closer guardian redeemer to make sure Ruth was taken care of that very day.
Because this was a legal matter, Boaz got 10 men to witness this conversation in which he informs the other man of his legal duty as guardian redeemer.
The guy is happy to buy the land until he knows he has to marry Ruth – why?
V 6 – Then the redeemer said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I impair my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it.”
In marrying Ruth the expectation would be that they have a son and if they did it would carry on the name of Ruth’s dead husband, Mahlon, not his own name.
He said this most probably because he was worried that if he and Ruth produced his only surviving heir not just the land being sold by Naomi but the rest of his estate would be transferred to Elimelech’s family.
You see being a guardian-redeemer involved sacrifice – putting someone else’s needs above your own. This is what we see Boaz do in verses 9-10
‘Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and to Mahlon. Also Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to
perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day.’
This decision could put a risk to Boaz’s estate too but he is a godly man and decides to put being obedient to God first and look after family rather than just looking out for himself. What noble character we see in Boaz throughout this story as he shows such kindness to Ruth and Naomi.
As Boaz is faithful and obedient to God in this decision, we see the men he called to be witnesses bless him. What a good example of how we are called to live in community with each other. (see v11-12 and also v15b where Ruth is honoured). We are a church of life groups and this is how we can live too. As we meet together, we can be people who bless and encourage others within the group, calling out the good we see in each other rather than focusing on negatives. We all need encouragement as we walk through the many different things in life so lets make sure that we do all we can to be a blessing to those God has placed around us.
In the conclusion of this story we see the faithfulness of God. After all they had been through together, we see a happy ending for Naomi and Ruth. After losing 2 sons and a husband, Naomi has a grandson – Obed! The women living there called him her son because he would become the guardian-redeemer for the family, as her sons Mahlon and Kilion would have been. And Ruth, after showing such faithfulness to Naomi, is blessed with a husband and a son.
Boaz’s character shines through this story as a God-fearing man who from the first time we meet him shows such love and kindness. He not only shows kindness to Ruth but also to the harvesters working in the field. It was unusual for a landowner to have any contact with gleaners yet Boaz has time for them. Boaz is faithful to God every step throughout the story and is a great example to us of how to look after each other and put others before us, as Jesus taught.
I love that this story shows that God uses anyone with a heart open to Him. Ruth was a moabite but she chose to follow God rather than the gods of her people (Ruth 1:16). And as a result Ruth is in the genealogy of David and Jesus! It’s amazing what God does when people open their hearts and put their faith and trust in Him, whatever the circumstances.
Let’s be like Ruth and Boaz and obediently walk out this life with God, faithfully following Him everyday and watch what God will do!