May 20, 2012 Emmaus Christian Church
Ruth 2: Boaz: The redeemer is redeemed.
Ok, we are now at week 2 of our 3 week series on Ruth. if you weren’t here last week, what we are doing is taking three weeks and looking at the book of Ruth, and in specific, the three characters of Naomi, Boaz and Ruth. We learned last week a little bit about Naomi and how God emptied her of herself, filled her with Himself and redeemed not only her life, but through her he brought forth The redeemer, Jesus Christ. The big idea of this series is that though we can look at historical narratives in scripture and see lessons to be learned about life, and about character, in all the narratives of the Bible, the point of the story is not moral lessons, it isn’t principles for living, it is the same thing that Jesus told the three disciples on the Emmaus road, the old testament is written to point us to Himself. All of the morals and rules and laws that were put into place in the old testament were put there to show us that we cant do them, and our only hope is to be rescued by someone who can. The only one who can, and has is the one Jesus Christ.
So today we are going to look at the character of Boaz, and see how he is a shadow of the redeemer, and the example of one who is redeemed. Again, I think it is very important for us to remember that this is a Narrative, a story. Its a true story, but it is a story. it is what is called a descriptive text of the Bible, it tells us what happened to a particular family in history, not a prescriptive book on how all relationships should be handled. it also is not primarily allegory. We cannot take all the details in this story and apply them to our understanding of Gods work. This narrative is a telling of true events that God ordained as a shadow of what was to come in Christ. It was preparing the people of Israel for the coming Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
I am going to read the whole Chapter of Ruth 2, which is 23 verses, and may feel long, but like I said before, we can waste time speaking our own words, but reading scripture is never a waste of time. As the Lord says in Isaiah, his word never returns void.
So read along as I read aloud The book of Ruth, chapter 2.
So what do we know about Boaz? Well for starters, we see in the first verse that he was a relative of Naomi’s husband, and he was a Noble man, indicating he had a certain amount of status, and influence, as well as wealth. he obviously was the owner of some fields and had servants and workers who worked for him. He had a certain degree of authority since he could tell his men not to touch her, and they would abide by that command. We know that he recognized the Lord’s presence and activity from the way he greeted his workers in the field, and by the way he speaks to Ruth about God’s favor on her and blessing for what she has done for Naomi. We know from Chapter 3 that he was older, and seemed to be a bachelor. He was also a moral guy which we will also see in Chapter 3. He was concerned for purity, and for Ruth’s reputation. He had just about everything he could want in life. He has respect, power, wealth. yet, he still did not have what was important to people at this time. It doesn’t explicitly say this, so I cannot be certain, but it seems that Boaz has no heir, no wife, and no children. I infer this because there is another relative who can redeem the line but he doesn’t want to since it will affect his children’s inheritance. Boaz doesn’t seem to share that situation. So in many respects he is an unlikely redeemer. it seems that though he has an opportunity to redeem the line of Elimelech, he has need of redemption as well. Further more, since he is in the line of Adam, he needs more than just redemption for his line, he need redemption from his sin nature.
So I want to look at Boaz from two angles: Boaz as redeemer, and Boaz as redeemed.
Boaz is Redeemer
Lets look for a moment at how Boaz redeemed Ruth.
He took Notice 2:10. he saw Ruth in the field, and seemed to be drawn to her. And he had heard of her faithfulness to Naomi; he was attracted to her character.
He provided for Her: Protection, provision, comfort 2:13 he put his affections to work by making sure she was protected in the fields, and well supplied with grain for her food.
All of that was well and good, and incredibly noble, and there is much for us to learn through their example in those things, but he could provide for her, and notice her, and her family line is still broken. She needs something more for that to be repaired, she needs a redeemer.
Before we go much further, lets talk for a minute about what a redeemer is in this story. We have somewhat of an understanding of what it is already, but I want to make sure we are clear on what is really taking place here. the redemption taking place in this story seems to be combining two legal practices of redemption. One is the redemption of property that has been or is being sold (possibly by Naomi to pay living expenses) The property that has left the family possession for whatever reason can be bought back by a relative to ensure it stays in the family line. The second legal practice is what is called Levirate marriage, where a childless widow is married by a brother, or close relative in order to give the deceased an heir. So in this story, Obed, the son of Ruth and Boaz is the heir to Eimelech’s property that Boaz had redeemed as well.
He was related. Something he had no control over was the most important part of his ability to redeem Elimelech’s line. This speaks to the overarching theme that God is the primary character in this story.
Boaz as Redeemed
Through Ruth: Boaz gained a wife and an heir for himself, a very important thing for him. 3:10
Through Christ: Even though Boaz was well equipped to redeem ruth with his finances and his influence, the thing that made him most equipped to redeem the line of Elimelech is that he was a relative. Something he had no control over whatsoever.
Though Boaz used human means, it was a divine plan. All of the provision that he could give, all of the care and affection that he could offer would seem to be great in the short term for Ruth, she might have had a wonderful life with Boaz had they not been related, but, as I have said before, this story is not primarily about their circumstances, or even about their happiness, it is about their redemption. Your redemption, my redemption.
You see, we all have a broken family line. It goes all the way back to the garden of Eden, where our first parents believed the lie of Satan, and sinned against God. That act as Paul would later explain made us heirs of death. We had no inheritance, but brokenness and eternal torment of Hell was our destiny. God had handed us over to sinfulness as he explains in Romans 1. We belonged to the evil one. And here is the thing, we are powerless to change that. Just as Ruth was powerless to change her situation, and affect her family line. There is nothing we can do to change our blood lines, but there is one who can. God has not left us without a kinsman redeemer, what the first Father Adam was powerless to do, the second Adam, Jesus, accomplished with amazing skill. And he redeemed us with His own Blood through his life, death burial and resurrection he stood at the city gate in the presence of the elders, just as well see Boaz do and declare, “these are Mine, I will redeem them” or in other words, “It is Finished!!”
Ephesians 1:3-14 explains this truth rather clearly when it says…
So, just like Boaz took notice of Ruth, God in Christ takes notice of us and provided Christ for us, Just like Ruth the foreigner didn’t deserve Boaz’s kindness, we don’t deserve Christ’s Mercy. And just like Boaz was qualified to redeem Ruth because of his Bloodline, Christ is qualified to redeem us through His blood that he shed on the cross for us. Living a perfect, sinless life, dyeing a sinners death, and raising again so that we might know that he is qualified to redeem because he has conquered satan, sin and death, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father.
So, we have seen Boaz as a redeemer, Boaz as redeemed, and Boaz as a shadow of the true Redeemer.