Ruth 3:1-5, 9-13
1 Peter 1:17-19
It was recently announced in the news that the Russian government is selling the Kremlin silverware.
They're doing this because they have no money.
It seems strange to see such a great power reduced to this state of affairs, doesn't it?
But, if we think about it on a smaller scale, we've probably all known of families who have been reduced to such a state, when they are forced to sell or pawn their valuables, including some very precious personal items.
If times and situations change for the better, and the items are still available, they may be able to redeem them for a somewhat higher price than they sold or pawned them for.
The same thing occurs when we sell our souls to the devil by sinning against God.
We need to be redeemed, and to have our reproach removed.
The reproach, in the case of a person, is their embarrassment; and their redemption is ultimately brought about by Jesus Christ.
This morning we're going to take a look at a few passages from the Book of Ruth, and take a look at how God's redemptive work begins and comes to fruition.
And as a lead in to this, let's look at Psalm 127.
1. Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.
2. It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.
Usually, the troubles we get into are the results of our getting ahead of God, or ignoring God entirely.
This is what happened in the days of the Judges of Israel; when the people listened to the Lord they were blessed, and when they disobeyed, they were oppressed.
It was during such a time of Israel's disobedience that Naomi and her family left Israel and went to Moab.
And it was there that her two sons married Moabite women, one of whom was Ruth, and it was there that her husband and sons died, leaving her and her daughters-in-law without an heir.
The lesson in this is that you can't run away from your responsibilities, or from God.
From the story, it appears that Naomi was the true believer in the family, and that the others really didn't follow God's commandments.
The next three verses in Psalm 127 tell us of the custom and belief of the people, and the reason that Naomi felt the reproach of the people.
3. Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Naomi's reward was now dead. Her gift was no more.
4. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth.
5. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They shall not be ashamed, When they speak with their enemies in the gate.
Naomi was now ashamed.
Instead of the blessing of the Lord, she felt the reproach, or the curse, for now her enemies would speak against her.
We need to remember that the Lord is not cursing Naomi; but the attitude of the people is making her feel like she is cursed.
And since women had little rights in those days, and inheritance almost always passed to the nearest male relative, she felt doubly reproached.
Naomi and Ruth needed a redeemer to remove their reproach, and such a redemption could only come through someone buying their land and marrying Ruth.
And if we open our spiritual minds, we come to realize that as part of our redemption, we become the bride of Christ, whether we are a man or a woman.
He redeems us from our reproach caused by the sin in our lives.
With this in mind, let's take a look at Ruth 3:1-5.
And as we look at this passage, understand that Naomi, like many of us, when we feel depressed, we often take steps on our own to correct the situation or make ourselves feel better, even if it means hiding in our beds.
We do this because we haven't sought the Lord, and because we are not waiting upon the Lord for His answer and direction.
Thus Naomi places Ruth in quite a compromising position, if Boaz, their relative is not an honorable man.
1. Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, "My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you?
2. "And now is not Boaz our kinsman, with whose maids you were? Behold, he winnows barley at the threshing floor tonight.
3. "Wash yourself therefore, and anoint yourself and put on your best clothes, and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking.
4. "And it shall be when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies, and you shall go and uncover his feet and lie down; then he will tell you what you shall do."
5. And she said to her, "All that you say I will do."
And this is exactly what Ruth does.
Let's move down to verse 9, and note what happens when Boaz awoke in the middle of the night, and felt Ruth's presence.
9. And he said, "Who are you?" And she answered, "I am Ruth your maid. So spread your covering over your maid, for you are a close relative [or redeemer]."
10. Then he said, "May you be blessed of the Lord, my daughter. You have shown your last kindness to be better than the first by not going after young men, whether poor or rich.
11. "And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence.
12. "And now it is true I am a close relative [or redeemer]; however, there is a relative [or redeemer] closer than I.
13. "Remain this night, and when morning comes, if he will redeem you, good; let him redeem you. But if he does not wish to redeem you, then I will redeem you, as the Lord lives. Lie down until morning."
This part of the Book of Ruth is talking about a physical redemption according to Hebrew custom, which is explained in more detail as we look at 4:1-6.
1. Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there, and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz spoke was passing by, so he said, "Turn aside, friend, 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 down here." So they sat down.
3. Then he said to the closest relative, "Naomi, who has come back from the land of Moab, has to sell the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech.
4. "So I thought to inform you, saying, 'Buy it before those who are sitting here, and before the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if not, tell me that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am after you."' And he said, "I will redeem it."
Horrors of all horrors, it's not turning out the way anyone wanted, so Boaz quickly reminds this man of another condition to the requirements redemption.
5. Then Boaz said, "On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of the deceased, in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance."
6. And the closest relative said, "I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I jeopardize my own inheritance . Redeem it for yourself; you may have my right of redemption, for I cannot redeem it."
When it comes to redemption, it's all or nothing.
It's that way according to Hebrew custom, and it's the way our spiritual redemption works.
We're either saved or we're not.
We can't be part of this unsaved world, and at the same time be a child of God.
After redemption, we may still live in this world, but we are not to be a part of its ungodly ways.
The precious blood of Jesus Christ pays for all our sins, and gives us a new life, which should be evident by a change in our behavior.
Therefore, we must ask ourselves, "If we still desire to be as the rest of the world, have we truly allowed ourselves to be redeemed, and desired to be changed?
The answer to this question tells us a lot about ourselves and about the condition of the church, today.
Returning to Ruth, 4:13, note how these two aspects of redemption tie together.
13. So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife, and he went in to her. And the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.
14. Then the women said to Naomi, "Blessed is the Lord who has not left you without a redeemer today, and may his name become famous in Israel.
15. "May he also be to you a restorer of life and a sustainer of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him."
16. Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her lap, and became his nurse.
Naomi and Ruth and the land have been redeemed, and their reproach has been removed, and there is now an heir to continue the line.
But there is also a spiritual side to this redemption.
17. And the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, "A son has been born to Naomi!"
Note the custom. Even though the child was born to Ruth, he is considered to be Naomi's child as well.
So they named him Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
And it is here that the spiritual side of this redemption story unfolds.
For it's from the line of David that Jesus Christ is born.
And it's through the precious blood of Jesus, that we are redeemed, just as we are told in 1 Peter 1:17-19.
17. And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth;
18. knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,
19. but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
However, remember that it isn't the blood of an innocent animal that can save us; it is only the blood of Jesus.
Receive this greatest of all gifts from the Lord.
And if we have received it, then we should renew ourselves daily through prayer and a spirit of thanksgiving, and live in His heavenly will where there is no pain or suffering or death.
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