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The Marriage of Ruth and Boaz

No sooner had Boaz gone up to the gate and sat down there than the next-of-kin, of whom Boaz had spoken, came passing by. So Boaz said, “Come over, friend; sit down here.” And he went over and sat down. Then Boaz took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, “Sit down here”; so they sat down. He then said to the next-of-kin, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belonged to our kinsman Elimelech. So I thought I would tell you of it, and say: Buy it in the presence of those sitting here, and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not, tell me, so that I may know; for there is no one prior to you to redeem it, and I come after you.” So he said, “I will redeem it.” Then Boaz said, “The day you acquire the field from the hand of Naomi, you are also acquiring Ruth the Moabite, the widow of the dead man, to maintain the dead man’s name on his inheritance.” At this, the next-of-kin said, “I cannot redeem it for myself without damaging my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it.” Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging: to confirm a transaction, the one took off a sandal and gave it to the other; this was the manner of attesting in Israel. So when the next-of-kin said to Boaz, “Acquire it for yourself,” he took off his sandal. Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have acquired from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and Mahlon. I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, the wife of Mahlon, to be my wife, to maintain the dead man’s name on his inheritance, in order that the name of the dead may not be cut off from his kindred and from the gate of his native place; today you are witnesses.” Then all the people who were at the gate, along with the elders, said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your house like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you produce children in Ephrathah and bestow a name in Bethlehem; and, through the children that the Lord will give you by this young woman, may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.” So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When they came together, the Lord made her conceive, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without next-of-kin; and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has borne him.”Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her bosom, and became his nurse. The women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed; he became the father of Jesse, the father of David. Now these are the descendants of Perez: Perez became the father of Hezron, Hezron of Ram, Ram of Amminadab, Amminadab of Nahshon, Nahshon of Salmon, Salmon of Boaz, Boaz of Obed, Obed of Jesse, and Jesse of David. (Ruth 4:1-22, NRSV)

So Boaz saw the next of kin and took with him 10 men as witnesses and sat down at the city gate, where men met to talk business and weather. The city gate would be the local McDonalds for coffee… The place where men gathered to discuss the doings of the day.

And Boaz said that Naomi was selling a field and asked if the next of kin wanted to acquire the field, and of course the next of kin did until he heard that a wife came with the field. Becuase now his of spring would not be his, it would be Elimelech’s. So he passed it on to Boaz, and to seal the deal, Boaz removed his shoe and acquired the land and Ruth as his wife.

And when they had consummated the relationship they had a son who is the grandfather of David, and so in the lineage of Jesus.

A foreigner, a stranger is the lineage of Jesus…

How do we care for the other is how we care for Jesus.

 

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Ruth and Boaz at the Threshing Floor

At midnight the man was startled, and turned over, and there, lying at his feet, was a woman! He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant; spread your cloak over your servant, for you are next-of-kin.” (Ruth 3:8-9, NRSV)

Boaz awoke and wondered who this woman was at his feet.

He was startled and wondered what had happened.

So he asked who the woman was, and Ruth responded that Boaz was the next of kin for her. Which obviously Naomi told her, not knowing there was another.

What would you do if you awoke to find a strange person asleep at your feet?

How do we care for the stranger, the foreigner, the widow and the orphan?

Do we do all we can to care for those who God has made?

 

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Ruth and Boaz at the Threshing Floor

Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, I need to seek some security for you, so that it may be well with you. Now here is our kinsman Boaz, with whose young women you have been working. See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Now wash 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. When he lies down, observe the place where he lies; then, go and uncover his feet and lie down; and he will tell you what to do.”She said to her, “All that you tell me I will do.” (Ruth 3:1-5, NRSV)

Naomi was looking to take care of Ruth. She knew she wouldn’t be around forever and needed to make sure that Ruth was cared for because she was a foreigner in a place where she had no one other than Naomi. So she sent Ruth to be with Boaz because Naomi knew he was an honorable man and would do what he needed to to care for Ruth.

Do we always care for the stranger?

Do we always care for the other?

 

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Ruth meets Boaz

When she got up to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, “Let her glean even among the standing sheaves, and do not reproach her. You must also pull out some handfuls for her from the bundles, and leave them for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.” (Ruth 2:15-16, NRSV)

And not only did Boaz invite this outsider, this foreigner into the group and feed her and give her water, he told his men to leave some of the best for her, and to protect her and not send her away.

When have we done this for the outsider?

When have we protected the vulnerable?

When have we included the stranger?

 

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Ruth meets Boaz

At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here, and eat some of this bread, and dip your morsel in the sour wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he heaped up for her some parched grain. She ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over. (Ruth 2:14, NRSV)

Ruth was a woman who came to glean from the fields. She was not a part of the workers or women Boaz had there, yet Boaz invited her in as if she was already part of the group.

Most would have seen her as a foreigner, a stranger, an outsider and kept her that way, on the fringe. They would have let her glean, but not given her food or water.

How do we share what we have with others who may seem like outsiders?

How have we been blessed to be a blessing and have we been a blessing?

 
 

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Ruth meets Boaz

Just then Boaz came from Bethlehem. He said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you.” They answered, “The Lord bless you.” Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “To whom does this young woman belong?” The servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, “She is the Moabite who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. She said, ‘Please, let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the reapers.’ So she came, and she has been on her feet from early this morning until now, without resting even for a moment.” Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. Keep your eyes on the field that is being reaped, and follow behind them. I have ordered the young men not to bother you. If you get thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.” Then she fell prostrate, with her face to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your sight, that you should take notice of me, when I am a foreigner?” But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. May the Lord reward you for your deeds, and may you have a full reward from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge!” Then she said, “May I continue to find favor in your sight, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, even though I am not one of your servants.” (Ruth 2:4-13, NRSV)

Boaz found favor with Ruth because Ruth had given up everything to help take care of Naomi, who was Boaz’s relative. He saw hope in Ruth where others would have seen a foreigner, a stranger, an outsider. Boaz saw what God sees and knew that Ruth was a woman of integrity.

Do we seek men and women of integrity?

Are we women and men of integrity?

How can we see with the eyes of God?

 

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All are a part…

Thus says the Lord: Maintain justice, and do what is right, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed. Happy is the mortal who does this, the one who holds it fast, who keeps the sabbath, not profaning it, and refrains from doing any evil. Do not let the foreigner joined to the Lord say, “The Lord will surely separate me from his people”; and do not let the eunuch say, “I am just a dry tree.” For thus says the Lord: To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give, in my house and within my walls, a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it, and hold fast my covenant— these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. Thus says the Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, I will gather others to them besides those already gathered. (Isaiah 56:1-8, NRSV)

All are a part of the ministry of God, and included in the family. Just because they were not a part of the family from the beginning does not matter. The thing we must do as a part of the body of Christ is to pursue justice. We must maintain a just society and do what is right regardless of how that effects us, or if it gets us what we want or not. We are called to serve and love one another.

The foreigner and the eunuch are a full part of the community and not partial members that will be burned away later. They are not people we are putting up with now so that they can be removed later. God loves us all and calls all of us to pursue justice and to show His love to all we meet.

Do you accept everyone as they are as God accepted you? Are you helping them see and participate in the love and mercy of God?

 

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