Ruth & Boaz
Pictures of Jesus
To meet someone at the airport we don’t know, we’d need pictures of him to help us recognise him when he comes. These would prepare us for his coming so that we’d accept him and not reject him and let him pass us by. For this reason the Old Testament is filled with pictures of the One who would come to bring salvation, the Messiah. These PICTURES of Jesus are called TYPES of Christ. They describe every aspect of his Person and Work. When Jesus came he claimed to fulfil the whole Old Testament. He’s the central character of the whole Bible and the key to understanding it. With our eyes opened we see Jesus everywhere in the Word and the Bible comes alive with significance. One of these Pictures of Jesus is found in the great love story of Ruth and Boaz.
It is set in the time of the Judges- dark times in Israel. Against this dark background shone a bright light out of Bethlehem that gave hope for the future. The Book of Ruth tells this story which anticipates the true Star of Bethlehem when in a dark world the Light of the World was born and began to shine from there. (Micah 5:2) This story, full of love, devotion, faithfulness and loyalty, tells the story of Boaz and Ruth and how they come to be husband and wife.
It’s a romance that pictures the Divine Romance between Christ and his Church (the subject of the whole Bible.) The Bible starts and ends with a Marriage and the heart of it’s revelation is the Union of God and man in covenant love and fellowship and partnership.
The problem is that sin has come in breaking the relationship between God and man leaving us poor, destitute and defenceless. So there’s a great obstacle in the way of the fulfilment of the ‘romantic’ dream of
the union of God and man.
A great sacrificial price must be paid by the Bridegroom (Christ). We need to be REDEEMED (bought back) to be restored to God and belong to Him. Thus REDEMPTION and THE REDEEMER are the main themes of the Bible. This story of Boaz and Ruth is a picture of this drama, and so it is a story of ROMANCE and REDEMPTION.
The ROMANCE is the fulfilling of the dream of this union of love against seeming impossible circumstances keeping them apart. REDEMPTION is the paying of a sacrificial price to accomplish this. This Union is made possible by the Bridegroom becoming her REDEEMER. The man must take the initiative to redeem. He alone has the power and authority but the woman must accept Him as her husband by accepting his redemption.
We have been redeemed from the Power of Sin, Satan, and Curse by the BLOOD OF JESUS. This was the price He paid to set us free to be His Bride – we now belong to him. The Apostle Paul says:
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her…that he might present her to himself a glorious church (or Bride)” Eph 5:25,27. The PURPOSE of our REDEMPTION wasn’t just us to save us from sin, but to save us for Himself – to be His Bride forever sharing his eternal life, riches, position and glory
– ruling and reigning with Him.
So then our focus today is in the Book of RUTH and in chapter 1
Elimelech and Naomi his wife have two sons. Famine causes them to leave Bethlehem – which name itself means ‘The House of Bread’ – the place of God’s provision and go to Moab (a Gentile land). This was a sort of back-sliding – for they were leaving God’s will, leaving the land of promise to find satisfaction elsewhere in the world. Yet we read that in spite of hardship and famine, God looked after those who remained in Bethlehem. As a consequence Ebimelech died and as did his sons –
10 years later, and even though the sons married they died childless;
so Naomi was left to care for Orpah and Ruth her daughters-in-law.
One of these Gentile widowed daughters-in-law was RUTH and Naomi returns to the land where she will eventually meet her Saviour. She tries to send her daughters-in-law away to find husbands elsewhere because she can’t provide sons for them and as gentiles they’d have no status in Israel. Orpah left Naomi and went back to her gods and her own devises. But Ruth believed in the God of Naomi and so decided to stick close and be a blessing to her. This is a picture of our Gentile world who have come to know God through Israel. A true believer knows their
debt to Israel and blesses Israel.
When they return to Bethlehem Naomi calls herself ‘Mara’ meaning ‘cursed, or bitter’ (v20,21) for due to lack of confidence in God she had lost her way. The two women were now bereft of both husbands and sons; this meant poverty and no future. The family name would end
and they were outsiders in that society. Naomi and Ruth reveal another picture of mankind (Jew and Gentile) under the consequences of sin, without hope, and powerless to save themselves. Women on their own (in those days) were outsiders, with no status or ability to provide for themselves. Not having a son to care and protect in later life was a great problem. They were bound to servitude and in great need of a saviour – someone to transform their lives.
So then, Chapter 1 introduces us to RUTH – a believer seeking after the true God as He has revealed Himself to Israel through the scriptures.
It shows us our great need of salvation and our inability to obtain it by ourselves.
RUTH Chapter 2 introduces us to a man called BOAZ – who himself is
a picture of Christ: Verse one begins:
“There was a relative (kinsman) of Naomi’s husband, a man of great wealth … whose name was Boaz.” What does this chapter show us: Lets consider the evidence.
BOAZ like Christ was a mighty man – ABLE to SAVE.
(Boaz means: ‘In Him is strength, ability’)
Then, He was wealthy and he alone has the resources to redeem her.
and He was Lord of the Harvest (ch2 and 3). He was Born in Bethlehem (Micah5:2, Matt2:6) He was kind, compassionate,
loving -WILLING to SAVE. and He was a KINSMAN (related)
to Ebimelech and to Naomi.
This is crucial to the story as it qualified him to act as REDEEMER. Likewise Christ was born into the human family to redeem us.
He is related to Adam and to Israel and so is one of us
– our Kinsman-Redeemer.
By ‘the Law of Gleaning’ ( you may read about it in Lev 19: and Deut 24:) the poor who didn’t have their own land could glean the left-over’s of any field. Ruth was still an outsider but was trying to glean what she could from the wheat fields. So, led by the Spirit – Ruth ‘happens’ to go to Boaz’s field. When our heart is to seek after God, He’ll lead us to the answers. The Spirit leads us to Christ and to his love, just in the same way as He led Ruth to Boaz.
In v6 a Servant introduces Ruth to Boaz. He tells her to stay in his fields but when she asks why she has found grace in his eyes? (she being an outsider) … it seems that He has seen her and admires her faith in God and loyalty to Naomi, and is attracted to her.(v11) Attraction is not always external, one may often see the beauty of a persons heart first.
So Boaz arranges for her to stay in his fields under his
provision and his protection.
Ruth tells Naomi (who has become something of a matchmaker) who gets excited because she knows he is a NEAR KINSMAN (v20) which means he has the right to REDEEM them and bring them under the covering of his name, his authority and blessing. The KEY word and concept of the story is KINSMAN-REDEEMER the word is ‘goel’ in the Hebrew.
It had an important part to play in the life and laws of Israel.
One of these important roles was as The Redeemer of the Family Name and Future by Marriage. In those times, it was a disaster for a man to die without sons to continue his NAME, that he could live on in them. His inheritance in the land and his name would be lost. So his brother was obliged to marry his widow to raise up a son for him thus redeeming his name and inheritance into the future. This is behind the story in Luke 20:27-38. If there was no brother, (as in this case) a near KINSMAN (relative) could pay the price to REDEEM the man’s
future (but he wasn’t obligated).
That’s why Jesus had to become a man like us, related to us by blood to redeem us. Galatians 4: 4 & 5. Being a Kinsman like Boaz gave him the right to redeem. His perfect life and blood gave him the ability to redeem us. Wealthy Boaz was also ABLE. However neither Boaz nor Jesus were obligated to redeem, – it was the decision of LOVE. In love, Boaz redeemed Ruth taking her as his wife. In love, Jesus, laid his life down for us to pay the full price for our redemption (full restoration to blessing) Now we are in him, the Bride of Christ and in preparation to be his eternal partner, the completion of our redemption.
So Jesus has fulfilled every aspect of this KINSMAN-REDEEMER
and as I have said; the key picture in this story is of
CHRIST – our KINSMAN-REDEEMER.
In RUTH chapter 3 we see Ruth coming to Boaz for salvation.
This redemption results in SHALOM (a state of rest and well-being) “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“? (v1)
Boaz, the kinsman is pictured as the Lord of the Harvest who winnows the grain on his threshing-floor. He throws the grain into the air, with a breeze blowing. The chaff is separated from the true grain because it’s blown downwind. The chaff is gathered up and burned and the grain is put into the Lord’s barns. Jesus will do this with the unbelievers (chaff) and believers (grain) in the final judgement.
Matt 3:11&12; &Psalm 1:4
Ruth dresses as a bride (v3) and lies down at his feet, showing her willingness to submit to him as her lord. (v4). She uncovered his feet so that he would feel the cool night breeze, wake up to cover his feet and find her there! (v7,8) He asks who she is and she answers ‘Ruth’ and says “don’t just cover your feet, cover me also“: “Spread your covering GARMENT over thy handmaid, for you are a near-kinsman” (v9)
This was a lovely way of asking him to be her Kinsman-Redeemer. She was saying that “Like your feet I’m out in the cold, defenceless. I ask you to redeem me, take me in, protect me, bring me in from the cold.
I want to belong to you. You’re able to bring me into rest. I can’t save myself; so I cast myself at your feet. I want to dwell under the shadow
of your covering. Spread your authority over me. Warm me with
your presence. Let us be united in marriage.”
We see that Boaz was more than willing to redeem Ruth (v10-13). And Jesus Christ also wanted to redeem us that he died for all. Boaz was glad she didn’t go after others; and Jesus is so glad when we come to him rather than go after other things or other gods for help. He takes us in. He offers Himself to us, spreading His wings for us to come under. The Psalmist says “He shall cover you with his feathers and under his wings you shall trust.“ Ps 91:4. Christ like Boaz had the right to redeem but not the obligation. yet in love he laid his life down for us to pay the full price for our redemption. Sin left us out in the cold but he took us in giving us not just a covering but a cleansing with his redemptive blood. When we come to Jesus we are covered (atoned) with his blood and we are safe from judgement and enter into peace with God, protected for all eternity under his wings. Ruth came to her saviour… personally and asked him into her life and trusted herself under his wings. He took her in. She was seeking identity, now she found it in Boaz through this act of faith. She trusted herself to him, relying on His character, strength and love; came to him and called upon him for salvation. What a glorious picture of Salvation in Jesus this is!
But there was a problem: Another relative had first rights to redeem her. Would he step in instead? He must be given the opportunity. (v12). This raises the issue of whether salvation can be found in anyone or anything else. This is in the story because God wants it known that there is salvation in no one else so that all our trust, love and praise would be in Christ. Acts 4:12. That’s why the law came first, (before Christ) to show that Law (legality) cannot save us, nor can we save ourselves by our works. Nor can any other guru or religion save. To pay for one person’s eternal life and salvation is beyond anyone. All are born as slaves to sin (inheriting a sin-nature from Adam) and we cannot pay
the price to set ourselves free let alone redeem one another!
Only the spotless Son of God born of a virgin is sinless and thus free to save. ‘God sent forth His Son, born of a woman…to redeem us’ (Gal 4:4,5) He’s able to redeem us and set us free for the value of His Blood is infinite and able to pay the full price of our redemption! John 8:32-36
Some would have us believe that that virgin herself was without need of a Saviour, but she herself knew her need? Mary’s first words to the
Angel Gabriel on hearing that she was to be the Mother of the Christ was;” My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” Luke 1:46&47 So even Mary knew that she needed a Saviour, the best of us as well as the worst of us … do!
So the Law came first to show it couldn’t save. (v13). Boaz sent a coded message to Naomi (v17) in the 6 measures of barley he gave her that day. (Man is to work 6 days before resting in the completed work on the 7th day). He was promising her that he would complete all the work of redemption that day before entering into his rest. He was saying-
‘leave it to me, I will do it all and see it through.’ and this is how Naomi interpreted it (v18). Jesus finished the full work of our redemption, paying the full price before he entered into rest and sat down at God’s right hand.
Finally, in RUTH chapter 4 we see the redemption and the blessing procured for Ruth. Boaz invites the other kinsman to redeem the land but when he makes it clear that he would also have to redeem Ruth by marrying her, he said: ‘I CANNOT’ (v6) He didn’t have the wealth,
he couldn’t pay the price nor take in and provide for this family. Now the way was open for Boaz to redeem. (v7,8) Jesus, our Boaz was the only one strong enough, rich enough and free enough to redeem us. Thank God he was also willing!
Jesus fulfilled every aspect of the KINSMAN-REDEEMER:
He came to pay the price to restore us to every lost blessing, to abide in our promised land. (Gal 3:13&14) In Adams fall we lost our land our territory and position (every blessing) in the Kingdom.
Jesus released (redeemed) us from slavery to sin. We sold ourselves (in Adam) into slavery to Sin & Satan which had the right to control our future. Only a free and wealthy Kinsman could redeem us from that
slave-market of sin. A slave can’t free a slave. Only Jesus, free from sin, could deliver us, purchasing us with his precious blood (1Pet 1:18,19) No-one else could pay the price for our eternal salvation.
Jesus our Protector and will avenge the blood of the righteous. He has defeated and will eventually destroy Satan. He lays his life down to bring us into Gods family, to give us his name and to protect and nourish us.
Yes, in Jesus we become married to a secure and eternal name, blessings, position, inheritance and future are all ours in Christ. Redemption is the releasing from a state of poverty and curse and restoring to blessing and wealth by the payment of a price or ransom. We have no future without Christ,
But once he has brought us into His love, the ultimate conclusion will be the Marriage of CHRIST and the CHURCH.
To be our Bridegroom, Christ also had to be our Redeemer. The price is paid. We are now betrothed, promised, engaged to Him. Like Ruth let us be at his feet and let him cover us. For salvation we must come to the feet of Jesus and we must ask him to save us.
Now this final word.
These Four Chapters that make up the Story of RUTH show
us just how important “The Bible” really is? It is through His Word that God reveals Himself to us. Here in this book although there are no photographs, there are many pictures. This lovely story shows us the picture of Jesus and how HE gladly and graciously covers and cleanses all who come and take up that place at his feet. Even his Mother knew and rejoiced in Christ her Saviour.
When God opens the Book and asks “what have you done with this Jesus which is called the Christ”?
…. all that will matter into eternity is that you’ve trusted in HIM, and were taught by HIM, and loved by HIM and set your hope, all of your hope in HIM; and are at that moment under his covering and cleansing.
Most of us have all kinds of Insurance cover, we cover our homes, our motor vehicles, our health, our investments, and even our pets, but have you yet secured cover for your Soul? People don’t die, bodies die,
and out into the ages of eternity, what plans have you made for your soul, is it insured?
So I end with a simple question, … what covers you today?
Thank God, Jesus is waiting now to cover you for time and eternity,
all you have to do is to ask him.
God Bless You