Lent 2022 Day 31
Wed 6 Apr
Ruth 3:7-12 Redemption and the thin line to Jesus
7 When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. 8 In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned – and there was a woman lying at his feet!
9 ‘Who are you?’ he asked. ‘I am your servant Ruth,’ she said. ‘Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.’
10 ‘The Lord bless you, my daughter,’ he replied. ‘This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: you have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. 11 And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. 12 Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I.
We go back a bit. Tucked in between the mighty books of Joshua and Judges on one side, and 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings on the other is the little book of Ruth. It’s four chapters long and constitutes a bed-time read. I’ve included it because it is a lovely book. All Old Testament books are essential reading, but Ruth, though the name means sadness, is lovely as well.
It tells the story of a widow whose two daughters-in-law also become widows. Ruth, one of the daughters-in-law, is free to back to her homeland in Moab now that she is a widow, and seek the support of her family. She chooses instead to stay with her mother-in-law Naomi:
Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.
It all turns out well in the end. Naomi goes to Bethlehem, where her late husband had come from. There was a man of standing, a relative of Naomi’s husband. His name was Boaz. To cut the story short, Ruth goes to Boaz, who has already shown her some gleaning favours in the barley-harvest, to seek his cover over her, literally, in the corner of his bedsheet, and figuratively and relatively (in the kinship sense) because he is an in-law relation of Ruth through Naomi’s husband.
The role Boaz was willing to take on was that of guardian-redeemer, one who would care for, and marry Ruth, if her closest relatives back in Moab were prepared to abdicate their responsibility for her. Ruth moved into a special line of ancestry, as Boaz and she became the great grandparents of King David, and we all know who was born of David’s line.
Did God depend on Ruth making the right choice for his plan?
Father God, you have sent your Son, our redeemer, to bring us into your family. By Christ Jesus’ life on earth and his death and resurrection I am now adopted into your family, and may call you Father. Thank you, Father, thank you for Jesus. Amen.
Where you go…