Ruth has become one of my favorite stories in the Bible. It paints a picture of how human beings can respond in the midst of challenges. Each character proclaims the Gospel of God as they go about their lives. Eugene Peterson writes in his bookThe Message, Romans 12, “So here is what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always draggin you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
We were created for God’s glory and by our living to bring glory to God. Jesus came to earth and took on himself the wrath of God for our sin so that we could live God honoring and God glorifying lives. We do this by being filled with the love of God being poured into our lives through Jesus Christ and the life of the Holy Spirit. Out of God’s love at work in us, we love God and others.
The story of Ruth communicates powerfully the good news of God as Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz in direct and subversive ways, “…bring good news to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, free the captives, pardon prisoners, announce God’s grace, comfort the mourning, bring joy to languishing spirits…” (Isaiah 61).
We have a final scene in this wonderful story. (Read Chapter 4 of Ruth for this coming Sunday) Ruth challenged Boaz with a life changing request, “Spread the corner of your garment over me – be our kinsman redeemer.” She is asking Boaz to redeem Naomi’s land, marry her, provide an heir for the family of Elimelek – AT GREAT COST TO BOAZ!” And Boaz doesn’t hesitate. He ‘readily recognizes what God wants from him and he quickly responds to it.’
I wonder if Boaz even sleeps. First thing next morning, he is off to the city gates. Why are the city gates important? What happens at the city gates? Does Boaz come with a plan to see that Naomi and Ruth’s future is secure?
As the story comes to dramatic conclusion, what is the end result of all this Hesed (loving kindness)? A baby boy! Can you see Naomi, whose arms were empty, now holding a child? What was empty, has now been filled.
See you Sunday,