Ruth: The Story of Two Redeemers  (Ruth 4) 
May 22, 2022

Ruth: The Story of Two Redeemers  (Ruth 4) 


The Story of Two Redeemers (Ruth 4:1-4)
Ruth chapter three concluded with Naomi hopefully predicting that Boaz would not rest until he resolved this matter. So now Ruth four begins with Boaz sitting at the gate doing precisely what we expect.
Every civilized community had walls to protect its citizens and a centralized gate that provided access. Symbolically, the gate was a place where a community and the outside world interfaced. It was also the ancient version of Jacks; it’s the meeting place of those who matter – the room where it happens.
As Boaz took up his position, behold, (soon) his next of kin happened to walk through the gate. It’s a reminder of Ruth 2:3 when the daughter of Moab “happened” to arrive at Boaz’s field. Choice, not chance, guides the lives of Boaz and Ruth.
Take-Home: Your life is not determined by “luck” but providence – God’s daily concern and care.
So Boaz gathers with so and so, who remains nameless, along with ten elders. In the congregation's presence, Boaz offers a significant business proposition; Naomi has returned home and is selling her land; do you want it?
If the deal was such a good investment, why did Boaz offer it to this other man? First, we need to understand the concept of a kinsman-redeemer. The Old Testament redeemer was a person who:
Could repurchase acreage for a relative that was sold in a moment of hardship. Promised Land could not be sold permanently (God ultimately owned the mineral rights) but would be “leased” out to others if you were in debt. It was the duty of your closest relative to buy back the field until it returned to the original family in the year of Jubilee (every 50 years). Boaz was not the closest kin.
We know that Elimelech died and left an aged widow in a foreign land. He likely rented the field to an outsider when he left Bethlehem. Now his family has returned with no one to inherit the ground, so whoever redeems the land will keep it during the year of Jubilee. This is an exceptional real estate bargain without risk, so the redeemer jumps at the opportunity and immediately says, “I want to redeem it!
But there is more to the story. Read Ruth 4:5-10. Have you ever heard of something too good to be true? This real estate transaction might have minimal risk, but it has unique obligations. On the day the land is redeemed, the redeemer covenants to provide for Ruth – the deceased's wife.
Now Boaz appeals to another portion of the Lord’s holy word. This time he calls into obligation the levirate marriage. Levir simply means brother-in-law. In the Bible and in some societies today throughout Africa and India, when a man died without an heir, it was the brother-in-law's duty to marry the widow, provide a posthumous heir, and preserve the inheritance. The goal of this holy institution was to keep the widow in the family.
Take-Home: Ruth was not born into the family, but Boaz wanted her to be included. This is what Jesus did for you. Sin makes you an outsider, but God sent his Son, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons (Gal. 4:5). The Gospel brings you home!
Now we find a beautiful picture of mercy and loving-kindness. Neither Boaz nor the next of kin were brothers-in-law so everything outlined in the law was voluntary. Neither had an obligation to marry Ruth; it was another manifestation of Boaz’s hesed.
The first redeemer was motivated by profit rather than a heart of concern. In the 16th century, Richard Bernard quipped, “the kinsman, after so long of famine, had ready money to purchase but not a penny to give to poor Naomi and Ruth.”
Take-Home: How often, we, like this first kinsman come to Jesus because of what we can get: eternal life without having to surrender our lives, mansions in heaven without letting Christ dwell in our homes here on earth, the forgiveness of sins and yet neglecting repentance, and abundant life without true faith in the cross of Calvary. The gospel message is not come and take but come and see so that you believe Jesus is the Son of the Most High God.
Boaz’s love for Ruth and Naomi was more than an expedient transaction. The second redeemer committed out of devotion and authentic concern.
Redemption is a thread woven throughout the entire Bible. You can say that Israel had redemption in her DNA. In the Old Testament, the idea of a redeemer goes back to the time of Moses when Yahweh rescued the Israelites from their slavery of Egypt. On the night when all of the firstborn males died in the plague, the Lord redeemed the sons of Israel with the lamb's blood.
The gospel is the story of redemption. John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the world's sin – our Redeemer!
Because of sin, you live as an enemy of God outside his presence and outside of relationship. For all who need a redeemer, the Sacred Scriptures remind us that Eph 1:7 In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.
Take-Home: When all you knew was death, brokenness, and pain, Jesus died to take your place and offer you abundant life.
Redemption comes with sacrifice. Did you notice how the first redeemer reacted? He jumped at the chance when he felt like that land purchase only offered benefits with no obligations! But he walked away when he found out he had to sacrifice, maybe even his own children's inheritance.
Your salvation did not come without great sacrifice for the Son of Man. Phil 2:7 Instead, he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, 8 he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death— even to death on a cross. How many walk away from the faith when they learn about the sacrifice?
Take-Home: Your Redeemer emptied himself so that you might be filled with His Spirit. The first redeemer walked away when he had to sacrifice.
The Great Redeemer walked to the cross – He is your sacrifice.
Redemption comes with a price. The first redeemer desired the land of Elimelech when he could keep it forever, but he walked away when he weighed the cost. You have a greater Redeemer who weighed the cost for you.
In a city on the shore of a great lake lived a small boy who loved the water and sailing. So deep was his fascination that he, with the help of his father, spent months making a beautiful model boat, which he began to sail at the water’s edge. Then, one day a sudden gust of wind caught the tiny vessel and carried it far out into the lake and out of sight.
Day after day, he would walk the shores searching for his treasure, but always in vain. Then one day, as he was walking through town, he saw his beautiful boat – in a store window. He approached the shopkeeper only to be told that it was no longer his, for the owner had paid a local fisherman good money for the boat. So if the boy wanted the boat, he would have to pay the price.
And so the youth set himself to work doing anything and everything until finally, he returned to the store with the money. Then, holding his precious boat in his arms, he said with great joy, “You are twice mine now – because I made you and because I bought you.”
Redemption is not earned, it’s given. Boaz had no obligation to care for Ruth, yet he became the redeemer because of his great love for her. In the same way, Jesus had no obligation to take our place.
Jesus made you for relationship but sin made you no longer his. Yet, God sent his Only Son to buy your redemption. In Christ, you are forever His. He made you and he bought you.
Praise the Lord for the Redeemer!
So What?
If you want to follow Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you can do so using words like this:
My life is broken—I recognize it's because of my sin. I need You.
I believe Christ came to live, die, and was raised from the dead to rescue me from my sin.
Forgive me. I turn from my selfish ways and put my trust in You. I know that Jesus is Lord of all, and I will follow Him.
Redemption comes with sacrifice. Did you notice how the first redeemer reacted? He jumped at the chance when he felt like that land purchase only offered benefits with no obligations! But he walked away when he found out he had to sacrifice, maybe even his own children's inheritance.