by Barbara Latta
Redeemed by Love
The following is an excerpt from my contribution to the compilation, For Love's Sake, published by Lighthouse Bible Studies. I have always enjoyed studying the book of Ruth and have attained many lessons from this wonderful part of the Old Testament. I hope you will enjoy reading this first section of the article.
Food was a priority now. Ruth had clung to her mother-in-law, Naomi, and begged to go back to Israel with her. She was now ready to be the sole provider for both of them.
Gleaning was the only choice she had. Two penniless widows didn’t have any other options. Yet she was willing to do this back-breaking work every day if survival required it. Ruth loved Naomi, and she had grown to love Naomi’s God. The idol-worshipping culture of Moab was behind her.
She shaded her eyes and scanned the horizon filled with crops. The rising sun reflected off the full heads of golden grain that bowed toward the ground with their abundance. Ruth plodded toward the field of her choice and started scouring the ground for morsels of barley to fill her basket.
Heat increased as the hours passed. Ruth wiped the sweat from her face with her veil as she continued to pick up fallen pieces of grain. When she raised her face, she saw a man in the distance looking her way. Her breath caught for a moment, yet she felt no fear. She had a strange attraction for the man, but she turned away and continued to glean.
Boaz shielded his eyes from the sun and surveyed his crops. God had restored bounty to the famine-ravaged ground, and the harvest required many reapers. His eyes rested on a new woman gleaning at the edges of his field. After he inquired of her identity, his gaze rested upon her beauty. Desire to care for her overtook him.
Ruth heard the servants call the field owner, “Boaz.” She was surprised when he invited her to come out of the heat to eat and rest. She was thankful for the reprieve from work and refreshed herself at his table.
When the harvest was over, Ruth obeyed the instructions of Naomi and went to the threshing floor where Boaz was working. When he slept, she lay down and uncovered his feet. When he awoke and inquired who was there, she asked him to spread his garment over her.
Boaz accepted Ruth’s request, but he still had to go through the process of “redeeming" her. According to the Law of Moses, a close relative was to marry a widow to bring up children in the dead man’s name (Leviticus 25:25, Deuteronomy 25:5). Boaz was not the closest relative. He had to give the first in line a chance to redeem her. If that man refused, Boaz would be able to take his place as the kinsman redeemer for Ruth and Naomi.
Despite Boaz’s desire to marry Ruth, he legally allowed the first kinsman to have a chance at redemption. He risked losing her if this man accepted the offer. But the first one refused, and Boaz won.
God painted a picture of the gospel through the palette of His Word in the romance of Boaz and Ruth. Boaz’s name means “strong redeemer.”1 He became the redeemer for Ruth and Naomi. Christ, the second Adam, became the Kinsman Redeemer for mankind.
Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people. (Luke 1:68 NKJV)
The Old Testament vision of Jesus’ love for all mankind is enacted through the book of Ruth through acceptance, provision, protection, and rest. What are the similarities in the two stories of redeeming love?...
This story continues in For Love’s Sake along with 29 other articles written by some amazing, gifted authors.
I know you will be blessed by this book and I hope you will consider a purchase for yourself or a friend or loved one.
What have you learned from the story of Ruth and Boaz? Please feel free to share your thoughts.