Friday, June 8, 2012

Romance and Redemption

The Book of Ruth, A Love Story
Romance and Redemption
Ruth 3:1-18
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?  And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor. Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking.  And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do. And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do....And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman.... And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman. And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I....And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor. Also he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city. And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her. And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law. Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.
Ruth, chapter three, takes a marvelous but unexpected turn in events as this delightful story filled with love, faithfulness and devotion continues. Ruth was encouraged by her mother-in-law, Naomi, to put on her best appearance and go to the threshing floor to ensure a brighter future for herself. Ruth, having experienced such a positive and cheerful relationship with Boaz while gleaning in his fields, follows the instructions of Naomi and enters the threshing floor as she has been requested to do.
"And she came secretly, and uncovered his feet and lay down." Here we come in contact with the rituals involved in the request for the Levirate Marriage arrangement. This arrangement was implemented into the law by God, and written there by Moses, as a way for the family line, and property, to continue in the case of the death of a husband who is childless.  It is referred to as "The Brother-in-law law" (levirate, brother-in-law) that places an obligation to the brother-in-law of a woman who has lost her husband before having children (or loosing his children by death before his death) to take her as his wife and provide children through her. 
Part of the ritual of the fulfillment of this law as the "presentation" of the woman "spotless," cleansed and properly clothed, asking humbly at the feet of "the redeemer." It is a law about the man's responsibility to do the right thing by the law and by her. Under Jewish tradition the right place for her to do this is at his uncovered feet (symbolic of her willingness to place herself under his authority (under his wing, or garment). She had to uncover his feet as a further way to show her desire to be in this position). 
This ritual was typically done in a more public setting, however both Naomi and Boaz know that he is not the closest male relative, but is the best choice for Ruth and her. He is rich, has much property, and has demonstrated that he cares for Ruth over the last three months of the harvest season. If Ruth goes to Boaz publicly and Boaz has to refuse her for any reason then he will suffer public embarrassment for under the law it is necessary that the refusing kinsman and his family suffer disgrace. This is why we find Ruth secretly approaching Boaz in the night.
Thought: The wonderful kinsman-redeemer theme of Ruth literally begins in the third chapter giving to us a foreshadow of the Lord Jesus Christ, Our Great Redeemer.

I will sing of my Redeemer,
And His wondrous love to me;
On the cruel cross He suffered,
From the curse to set me free.
Sing, oh sing, of my Redeemer,
With His blood, He purchased me.
On the cross, He sealed my pardon,
Paid the debt, and made me free.
I want to bring a definite appeal to those of you who are still without the Lord Jesus Christ, and are hoping to attain heaven and salvation by good works, going to church or living a moral life. Without repentance and believing on Him who has died for your sin, it is impossible to claim heaven as your own. The Bible says, “There is none righteous, no not one,” and for this very reason the Lord Jesus had to die on the Cross of Calvary to provide for us what we were unable to achieve on our own. My friend, repent today of your sins and trust Christ as your Redeemer. 2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. Romans 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

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