RUTH: WEEK ELEVEN
Ruth 2:1-23 (Part One)
(click here to listen to the third teaching in the Ruth study.)
Now we get to the good part. We’re agonizing with Naomi, fearful for Ruth, frustrated with the so-called friends who leave them tired and hungry at their doorstep.
And…in walks Boaz. Of course he was tall, dark, and handsome (actually the text leaves this bit of Hollywood drama out), just the man to come to their rescue. He’s John Wayne and Billy Graham all wrapped into one.
As Ruth resorts to the backbreaking labor of gleaning for leftover grain, she “haps” on the field of the one man who is both willing and able to rescue her from a life of destitution.
This scene is full of spiritual innuendo. Boaz, representing our own Redeemer, Jesus, is a man full of grace and good will. He cares about Ruth. He asks questions, shows concern, and offers hope. Then he lavishes grace upon her, immediately elevating her from starvation to salvation, all without asking anything in return.
This unexpected twist in our story leaves us longing for more. Somewhere deep inside every woman lies this yearning to be loved and protected. Now the story takes on even deeper implications as we begin to see the way our Savior rescues us right when we need Him the most.
Come with me as we follow the story of Ruth, gleaning our own treasures of wisdom and understanding sprinkled throughout the Scriptures. And keep an eye on Boaz, for I have a feeling you’re going to be falling head over heels in love with him before the story ends.
Verse of the Week:
“… be still” Psalm 46:10 NIV
More Words from the Father:
1 Peter 1:6-9,
13; 2:18-25; 4:19
From my Heart:
An Impossible Obstacle
“And the angel of the Lord…came…and sat upon the stone.” (Matthew 28:2)
The stone stood as a silent sentinel, blocking the entrance to the cave. On the other side, or so she thought, lay Jesus, her Lord. And wrapped up with Him lay all her shattered hopes and dreams. Dead.
She’d come to say good-bye - farewell to faith.
She’d come to grieve - to let go of the hope that had held her in such wild expectation every time He talked.
It was over now. Best to be done with it and cope with reality…
deal with drudgery…
face her future…
But that stone blocked her way.
Falling to the ground in a heap of defeated despair, pulling her knees tight against her chest, she rocked back and forth, back and forth, as her sobs filled the early morning air.
Waves of grief shook her. Years of hurt overwhelmed her reason, spilling out upon the unyielding realities of that stone. There was nothing to do but die.
Somewhere in the periphery of her mind she sensed movement, but her sorrow was too great to stop and listen. But there.
A sound...A scrape.
Was that a cough?
Her sobs slowed, again a noise.
Fear froze her. Oh no, what now?
Slowly, hesitantly, as if she could wait away the next disaster, she looked up.
An angel sitting on the stone,
uncontrollable mountain of impossibilities…
And the stone was moved…just like that.
Is a stone blocking your way to life? To peace? To joy? Have you worn yourself out trying to push it away? Have you exhausted your soul trying everything to change your circumstances? Are you sweaty and angry and defeated and discouraged? Have you lost hope?
Sit still awhile. Sit at the tomb of your tomorrows and let yourself grieve what might have been…should have been. Cry it all out.
And when you’re done,
In the ashes of your grief, in the failure of your fantasies of how life ought to be, sits Jesus. In dazzling white He sits atop that stone…
immune to impossibilities…
with a different idea of the ideal.
And while you’re there, let Him fill you with His hope and His dreams. Let Him store those tears away, pack up your past, relinquish your regrets, and give you a new start, a new life … a renewed hope.
After all, He rolled away that stone.
From my heart,
How do I begin to introduce you to Boaz? Here is the man every woman dreams of: a hero, a warrior, a friend. He is successful, driven, relational, kind, and appealing. He is godly, he takes initiative, he notices things, he listens, he leads. People like him, his reputation is irrefutable, his integrity undeniable. This is a man that a woman can trust implicitly.
The rest of this story is so real, so raw. Naomi with her bitterness. Orpah who walks away. Ruth with a reputation to overcome. From whence came this perfect man? How does he fit in this story of grief, of heartache, of broken people? What was the author thinking?
God wrote this book. Oh, He used the pen of a person, for sure. But He is the author. He created the characters, narrated the plot, came up with the protagonist and the antagonist, the beginning, the climax, and the sweet ending. So what’s He up to with Boaz?
The term that theologians use is “typology.” Boaz is a type of Christ. In other words, Boaz is a picture - painted with words and images, impressions, and dialogue - of Jesus, or at least of some aspects of Jesus. Other types of Christ include Joseph, David, Adam, and Melchizedek. Each tells a story of something God wants us to discover about His son. And while theologians emphasize the Kinsman- Redeemer aspect of Boaz, I think there is much more here to draw us into a love relationship with Jesus.
Look at the way he blesses his workers (Ruth 2:4). See how he shows interest in someone in dire straits (2:5), how he protects (2:9), and serves, even though he is clearly the boss (2:14). Hear his gracious speech (2:11) and his blessing directed at Ruth (2:12). Notice how Boaz takes care of Ruth’s needs, leaving her satisfied and overflowing (2:14). Look at his mercy in giving her far more than she deserved (2:16). This guy is amazing!
But there’s more. Boaz’s name means “strength.” He is extremely wealthy, a landowner, and a local leader of significant influence. He respects the Mosaic Law and knows its intricacies well enough to untangle what could have become a mess for Naomi (4:1-10).
Boaz’s reputation continued long after his death. Look at his influence on his son and grandsons: Obed, Jesse, David, Solomon. King Solomon was Boaz’s great, great grandson. In an obvious reference to the honor he felt towards his heritage, he named one of the foundational pillars in Solomon’s Temple after this man (1 Kings 7:21).
Take some time to ruminate on the qualities of Boaz painted so painstakingly in the story of Ruth. Observe, notice, list, circle, and underline. He is no braggart who trumpets his goodness, so you’ll have to dig a little. Read between the lines. Warm up to him and watch how everyone else in the story does as well.
As you discover the beautiful characteristics of Boaz, let these truths fill you with the beauty of Jesus. Feast on the richness of Jesus, the man. Relish the pursuit of Jesus, the lover. And by all means, worship Jesus, our Redeemer.