Saturday, August 6, 2011

And Boaz

Boaz. Strength.

Boaz was the leading man in the story of Ruth, the man who married this foreigner and brought her into the family of God. He was older, well-seasoned we might say, certainly wiser, wealthy, kind to his workers, a true worshiper of the Lord. In kindness he offered Ruth the protection and provision of gleaning in his fields. His kindness, when noted by Naomi, led her to hatch a desperate plot.

He is our kinsman-redeemer, Naomi conspires with Ruth. A kinsman-redeemer was a provision in God's law (Lev. 25 and Deut. 25), a family member who would buy the desperate out of debt and slavery and, if needed, raise up an heir to the family name. The commentary I read suggested that Boaz may not have been under a strict legal obligation in this instance, otherwise why would stealth be required? But as a lover of the Law, Boaz was compelled to keep the spirit of it. A redeemer.

As instructed by Naomi, in the darkest night Ruth crept to Boaz as he lay down to sleep on the threshing floor. (In spite of the ambiguity here, I believe Ruth was chaste in all her actions. I think too highly of Ruth and Boaz to assume anything else.) She secretly laid at his feet and when discovered implored him, "so spread your covering over your maid, for you are a close relative."

Boaz, strength. "Do not fear," he tells her. "I will do for you whatever you ask." If a closer relative would not redeem Ruth, and Naomi then, "I will redeem you, as the LORD lives." These are the words of a strong man. He would not rest until he had accomplished it (Ruth 3:18).

There is a greater Redeemer portrayed in Ruth, a greater love story in these four short chapters. He purchased Noami back from the curse of bitterness and despair. His love paid the the cost of redeeming Ruth from the curse of the law, the cost of making her one of the people of God. This Redeemer is Christ.

Trembling, we too come to Jesus in the darkness of our souls. We hide at His feet and when found, beg for covering. He stretches over us the robe of His righteousness, He covers all our sins. He speaks the words of a strong man, the words that cast out fear. He speaks the words of love, a love that answers every whispered request. He redeems us from the curse against us and makes us the people of God. He did not rest until it was accomplished, on the cross, and now sits at the right hand of God Most High, always living to make interecession for us, His bride.
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and I am helped; therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him." Psalm 28:7

*I have enjoyed Esther and Ruth by Iain M. Duguid, part of the Reformed Expository Commentary series.

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