Thursday, April 17, 2014
As Ruth was collecting the grain that was left behind, the owner of the field stopped by. His name was Boaz and he just so happened to be a relative of Ruth’s father-in-law who was killed years earlier. He noticed Ruth in the field because she was pretty and also because she was a hard worker.
As children of God, we should be noticed as doing the best we can at everything we do. (Col 3:23)
Boaz went over to where Ruth was working and said, “Stay in this field to gather grain. Don’t go to any other fields because they are dangerous. I have told my men not to bother you. And when you are thirsty, help yourself to the water that they have drawn from the well.”
Ruth fell at Boaz’ feet and thanked him for being so kind to her, even though she was a foreigner in the land. Boaz told Ruth that he heard all about how kind she had been to Naomi.
As children of God, our deeds to others should go before us. So that they glorify Him. (1 Peter 2:12)
At lunchtime Boaz called her over to eat with the harvesters. He gave her so much food that she couldn’t eat it all, so she brought the leftovers home to Naomi along with a lot of grain that she had picked up in the fields. The reason she had so much grain was because Boaz had ordered his men to leave more grain than usual behind so that Ruth would have plenty to take home.
When Ruth returned home, Naomi was amazed at all the grain she had gathered. “How were you able to gather so much grain? What field did you work in?” She asked.
“ I worked in the field of a man named Boaz.” Ruth answered. “He was so kind to me.”
“Boaz!” Naomi exclaimed. “He is a cousin to my husband. He is our relative! God bless him!”
Ruth continued to work in Boaz’ field day after day until the harvest was complete.
So Boaz waited for this certain relative by the city gates. When the relative came by, Boaz called him over to sit with him. Then he called ten leaders over as witnesses. “So, I’m sure you know that Naomi has returned to Bethlehem. She has to sell the land that her husband had, or she will lose it. You have first dibs on the property if you want it.” Boaz explained.
“Yes, I do want it.” The relative proclaimed. “When can I purchase it?”
“Not so fast.” Boaz interjected. “ There are a few things you should know. You also must marry the woman from Moab, Ruth. And you must have a place for Naomi as well.”
“Whoa, wait a minute! I would risk losing my own estate. I cannot redeem it.You redeem it Boaz.” The man said.
Boaz then said to all the witnesses. “ You have heard it. I am buying Naomi’s land and I will be marrying Ruth, the Moabite widow so that when she has a son, the land will remain in her family.” And that is what he did. Boaz and Ruth are ancestors to Jesus. What a blessing!
So what is this whole redeemer thing anyway? When a person is too “poor" to take care of his or her property. It must be sold. The nearest relative has an opportunity to purchase the land if they want. By doing this, the redeemer saves the “poor” land owner from a possible life of slavery. To redeem means to pay a price and free the owner of any obligation. That is what Boaz did for Naomi and Ruth. And that is what Jesus did for us! What a great time of the year to be studying this story! The Easter message is all about Jesus and what He has done for us! Jesus has redeemed us because we are too “poor” to redeem ourselves. His blood payed the price for our sin. (A price we could never pay) He was fully man and fully God, so He is our relative. He has saved us from a life of slavery. He has bought us with a price.
Have a blessed Easter everyone!!
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Naomi and her two daughters-in-law, ( Ruth and Orpah) had lost their husbands. Naomi heard that her home town of Bethlehem had been blessed with good weather and now had plenty of crops for food. So Ruth and Orpah began to make the journey with her back to Bethlehem.
On the way Ruth said, “ I think that it would be best for you to go back to your mothers’ home instead of coming with me. May God bless you with another husband because of the kindness that you have shown me.” Then she kissed them good-bye and all three women began to cry.
Ruth and Orpah both said, “No. We want to go with you to your people.”
"But your family is in Moab. Your friends and your future are there as well.” Naomi said. "I can’t have any more sons for you to marry, and even if I could, it would be many years before they would be old enough to marry you.” (It was the custom for widows to marry the brothers of their dead husbands. That is why Naomi said this). "I am old and bitter.” Naomi continued. "You are still young and have a chance for a bright future. God has caused me to suffer and I have no future.” Naomi kissed them good-bye again, and they all cried again.
Then Orpah went on her way back to Moab. But Ruth insisted on staying with Naomi. “See, Orpah has gone back to her people, you should do the same.” Naomi told Ruth.
But Ruth replied. “ Please do not ask me to leave you and turn back. I will go wherever you go. I will live wherever you live. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God. May God punish me if I let anything besides death separate us.”
Well after a speech like that, what could Naomi say? Naomi and Ruth headed down the road together. When they finally made it to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirring. “Is it really Naomi? Has Naomi come back to us?’ The women asked.
"Don’t call me Naomi any more.” Naomi said. “ Call me Mara from now on because God has made me suffer so much, that I am now bitter.” (Mara means bitter. Naomi means pleasant) Naomi continued. “When I left here ten years ago, I was so full of life and hope. Now I have returned empty because God has caused such tragedy to fall on me. My husband and my two sons are dead. I am bitter.”
Naomi took Ruth to her home, which after ten years, needed a lot of work to get it back to living conditions. So they began to fixit up.
They had returned to Bethlehem right at the beginning of the first harvest season. So Ruth said that she was going to go into one of the nearby fields and pick up some of the grain that the harvesters had left behind. (This was a legal way of providing for the poor and it was called gleaning)
Naomi was a little nervous, because some of the men who worked in the fields were rough and tough, but she agreed. “ Go, but be careful my daughter!” So Ruth left to go gleaning. As it happened, she found herself working in the field of a man named Boaz. He was a relative of Naomi’s husband.
While Ruth was in the field working, Boaz showed up. “Good morning. God bless you!” he shouted to his men working in his field.
"God bless you!” The men replied.
Boaz went up to the lead harvester. “Who is that girl over there?” He asked as he pointed at Ruth.
"She is the young woman from Moab that came back with Naomi.” The foreman replied. “She has been working very hard all morning and only took a short break.”
When God allows bad things to happen to us, we can become better or bitter. Ruth became better. She reached out to Naomi, even though they were both hurting from the loss of their husbands. Ruth also demonstrated faith in God. Naomi became bitter. She became consumed with what happened to her. Being bitter causes us to think only of ourselves. The more we dwell on it, the more bitter we become.
So when something bad happens to you...... do you become better or bitter?