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Ruth 4:13-17 1

During the time of the Judges when there was a famine, an Israelite family from Bethlehem—Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their sons Mahlon and Chilion—emigrate to the nearby country of Moab. Elimelech dies, and the sons marry two Moabite women: Mahlon marries Ruth and Chilion marries Orpah. The two sons of Naomi then die themselves. Naomi decides to return to Bethlehem. She tells her daughters-in-law to return to their own mothers, and remarry. Orpah reluctantly leaves; however, Ruth says, “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.” (Ruth 1:16–17 NKJV)

The two women return to Bethlehem. It is the time of the barley harvest, and in order to support her mother-in-law and herself, Ruth goes to the fields to glean. The field she goes to belongs to a man named Boaz, who is kind to her because he has heard of her loyalty to her mother-in-law. Ruth tells her mother-in-law of Boaz’s kindness, and she gleans in his field through the remainder of the harvest season.

Boaz is a close relative of Naomi’s husband’s family. He is therefore obliged by the Levirate law to marry Mahlon’s widow, Ruth, in order to carry on his family line. Naomi sends Ruth to the threshing floor at night and tells her to “uncover the feet” of the sleeping Boaz. Ruth does so; Boaz awakes and asks,”Who are you?” Ruth identifies herself, then asks Boaz to spread his cloak over her. The phrase “spread your cloak” was a woman’s way of asking for marriage. For a man to spread his cloak over a woman showed acquisition of that woman. Boaz states he is willing to “redeem” Ruth via marriage, but informs Ruth that there is another male relative who has the first right of redemption.

The next morning, Boaz discusses the issue with the other male relative, Ploni Almoni (“so-and-so”) before the town elders. The other male relative is unwilling to jeopardize the inheritance of his own estate by marrying Ruth, and so relinquishes his right of redemption, thus allowing Boaz to marry Ruth. They transfer the property and redeem it by the nearer kinsman taking off his sandal and handing it over to Boaz. (Ruth 4:7-18) Boaz and Ruth get married and have a son named Obed (who by Levirate customs is also considered a son or heir to Elimelech (and thus Naomi). In the genealogy which concludes the story, it is pointed out that Obed is the descendant of Perez the son of Judah, and the grandfather of David.

Biblical Truths 2

Here are some of the things that these verses in Ruth teach us:

  • God rules what happens in the world. It was God that gave food to the people in Bethlehem, Ruth 1:6. It was God that led Ruth to Boaz’s field, Ruth 2:3. It was God that gave Ruth and Boaz a son, Ruth 4:12. When bad things happened (Ruth 1:21), God still used them. God can make good things come from bad things.
  • God loves people. He does not only love Jews. He loves people from all other countries also. He does not only love men. He also loves women, Ruth 2:10, 13. Boaz’s love for Ruth is a picture of God’s love for us. Read the family tree in Matthew 1. There are 4 women in it. And we think that 3 of them were foreign to the Jews.
  • God is kind to people. In other words, he gives them what they need. God was kind to the family of Jesus 1000 years before Jesus came to the earth, (Ruth 4:16). God uses people to give help to other people. He used Naomi to give help to Ruth and Obed. Those people that love Jesus are part of his family. That means that God gives help to them as well.

Items for Discussion

  • What can you learn about our God through these verses on Ruth?
  • How is the nature of fairness and diversity upheld in this story?
  • What reassurances do you see that we should take away today from the story of Ruth?
  • God thought well enough of Ruth to see that a lasting story of her faith was written. What were those attributes?
  •  Why do you think that this is a story about a woman named Ruth, not a man named Boaz?

 

Matthew 6:24-34
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Background 3

Matthew, surnamed Levi, before his conversion was a publican, or tax-gatherer under the Romans at Capernaum. He is generally allowed to have written his Gospel before any other of the evangelists. The contents of this Gospel, and the evidence of ancient writers, show that it was written primarily for the use of the Jewish nation. The fulfillment of prophecy was regarded by the Jews as strong evidence, therefore this is especially dwelt upon by St. Matthew. Here are particularly selected such parts of our Savior’s history and discourses as were best suited to awaken the Jewish nation to a sense of their sins; to remove their erroneous expectations of an earthly kingdom; to abate their pride and self-conceit; to teach them the spiritual nature and extent of the gospel; and to prepare them for the admission of the Gentiles into the church.

Bible Truths 4

There is scarcely any sin against which our Lord Jesus more warns his disciples, than disquieting, distracting, distrustful cares about the things of this life. This often ensnares the poor as much as the love of wealth does the rich. But there is a carefulness about temporal things which is a duty, though we must not carry these lawful cares too far. Take no thought for your life. Not about the length of it; but refer it to God to lengthen or shorten it as he pleases; our times are in his hand, and they are in a good hand. Not about the comforts of this life; but leave it to God to make it bitter or sweet as he pleases. Food and raiment God has promised, therefore we may expect them. Take no thought for the morrow, for the time to come. Be not anxious for the future, how you shall live next year, or when you are old, or what you shall leave behind you. As we must not boast of tomorrow, so we must not care for to-morrow, or the events of it. God has given us life, and has given us the body. And what can he not do for us, who did that? If we take care about our souls and for eternity, which are more than the body and its life, we may leave it to God to provide for us food and raiment, which are less. Improve this as an encouragement to trust in God. We must reconcile ourselves to our worldly estate, as we do to our stature. We cannot alter the disposals of Providence, therefore we must submit and resign ourselves to them. Thoughtfulness for our souls is the best cure of thoughtfulness for the world. Seek first the kingdom of God, and make religion your business: say not that this is the way to starve; no, it is the way to be well provided for, even in this world. The conclusion of the whole matter is, that it is the will and command of the Lord Jesus, that by daily prayers we may get strength to bear us up under our daily troubles, and to arm us against the temptations that attend them, and then let none of these things move us. Happy are those who take the Lord for their God, and make full proof of it by trusting themselves wholly to his wise disposal. Let thy Spirit convince us of sin in the want of this disposition, and take away the worldliness of our hearts.

Items for Discussion

  • Where are the ways our world today goes astray as defined by Jesus’ story here?
  • What are the logical points in this argument being made here?
  • There is a fine line between complete faithfulness that all will be provided and providing for one’s self. How and where do you draw this line?
  • How does Jesus tell us to prioritize our lives?

Discussion Challenge

  • Who are the Ruth’s you know and how have they helped your own personal faith walk?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
    13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14 The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15 He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.” 16 Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. 17 The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

    clip_image164Background 5http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Ruth

  2. http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/ruth-law.htm
  3. http://www.christnotes.org/commentary.php?com=mhc&b=40&c=0
  4. http://www.christnotes.org/commentary.php?com=mhc&b=40&c=6
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