Ruth Chapter Four

Counting The Cost

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In our study of Ruth chapter four, we will look at the costs and blessings of listening and following God's instructions for our lives. In this final chapter of the Book of Ruth, we see a tale of two relatives and their very different responses to the very Word of God. At the end of chapter 3, Boaz had promised Ruth that he would find her kinsman-redeemer or take his place. Now, we will look at counting the cost of following the Word of God.

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Ruth 4:1

Meanwhile, Bo'az had gone up to the gate and had sat down there, when the redeemer of whom Bo'az had spoken passed by. "Such-and-such," he said, "come over, and sit down"; so he came over and sat down.

We pick up the story of Ruth with Boaz keeping his promise to find her kinsman-redeemer. Boaz followed through with what he had told Ruth that he was going to do. We, as Christians, should also be different from others and part of that difference is keeping our vows and promises. When we say that we are going to do something, there should be no question in other people's minds that we will do what we have said.

Ruth 4:2

He took ten of the city's leaders and said, "Sit down here"; and they sat down.

In these days, it was required to have at least two or three witnesses to almost any agreement. It is much the same way in many cases today as well. Boaz did not just get the two or three required witnesses but he got ten of the leaders of the town. This is a good example for us today about making a public profession of faith in Yeshua Messiah. As we will see, Boaz was not ashamed to stand up and profess his love for Ruth. Likewise, we must not be ashamed to tell people that Yeshua has redeemed us and to demonstrate our love for him.

Ruth 4:3 & 4

Then he said to the redeeming kinsman, "The parcel of land which used to belong to our relative Elimelekh is being offered for sale by Na'omi, who has returned from the plain of Mo'av. I thought I should tell you about it and say, 'Buy it in the presence of the people sitting here and in the presence of the leaders of my people. If you want to redeem it, redeem it. But if it is not to be redeemed, then tell me, so that I can know, because there is no one else in line to redeem it, and I'm after you." He said, "I want to redeem it."

So, Boaz tells the relative of the land that was owned by Naomi and of the relative's right to redeem (purchase) it. Today, in our culture, this custom is often referred to as "the right of first refusal". Imagine Boaz wondering if this man was going to redeem the land and so in the process inherit the woman that he loves. Then, when the relative agrees to purchase the land, imagine Boaz as he faces the prospect of losing Ruth the woman that he loves.

Ruth 4:5

Then Bo'az said, "The same day you buy the field from Na'omi, you must also buy Rut the woman from Mo'av, the wife of the deceased [son], in order to raise up in the name of the deceased an heir for his property."

Now, Boaz reminds the relative of the second part of being a kinsman-redeemer which is the relationship. He reminds him that, along with the physical property comes the widow and the duty to produce a son. At this reminder, the man must count the cost and decide whether the land is worth the fact that he must marry the widow and carry on the other man's name. In a sense, Boaz is reminding the relative that he was going to have to "man up" and take care of the widow if he desired to have the land.

Ruth 4:6

The redeemer said, "Then I can't redeem it for myself, because I might put my own inheritance at risk. You, take my right of redemption on yourself; because I can't redeem it."

Now, we see that he has made his decision and is honest about the fact that he is not willing to pay the price to be a kinsman-redeemer. At first glance, we may all say that we would have made the other choice but in fact many of us are doing the same thing in our walk with God. We are more than ready for the material blessings of being a child of God but the actually daily relationship and the responsibility of "walking the talk" in our daily lives is another story. Yeshua told parables about counting the cost and he was referring to this choice and reminding us that the "kinsman-redeemer" includes a relationship. Yeshua knew the cost when he became our kinsman-redeemer and was willing to pay the price for each and every one of us. Ruth also had a part in the duty to produce a son to carry on the dead man's name and that part included an intimate relationship with the redeemer. We, likewise, must have an intimate relationship with our Redeemer.

Ruth 4:7 & 8

In the past, this is what was done in Isra'el to validate all transactions involving redemption and exchange: a man took off his shoe and gave it to the other party; this was the form of attestation in Isra'el. So the redeemer said to Bo'az, "Buy it for yourself," and took off his shoe.

Now, it is official that the man has given up his right as kinsman-redeemer. We can be so grateful, as Christians, that our kinsman-redeemer (Yeshua Messiah) was willing to pay the price for our sins. Unlike the relative in this passage, Yeshua put the will of the Father and the needs of others before his desires.

Ruth 4:9 & 10

Bo'az addressed the leaders and all the people: "You are witnesses today that I am purchasing from Na'omi all that belonged to Elimelekh and all that belonged to Kilyon and Machlon. Also I am acquiring as my wife Rut the woman from Mo'av, the wife of Machlon, in order to raise up in the name of the deceased an heir for his property; so that the name of the deceased will not be cut off from his kinsmen and from the gate of his place. You are witnesses today."

Boaz agreed to be Naomi's kinsman-redeemer and did so in front of the witnesses that had gathered. He knew what the cost would be in that it would keep Mahlon's name with the property not his own but he agreed anyway. That is such a picture of what Yeshua did for us on the cross. He knew what the cost to him would be and yet he still chose to be our redeemer.

Ruth 4:11 & 12

All the people at the gate and the leaders said, "We are witnesses. May ADONAI make the woman who has come into your house like Rachel and like Le'ah, who between them built up the house of Isra'el. Do worthy deeds in Efrat; become renowned in Beit-Lechem. May your house, because of the seed ADONAI will give you from this young woman, become like the house of Peretz, whom Tamar bore to Y'hudah."

Not only did the people at the gate acknowledge that they were witnesses but they pronounced a blessing on Boaz, Ruth, and their family. Even though these people did not realize that Boaz and Ruth were in the lineage of Yeshua, the blessing points us to the fact that the Messiah was coming and they would be a part of the family tree. God blessed Boaz and Ruth for their faithfulness and he does the same for us today.

Ruth 4:13-15

So Bo'az took Rut, and she became his wife. He had sexual relations with her, ADONAI enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. Then the women said to Na'omi, "Blessed be ADONAI, who today has provided you a redeemer! May his name be renowned in Isra'el. May he restore your life and provide for your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him."

God did a major work here and those around them recognized it. God blessed Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz because of their faithfulness. Those around them saw the blessing and praised God for it. That should be our major goal as Christians. Our lives should help others to see the love of God and cause them to praise him just as it happened in this passage.

Ruth 4:16 & 17

Na'omi took the child, laid it on her breast and became its nurse. The women who were her neighbors gave it a name; they said, "A son has been born to Na'omi," and called it 'Oved. He was the father of Yishai the father of David.

Naomi had lost everything including her husband and sons but now she has been blessed. Notice that the women there said that "Naomi has a son." God not only blessed her when she went home but he richly blessed her in that her son would be in the family line of king David (and ultimately in the lineage of Yeshua). This outcome can help us to hang on during the difficult times just as Naomi and Ruth did. In the end, God takes care of his people just as he did here!

Ruth 4:18-22

Here is the genealogy of Peretz. Peretz was the father of Hetzron, Hetzron was the father of Ram, Ram was the father of 'Amminadav, 'Amminadav was the father of Nachshon, Nachshon was the father of Salmon, Salmon was the father of Bo'az, Bo'az was the father of 'Oved, 'Oved was the father of Yishai, and Yishai was the father of David.

Now, we see the family tree of Boaz. It is very cool to note that God knew about Ruth and Boaz's son (Obed) even before they were born and they were a part of God's plan to bring a savior into the world. That's how big our God is!

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