Jesse Tree: Day 14 Ruth & Boaz (Ruth 4:1-17)
The days of the Judges were horrific. They started in bleak disappointment: ‘After the death of Joshua…’ (1:1). This was the generation that was supposed to realise God’s vision of being His people in His land, living under His gracious Law. This was the generation that was supposed to be a foreshadowing of life in the New Creation. But the reality is disobedience and defeat, depravity and demise. Fleeting moments of deliverance cannot halt the downward spiral that already set the trajectory for exile.
And yet even in the midst of this deepest darkness it was possible to live in a way that honoured Christ. Boaz was such a man of righteousness, and Naomi at least, understood how rare a thing this was (Ruth 2:22). Boaz was a man who didn’t just know the Law of God, but who sought to live according to it. Boaz reflected wonderfully the Lord’s heart of compassion, grace and generosity. These weren’t lofty ideals only to be expected in an ideal world; they were hard financial realities that affected how he treated his employees, and the needy in the life of the Church. Those who turned to the Lord for help, could find that help delivered through Boaz. He grasped that even in a society that had long since turned its back on the Lord, and that laboured under judgement, the faithful were yet called to a costly and Christ-honouring obedience.
And so when Ruth the Moabite became a disciple of the Lord (1:16), she found a place of refuge in the fields of Boaz. Indeed, she found more than refuge! Deep in the Levitical legislation lay a statute that bestowed great privilege and responsibility on the nearest relative of one who impoverished or indebted. Such a relative was given the opportunity to model the grace of the Lord, and to become a ‘Kinsman-Redeemer’ (Lev.25:25f). And so Boaz humbly takes on the mantle, and the role of Christ (Ruth 3:9 / Ezek.16:8). The portrait of the Kinsman-Redeemer, the Bridegroom who redeems His bride rarely comes more sharply into focus than in this rural backwater of Bethlehem ‘in the days when the Judges ruled’ (Ruth 1:1).
‘So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife … and the Lord enabled her to conceive and she gave birth to a son … and they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David’ (Ruth 4:13 & 17). Such unassuming obedience weaves Boaz and his new wife into the fabric of God’s salvation, and into the genealogy of Jesus. For ‘a shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him…’ (Is.11:1). When his family was cut down, and left looking insignificant, the Lord brought life, a future and hope.
Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a Guardian-Redeemer of our family…’ (Ruth 3:9)
Ideas for Family Devotions:
As we are thinking about how the weak and vulnerable in the Church are provided for by the Church (see also Matt.25:31-46 & II Cor.8-9), why not visit Barnabas Fund (www.barnabasfund.org/en/barnabas-gifts), or Gospel for Asia (www.gfa.org), to buy a Christmas present for Christians elsewhere in the world - it might be the first time you buy someone a chicken or a goat for Christmas!
Have a listen to Seeds Family Worship, ‘Crushed’ (and learn Ps.34:18). www.youtube.com/watch?v=879RTAJxpF0. Enjoy!