Focal Passages: Ruth 3-4
It is important for our understanding of these chapters to know of two laws in ancient Israel at the time this took place. The first is the law of kinsman redeemer. If God gave land to a family in a tribe, He wanted that land to stay within the family. However, in the event the owner had need to mortgage that land to someone else, a near relative could come and redeem the property and buy it back.
A second law of importance at this time was the law of the Levite marriage. If a man died leaving his wife with no children, a brother of that man could take her as his wife and seek to have children so that the family name would continue. Therefore, the land and the name were very important to the Jews.
Boaz was the kinsman redeemer who married Ruth. In order to be that kinsman redeemer, he must be the nearest relative, have the money to buy back the estate and be willing because it was not required of him to do so. Boaz was willing and wealthy, but there was one who was nearer kin than him.
Acting with integrity, Boaz sought out that nearer kinsman to give him the opportunity to purchase the estate and marry Ruth. When he refused, Boaz was then fully qualified to redeem her. They were married and, with the Lord’s blessing, bore a son named Obed who became the grandfather to King David.
If Boaz is a picture of the Lord Jesus and Ruth a picture of us, then who is a picture of the nearer kinsman that cannot redeem? He is Adam. Adam is the close relative to all of us and in him we die (I Corinthians 15:22).
In reaching an agreement with the near kinsman, Boaz had 10 witnesses. Who are 10 witnesses that reveal the inability of our nearest kin to redeem us? The Ten Commandments. The Bible teaches that if we have broken one of them, we’re guilty of breaking all of them (James 2:10).
Who is the near kinsman that is able to redeem us? It is Jesus Christ. He left the glory of Heaven to become a human so that He might become our near kinsman (Hebrews 2:14). A man lost our estate. Therefore, He could not redeem us as God, though He is God. He had to redeem us as man. That is the reason for the Incarnation.
In order to be Ruth’s kinsman redeemer, Boaz not only had to be worthy, but also wealthy. Friend, the Lord Jesus Christ paid a greater price for you than Boaz paid for Ruth (I Peter 1:18-19). There can be no redemption without a price. The Lord Jesus paid for your redemption.
Now, although Boaz was worthy and wealthy, he had to be willing to become her kinsman redeemer. The truth is Boaz wasn’t required to buy back the estate or marry Ruth, but he was willing to redeem her. In the same way, the Lord Jesus was not required to redeem us, but He was willing.
A story that began with a funeral ended with a wedding. Ruth had a despicable past, a devastating present and a despairing future (Deuteronomy 23:3). However, because of Boaz, her family, fortune and future dramatically changed. A widow became a wife. A life of poverty became a life of prosperity. A bleak future became a bright future.
It is only through the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6) that you can be redeemed. When He redeems you, He changes your family, fortune and future. You become part of His family. You are joint-heirs with Him (Romans 8:17). You have eternal life!
— Lancaster is senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Rockwood.