Pastor Mark describes Boaz’s generous and kind response to Ruth and Naomi in their time of great need.
14 And at mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over. 15 When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16 And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”
17 So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. 18 And she took it up and went into the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also brought out and gave her what food she had left over after being satisfied. 19 And her mother-in-law said to her, “Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.” So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, “The man's name with whom I worked today is Boaz.” 20 And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Naomi also said to her, “The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.” 21 And Ruth the Moabite said, “Besides, he said to me, ‘You shall keep close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.’” 22 And Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, lest in another field you be assaulted.” 23 So she kept close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests. And she lived with her mother-in-law.
You’re listening to “Redeeming Ruth,” a sermon series following the events from the Book of Ruth, presented by Pastor Mark Driscoll. Follow this wonderfully written story of the redemption to be found in Jesus and his people, and learn how it applies to everyday people today. This is a presentation of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. For more information, go to marshillchurch.org.
“And at mealtime, Boaz said to her, ‘Come here and eat some bread, and dip your morsel in the wine.’ So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over. When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, ‘Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. And also, pull out some of the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.’
“So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. And she took it up and went into the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also brought out and gave her what food she had left over after being satisfied. And her mother-in-law said to her, ‘Where did you glean today, and where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.’
“So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, ‘The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz.’ And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, ‘May he be blessed by the Lord whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead.’ Naomi also said to her, ‘The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.’ And Ruth, the Moabite, said, ‘Besides, he said to me, ‘You shall keep close to my young men until they have finished all my harvest.’’ And Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, ‘It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, lest in another field you be insulted.’
“So she kept close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests. And she lived with her mother-in-law.”
You guys ready to get to work in Ruth? We’ll be in chapter 2, verse 14, this week. We will learn that chicks dig grain, so that’s where we’re going. You men, you single men, get yourselves some barley, get the job done.
My name’s Mark. I’m one of the pastors here at the church, and we are taking six weeks to look at the phenomenal Book of Ruth, one of the greatest love stories in all of history, and perhaps the greatest short story in all of scripture. I’ll go ahead and pray and we will get right to work. And I think we’re gonna have some fun. At least I will. And I appreciate you joining us.
Father, we thank you for being a great father who looks after all of your kids, knows us each by name, has a plan for each of our days and each of our lives, and is actively at work to bring about our good. God, I pray we would trust your sovereign hand, even in our seasons of hardship or waiting. God, it is my prayer as we study today that the person and work of the Lord Jesus would be clear to us, that by his grace, his redemption, I pray, God, that you would enable our men to be like Boaz and our women to be like Ruth. For that to occur, we ask the Holy Spirit to come and enable us to be Christians, enable us to be faithful Christians, and we ask this in Jesus’ good name. Amen.
So, as we get into it, let me give you an overview of how we view scripture at Mars Hill and then, in particular, how that applies to the Book of Ruth. At Mars Hill, we believe that scripture is true, that it is ultimately inspired of God through human authors, that it is perfect, and it is how God has chosen to reveal himself to us most clearly. Furthermore, we believe that because scripture is a true story, with God as author, like every good story it has a hero, and the hero of the story of scripture is Jesus Christ. The first line is “In the beginning, God,” and the last line of scripture in the Book of Revelation speaks about Jesus. So it begins by telling us that it is a book about God and it ends by telling us that that God is Jesus Christ.
Furthermore, Jesus told us that everything in scripture was about him. In John 5, a bunch of pharisaical, stuffed-shirt, no-fun religious types came to argue with him, and he said, “You diligently study the scriptures saying that in them you will find eternal life, yet you fail to recognize that the entire purpose of scripture is to reveal me.” Jesus said that the whole Bible is ultimately about him as the hero.
Furthermore, after his resurrection, at the end of Luke’s gospel, around chapter 24, Jesus opened the Old Testament and walked through it with meticulous detail, explaining how all of the Old Testament was ultimately about him. And so scripture in general is about Jesus.
Now, when Jesus led that Bible study through the Old Testament, he also would have investigated with his disciples the Book of Ruth, which we have been studying together for a few weeks. And so Jesus, as well, instructed on how the Book of Ruth was ultimately about him. Without giving the whole story away, the reason this book is included in scripture is that it is ultimately part of the story of the family of Jesus.
That being said, it is our belief as a church that the capital-H hero of scripture is Jesus. But, there are, in addition to Jesus, small-h heroes, people who do love God and walk with God faithfully, and they’re not sinless and perfect, as Jesus is. But God, in his providence, works through them. He works on the earth through faithful people. And what we are examining, beginning in chapter 2 of the Book of Ruth, is that the story transitions from this woman, Naomi, to Ruth and Boaz, and they become the small-h heroes, as it were, who are working with God, who is the big-H hero in the Book of Ruth, bringing about his providential purposes on the Earth.
And the reason this is important is, here we sit, 3,000 years removed from the authoring of the Book of Ruth, and the question obviously begs to be answered, what does a book about gleaning and wheat and barley have to do with us here in an urban center, 3,000 years removed from those events? And what I would submit to you is that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that we have the same need for God. But furthermore, what is curious about the Book of Ruth is that the small-h heroes are an unmarried single man and an unmarried single woman. And that we see in them that God loves people who are single; that God works through people who are unmarried. And Christianity has, in large part, become associated with families and children and mini-vans and suburbs and soccer-moms and juice boxes, which is wonderful, glorious, and good. We want everyone to know Jesus.
But what we are seeing is that our nation and our city are becoming increasingly more single, more unmarried. I was driving by a church not too far from here recently that had a big sign out in front that said, “A great place for families.” I thought, “You don’t know your city. There are no families. If you would have put ‘A great place for God,’ you could have had a mega-church.” We’re in Seattle, you know? We’re not a city that has a lot of married people and couples. Now, we’ll start nationally, work into our own city, and into Mars Hill, why the Book of Ruth and the elevation of a godly, unmarried man and a godly unmarried woman is so important.
Boaz is a good example for every man, especially the single men, and I know that most of you men are single. I can see four guys in the front row that have shirts that say, “Loves Jesus, Has Job.” Okay? Those are guys who were here last week. So, welcome to Mars Hill. So, we appreciate that. Next week we’ll have women that have shirts that say, “Gleans Well, Loves Jesus.”
Let me submit to you that nationally more and more people are unmarried and single in – I’ve got the statistics here. 1970, 36 percent of all adults were single, so fully 64 percent of people were married. In 1980 it increased from 36 to 39 percent of all adults were single. In the year 1990, that crept up to 41 percent. The year 2000, that went to 44 percent, and last year, for the first time in our nation’s history, something very curious happened, and that is that the number of adults who were unmarried outnumbered the adults who were married. Singles are the new majority in the United States of America. A number of reasons for this: divorce; perhaps some are widowed, as Naomi and Ruth and Orpah were, sadly.
Furthermore, however, people are waiting longer to get married. Now, statistically, nine out of ten people marry. So statistically most people get married. But people are waiting longer to be married. In 1950, the average man was 23, and the average woman was 20 at the time of their first marriage. In the year 2003, the average man was 27, four years older. The average woman was 25, five years older, than they had been in 1950. And then the question begs to be answered, well, in those years, what are they doing? Are the memorizing the Pentateuch? Are they trying to figure out whether they’re a Calvinist or an Arminian, or what are they doing? Are they memorizing scripture so that they could be good parents and deft with the Proverbs, for example? No. They’re naked and breaking the Commandments. That is what they are doing.
Statistically, that is what they are doing. According to a National Public Radio 2006 survey reported that fully 80 percent of people are sexually active by the age of 20. But I told you the average man is not married until 27; the average woman is not married until 25. That means that they are fornicating.
Fornicating is where you have sex with someone you’re not married to. Friends with benefits, booty call, roommate, things of that nature. I’m just preaching, come on. Jeez. Golly. You all laugh ‘cause you know what it is. It’s not like you didn’t know.
Also, 20 percent of women at the time of their first marriage are virgins. So people are sleeping together, living together, and the cohabitation rate between 1960 and 2000 went up tenfold; between 1990 and the year 2000 it went up 72 percent. People are waiting longer to get married, living and sleeping together, wrongly thinking that will help us have an enduring marriage. If you live together, you have a higher likelihood of divorce when you do marry than if you don’t cohabitate prior to your marriage. People are waiting longer to get married; they’re sleeping together; living together, nationally. And you say, “What about Seattle? Certainly it can’t be that bleak in our great city! We’re good people. We recycle! We believe in justification by biking to work. We’re good people.”
How about the great city of Seattle? Seattle is not a very godly city. It is, however, a very unmarried and single city. We have the fifth highest concentration of college-educated singles, age 25-39 in America, so lots of singles. Almost all of you at this late service are single. We don’t have childcare, right, because most of you are single and not yet married and don’t have kids. We’re glad you’re here. Fix that, you know? And don’t be like one of those guys, “I cannot meet a nice girl.” It’s like fishing in a trout pond. If you don’t go home with a fish, there’s something wrong with your bait, right? So – you can see where this is going.
Anyways, furthermore, not only are we a very single city, we’re also a very sexually active city. The cohabitation rate in Seattle, according to the 2000 census, is 250 percent higher than the national average. And we don’t have a lot of Christians. One of my friends who’s a researcher says that our Christian percentage of the population may be the same as mainland Communist China, where it’s illegal to be a Christian. We have a lot of work to do. We have less Christians in Seattle than dogs or children. Okay?
Did you watch American Idol this week? Where they had the auditions in Seattle? Wasn’t that a shining moment for us all? Oh, my. Everybody with a job couldn’t make it. Everybody else could. I was watching it with my five kids, ‘cause it’s a cult that has recruited my children. I’m trying to extricate them from the cult. We’re watching the show, and everyone sings horribly. And there’s this one woman who shows up, and she cannot sing, and if she is here, God bless you. I say that ‘cause – I’ve made fun of people on the news and found out they were members of the church, so – and I always email back, “Well you should have known better, if you go to Mars Hill, not to do that. You knew I’d make fun of it.”
Anyways, this woman gets on there. She sings horribly. Sounds like she got captured by Al Qaida. She cannot sing at all. And afterwards she comes out – and what was interesting in the show is that one of the sub-themes of the Seattle interviews and the Seattle auditions was that people brought their what to the audition? Their dog. I don’t know why you cannot sing without a dog. I do not understand – I like dogs. I’m not against dogs. I’m actually fine with dogs. But there was this one young woman, came out, and she had this little feather-duster looking dog, right? And she says, “It’s my baby.” My five-year-old son, Calvin, smart kid, looks at me and says, “That is not a baby.” I said, “I know. It has a tail.” That’s one of Blue’s Clues, Calvin. That is not a baby! It has a tail.
But in Seattle, that’s a baby. In Seattle we’re a family. In Seattle living together is what you do instead of getting married.
Now, how about Mars Hill Church? Well, what’s curious about Mars Hill Church, we are a church that has slightly more singles than married people. Now in years past we were almost all singles, but people are getting married – a couple hundred a year – which is good. Praise God for that. A couple hundred babies getting born. But we still are largely a church of unmarried people. Majority. And this is very unusual. Statistically, according to a researcher named John Vaughan, churches that have 2,000 or more people – they call them mega-church, where we’re at – 80 percent of people who attend large churches are married. Soccer moms, juice boxes, suburbs. We’re in the city, not in the suburbs. We’re more singles than married and less children than the average church of our size. We’re a total freakin’ oddball. We just are. All right? If we were the normal church of our size, half of you wouldn’t be single. Only 20 percent would be.
You say, “Well, what does this have to do with us?” I’m telling you, Ruth is a very timely book for us all. Unmarried single people, living their life in holiness with God. Now here’s what we’ve learned about Ruth so far. Ladies, is she young? Not really. In that culture you could get married in your teens, at the youngest. But she had been married for ten years. So she’s at least in her mid-twenties, maybe all the way into her early 30s, which in that culture was not young. She also had not had a child, so she’s getting a proverbial late start. She’d been married and her husband, in fact, died.
Furthermore, we have learned about Ruth that she is a new convert. She’s been a Christian just for a short amount of time. Now, Boaz has been a Christian, as far as we can tell, for a while. He seems very seasoned in his faith. But Boaz isn’t young either. He’s older than she is, maybe mid- to late-thirties or early 40s, which was very old in that culture to still be unmarried.
We’ve also learned that she is not a virgin. We don’t know if she had intimacy with a man before she was married. We just don’t know. She did come from the town of Moab, which was a freaky town, that had in its history – the beginning of the city was a man having intimate relations with his daughter, incest, and producing a son named Moab. So this was a very sexually confused, perverted town. She was not a Christian gal growing up in a Christian home. She may have been sexually active before her marriage, we do not know. We do know, however, that being married, she was not a virgin.
She also moved to the town of Bethlehem. She was new to town. And she did not have a good, loving father who was involved in her life. My 9-year-old daughter pointed that out to me this week. My daughter is a very good theologian. She did an in-depth study of Ruth on her own this summer and grabbed my commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and all of my reference material and she did a whole study on Ruth. She’s just great. We’re talking about it this week and she’s like, “Okay, where are you going with Ruth this week, Daddy?” And then she said, “Now, I have a question. Where was her daddy?” I was like, “Brilliant. I’m gonna preach that.”
So, so I rip this point off from my 9-year-old daughter, who’s a good theologian. She said, “Isn’t it interesting that when her husband died, her daddy didn’t look after her, love her, take care of her? That she was flat broke and her daddy wasn’t there to help her? That she started getting to know Boaz, but her daddy wasn’t there to make sure he wasn’t a bad guy to take advantage of her? Where was her daddy?” Well, this is what Ruth doesn’t have. A long walk with God, a decent family, a loving father, any money, virginity, youthfulness. She’s a woman who is new to town. Many of you women at Mars Hill are a Ruth kinda gal. New to town, maybe new walking with Jesus, not a lot of money, trying to figure out what God has for you, not from the best family, Dad’s not a real help, you’re not a virgin. Ruth is a wonderful example for the women of this church, and Boaz is a great example for the men.
I’ll set the story up for you. I’ll catch you up if you’re new. The book starts in chapter 1 saying, “In the days when the Judges ruled,” – a dark season of Israel’s history. Season of rebellion and folly and wickedness recorded in the book right next to the Book of Ruth, the Book of Judges. About a thousand years before Jesus. It says that a famine was brought to Bethlehem, the proverbial House of Bread, which is ironic. That God was likely disciplining, chastising, punishing his people because of their hard-heartedness, and their stubborn, repeated rejection of him in generation after generation pursuing sin.
The story then focuses on a very normal family, headed by a man named Elimelech, who, again in great irony, his name means, “my God is king.” He has a wife named Naomi. Her name means “Sweetie Pie” or “Pleasant.” They have two kids, Mahlon and Chilion, which are cool names, but weird ‘cause they mean “sick” and “dying.” Really funky names. It’s like, “here’s my kid, Hepatitis, and here’s my other kid, Cancer.” I mean, it’s just really weird names for kids.
And he decides rather than staying in Bethlehem and trusting God, that he will move to Moab because there is food there, some fifty miles away. And so he moves to Moab. That’s not where God’s people are supposed to go. There’s no believers there. No worship of God there. There’s no church there. There’s no fellowship there. God’s people are not supposed to be there. These people worship Chemosh. They worship false gods. They don’t love the God of the Bible, and they don’t share his values.
Nonetheless, Elimelech moves his family there. His boys grow up, wanna get married, so they marry two Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth. Again, not God’s ideal. Tragically, then, the one thing that he was seeking to prevent did indeed occur. Elimelech dies. His two sons die. That leaves Naomi with the two daughters-in-law, absolutely poor, destitute, and in a very difficult situation with no children and no husband, and, apparently, at least in Ruth’s case, no father.
Naomi hears, however, that God has stopped frowning on Bethlehem, her hometown. He has begun smiling upon his people. And so she decides to run to God and his people hoping that God will smile upon her and have providential goodness fall upon her as well. So she decides to return home.
Orpah and Ruth, who love her, venture with her. Along the way, it dawns on Naomi that she has nothing to offer these young women. So she encourages them to return home. Orpah does. She returns to her parents’ home and to her worship of Chemosh, the false god. Ruth has a genuine conversion experience, says, “No, I want to be with God and his people. You’re the only Christian friend I’ve got. I’m moving to Bethlehem. I’m gonna be a member of the church. I’m gonna join a Bible study. I’m gonna get baptized.” That’s the equivalent of what we’re talking about. And she relocated to Bethlehem.
Upon arriving, all the other women come out to see Naomi. They’ve heard all about her, but they haven’t seen her in more than a decade. And they ask her, “How are you doing?” She says, “Not good. Don’t call me ‘sweetie pie.’ Call me Mara, which means ‘bitterness’ because I’m unhappy with God. My life is very hard. I’m broke. My sons are dead. My husband is dead. I have no money. I have no hope. I have no job. God has made my life very difficult.” I believe that she’s confessing her state, and she’s running to God’s people for help and accountability and support.
Then, the scene shifts to where the two women, Ruth and Naomi, the absolutely devastated and destitute widows, are sitting together, and they are literally facing starvation. This is the beginning of Chapter 2. So Ruth looks at Naomi and they have this conversation, knowing that for Ruth to leave the house and to go out into the streets to be looking for food is dangerous. This is the equivalent – gleaning is – this is the equivalent of going to the soup kitchen or the food bank or out collecting aluminum cans to make enough money to get some food.
She looks at Naomi, Ruth does, and says, “I know it’s dangerous, but I want God to give me favor in someone’s eyes. I still trust the Lord to provide. I ask your permission to go glean.” This is the bottom. This is the bottom of the socio-economic ladder in that town. But she’s humbly willing to work.
So then scripture says, Chapter 2, verse 6, “She just happened to end up in the field of a guy named Boaz,” who is the dude of dudes. He is a man of war and wealth and wherewithal. He loves God. It just so happens that he is single. He sees her, even though she’s totally funkified, pitted out, sweaty, hair back in a ponytail, dirty, wants to talk to her, speaks kindly to her, blesses her, encourages her, prays for her, allows her to glean in his fields so she can get food, money for herself and her mother-in-law, and this week they have their first meal together. It’s looking better.
Chapter 2, verse 14, you ready to roll?
“And at mealtime” – I’ll stop right there. Gentlemen, take her out to dinner. Feed her. Don’t take her to a movie. You can’t talk at a movie. She wants to talk. Don’t take her to a concert. She wants to talk. You can’t talk at a concert or a movie. Take her out to dinner. Take her out to a nice dinner. How do you know if it’s a nice dinner? You can’t wear flip-flops. Right? It’s a restaurant where you gotta have buttons on your shirt. It’s a restaurant – go to a restaurant, gentlemen, with linen napkins, not paper. Go to a place that has a fork and a spoon, not a spork. That’s a clue. Go to a place where the food is not cooked by a high school kid in a uniform. Go to a real restaurant, real restaurant. Take her there. And don’t go Dutch, go Christian. Don’t go Dutch.
Something tragic has happened to the Dutch. They’re godless, apparently. You don’t go Dutch, “You pay for your half, I pay for mine” – no, no, no, no, no. We’re not going Dutch. No way. Pick her up in your car, not with your bus pass or your bike. You need to have a car; you need to pick the woman up; you need to have two eyebrows, not one. You need to put some product in your hair, have a shirt with buttons, double-check your fly, make sure your shoes are on, not your flip-flops, open the door, take her out to dinner, treat her nice, sit her down, have a nice dinner, pay for it. You’re a Christian. Come on, ladies, I’m on your side. Right.
Now look, you hear that, gentlemen. Ladies are cheering. You should be able to close this deal. There’s like 1200 people, 600 of ‘em are women, like 598 are single. Even if you don’t have much game, you still should be able to take the field, gentlemen. That’s what I’m saying. But you gotta take her out to dinner. They’re gonna have a meal. Here we go.
“And at mealtime, Boaz said to her, ‘Come here, baby.’” I just hear it like that. “Come here and eat some bread.” “And dip your morsel in the wine.” He’s inviting her to have lunch. Now, he’s a good boss. He’s a great boss. Remember, he showed up in his Escalade, steps out of his Escalade, he’s going to check out his company, and the first thing he does is he blesses his employees. He says, “Bless you. May the Lord bless you all, my workers.” And what do they say? “Oh, and may the Lord bless you.” They gave him the priestly blessing of Numbers 6:24. And he’s there to check on his business, and what does he do? He brings lunch for his employees. Good management principle here. Your company’s contingent upon your people being loyal and hardworking and faithful and honest, so take good care of your employees. They’ll take good care of you.
I see it, Boaz shows up to have a barbeque with his employees. I smell ribs, I see cornbread. Oh, man! I see him with a big white hat, out in the fields, cooking. I see coleslaw and beans, and the glory of God descending like on the days of the temple. That’s what I see. I mean, it’s gonna say grain, but that’s what I see.
And he’s feeding his employees, and this is in the field, and so you can imagine the guys working in the next field, “Sniff, sniff. ‘What’s that? I smell ribs. Ugh, we work for a godless man. He makes us bring our sack lunch. Boaz is the man of God, he’s gonna feed everybody, loves his employees, they love him.’” And he invites Ruth, “Come on, Sweetie Pie. Have lunch. Sit down with us.” She was a Moabite, an outsider. He’s making her an insider, dignity, and worth, and respect, and equality, and chivalry, and masculine kindness. He’s a good man. It’s gonna be good!
“Come here and dip your morsel in the wine.” She sat beside the reapers, a seat of respect and prominence and holiness, and he’s really honoring her. And he passed her the roasted grain. Who served Ruth? Boaz. What is he? The boss. What is he doing serving her? You see the family resemblance here, with Jesus? Though he’s in charge, he’s humble; he takes the posture of a servant. In that culture, the Moabite woman served the Hebrew men. He says, “No, no, no. She’s met the Lord. She’s my sister in faith. She’s a wonderful gal. Have a seat. I’m a gentleman, you’re a lady. Let me serve you.” Write that down, gentlemen. Be a gentleman. Be a godly, generous, kind, humble, servant to all women. And, when God should bring along your wife, you will have treated her the way you should have because you treat all ladies the same way.
Now, here is what is going on culturally. This is the equivalent – if I might make a modern-day parallel – to a young woman becoming a Christian, hearing about Mars Hill Church, moving in from some dumpy, rural, hick-town fifty miles away, like Granite Falls or something, and, oh come on. Any town that has the name Granite in it is not a destination.
Anyways, she moves into Seattle to go to Mars Hill, become a member, get in a community group, get baptized. She just so happens to be flat broke, have no food, be destitute, so she decides to venture out into the city, hoping, trusting, praying that God would give her favor in someone’s eyes. She ends up at a big restaurant and knocks on the back door, and somebody opens the door, and she says, “I’m really hungry. I’ve got no food. I’m struggling to make ends meet. I’m new to town. I just met the Lord. My mother-in-law’s with me; she’s older. I’m trying to feed her. Can you please help us out?” It just so happens the guy who opens the door goes to Mars Hill and loves Jesus and says, “Well, yeah. I’ve heard about you, and yeah. We prayed for you in my community group. We heard you were new to town, so yeah. Come on in. We’ll let you wash dishes and then we’ll feed you. That’s the deal.”
Boaz just happens to show up because he just happens to own a restaurant chain, just happens to own this restaurant as well, walks into the kitchen, sees Ruth doing the dishes, says, “Who’s she? I never hired her?” The worker says, “Well, she’s a new believer, just got baptized. Just joined Mars Hill. She’s new to town. She’s really hungry. She’s trying to make ends meet.” That would be the equivalent, culturally, to Boaz saying, “All right, sweetheart, take your apron off. You’re hungry. You haven’t had a meal yet? Come on out. We’ll sit you at a good table in this really nice restaurant. Order whatever you want off the menu. You sit there and relax. I’ll have the cook cook it up. It’s on me. And I’ll bring it to you, and I’ll serve you.” What a gentleman. What a godly man.
He goes even further than that. “So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed her the roasted grain, and she ate until she was satisfied and had some left over.” She was full. Best meal she’s had in a long time. She’s really blessed at this point. But she has food left over! Now, who, who is supposed to get that food? Naomi. Write this down, gentlemen. This is worth the price of admission. You must not only court the woman. You also must court her mother. Write that down. If you don’t get the mother, your, your life will be what Genesis 3 calls “thorns, thistles, and toil.” Right? If you get the mother-in-law on your side, life goes easier. Ladies, am I telling the truth?
Yes. Yes. If the mother says, “I hate him. He’s no good for you.” It’s – even if you do get the woman, Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving are painful. Painful! For Christmas, you’ll ask for a cup, just to make it through the family event. I mean, it will be painful. You want the mother to love you. You want the mother to think well of you. You want the mother to be supportive of you, gentlemen. Take it from a guy who actually has a really good relationship with his mother-in-law. I love her. We get along fine. You say, “How do you do that?” Here’s how you do it. You take the lady out for dinner. You’re very nice to her, very sweet to her, talk to her, listen, and right as the meal is nearing its end, you do two things. Write this down. First, say, “Tell me about your mother. God has really given me a burden to pray for mothers. I have an intercessory prayer ministry for mothers. And if you could tell me some things I could be praying for your mother about, that would mean the world to me. I would love to be praying for – let me write that down.” So, take notes! Then say, “Okay, when you get home, tell your mother that I’m praying for her every day.”
Second thing you do, you ask, “And what is your mom’s favorite dessert? Does she like chocolate cake? Does she like apple pie? What is your mother’s favorite” – she’ll say, “Well, why?” “I think we should treat your mother. We should order additional dessert, have it boxed up, and you should bring it home to your mother.” Okay?
So, first impression is, daughter walks in the door, “How was it?” “Oh, he loves the Lord, he has a job. He can read. He’s like no man I’ve ever met. We had a very nice dinner. He loves Jesus. He reads his Bible. He opened the door. He sat me at my chair. He was a complete gentleman. He didn’t try to put a hand on me, or a lip. He asked how he could be praying for you, and he sent me home with an apple pie. For you.”
This is very important. Boaz is generous to her, and her mother-in-law. You gotta court the mother-in-law. Your potential mother-in-law. The mother. Gotta get her on your side.
Verse 15, it continues, “After the meal, she rose to glean.” She’s gonna go back to work. Hard working gal! And what we’ve seen here, too, she receives his kindness. She doesn’t say, “Oh, no, I’ll be fine.” She receives his kindness and then she goes back to work, a hardworking gal. Boaz told his young men what to do. I love that about Boaz! He tells young men what to do. Why? Young men do not know what to do. Right? Forty percent of young men don’t even have a dad. Many of you who do have a dad, he doesn’t tell you anything, or most of what he tells you is totally wrong. Right? And I would say this to the older men who come to Mars Hill. Speak to the younger men. Give them clear directives – how to get a job, how to make money, how to save money, how to court a woman, how to raise a kid, how to read the Bible. What I love about Boaz, he keeps telling the young guys who work for him what to do, not because he doesn’t love ‘em, because he’s like a father figure. He told ‘em earlier, “See the Moabite? She’s cute. Don’t touch her. I’ll kill you!” Right? He’s a defender, protector, provider. Here he’s gonna tell the young men, “And don’t say any unkind words, don’t yell at her, and don’t curse at her, and don’t disrespect her. She’s fragile. She’ll cry. If she cries, you’ll die. That’s how it’s gonna go. Don’t make her cry.”
And I love this about Boaz. He is speaking to young men. He is a godly man. He’s run a company well. He loves the Lord. He’s very gracious. He’s very kind. He’s very masculine. He’s a man of wealth, and wherewithal, and war. And the young men are listening to him ‘cause he’s got some wisdom.
Likewise, Ruth gets a lot of counsel from Naomi, an older woman who loves her, an older woman who does know God and has for some time. In this we see that it is good to come to the church. It is good to pursue relationships with older people who have wisdom, and it is good to heed their counsel because they are gifts that God gives us. Titus 2 and other places talk about this in scripture, the benefit that older women and older men can be speaking into the lives to younger men and younger women. Boaz does this well. So here’s what he tells the young men.
“Let her glean, even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. Also, pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.” Put her in the most advantageous place that she can make as much money as possible. Furthermore, if she works hard at the end of the day, give her a huge bonus. Again, back to my modern-day analogy, this would be taking her out of the dishwashing for a bite to eat, bringing her out after she eats and saying, “You know what? I’m gonna give you a job. You’re gonna work here at the restaurant with me. This section is where all the money is made in the restaurant. You’re gonna oversee these tables as wait staff. You’re gonna make a huge amount of money; you’re gonna make a killing. And at the end of every shift, we’re gonna give you a nice, big bonus.” This is beyond the letter of the law, all the way to grace. He is making sure that she will do exceedingly well, providing she works hard.
So, verse 17, what does she do? She works hard. You will see that Ruth is a woman who takes the opportunities that God gives her. She works hard. She acts holy. God continues to provide opportunities. “She gleaned in the field until evening.” She worked all day. This is hard work. This is sweaty, pittin’ out, stinky, blue-collar work. She’s working hard, all day, until the sun goes down. “Then she beat out what she had gleaned.” Again, more hard work. “And it was about an ephah of barley.”
Now there’s a debate as to what an ephah is. It is somewhere between maybe 30 and 50 pounds that she has obtained through her one day’s labor. It was the equivalent, perhaps, of two weeks wages for the average worker. Here’s what has happened. She just made a few thousand bucks, in one day, without breaking the law, selling dime bags to kids or something. One day’s honest labor, she made a few thousand bucks. What I love about Boaz, he’s not looking to take advantage of her, “Oh, she’s a Moabite. I’m a Hebrew. She’s new to town. I’m established. She’s poor. I’m rich. She’s powerless. I’m powerful. She’s not a virgin. I’m a bachelor. This could be an easy score.” He doesn’t think that at all. He loves her. He treats her with kindness. Like Paul says, “As a sister.” And he blesses her well. A few thousand dollars! I mean, she went from facing starvation to having a very good job. “And she took it up and she went into the city.” So, she’s carrying 30 to 50 pounds home.
“Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned.” Naomi is stunned. How many of you tell your folks, “Well, I’m gonna go out and see if I can find a job today,” and come home with a few thousand bucks? What’s her question? “She also brought out and gave her what food she had leftover from being satisfied.” “Here’s the apple pie!” “Oh, you’re kidding! You had a nice meal, got a job, made a few thousand bucks today, brought dinner home for me, with dessert? Good day. Looks like God showed up.”
“And her mother-in-law said to her, ‘Where did you glean today?’” Where have you worked? Where did you go? What happened? Tell me the story. Again, 50+ percent of the book is conversation. The ladies have to talk about everything. They’re gonna talk about it.
She says, “Blessed be the man who took notice of you.” This is Mara, the bitter woman who is now Naomi, the worshipper of God, who is blessing again. Romans says that it’s the kindness of God that leads to repentance. God is lovingly, graciously, kindly, mercifully, provided for Ruth and Naomi, and now Naomi’s heart opens up. She says, “Praise God! We asked God for help and God has answered our prayers. Praise be to God.”
“She then told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, ‘The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz.’” It means “strong man,” “mighty man,” “godly man,” “masculine, defender, protector, provider.” Boaz. The cry of her heart, in Ruth, Chapter 2, verse 2, was that God would give her favor in the eyes of someone, and God has given her favor, grace, mercy in the eyes of Boaz. And it gets even better.
“And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, ‘May he be blessed by the Lord whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead.” He has honored us and our family. He has honored my husband. He has honored all of us, even though my husband and my sons are dead, he is honoring them as well. And she uses the Hebrew word here, hassed. It’s a very important word here, translated kindness, or loving kindness. It’s all of the wonderful attributes of God, the love, grace, mercy, patience, kindness, long-suffering, provision of God. In Galatians, it’s called the Fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self control. It’s this hassed of God.
Naomi says as such, “I knew God was a god of hassed. And now he has had hassed on me, and us. And I pray that God would have hassed on Boaz, ‘cause Boaz has had hassed on us.” She’s saying that Boaz is here reflecting the nature and the character and the attributes of God. Not that Boaz is God – he’s not. He’s just a man. But as an image-bearer of God, he’s like a mirror reflecting the love and the compassion and the grace and the mercy and the provision of God to these women. And in this, Boaz understands, “God has been so good to me. I now should be good to others to reflect my relationship with God.”
Naomi sees all of this and her heart changes from bitterness to blessing. And she says, “You know what? He looks like God. He’s loving and gracious and merciful and kind, and he provides, and he protects, and he defends. You’ve met a godly man. Praise be to God for answering our prayers.” She goes on to say, “The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.” It just so happens – Ruth moves to Bethlehem – it just so happens she gets converted along the way. It just so happens that she’s hungry and doesn’t know anybody. It just so happens that she ends up in the field of Boaz. It just so happens that he happens to show up while she’s there, he happens to see her, initiate with her, speak with her, bless her, pray for her. It just so happens he offers her a job. It just so happens he gives her a bonus. It just so happens that he is in the process of making their life so much better. It just so happens he’s single, and it just so happens that he is a redeemer. What that means is that he is an extended family member through Elimelech, Naomi’s deceased husband.
Let me explain to you what a redeemer does. In Leviticus 25, a redeemer has two primary functions: to redeem people and property. In that culture, if you got yourself into debt, you couldn’t just wrack up credit card debt or declare bankruptcy. You would either sell yourself or your land to pay off your debt. You would sell yourself into slavery for a period of time to work at no income to another person to pay off your debt, but that would devastate your family ‘cause you would have no income. Or you would sell your land. Now, in selling your land, this is an agrarian society. People live on the farm. They work on the farm. They eat off the farm. The farm stays in the family for multiple generations. There’s a continuity from one generation to the next. It would be a very disgraceful thing to lose your land, ‘cause you were giving away what belonged to your great-grandparents and what ultimately belonged to your great-grandchildren. And you were destroying your family name and legacy.
The redeemer was the one who would come in and say, “I’ll pay off the debt to redeem the person from slavery,” or “I’ll pay off the note on the land and the farm to keep it in the family and to bring it back to the family who desperately needs it.” The redeemer was the one who fixed everything. The redeemer was the one who was wise and successful, and who God had blessed so that they could bless others and do works of hassed. What she’s saying is this, “Boaz is a redeemer.”
Now, we’ll be seeing it in the next few weeks. He’s not the closest redeemer. And secondly, technically, this is not necessarily true, because the redeemer was obligated to care for the family, including the widows and the orphans. So, if a man died, the redeemer would be the one to look after his widow. If a man and/or his wife died, the redeemer would be the one to help ensure that there was provision and care for the children. The redeemer is like the loving, gracious, patriarchal figure overseeing the wellbeing of the family. But he was only obligated to biological relatives, and Ruth is not a biological relative. She’s not connected to the family. She’s not a relative by birth, but by new birth, because she’s been converted, born again, to use the language of the New Testament, she is treated by Boaz as an equal. She is loved by Naomi as a daughter. She has treated Naomi as a mother. And as such, Naomi is expecting that Ruth should be taken care of and loved, and redeemed, even though under the letter of the law she has no right. Under the spirit of the law, she is. She is a woman who should be considered a family member.
I’ll say this to you, men, as well. You and I, gentlemen, as Christian men, part of what it means is to be a redeemer. Not the big-R redeemer – that’s Jesus. We’re the little-r redeemer. We’re the little-r redeemer. Some of you men will marry a divorced woman. Some of you men will marry a widowed woman. Some of you men will marry a single mother. Some of you will marry a woman who was molested, or raped. Some of you men will marry women who have had very hard lives. They don’t come from good families. They don’t come from long Christian heritage. Like Ruth, they may be flat broke. They may have been through tragic times. They may be new to Jesus. They may be new to Seattle. What I would encourage you men is not to have a list for your potential spouse that is the path of least resistance.
Ruth is a woman who has been through much affliction. But as I told you in Week 1, because she ran to God and his people, those afflictions, the death of her husband, being unable to have children for whatever reason, now being a woman who is very poor and working a very difficult job, in a very humble state with a bitter mother-in-law, in a new town, without family support. Those kinds of afflictions have shaped in Ruth a sanctification so that these have become sanctified afflictions. Her character is outstanding. Her loyalty is unprecedented. Her work ethic is noble. And her appreciation for kindness and provision and blessing and love is unparalleled.
Some of you men are looking for the path of least resistance. “I want a virgin from a great Christian family, who’s had a wonderful life and has not experienced much affliction.” If that was the kind of woman you were looking for, you may never get a woman like Ruth. Now, don’t just run after the bad girls whose life is nothing but baggage and carry-ons. But do look for a woman that, if she’s been through hardship, she has run to God. She’s run to God’s people. That God has used that to make her into a woman of great character and nobility and work ethic. I mean, we see in Ruth that she’s hard working, that she’s loyal, that she trusts God with deep faith, and that she’s devoted, even to the one Christian friend she has, which is a bitter old woman.
You and I, gentlemen, sadly, live in a world where there are men who do atrocious and horrible things to their own daughters, to their own sisters, to their girlfriends, to their wives. We must not, we can not, we will not be those men. But when we meet the women who have been mistreated in that way, we must first investigate if the women have responded like Ruth. Have they run to God and his people and been sanctified and holy? If so, then we need be about redemption. We need be about redemption. You can’t just look at a woman and say, “She has kids; I don’t want to marry her.” Is she like Ruth? Then, redeem her and the kids.
Do you know that that’s what Jesus’ own father did? Jesus’ own mother was a proverbial single mother – not because of sin, obviously because of virgin birth – but Joseph was willing to redeem Mary and Jesus. That Jesus was an adopted boy. That Joseph understood something of redemption, and he practiced it for the Lord Jesus and for his mother, Mary. You and I, gentlemen, outside of this room, other men will laugh at you. They’ll make fun of you. They’ll say, “Why get married? You could sleep together. Why marry a woman who hasn’t had the perfect, easy life? You could find the path of least resistance.” The answer is “Because I want a woman with the character of Ruth, and sometimes that is only through sanctified affliction. Secondly, I want to be like Boaz and Jesus, and I’m happy to be a man of redemption.” That is the gospel. Boaz treats these women as God has treated him, and you and I have an opportunity to treat others, particularly the ladies, as God has treated us.
Naomi gets it right. She says, “He’s a redeemer.” There is hope in Naomi’s voice. The story continues – you men with me? You men stick with me on this. This is important. I love you. I know I’m not quite old enough to be the father of most of you; I’m getting there as fast as I can. You’re already giving me gray hairs and ulcers. But I tell you what, better than taking the path of least resistance is waking up in the morning and seeing a redeemer in the mirror. That’s what you gentlemen want to aspire to.
Verse 21, “And Ruth, the Moabite, said, ‘Besides, he said to me, you shall keep close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.” That is six or seven weeks. This is a temporary, seasonal job. Once the harvest is over, there’s no more work to be done until the ensuing year. Not only did Boaz bless her, speak to her, encourage her, feed her, give her a few thousand dollars for a day’s work, he also offered her a job to come back every day – that’s six days a week, one day off for Sabbath, to go to church – and if she works that job for six weeks and makes a few thousand dollars a day, in six weeks she will earn an entire year’s salary. That way, if she doesn’t get a job after that, or if she should have trouble, it’s okay. Her and Naomi will be fine. She will have made in six weeks what the average worker made in a year. And Boaz has, essentially, told her, “If you will continue to be godly and hardworking, I will be exceedingly kind to you. You and your mother-in-law will be fine for the duration of the whole year and then if you need to, you could come back next year, too.” This is a gracious man. He is a man who is showing that he is ready to be a husband. He has run his company well. He is generous with his money. The last thing you and I want to be, men, is just men who are tight with money, men who are not generous. It is the worst for a woman and children to have a husband and father who’s just a tightwad and a cheapskate, and a control freak. We need to live under budgets. We need to be prudent with our money and good stewards, I understand. But he’s demonstrating here a generosity that is very important for a husband to have if his wife is to have any joy.
Verse 22, “And Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women.” All right? They love the Lord. Get in that community group. Those gals, you know, Boaz hires the best. They’re sweet gals. They love Jesus. You need some friends. Get in that Bible study, work with those gals, stick close to them, that’ll keep you out of trouble. “Lest in the field of another you be assaulted.” There are bad guys out there. They’re gonna wanna sleep with you. They’re gonna rape you. They’re gonna take advantage of you. They’re gonna say they love you, but they say that to everybody. Don’t chase boys. Stay close to the godly women. Work your job. Come home. Maintain the posture of holiness. “So she kept close to the young women of Boaz.” She stayed in the proverbial Bible study, built Christian friendships, started to get connected to the proverbial church, the community of God’s people, “Gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvest, and she lived with her mother-in-law.” Some of the prayers have been answered. They gotta house. They got some food. God’s had favor on them. Still no husband, still no baby.
And the story goes very quiet. It started off so good! Boaz shows up, “Who’s that? That’s Ruth. Come here, my darling. Work here. I’ll feed you. God bless you. Let me pray for you. Here’s a meal. Here’s a job, a few thousand dollars a day. They’re off to a roar – and it’s a great start. And she goes to work every day for six weeks. And what happens? Nothing. He never calls. He doesn’t follow up. There’s no second date. Nothing. How many of you ladies are dating Boaz? Don’t raise your hand if he’s sitting next to you, but, you’re like, “That’s it! I thought we were doing good, and then, I don’t know where we’re at. Are we a couple, are we not a couple? Are we dating? Are we engaged? Are we not? Are we coworkers? Are we friends? What’s your endgame? Where are we going? Why does he not call?” It’s Biblical, apparently, you know? We’re not so good on the close.
One author has said that men chasing women are like dogs chasing fire engines. Should they get one, they’re not sure what to do with it. You kind of see that here.
So what does she do? Six weeks, goes to work, comes home. I’m sure Naomi’s at the door, “Did you see Boaz?” “No.” Or, “Yeah, he showed up.” “Well, what did he say?” “Nothing.” “What’s he doing?” “I don’t know.” How many of you ladies, this is frustrating? This is the season of waiting. One of the fruits of the spirit is patience. You’re like, “I like grapes. I don’t like patience. I like different fruit.” I understand. Patience, patience, patience. She doesn’t have a good daddy to say, “Hey could you go ask him what his endgame is?” ‘Cause the clock is ticking at the end of harvest season. They go their separate ways. It’s over. It’s a temp job. It’s seasonal work. Time is running out.
Here’s what she doesn’t do. This is what I love. She doesn’t leave the place that God blesses. I would just encourage all of you to understand this. Some people say, “God bless me! Please, bless me, God!” Stay in the place that God blesses. She doesn’t say, “Well, it’s been six weeks. I’m going back to Moab. It’s been six weeks; no Christian guy’s asked me out. I’m gonna get my clear heels on” – you all know what that means. “I’m gonna go to the bar for happy hour. Whoever buys me drinks, I’ll just go with him. I’ll live with this non-Christian guy. I’ll sleep with this other guy. I’m a little older, I’m not a virgin, I’m a Moabite. I’ll drop my standards.”
You can’t have ridiculous standards, ladies, like “Well, he didn’t walk on water; I don’t think he’s the one.” I mean, you gotta be reasonable. But you can’t drop your standards to where, as some women do. Because he’s bipedal and upright, “Good enough!” Right? I mean you need to have holiness, and you need to stay in the place that God blesses. You can’t say, “Well, I’ll go shack up with this guy, or date this guy, or sleep with this guy, or flirt with this guy, ‘til Boaz comes,” ‘cause if Boaz does come he is not going to be interested. Boaz is gonna look and say, “I’m not interested. That gal’s got trouble. She’s not holy. She’s not staying in the place that God would bless her, waiting patiently, faithfully.”
I’ve heard some gals actually want God to bless sin. God doesn’t bless sin. I’m a Dad, God’s a Father. As a dad I don’t bless sin! If one kid hits the other kid in the head with a truck, I don’t give him a cookie. I would raise psychopaths and axe-murderers. Like, “What did you do that for?” “I learned when I whack somebody I get treats!” That’s not a parenting philosophy. When the children sin, I correct them, discipline them. When they live obedient, holy lives, then I bless them because they’re in the place of blessing. So many women want to live in the place – or men, too – in the place of disobedience and be blessed. I hear this from gals all the time, “Well, he’s not a Christian, but I think if I sleep with him he’ll meet the Lord.” Oh yeah, that won’t confuse him at all. I mean, come on! Seriously. “Well, I knew this one girl, and she was dating a guy who was not a Christian, and she was living and sleeping with him, but he became a Christian and now he’s a pastor, and, you know, sometimes it happens.” Right. She won the Man Lotto. Whatever, you know?
I also know a guy, true story, legally blind, went in for a firearms permit. They made him go out to a target range and come to find out he’s a pretty good shot for a blind guy and gave him a gun permit. Morale of the story: Sometimes there are exceptions to rules, but as a general rule, if you can’t see you should not have a gun. And if you know Jesus, you should not date a guy who does not. Period. “He believes in God,” so do demons, according to James. “Well, she’s hot.” So’s hell. I mean, come on! Think it through.
She lives a holy life. She goes to work. She pays her bills. She reads her Bible. She gets baptized. She joins the church. She has Christian friends. She lives in the place that God could bless. That’s what I want for you all. You men, aspire to be like Boaz. Get your affairs in order. Treat all women as sisters. Be generous, like Jesus. Humble, as well. You ladies, Ruth, great example. Walk with God and his people. Build your friendships. Listen to older ladies. Walk with younger ladies who love the Lord. Live a life of holiness. Work in your job. Walk in your faith, staying in the place that God blesses, trusting that he can and he will, ‘cause he’s sovereign and good. That’s what it means to be the God of providence.
Now, I’ll close in just a minute. Next week we’re gonna talk about pulling a Ruth. That’s what we’re gonna call it. If you read ahead – and you should – the story gets weird. It’s like Ruth gone wild. It gets weird. She goes tanning. She gets her nails done. She goes in to get her hair foiled. She buys a little dress, gets her makeup done. And she goes to a party where Boaz is at, and she waits for him to have a few beers, and ends up at the foot of his bed. We’ll talk about it next week, okay? Some of you are like, “Where are you going?” I have no idea. You could pray for me. This is perhaps the funkiest chapter in the whole Old Testament. All of a sudden it’s like Ruth goes on Spring Break hiatus. I mean, it’s just weird. It gets, it’s weird. So, I gotta figure out where I’m gonna go with it. So read ahead, and pray for me, but whatever you do, don’t read ahead and do it, ‘cause we haven’t even talked about it yet. So come back next week before you buy clear heels and a tanning package. Okay? Come back before you get there. We’ll go there next week. It will be good. If you have fundamentalistic, legalistic, moralistic, baptistic tendencies, bring some Tylenol. I assure you, your head will explode next week. But it will be good.
Now, where we’re going with all of this, those of you who know the story, is that this is the family of Jesus. I don’t want to give it all away, but if you read Matthew 1, this is the family of Jesus. You can see the family resemblance in Boaz. He is a redeemer, as Jesus is our redeemer. And Boaz is glorious. Spurgeon calls Jesus “Our glorious Boaz.” As Boaz came to his land, Jesus came to his Earth. As Boaz saw Ruth, so Jesus has seen us. As Boaz initiated relationship with Ruth, so Jesus has initiated relationship with us. As Boaz was so kind and providing to Ruth, so Jesus is so kind and providing to us. Futhermore, he is our redeemer. That’s what is says in the New Testament. Jesus is our big-R redeemer, that we belong to Satan and sin and death and we’re bound for hell, and like Ruth, we’re in a terrible predicament, and that Jesus has given this gracious gift of himself. He doesn’t owe us anything, as Boaz owes Ruth nothing. But he lives without sin, he dies for sin. He gives us his own death, burial, resurrection, as a gift. He has favor on us. And like Ruth received the gift from Boaz, we must receive the gift of salvation from the Lord Jesus Christ. And he is the God of hassed, the God of Ruth, the God of Naomi, the God of Boaz is Jesus Christ. And he is the loving, gracious, merciful, kind God of hassed.
And as Jesus sat with his disciples at his last supper, it is very interesting that he told us, when we gather together, to partake of communion, to take bread and to dip it in drink and to remember his body and blood, and that’s exactly what Boaz invited Ruth to, his table, as a friend. And he invited her to partake of bread and drink and when we do that today, we remember the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ given for our sin. If you’re not a Christian, become a Christian by giving Jesus your sin, receiving the gift of salvation. Through his life, death, burial, resurrection, he is our glorious Boaz. He is our redeemer. He is our God of hassed.
You can come forward when you’re ready, give of your tithes and offerings, or give online, or send it in during the week. It’s our way of being a cheerful giver as Boaz was, ‘cause God loves a cheerful giver. And when you’re ready we’re gonna stand and sing and celebrate, as Naomi did. We will bless the Lord for his kindness on us, that God has in fact heard and answered our prayers. He has given us hassed. He has sent our Boaz, Jesus is our redeemer, and we will celebrate as Naomi does. I love you guys. Think it through. Join me next week. We’ll pick up the rest of the story on the threshing floor.
Lord Jesus, we thank you for being our glorious Boaz. We thank you for being our redeemer. We thank you for being our hassed. We thank you for being the family resemblance with Boaz. Lord Jesus, I pray for these men, the men of Mars Hill Church, your men, that we would have the family resemblance as well, that we would be redeemers, masculine, courageous, godly, decent, hardworking men who treat women as sisters, who treat wives as princesses, who treat daughters as gifts and are about redemption.
Lord Jesus, I pray for the ladies that they would aspire, by grace, to be like Ruth and live in the place that you bless, not seeking to be in a place of sin, assuming that you will bless disobedience. You’re a good Father, Lord God. We know you don’t live that way. You don’t work that way.
God, I pray for our city and our church, and I pray for these people, who are almost all single, that they would cling to you, that you would bless them, and that through your providential hand, in season, you would give them love. You would give them family. You would give them legacy. We ask for this in Jesus’ good name. Amen.