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This week our lesson was titled Ruth from Ruth. Use the teaching points below to help guide your family worship time this week.
Ruth is a Moabite woman, not an Israelite. The Moabites were descendants of Lot, Abraham’s nephew. They were pagans who had lived apart from Israel for hundreds of years and worshiped the god Chemosh.
But Ruth has learned about the faith of her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi, and what it means to be a true Israelite. When she herself is widowed, Ruth refuses to go back to her own people in Moab, choosing instead to return to Israel with Naomi to beg for food. This
demonstration of faith is noteworthy. It is this faith that God rewards through the kindness of Boaz, a wealthy Israelite landowner.
Boaz’s kindness to Ruth continues for several months, throughout the wheat and barley harvests. By the end of the harvests, Naomi realizes that Boaz is acting as Ruth’s redeemer.
A kinsman-redeemer was the closest male blood relative. He was positioned by God to help relieve the suffering of a clan or family member by redeeming her. To redeem means to buy back with money something that was lost or to give of oneself for a brother’s misfortune. This could be loss of property or in this case marrying a widow to preserve her husband’s family line (see Ruth 4:10).
This meant that Boaz is willing to care for Ruth and Naomi after the loss of their husbands. Naomi instructs Ruth to end her time of mourning for her husband, get dressed up, and lay at Boaz’s feet the next evening. In this way, Ruth is telling Boaz she wanted to marry him.
Ruth does as Naomi says. When Boaz awakes and sees Ruth, she asks him to cover her with his wings. This was the same thing Boaz had said to Ruth about God taking care of her. God is using Boaz to care for Ruth.
Before Boaz can become the kinsman-redeemer of Ruth and Naomi and then marry Ruth, there is one more thing to take care of. Another man who is more closely related to Naomi and Ruth has the first right to be their redeemer. This man is interested in the land that belonged to Naomi’s husband, but he does not want to take responsibility for the two women. Boaz, therefore, is free to marry Ruth. The role of Boaz in the book of Ruth is a picture of God’s redemption of his people, both Jews (represented by Naomi) and Gentiles (represented by Ruth).
Ruth lost her husband and father-in-law and served her mother-in-law. She was a very special person in God’s plan to bring his Son into the world. We learn in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew that Ruth was one of the great-grandmothers in Jesus’ line: “Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David” (Matthew 1:5–6 NIV).
In fact, Jesse, Ruth’s grandson, was the great King David’s father. Boaz and Ruth had another tie to Jesus. They lived in Bethlehem—the very town where Jesus was born!
The life of Boaz points to Jesus. Not only did he redeem the bloodline of Elimelech but he also redeemed the land sold by Naomi.
Jesus is our redeemer. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18–19 NIV).