The Gospel According to Ruth
8/10 Reading Portions: Ruth 3-4; Acts 28; Jeremiah 38; Psalms 11-12
“Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it.” Ruth 4:6
Ruth is more than a mere story for Hollywood producers to pilfer in order to make a movie released the year I was born. The story of Ruth and Boaz was an actual historical event; and more than that, it contains many gospel illustrations and applications. Ruth, whose name means “friend,” was a widow who followed her mother-in-law, Naomi, to Bethlehem. Although they lived together, Ruth was still a Moabitess, a stranger, while she gleaned in the field of Boaz. While Boaz commanded to leave handfuls of grain on purpose (Ruth 2:16), it reflected the efficacious grace of God to call sinners to Himself. When Boaz redeemed Ruth to be his wife, it represented Christ redeeming His precious church to be His beloved bride (Eph 5:25, 32). Afterward, Ruth would need not to glean in the fields. The property, and all the grain therein, was hers by virtue of it belonging to her husband, Boaz.
Boaz, as a near-kinsman, is a foreshadow of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. The episode of redeeming Ruth for his bride not only presents us with insights into gracious redemption through Christ, but also gives us insights into how grievous the ruin of mankind in the fall of Adam was. Boaz tells Ruth there is a kinsman nearer than himself (Ruth 3:12). This nearer “redeemer” was a picture of Adam (Ruth 3:14). The relative had truly spoken when he said he could not redeem the land (Ruth 4:6), because fallen Adam has no ability to undo what he had disobediently done; neither had he the power to redeem a single descendant because of his sinful condition. Boaz, whose name means “in strength,” would raise up children through Ruth for the sake of her deceased husband, Mahlon, whose name means “source of sickness.” In this Boaz represents Christ, who raises children to inherit the promises of God, though we are descendants of Adam and “desperately sick” (Jer 17:9).
O, magnificent is the grace
Of God through Christ the Lord;
Like grain from Boaz in Ruth’s place,
Depicting Christ’s pure Word.
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