Inside: A closer look at Ruth chapter 4 and finding Jesus there
This is the 4th (and final!) post in a series. You can find the earlier parts of this study here:
There are also 3 videos over on my YouTube channel that go with these units. Check those out here:
Just a reminder:
- Be prayerful before reading,
- Keep a notepad handy, and
- Take your time!
Okay, guys, let’s do this! Read Chapter 4.
Questions to Consider
- What significance is there in the city gate? How is Jesus my gate?
- What was the purpose of the law? Did it outline truths? Did it keep God’s people from making poor decisions? Did it redeem?
- Do I believe that my own actions redeem me? In what areas can I rely more on Christ?
- What blessings have been spoken over my life?
- Has my hope been deferred? Do I believe down to the marrow of my bones that God can restore it?
At the Gate
We see this chapter open at the gate of the city. These were places of central activity in biblical times. Announcements were made at the gate. Court was convened at the gate. Business matters were handled at the gate. Kind of like “downtown” in today’s cities.
So naturally, Boaz had to go to the gate to handle this matter.
Spiritually speaking, Jesus tells us He is the gate (John 10:7-9). I have a post from a couple years ago that sheds some light on that and the other verses surrounding it. You can find that here.
But other than the sheepfold, it also rings true to think of Him as our gate in this sense as well. Is our life centered on Him? Do we conduct every activity of our lives in His authority? When we need to handle some business, do we go to Him?
What Could Never Redeem Us
Enter the closer relative. When Boaz first tells him about the property that needs redeeming, he’s willing to do it. But when Boaz mentions Ruth, the relative quickly changes his mind. We see that although this relative has first dibs, he declines to redeem Ruth (and the entirety of the inheritance with her).
His reason? It would ruin his own inheritance. You see, by marrying her and having children, any inheritance would be passed to those children. And the children are actually considered the children of her deceased husband. So the relative’s own family inheritance would then be non-existent.
But Boaz didn’t care about that.
What could never redeem us? What could never even associate with us because it wasn’t sent for Gentiles?
For God achieved what the law was unable to accomplish, because the law was limited by the weakness of human nature.
Yet God sent us his Son in human form to identify with human weakness. Clothed with humanity, God’s Son gave his body to be the sin-offering so that God could once and for all condemn the guilt and power of sin. So now every righteous requirement of the law can be fulfilled through the Anointed One living his life in us. And we are free to live, not according to our flesh, but by the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit! Romans 8:3-4 (TPT, emphasis mine)
The law was sent first but wasn’t able to redeem us. Only God could do that!
The Law’s Function
If the law didn’t redeem, what was its purpose?
After the fall, we see God continually protecting humanity from themselves. Their choices that corrupt their original design continue to curse them and bring negative consequences to the Earth. We see God showing unwavering mercy and protecting those who loved Him, in spite of their wrong-doing. He makes covenants with His people that are simple for them to keep while He does any heavy-lifting.
It was a long time before the law was given to God’s people.
For some reason, in my mind, after the fall, the law came quickly. Imagine my surprise when reading through ALL OF GENESIS and NINETEEN CHAPTERS in Exodus without the law around. (In Galatians 3:17, Paul says it was 430 years!) The only covenant responsibilities God’s people needed to follow pre-law were: 1) circumcision and 2) refraining from eating blood. That’s it.
His people didn’t always make good choices. They were regular people who messed up. Their distinction was that they loved God and had relationship with Him. So God was always there, showing them mercy, giving them favor, and guiding their steps.
Then came the desert.
His people complained. A LOT. Yet, He fulfilled their need every time.
They STILL weren’t happy. Shortly after, the law came. There’s a lot of speculation about why. For more on that, check out this video from my YouTube channel.
For now, just see that God’s design was for relationship with His people. The law may have been given for many reasons. But never to redeem.
Side note:: The law is good! Don’t misunderstand my words. The commandments show His heart and are also for our benefit. Like a parent’s rules to keep their child safe from harm. They’re good to follow. But they DO NOT lead to salvation or justification. That only comes from Jesus Christ who redeemed us and sealed our adoption as children of God.
And we are completely unable to fulfill the law on our own. God in the flesh came to do that for us. Now we can walk according to His commandments by the power of the Holy Spirit that lives in us! Reread Romans 8:3-4 above.
The Elders as His Witness
We see the whole transaction in Ruth taking place before 10 elders at the gate. How do they fit in? Do they even have a significance?
Let’s look at the number 10. When quickly reading we might assume that they would signify the 10 commandments. But after looking a little deeper, we see something more complex emerge.
The number 10 is one of the “perfect” numbers, the others being 3, 7, and 12. While all of these signify perfection or completion, they each do it in different ways. Three is divine perfection (as in Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Seven is spiritual perfection. And 12 is governmental perfection (like the named disciples, prophets, and tribes of Israel).
But 10 signifies divine order, especially where man also has a part to contribute. That’s why we immediately think of the 10 commandments. We can also think of tithing–10%. Or that the number 10 is literally built into who we are with 10 fingers and 10 toes.
So since 10 represents completion and perfection of divine order, we begin to see the significance of the 10 elders. It’s the witness of our redemption by Jesus’ perfect completion of the divine order. And how did God do this? By coming to Earth as a man! We couldn’t fulfill the law on our own, but it HAD to be done by man. So He did it for us.
Perpetuating the Name of the Dead
We see this phrase used twice in this chapter to explain what would be done through the inheritance of the dead.
That word perpetuating actually means to “raise up.”
By marrying Ruth and having children with her, Boaz was actually continuing Mahlon’s family line (like we talked about). This meant that Mahlon’s name would carry on through the children of Ruth and Boaz.
Notice all those genealogies throughout the Bible? Our God is generational. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Blotting out a father’s name from the history of his unborn children would be “cutting his name off from his brethren,” as mentioned in this chapter.
So in this act of redemption, Boaz is allowing his OWN name to be removed from the lineage while the name of the dead lives on.
In the same way, Jesus allowed himself to be brought low so that he could raise all of us who were dead in spirit. So that we could live on and partake in the inheritance.
He took our place so we could be raised up with Him.
Another Blessing for Ruth
From the beginning, we see blessing after blessing spoken into Ruth’s life. Yet again, the elders speak a blessing over her.
And ya know what? All of those blessing count for something! Those words don’t return void. She’s not only redeemed but now she’s wealthy, she sees hope restored to her mother-in-law, AND (the best part) she’s part of the lineage of Jesus. JESUS, y’all! She was a Gentile. And the SON OF GOD came through her family.
Don’t think the blessings spoken over you are going to waste. God blesses those who His people bless.
Did I mention that Naomi has her hope restored? After all of her bitterness and hurt, God didn’t leave her. He didn’t forget her. She was the remnant from chapter 1.
In fact, she was able to become a wet nurse for Obed. She literally breastfed him. After not having any children of her own for long time. As a breastfeeding mom, that’s mind-blowing to me!
(So much that I had to look it up to see if it was something that was possible in the natural or only through the help of the supernatural. But scientifically speaking, it is possible. Wet nurses were a popular thing historically, and not all of them had recently had a child of their own. God created our bodies to be truly amazing! But back to the topic…)
Naomi nourished Obed’s life as if he were her own. The picture that we see of this woman who claimed the name “Mara” is one of complete joy and restoration.
We start this book with Naomi and end with Naomi. Her life looks completely different now, and yet it’s full. Life happens. Our choices bringing hardships. But God is always God. Always faithful. Always good. Always redeeming.
Even more than that, Obed’s birth from the union of Boaz and Ruth is the picture of what happens as a result of our intimacy with Jesus:
Christ IN YOU, the hope of glory!
♥ Jesus is our gate in more ways than one. Understanding the different connotations of the word will help us get a clear picture of the roles He wants to play in our lives and His will for us.
♥ The law was never given to redeem us or make us holy. And we can only follow God’s commandments by the power of the Holy Spirit.
♥ Jesus perfectly completed what we could not, securing our place in the kingdom!
♥ The blessings spoken over us don’t just die. God is faithful.
♥ Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but God is a redeemer of all things, including the time!
♥ Restoration and new life is the name of the game when we are united with Jesus.
Don’t forget to check back here for the FINAL VIDEO of this Bible study in the next few days. If you’re a part of my email list, I’ll be mailing the link in the next Weekly Vine. If you’re not subscribed but don’t want to miss it, Subscribe Here:
We see now that this book of the Bible is SO MUCH MORE than a love story. From beginning to end, we see our path to redemption. From being an outsider hoping for favor, to being the bride of Christ, Ruth’s story is our own.
Until next time,
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