Thursday, July 28, 2005

Ruth Chapter 4 - The Redeemer Redeems (3)

The Blessings on the Redeemed v11-22

This book of Ruth with its happy ending shows us what happens to those whom God redeems. I read a book called “A fine Balance” – a book about India. Two men from a low caste tribe, make a success of their lives tailoring, they break the system, but the book ends in tragedy. There is no happy ending. A miserable book. Possibly very true to life. But miserable. But for the man or woman who puts their hope in God there is hope.

The life of the redeemed is blessed by God. Naomi, is no longer empty, but her life has been turned around. Ruth the widow, for whom it would have made more sense to stay in Moab, but who committed herself to following God, she finds herself with a husband, and inheritance, a son. She who didn’t belong, finds herself belonging. God is no woman’s debtor, or no man’s debtor. If you commit your way to the Lord he will pour out blessing on your life. Not material blessings, but certainly spiritual ones, ones that can never be taken away.

We see some of them here in the closing verses of Ruth 4:

A place in God’s kingdom

Ruth’s son will bear the inheritance that was assigned by God to his father Mahlon. Ruth now has a place in the Kingdom of Israel. She has her tact of land there. V 10

Friends – if you are a believer you have a place, no less real than Ruth place, in the Kingdom of Heaven. It is your inheritance. It is being prepared for you right now. It has your name on it. I’m not talking a piece of heavenly real estate, but a place in the presence of God, where you will enjoy him forever.

A place in God’s people

The words of the women of the town as they speak their blessing on the wedding reinforce that Ruth the outsider has been brought in. They want her to be as blessed as the founder of the town of Bethlehem, Perez. There is a great sense of belonging here. It doesn’t matter what background you come from – there is no tier system in God’s kingdom.

You have a place in God’s people.

Ephesians Ch 2:11-21 is the New Testament equivalent of this passage.

You belong. See how both Ruth and Naomi have been given a new family. You too have been given a new family when you came to Christ. New brothers and sisters, a new elder brother, a new father. It doesn’t matter if like Naomi you grew up among the people of God, or whether you are like Ruth and have no Christian background. There is no such thing as a second class Christian.

A part in God’s plan

The elders on the day of the marriage pronounce this great blessing on Ruth and Boaz. But as they pronounce it they have no idea of how it will be fulfilled. They pray for honour and blessing to be on them. They pray for fruitfulness.

But little did they know what that honour and fruitfulness would mean. The family tree that the book ends with shows Ruth and Boaz place in the line of the greatest of Israel’s Kings. King David. And from Matthew ch 1 we see them again in the family tree of David’s greater son, King Jesus.

When God redeems people he has not just a place for them, but a purpose for them. And that purpose far exceeds anything you can imagine. And as you seek to live your life here with commitment and faithfulness, God will work through you. And although you may see nothing come of it – Ruth would have been in glory by the time David became King – Heaven will reveal to you what God did through your life. The effects of your prayers, the effects of your words. So don’t be discouraged or become weary in doing good.

A present provision from the hand of God

Amongst all the sorrow of the opening chapter, it would have been hard to explain to Ruth and Naomi the outcome. Naomi was so convinced of the harshness of her life, that she changed her name. Yet God had other plans. He provides the whole way through the book. And God provides, not just a redeemer for Ruth, but in the child, he has also provided a redeemer for Naomi. V14

And this child will provide and sustain Naomi for the rest of her life. Friends in the words of the townswomen we have a great description of the blessings of our redeemer – one who restores life, and who sustains us.

This book teaches us that no matter how dark the days are, and how stress filled, we have a father in Heaven who provides, and brings great blessing to those who commit their ways into his hands.

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