Bad things happen or is there a plan? Ruth’s story part 3

If you are jumping into this story at the tale end I am unpacking the story of Ruth from the Bible.  It is a story of a Jewish girl, Naomi, meaning pleasant, marrying a nice Jewish boy, Elimelech.  They had 2 sons, Malon and Killion.  A famine hit Bethlehem and Elimelech saw better prospects in the country of Moab so they packed up and moved to Moab.  After The move Elimelech died.  The boys married to non-Jewish girls from Moab, Orpah and Ruth.  Then after 10 years the 2 sons die.  By this time Naomi is pretty sure God is punishing her.  “Don’t call me pleasant.  Call me bitter!”

Naomi hears news that God is now blessing the land of Israel so she decides to pack it up and go back.  Naomi convinces Orpah not to hang her future on her and return to Moab but Ruth declares her unwavering love for Naomi and refuses to leave her EVER unless death parts them.

Back in Naomi’s home town Naomi and Ruth settle in and Ruth becomes the provider.  Her plan is, because this is harvest time, to find a field and follow the workers and pick up what they leave behind.  At the end of the day she and Naomi discover the field she was working belonged to a wealthy relative of Elimelech, Boaz.  Through the harvest season Boaz became Ruth’s protector and benefactor.  At the end of harvest Naomi set into motion a plan that would provide for Ruth’s future.

The 4th and final chapter of Ruth opens with Boaz taking aside the first in line to be the  kinsman redeemer  in addition to ten of the elders of the town.  In those days contracts between two parties were settled by one party giving up his shoe to the other.  Now, with the 10 elders as witnesses to the deal, Boaz acknowledged that the other was entitled to have first rights to purchase  Elimelech’s property from his widow, Naomi.  “Naomi, who has come back from Moab is selling the piece of land that belonged to our brother Elimelech.  If you want to buy it tell me because you have first rights to buy it (verse 3, NIV).”  The offer sounded good “Ok!  I’ll redeem it!”  Then Boaz threw in a zinger: “Along with the property, if you buy it, you will acquire the dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property (verse  5).”  Boaz didn’t say WHICH widow!  This, I’m guessing Boaz knew ahead of time would be unacceptable to his relative, and his strategy worked.  The kinsman redeemer responded “Then I can’t redeem it because that may jeopardize my own estate.  You redeem it yourself.  I cannot do it.”  Then, to seal the deal, he removed his sandal.  Then Boaz declared to all present “Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimeleck, Kilion and Mahlon.  I have also acquired Ruth the Moabitess, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from the town records  Today you are witnesses! (Verses 10-11 NIV)”

Then came the blessings from the elders and everyone at the gate where the transaction finalized: “May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel.  May you have standing in Ephratah and be famous in Bethlehem.  Through the offspring the Lord gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah (verses 11-12).”  And after Ruth conceived and gave birth to a son the women of the town said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer.  May he become famous throughout Israel.  He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age.  For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth (verse 14-15).”  Then Naomi laid the child, Obed, in her lap and the neighbor women said, “Naomi has a son.”  Obed was the father of Jesse, the father of King David (verse 16).

So, initially and, even at the end, you might say this was a woman with horrible bad luck and ended with good Karma.  Or wasn’t she awfully lucky to get such a great daughter-in -law with Ruth?!!  But I have to say this is an amazing story of the love and genius of God.  Before creation, before God made mankind, God knew we would need a Savior (I Peter 1:7).  Before we were on this planet we were in God’s heart and He chose to send His Son to be born of a virgin.  He placed His Seed in her womb so He, being fully man and fully God could be our Kinsman-redeemer.  Jesus paid our debt to gain our freedom from the curse of death and restore a right relationship with God and give us back all the rights and privileges of His sons and daughters.  God hand picked Ruth and Boaz to be in the genealogical line of Jesus!!!!   Here’s what happened:  When the time was right God had Elimelech marry Naomi and have 2 boys.  God caused a famine in the land and gave Elimelech the bright idea to move to Moab.  In Moab God had the boys marry two girls from the neighborhood and one of them was Ruth.   The two boys died and God lets Naomi hear that things are going well for everybody back home in Israel so she decides there’s nothing to stay in Moab for so she will return to Israel.  Only one daughter-in-law wants to go with her and that is Ruth.  God puts a plan into Ruth’s heart to glean in the fields after the workers to support herself and Naomi.  God guides her into Boaz’s field who becomes very impressed with her kindness toward Naomi and that she, a widow without children didn’t run after younger men, rich or poor.  God put into Naomi’s heart a plan for Ruth to marry Boaz using the kinsman-redeemer law.  God blessed the newlyweds with a son who would become the grandfather of  king David and on and on until Christmas!

The Bible says God causes all things to work together for good to them who love God and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).  The Bible says that His purposes are good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).  He has plans for our welfare and not calamity.  Plans with a future filled with hope (Jeremiah 29:11).  Beloved, I think this is why the Bible says pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  If you are between a rock and a hard place turn to Jesus, your kinsman-redeemer.  When times are hard and there doesn’t seem to be any good answers and Jesus has not been one you have thought of than I ask, why not?  Jesus, thank You for being our kinsman-redeemer.  Thank You for being our Way and our Life, our Truth.  Thank you for being the sacrifice that paid the penalty for our sins once and for all, and being God, You defeated death and now live to intercede for us until our last breath.

Thank You Father for the pain in our lives that drive us to be at the right place and the right time!  I close this story of Ruth to share my story.  I never felt loneliness or homelessness until I was in the 5th grade.  The school district moved boundaries so I was the only one from my class of friends that moved to another school.  I had only one best friend outside school and she was a year ahead of me in my church so we didn’t share classes.  I was so miserable my parents sent me to a private school to put me a grade ahead.  The irony is we stopped being friends about that time.  But because of this move up I met my best friend in college who introduced me to my husband without whom our 2 precious daughters, their awesome husbands and our amazing 7 grandchildren would never exist.  Chance?  Luck?  I prefer to think not, because wpid-barley-terrace.jpg


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