There is a Redeemer Who sets us free.
I invite you to turn to the book of Ruth again today. We’ll wrap up this wonderful Hallmark love story, and we’ll see today that they had a happy ending and that Ruth and Boaz lived happily ever after.
Last week we talked about growing closer to the Lord and that the idea wasn’t about the gifts that we had received, but we wanted to get closer to the Giver, and we saw how Ruth and Naomi devised this plan to get closer, and we saw the steps that we can follow to draw closer to the Lord, draw closer to the gift Giver, but today, I do want to talk about gifts.
Last week, I asked the question – how many of you like getting gifts? My son’s hand went up the fastest and the furthest, and all the kids’ hands went up. We love getting gifts, and what I want us to focus on today is that even though we will be getting and giving and receiving gifts in celebration of Christmas, I want us to look at the gifts that we receive from our Father through the birth of Jesus.
Remember, the story of Ruth is about a family who left the Promised Land. It was about Elimelech and Naomi and their two sons. The English translations were “sick” and “dying” because I can’t pronounce the Mahlon and Chilion. I think that’s it, but they left the Promised Land, and when they got out of the Promised Land, they experienced great tragedy. All the men of the family died, and so now you have Naomi, a lady named Orpah, who we don’t hear about after those first chapters, and then Ruth.
And we see how when God began to bless Bethlehem and bless Israel, Ruth and Naomi go back home. They go back to the Promised Land and Naomi goes back completely bitter. She’s angry at God. She’s just down in the dumps. I think I called her a Debbie Downer when we did that sermon. She was just awful. And yet, by the end of chapter two, she had went from bitterness to seeing God’s blessing because she saw what we saw reading the story – that even in those dark and dire circumstances and in that tragedy, God was still working.
Yeah, God doesn’t do miracles in the book of Ruth. God does not audibly speak in the book of Ruth.
But we see God working in all the little details to accomplish His plan and accomplish His purpose. And today we kind of see it all come together. Last week, at the end of it, I told you that we have to trust the process.
When we last left our lovebirds, Ruth had made a proposal to Boaz, and Boaz had said look, I’m not the first kinsman redeemer. There is another member of Elimelech’s family who is closer in line. So, I have to go talk to him. And so, now Naomi’s trusting the process. She’s waiting.
And what we see in Chapter 4 is, Boaz went to the gate of the city. That’s where all official business took place was at the gate, and he waited for his other family member to show up, and he shows up. And so I’m going to start reading in verse four, and I want to read through verse 10 of Ruth chapter 4 this morning.
Ruth 4:4-10 – I thought I should inform you: Buy it (the land of Elimilech) back in the presence of those seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you want to redeem it, do it. But if you do not want to redeem it, tell me so that I will know, because there isn’t anyone other than you to redeem it, and I am next after you.”
“I want to redeem it,” he answered.
5 Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field from Naomi, you will acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the deceased man, to perpetuate the man’s name on his property.”
6 The redeemer replied, “I can’t redeem it myself, or I will ruin my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption, because I can’t redeem it.”
7 At an earlier period in Israel, a man removed his sandal and gave it to the other party in order to make any matter legally binding concerning the right of redemption or the exchange of property. This was the method of legally binding a transaction in Israel.
8 So the redeemer removed his sandal and said to Boaz, “Buy back the property yourself.”
9 Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses today that I am buying from Naomi everything that belonged to Elimelech, Chilion, and Mahlon. 10 I have also acquired Ruth the Moabitess, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, to perpetuate the deceased man’s name on his property, so that his name will not disappear among his relatives or from the gate of his hometown. You are witnesses today.”
Is that not great? Anybody bought a house? You know how many papers you have to sign to buy a house? Here, all you got to do is hand a sandal – that’s it. We need to go back to the days of handing people a sandal.
So, there are three gifts that we see in this whole chapter. The first one that I think we see here is through this transaction, you see that word buy back and the word redeem. And there’s this conversation between these two about how they’re going to redeem Naomi and Ruth and how they’re going to buy back the property. And here’s what I want you to see first. The first gift that Ruth is going to receive is the
1 – The gift of freedom.
She’s going to receive the gift of freedom, and you’re like, well, she’s not really a slave. Well, no, she’s not a slave, but she’s not free either. She’s being held captive. She’s under the bondage of the fact she doesn’t have a man or a husband to take care of her, to provide for her. She doesn’t have anybody who can carry on the name of Naomi’s family. She’s just kind of left out there under the circumstances of the culture. It’s a much different culture than it is today.
And so now, she has to be redeemed. She has to be bought back. The word redeem means this. This is where I get the word freedom from. The word redeem means to set free by paying a price.
In the case of Ruth and Naomi, Elimelech’s property had either been sold to someone else.
Probably you know, when they moved away, they could have sold their property, lost their property. When Elimelech died, it would’ve went to Mahlon and Chilion. When Mahlon and Chilion died, the property was just kind of left, and it just kind of went away from the family. Land is everything to the nation of Israel. Land is the inheritance – land and property is just vitally important. They don’t have any.
So now Boaz, the kinsman redeemer says, I want to buy it back for Naomi and Ruth. I want to buy this property so Ruth can have a home place. Many of you, probably some of you, may have grown up on a farm. You know, the old home place. My parents and grandparents, they always talked about the home place. Now, things have changed over the years, but that’s what this is. Boaz is buying the home place so they can start a family and it’s giving Ruth freedom. It’s giving her the freedom to be able to live life, the freedom to be able to have goods, the freedom to be able to continue on the family name.
But as I’ve said many times, Ruth is a picture of the church, and Boaz is a picture of the Lord.
Ephesians 2:1-3 says this: And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient. 3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also.
If you continue into verse four, it says that because of God’s great love and mercy, He bought us back.
We experience freedom through the death of Jesus. I love that song that y’all just sang – it’s all about the cross. It’s not about the baby laying in the manger, although that’s cute and that’s awesome. It’s not about the star, or it’s not about the presents we’re going to get. It’s about the crucifixion, the resurrection. It’s about Jesus doing what He had to to buy us back, to buy our freedom, to set us free. Just like Boaz is setting Ruth free, Jesus sets us free, and I love what Jesus says in John 8:36 – So if the Son sets you free, you will be really free, or you are free indeed. There is freedom in the redemptive work of Christ Jesus.
The second gift we receive when we decide to follow Jesus, we receive
2 – The gift of family.
This is awesome. We receive a family. And you know when I got married, that was the greatest day of my life. Well, I’ve had two kids. 4th greatest day of my life cause I got salvation and then two kids, so the 4th greatest day of my life is when I married Jennifer, right? If you’re married, that’s like the greatest day of your life – when you married your spouse. When she walked down the aisle, it was great, but here’s what happened. I didn’t just get her, and she didn’t just get me. We got a family, right?
The family grows exponentially. My father-in-law and mother-in-law are here, and so I was going to make the joke that I got outlaws, but just I guess I just did it now anyway. He’s still waiting on his dowry.
I apparently didn’t pay. I didn’t buy her, but just kidding, that’s Old Testament stuff, but we get a family. My family doubles, and all of our family doubles when we get married. It’s you know, her family became my family. My family became her family. We’re just one big, sometimes happy family, right? Actually, we’re always pretty happy, but I say that to say this.
You know, within the family, it’s not always good, is it? There’re always some disputes. Even if you’re not married – if you just got brothers and sisters, the family has some interesting dynamics to it.
You know me and my brother squabbled growing up. He was nine years older than me so he thought he could beat me up and he did until I got to a point where I could beat him up. Then I did.
And so we have these squabbles, and we have these diversities. We have differences of opinions, we fight and we argue. But at the end of the day, guess what? We’re family; we’re family. The church is a family. When you decide to follow Jesus, when you’re redeemed, when you are bought back, you get a family. You become a part of God’s family.
Ruth, and we’ve talked about this, she was a foreigner who became a part of God’s family? She became God’s people. She was a part of God’s people. Not only did she get Elimelech’s family, but she also got the whole nation of Israel. She became a part of God’s family and with all the disputes and disagreements and problems and all this and that, at the end of the day, the church is a family. And we are going to have disagreements. We’re going to have diversity. That’s by the way, how God created us. There’re going to be problems. You know why? We’re all just sinful people. We’re all just sinful people trying to follow the Lord.
And so, there’s going to be times when it’s not good, but at the end of the day, we circle the wagons, and we protect the family. We encourage the family. We should never be a family that tears each other down. We should always be a family that lifts each other up, builds each other up, prays for each other, holds each other accountable. We should be there to have each other’s backs. In good times and bad times, we can have little squabbles amongst ourselves. But when the pressure starts, we got each other’s back. When that time comes, we love each other. We care for each other. We have a family. We are the family of God, so we have our freedom. We have our family and then we have a future.
We have a future. Look at verse 17, chapter 4, verse 17. Ruth and Boaz had gotten married. They’ve had a son. In verse 17: The neighbor women said, “A son has been born to Naomi,” and they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David. Ruth had a son. It was Naomi’s grandson. They named him Obed. That’s a great name. I thought Boaz was great. The Old Testament just has some great names in it. I said I was going to name my son Boaz, but I think I’m going to change it to Obed. That’s a great name, but here’s where the future comes in. He was the father of Jesse. And Jesse was the father of David. We called this sermon series “A King is Coming.”
Ruth – your people will be my people. That’s what she tells Naomi. Your God will be my God. She gets the redeemer, Boaz. She marries Boaz. She has a baby. The baby’s name is Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David. This is the royal bloodline of the nation of Israel. David would become the second king of Israel, but he would by far be the greatest of all the kings – Saul was before him, and there were kings after him.
David would be the greatest of all of those kings. David would be a guy who messed up. He sinned. He committed adultery. He committed murder, or you know, orchestrated murder. He wasn’t always perfect. But at the end of the day, you know what the Bible says about him? He was a man after God’s own heart. He was a sinner for sure, but he was a man after God’s own heart, and that’s why he was the greatest of all the kings.
But what makes this story even greater?
3 – The gift of a future.
You know, 14 generations after David, you read this in Matthew 1. 14 generations after David is the birth of Jesus. I want you to wrap your mind around this a little bit. A family who had been wiped out because they rebelled against God. A family who had left the Promised Land. The men, the name, was gone, and yet God worked to preserve the royal line of Jesus. That’s where we get a future.
That’s why I want you to see that through Jesus, we have a future. Yeah, we’re going to mess up. We’re going to make mistakes and all of us have a past, but our future is found in faith in Christ. I mean, remember what’s going on. This is the time of the judges in Israel. This nation, at this time in history, they’re awful. They’re maybe the worst they’ve ever been. They’re ignoring God, they’re ignoring His Word, they’re ignoring everything. They’re doing their own thing. They have no king. They don’t care about following God. It’s a terrible time, and God gives them a future through this terrible time. God is working to provide all of us a future when we put our faith in Jesus Christ.
That’s the message of Christmas. And that is why Ruth is such a beautiful picture of the whole story of the Bible. There is a Redeemer Who sets us free. We have a family. And we have a future. That’s the message of Christmas – freedom, family, and a future.
Let’s pray together. Father, we thank You for the birth of Jesus. We thank You that in the midst of the darkness of the world that we live in, You are still working. We’re thankful that when You seem distant, when You seem inactive, You are very active in providing a path for the redeemed. We’re grateful that through Jesus, You paid the price to buy back Your church, to buy back Your children. Help us to follow You. Help us to love You. Help us to have a deep desire to draw closer to You, and help us to embrace the future that You have for us.
We ask all these things in Jesus’ Name, Amen.