Quiana from Written Lives is back with part 2 of her series on Ruth! If you didn’t read part 1, check it out here and then come back to read this one. I’m so excited for you to read this article! Stay tuned to the end to read about how Ruth’s story is like our own story and how it applies to us in a very special way. Enjoy!
At the sound of hoofbeats the men looked up from their work.
The rider waved to them, “The Lord be with you!” He called, his voice sounding cheerful.‘
The greeting was returned by all the reapers in unison, “The Lord bless you!” They called, as they threw down their tools and hurried to the road.
The men asked the news from Bethlehem as they led their master into the field to show him the crop. A mere glance told that it would give a good yield – the countless barley stalks all bending under the weight of their heads. The same glance assured Boaz of the faithfulness of his servants – he had been gone only two days and the field was half harvested already!
With a thankful heart, he insisted they all break for an early lunch. As the men made their way towards the tent, the women followed. All, except one.
“Whose young woman is that?”
Simeon traced his master’s gaze out into the field. “It is the young Moabite woman who came back with Naomi. She asked to be allowed to glean after the reapers. She has continued from morning until now and has taken only a short rest.”
A Quick Recap
In part one of this series, we met Ruth. A young widow who made a rather remarkable choice.
Ruth willingly accepted a harder lot, sacrificing the security of her father’s house, for the opportunity to care for her elderly mother-in-law. Ruth could have eaten at her father’s table, instead she spent all day gathering barley in someone else’s field just to feed herself and Naomi.
She chose to be selfless. She chose to sacrifice. She chose to serve.
Boaz owned the field Ruth was working in. When he returned from his travels, he immediately noticed the stranger collecting the leftover barley.
“You are welcome to join us for the meal.”
Ruth looked up in surprise. The ground was so soft she hadn’t even heard him approaching. But his invitation was more surprising even than his presence. Does he know, she wondered, that I am not a Jew?
Not knowing what to say, she simply nodded.
Boaz smiled. “Good!” He turned and began to make his way back to the tent.
Ruth wiped her face with the edge of her sleeve and did her best to smooth her windblown hair, before hurrying after him.
Boaz’s kindness was unexpected. What he did next was even more so… Boaz asked Ruth to stay in his fields. To work alongside the women of his household, to work under his protection, and to share in the water and food he supplied. Besides this, he instructed his reapers to leave extra barley behind for her and so blessed Ruth with easier, more fruitful work.
In light of his kindness, Ruth fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” (Ruth 2:10, NKJV)
Why had Boaz noticed her? Why was he taking care of a stranger? Why was he so generous?
Seeing the abundance with which Ruth returned, Naomi said to her, “Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.”
So [Ruth] told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, “The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz.”
And Naomi said to [Ruth], “May he be blessed by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Naomi also said to her, “The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.” (Ruth 2:19-20, ESV)
An Old Tradition
What did Naomi mean when she said Boaz was one of their redeemers?
She was referring to an old, Jewish tradition. One which had passed from generation to generation. One recorded in the very pages of the Torah. The tradition of the Kinsman Redeemer.
If an Israelite got into debt, either to one of his own countrymen or to a foreigner, and so sold his property or even himself, this law allowed a close relative the right to buy back that which was sold. Thereby, redeeming it for the family.
Boaz was one of Ruth and Naomi’s close relatives – a kinsman. One of the few people who could buy back (redeem) their land and in so doing rescue Ruth and Naomi from the poverty they faced.
The Kinsman Redeemer
In the midst of Ruth’s difficulties, in walked an unexpected hero. Boaz saw to it that she returned home shouldering a bag heavy with barley and in so doing lightened the burden she felt to provide. But that isn’t all he did.
He invited her to share his food and water, to shelter in his protection, to partake in his harvest. He treated a foreigner like family. But he did more than this.
Boaz bought back that which had been lost. He took Ruth as his wife. He accepted the role of Kinsman Redeemer.
You Too Have A Kinsman Redeemer
While you were hard at work. While you struggled to bear a burden which was too heavy for you. While you were lonely, hungry, and thirsty someone noticed your need.
You too were a foreigner, you were sold – a sinner, separated from God. But that didn’t stop him. Jesus has invited you to sit at his table, to stand under his protection, even to be part of his family.
Christ is your Kinsman Redeemer. The close relative who has bought you back. Redeemed you at the price of his very blood. Will you accept his help?