Ruth 4: The happy ending
So we’ve reached the final chapter of the Book of Ruth. As I read through these verses again, I have to admit, I love this book.
It’s an apparently small town domestic and social history of a little family in the time of the Judges. And it’s the family history of every believer who has put themselves under the protective wings of Yahweh.
It’s the birth of a little boy, who brings great joy to his granny. And it’s the birth of a savior who leads us directly to King David, who in turn leads us to our Savior King Jesus.
I love how the ending is beautifully understated. Just a brief genealogy. But the names at the end of the list send shivers down the spine.
A redeemer we can rely on
Boaz is a man of his word; he goes to the town gate where the business is done, and he sorts it out. The other redeemer – who doesn’t redeem- is intriguing. Why doesn’t he take up the responsibility to look after Elimelech’s inheritance? He doesn’t want to compromise his own inheritance.
As the reader I have a mixed reaction – his response doesn’t seem in the spirit of being a kinsman redeemer. But of course I’m relieved – that leaves Boaz free to marry Ruth and that’s what we’re all cheering for. In any case, Boaz is shown to be the hero.
Then the land is sold to Boaz in the presence of witnesses. The blessings of the witnesses starts to bring into view the wider significance of this family within Israel. They pray for Boaz and Ruth to be blessed with children, to “build up the house of Israel”. It’s an amazing thing that Ruth, the onetime outsider, the Moabite, is now to be listed with Rachel and Leah as mothers of the house of Israel.
A blessing for Naomi
A baby son arrives. The focus shifts back to Naomi, and the words of blessing spoken to her by the women around her. It seems fitting because the story started with Naomi and her losses, returning to her home town empty and bereaved. And now the Lord has provided her and Elimelech with a redeemer.
The family inheritance has not faded away – there is a new baby to carry on the land and the inheritance. “He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.”
I love this detail, that the women say that Ruth loves Naomi. When we first heard Ruth’s voice, she was speaking kindness and devotion to Naomi. And that kindness and devotion to Naomi and to Naomi’s God, has led to their redemption.
It’s a personal redemption
Kindness is such a powerful theme in this book. The kindness of Ruth, the kindness of Boaz, and the vast and tender kindness of the Lord. It truly changes the world.
The Book of Ruth draws us into a personal story. We come face to face with a broken world. The book aches with loss, despair and sheer hard work.
But we’re also drawn into the beautiful story of redemption. And the redemption is more personal, more practical, deeper, wider and higher with every reading of the book.
The Covenant Lord is bringing about the redemption of His people. And He is keeping His promise that His people will have an inheritance that will never perish, spoil or fade.
And throughout all this great unfolding of history, He is kindly and providentially right there in all the details of each believer’s life. Our Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He provides for our needs. Redemption is personal, for Naomi, for Ruth, and for us.
“…the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham…
…and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.”