Redemption Process

Lesson 4: Ruth Redeemed

Foundation Text: Ruth 1-4, Numbers 22:1-7, 1 Samuel 14:47

The book of Ruth presents great lessons on faithfulness, kindness, commitment, divine provision, hope, faith, grace, redemption, productivity and the reward of devotion.

The storyline:

This is a fascinating story, with quite a lot of learnings. At a time of economic recession in Israel, Elimelech and his wife Naomi decided to relocate with their two sons to another country, Moab that had a strong and prosperous economy. In a turn of events, Elimelech died, some years after his two sons died leaving behind Naomi in anguish, grief of such devastating loss.

After she heard that there was a shift in Israel, that the economic outlook was brighter, she decided it would be better to go back home, where would find comfort living with relatives. Her two daughters-in-law, who were Moabites, would not let her to go alone, they wanted to follow her. Naomi appealed that they stay back with their family in Moab, while Orpah agreed to stay in Moab Ruth would not.

Ruth’s Motive

She was adamant about sticking with Naomi, to the extent she vowed that only death will separate them. She may have decided to cleave to Naomi out of sympathy. Naomi, was an old widow with no children. She was in a terrible, horrifying psychological condition, and would need all the care, all the support she can get. That impact of losing her husband and her two sons almost back to back could take devastating toll on her. She could imagine all sorts of bad, wrong causation, and she could even blame herself for the losses. Her situation could easily instigate depression or suicide. Naomi would definitely need an effective support system.

This could one theory for explaining why Ruth followed Naomi. But a closer review of her statements will reveal that her conviction was not based on sympathy for Naomi only. Her intention was bigger than that. She gave up her security; the security from being with her family, a better economy, higher prospect of remarrying, and her culture. She had a strong desire, a strong conviction that she was better off being a Jew than a Moabite.

Moab-Israeli Relationship  

That desire to relinquish her Moabite citizenship and live in Bethlehem to become a Jew could be on the basis of her historical understanding of Moab-Israeli relationship.

1 Samuel 14:47; After Saul had assumed rule over Israel, he fought against their enemies on every side: Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings[e] of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he inflicted punishment on them.

Moab is an enemy nation. That makes Moabites enemies of the Jews. Moab is accursed nation. Numbers 21:29; Woe to you, Moab! You are destroyed, people of Chemosh! He has given up his sons as fugitives and his daughters as captives to Sihon king of the Amorites.

Judgement was passed not only because of their practice of idolatry which required them killing their little children as sacrifices, they also hated Israel passionately.

They had a strong resentment, hostility for Israel to the point that Balak, the king of Moab fantasized with the idea of killing all Jews. When Moses was leading the Israelites to the promise land they needed to pass through the borders of Moab. Balak was threatened by the large population of Israel and the military skills of Israel when learned about how God helped Israel to defeats other nations.

Balak hired a diviner to curse the Jews.

Numbers 22:1-7 (Read) – Balaam, the Diviner hired to Curse

God had said I will bless those who bless Israel and I will curse those who cursed Israel. Although the hired diviner, Balaam, was unable to lay a spell on Israel, but Balak the king of Moab who hired a diviner for the job had the intention of cursing Israel. Had the intention of wiping off all Jews. He had pitched his country against the will of God.

Duet 23:3-6 (Read) – No Mingling

It would seem Elimelech and Naomi made a mistake by going to Moab.

Naomi ended up coming back to Israel with a Moabite, her ex daughter-in-law Ruth, who decided that no matter what she would stick with Naomi.

CHARACTER & IMPACT Analysis

Who are the main characters in the story?

Ruth

A Moabite (Ruth 2:6)

Worshiper of other gods (Ruth 1:15)

Enemy of Israel (Num 22:4-7, 1Sam14:47)

Naomi

 Jew, Mother-in-law of Ruth

Pleasant

Boaz

Wealthy close relative of Naomi (Ruth 2:20)

Guardian-Redeemer (Ruth 2:20)

What positive actions were taken by these characters?

Ruth

Left her people/culture/country (Ruth 1:15)

Gave up her gods/idols

Chose God Almighty (Ruth 2:12)

Decided to a member of God’s family (Ruth 1:16-17)

Confessed her decision (Ruth 1:16-17; 3:9)

She was obedient to Naomi (Ruth 3:5)

Naomi

Teaching and guiding Ruth (Ruth 2:20-23; 3:2-4)

Seeking the well-being of Ruth (Ruth 3:1)

Boaz

Redeemed Naomi’s land (Ruth 4:1-7)

Redeemed & Married Ruth (Ruth 4:11)

This is essentially a story of redemption. Our redemption is like a solemn marital union involving primarily the Groom, the Bride, the Priest, and of course others. Ruth was a sinner who needed a savior. Naomi symbolized the Holy Spirit who convicts and leads a sinner to the Redeemer. Boaz represented Jesus Christ, the GROOM, the Redeemer who paid the price.

 Lessons from the story (IMPACT):

  1. Knowing about God alone does not guarantee one’s salvation. We must accept the offerings of the Redeemer and commit ourselves to Him through confession (Romans 10:9-10).
  2. Leave to Cleave. Psychologically humans are products of nature and nurture.

Redemption – 1Peter 1:18-19, Gal 3:13; 4:5-6, Colossians1:14, Genesis 3:17-19, 22-24, Gen 4:14

Redemption – Apolutrosis (Gk):

The act of setting free or releasing by paying a ransom price, and the act of buying back by paying a ransom price. Jesus Christ paid the ransom price with His own blood (1 Pt 1:18-19) to free us from the demands of the law and curses of sin to become children of God (Gal 3:13; 4:5)

The connotation of Salvation;

Deliverance from slavery and oppression of satan, and from poverty

The Implications of Ruth’s redemption;

  • Deliverance from curses (Moabites are sinners & enemies of God); sickness, sin, death
  • Deliverance from Poverty/Oppression
  • Provision of Protection
  • Restoration of Peace, joy and Love