Ruth: A Woman Redeemed
When I think of Ruth, I think of a woman redeemed. To others, she may have been despised and overlooked, but to Boaz, she was a woman of value and significance, a woman worth noticing.
Ruth was a woman, a Gentile, and a widow. She was poor, gleaning the corners of fields, as the poor would do. She was in need, as was Naomi, her mother-in-law. We can identify with Ruth as someone in need of help, because when we were in our sin, we were in need of salvation.
Ruth was a foreigner, someone from a nation where idols were worshipped. However, Ruth had turned to faith in Yahweh, and she sought the Lord as her help (Ruth 1:16; 2:12). We can identify with Ruth as once far from God, independent of God, trying to find life in self-sufficiency.
Ruth looked for favor, for mercy (Ruth 2:2). People of faith know they can’t stand in their own good works. We need the mercy and favor, the goodness, of God.
Ruth looked to Boaz for a covenant relationship. She didn’t enter his room at night and lay at his feet without a purpose. She uncovered his feet so he would get cold and wake up. Once she had His attention, she said in Ruth 3:9, “Take your maidservant under your wing.” That phrase in Hebrew was Ruth asking Boaz to spread the corner of his garment over her.” The corner of the garment was where the tassels were sewn in, also described as the fringes, or the wings. It symbolized authority, asking him to cover her; in other words, to take her as his wife.
Boaz is a type of Jesus Christ. Here are a few interesting correlations between Boaz and Jesus:
1. Boaz was from Bethlehem, as was Jesus (Micah 5:2). Bethlehem means “house of bread,” fitting for Jesus, the Bread of Life (John 6:35, a message of our reliance on bread to meet our physical need in comparison to our reliance on Jesus as meeting our spiritual need).
2. Ruth gleaned grain during the Barley harvest, which started with Passover and ended at Pentecost, feasts that Jesus has fulfilled in his death, burial, resurrection, and outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
3. Boaz was related to Elimelech. We know that Jesus left glory to enter into the world as a human being, one of us. He was also a Jew, coming first to the Jews, His brothers and sisters.
4. Boaz took notice of Ruth. One of my favorite Scriptures in Ruth is 2:19 where Naomi says, “Blessed be the one who took notice of you.” “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).” God noticed us. Jesus noticed us. Because He loves us, we have His attention, and while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).”
5. Boaz asked Ruth not to glean in other fields. He told her to glean what she needed in His field only. Jesus wants us to look only to Him for our salvation. Boaz also told the other young men to away from her, protecting her, blessing her, meeting her need. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through Him (John 14:1).
6. Ruth called Boaz a close relative in verse 9, the Hebrew word for Redeemer, referring to the kinsman redeemer in Leviticus 25:25-55. The kinsman redeemer was a male relative that bore the responsibility to help a relative in need. Naomi had sold the family land. If Boaz were to purchase back the land of Elimelech, Boaz would also be taking on the responsibility of Ruth as her husband. Jesus purchased us with His blood, redeeming us from sin and Satan.
7. The elders who witnessed the purchase Boaz made, spoke a prophetic word over Boaz, saying that Ruth would bear him a son, making his house like the house of Perez, the child born to Tamar, another disadvantaged woman who overcame adversity and had a child in the bloodline of Jesus Christ (Genesis 38:6-29). Boaz’ firstborn son was Obed, meaning servant, and was in the bloodline of King David and Jesus Christ. In addition, Jesus came as a servant as well, seeking to find the lost and ransom them (Luke 19:10).
What has Jesus done for you? I can say that Jesus noticed me, came after me, and rescued me when I was in need of Him. He gave me His favor, showing me His goodness and mercy. He made a covenant commitment to me. He protects me. He blesses me. Hallelujah, I am His and He is mine!