Year B – Proper 27 – Ruth 3:1-5, 4:13-17
Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you? Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.” And she replied, “All that you say I will do.” . . . So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! 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.” Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse. And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
Summary – The description of Boaz and Ruth’s meeting and marriage is briefly recounted here. Their strange first date in the hay pile clearly worked out, as they married and began a line which led to David and, ultimately, Jesus. The role of baby Obed in their lives, but especially that of Naomi, is highlighted, which is really the most interesting part: Naomi, who earlier in the book says the Lord was dealing bitterly with her, now has people praising God because He didn’t leave her without a “redeemer” or an heir. Baby Obed represents fulfillment and new life for Naomi who was downcast, and also gives hope for the future, for his name will be renowned in Israel as King David’s Grandfather.
Insight – The lessons in Job and Ruth have seemed a little bit repetitive. They have all dealt with similar issues. But often times, when God tells us things repeatedly, they are things we need to learn. In the book of Ruth, Naomi kind of jumps the gun in her attitude about life and about God. She went through a terrible time with her husband and two sons dying, but unlike Job she seems to have gotten depressed and believed that God was against her. However, like the case of Job, God didn’t forget her, but blessed her by her daughter’s marriage and child. We learn again that we must continue to have faith that God is working in whatever difficult situation we are in. Like Joseph, like Job, like Jesus Himself, Naomi went through a terrible situation, but was brought through it to give honor to God.
Discussion – What else does the book of Ruth say about “redeemers”? Whose son was Obed, technically? (see 4:5-6)
Prayer – Our Father in Heaven, your Word upholds and ordains all things. Keep us faithful to your Kingship by your Spirit’s work. When we are tempted to think that you have abandoned us, comfort us by the remembrance of your grace in the past, and the belief in your grace to come. For your Name’s glory, Amen.