Ruth Chapter Four
In chapter four Boaz calls ten men, a number of men to be a suitable number to care for a worldwide issue such as the issue of nearest kinsman. This struggle of near kinsman is another one of the many symbolic issues in the great controversy between Christ and Satan. When Jesus healed a demon possessed man on the Sabbath day in Matthew 12:1-24 the people said “Is not this the son of David?” Matthew 12:23. The Pharisees claimed that Jesus cast out the demon not because He was the son of David – the Messiah who came through the lineage of David and Ruth in Matthew 1:5-17, but because he was of the lineage of Satan. Jesus took up the challenge and tells a parable about how a “man” can not take a “strong man’s” property unless he is stronger than the other man and can bind him. Jesus puts the struggle between Himself and Satan on the level of a man struggling with another man over possessions. The struggle in the story of Ruth is between Boaz, the type of Jesus, and the unnamed kinsman, the type of selfish Satan.
When Boaz has his ten witnesses he asks them to sit at the gate, a type of the setting up of the thrones for the investigative judgment in Daniel 7:9. When the other kinsman comes by Boaz confronts him about the issues of the return of Naomi, the type of the church, and her return from the world – Moab. Boaz reminds the kinsman that Naomi’s husband had a parcel of property and he encourages him to redeem it if he chooses to and if not Boaz will redeem it. The kinsman says that he is willing to purchase the property. When the kinsman commits to purchase the property then Boaz introduces the human element. He reminds the kinsman that if he purchases the property then he is obligated to go through the process of purchasing Ruth and then will need to raise up a family for the dead husband. In type, Jesus was willing to do all for the church family of His making. He was willing to give all and to die for all, that as many of the family who choose to can enter into heaven, through the purchase of His blood.
When the kinsman hears of the price that he will have to pay, his innate selfishness kicks in and he refuses to perform his duties as a kinsman and sells it to Boaz because it could “mar his inheritance.” Ruth 4:6. This is the crux of the matter with Satan. He can not do anything in the spiritual realm that is good for Satan has become the embodiment of self centeredness. He can not do anything that requires self-sacrifice. On the other hand, Jesus is the fulfillment of self-sacrifice. He gave His all, including His life, to be sure that His bride, His church, was to be taken care of.
In the manner of the times, when a transaction of this kind occurred, then the sale was testified to by the plucking off of his shoe and giving it to Boaz. This is a multileveled spiritual testimony. In Exodus 3:1-5, Joshua 5:13-15 God instructs Moses/Joshua to take off His shoes for the ground, on which Moses stood, in the presence of God, was holy because of the presence of God. Taking off ones shoes on holy ground had a dual meaning – one was that the priests wore no shoes in the temple activities so that there was no contaminating dirt brought in by the person’s shoes. In addition the story of Ruth indicates the idea of shoes equaling ownership. When the kinsman gave up his shoe he in effect transferred possession/ownership to Boaz. So when Boaz received the shoe he inherited the priesthood of this family temple and he “owned” the family and the family property including the church and His bride to be. All of these things Jesus did when He came to Earth to receive His bride and His territory and possessions. When Jesus died on the cross He “won” the possession of Earth from Satan.
When Boaz receives the shoe he proclaims that he has purchased all that belonged to the family of Elimelech. He received all that belonged to Mahlon and Chilion, Naomi, and this included Ruth the onetime Moabitess. Boaz challenged the ten men to be faithful witnesses of this act of purchase. They agreed to witness this transaction and the people watching agreed to testify also. The people then proclaim a special blessing on Ruth and ask God to help her be fertile like Rachel and Leah, Jacob’s wives which two built up the house of Israel. Then they also refer to Pharez the son of Judah through whom the lineage of Judah came down to Boaz. Thus the spirit of prophecy was poured out upon the people to proclaim such things.
After the process of time Boaz takes Ruth to be his wife. God then adds His blessing and gives her conception and she bore a son to Boaz. They called the son’s name Obed – Serving. And Obed became the father of David, and David, and his generations after Him led to the Messiah. Matthew 1.
When Ruth delivered the baby boy the prophesied unto Naomi and blessed her in the name of the Lord God of Israel. They blessed Naomi in that God had blessed her with a kinsman, both Boaz, and Obed, that would become famous in Israel. This kinsman would take care of Naomi, literally, and Naomi, the type of God’s church. The women also proclaim the virtues of the converted Moabitess – Ruth, and testify that she is better unto Naomi than seven sons, a perfect son. So Naomi no longer claims to be Marah – bitterness, any longer for she has accepted that God has blessed her and blessed her more abundantly than Elimelech could have done had he remained alive. Naomi can sing the praises of God from a fully settled heart. Naomi is at peace and is ready to pick up the job of raising this blessed son in the ways of Jehovah.
In the closing portions of the book of Ruth, God wants us to go over the lineage of David through Pharez. In Matthew 1 God goes over this lineage again from Adam down through Joseph. God wants us to know that the lineage of Jesus has come down through the genetics of many interesting people including Rahab the Canaanite and Ruth the Moabitess as well as David the murderer, Solomon the rebel, and Manasseh the spiritualist. God wants us to be settled that the lineage of Messiah is just like ours and yet He overcame by faith and truth in His Father in heaven. As Jesus did so can we. Jesus our great High Priest came through the lineage of the flesh just like we did. Romans 1:3 and Hebrews 2:16
And so I give you the book of Ruth. Please find Jesus in this book, and find the assurance that Jesus has seen the end from the beginning. He has incorporated all issues into the Bible so that we can appreciate His power and wisdom. This same Jesus came to us through men and women who know what struggle is like. God wanted us to see these things so that we can develop trust in Him and His plans for us. I pray that if you have not surrendered your life to Jesus that you will take this opportunity to accept God as Ruth the Moabitess did. This is the promise of this book.