Ruth 4:13-14 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Then he went to her, and the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel!”
At the simple, human level the account of Ruth in Scripture is a love story; but at the deeper spiritual level it is another key step in the unfolding of God’s sovereign Plan of Salvation. There is nothing very subtle about the way Ruth asked Boaz to marry her, even though the words ‘Will you marry me?’ were not used in her ‘proposal’ (3:6-9) – Ruth’s actions (prompted by her mother-in-law, Naomi) were just as unambiguous! I think we can safely assume electrical sparks were already happening in both directions between Boaz and Ruth and, as Naomi figured, Boaz was too much a godly gentleman ever to seek marriage from a much younger beautiful woman with a foreign cultural background.
What is significant for us, however, is that we see God’s sovereign hand at work throughout this whole story: from Ruth’s insisting on returning with Naomi (Ch. 1), to her ‘perchance’ ending up working in the field of Boaz her kinsmen-redeemer (Ch. 2), to her being prepared to risk a bold, literally ‘throwing of herself’ at Boaz’s feet (Ch. 3).
Yes, in the working out of his sovereign Plan of Salvation, both globally and in the individual lives of his elect, God uses our wills, our emotions, and the ‘coincidences’ of our circumstances, to achieve his divine purposes. We must not ignore the contribution made by any of these, or other, factors in his sovereign dealings with us!
At the deeper, spiritual level, the impeccable, compassionate, generous character of Boaz is a clear foreshadowing of the One who would be OUR ‘kinsman-redeemer’ and the ‘Bridegroom’ of his Church; the faithful, self-sacrificing, servant-like devotion of Ruth points to what the Lord desires of us, his ‘Bride’. The fact that she is a foreigner, an alien, brought into the family of God’s people by the gracious action of her master reminds us of the point Peter is making in 1 Peter 2:9-10 – “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
And in the women’s prayer at the birth of David’s grandfather, Obed, the progenitor of the Saviour, we see the irony of the beautiful understatement of all time: “May he become famous throughout Israel!”
– Bruce Christian