God blessed their marriage and Boaz and Ruth gave birth to a son, Obed, who would become the grandfather to Israel’s future king, David. We will see these names again as Matthew lists the genealogy of Jesus in the opening book of the New Testament. Ruth and Boaz’s story concludes with the first chapter’s main character: Naomi. 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 will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” And everyone lived happily ever after!
When you think about it, this is a miniature telling of God’s Story. Before the famine, life was rich within the community. (If you are familiar with the tool Crown, Heart, World, this is Column 1). Then, loss caused sorrow and separation (Column 2). Following this separation, God provided a way of redemption (Column 3). People learned how to trust and love well and preparations were made for a wedding, just like the wedding God’s people will celebrate with Jesus as the bridegroom (Column 4). At last, we will all live with God in a community where there will be no more tears, worshipping happily through all eternity (Column 5). I love God’s Story!
Ruth 4:14-15 ESV
Ruth met with Boaz at the threshing floor and he was pleased to see her. I envision him looking at her with adoration as he said, “May the LORD bless you, my daughter. You have shown more kindness now than before, because you have not pursued younger men, whether rich or poor.” Wedding bells are going to ring for Ruth and Boaz! By following Naomi’s guidance, Ruth has met a man who not only cares for her but is also able to provide her a place in the community. Boaz was offering Ruth a second chance at married love and by doing so he was blessed with a lovely, loyal wife.
It looks like God was answering the prayer that Naomi prayed when she was about to leave Moab. Back in Moab there were tears of sadness and even bitterness. Rather than taking matters into her own hands, Naomi took the situation to God and prayed for something specific for her daughters-in-law. Naomi asked that God would bless them with a second happy marriage. With God in the picture, bitter hearts can change making room for joy to come. Blessings can then flow. It happened then, and with God in charge, His blessings continue to flow today. Everyone was delighted with the arrangement but the story doesn’t end here.
Ruth 3:10 HCSB
Ruth brought back a large bundle of grain and her mother-in-law asked, “Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!” Ruth filled Naomi in on her good fortune concerning her work situation and then told her that the kind man that had helped her was named Boaz. The story gets even better when Naomi shares that Boaz is a respectable member of her deceased husband’s family: “The LORD bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. “He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.” She added, “That man is our close relative; he is one of our guardian-redeemers.” This relationship tie meant that Boaz had a responsibility toward the two women.
In time, Naomi will put a little matchmaking plan into action so Ruth and Boaz can have a more intimate encounter. I have learned that matchmaking is not one of my God-given gifts. However, I love the joy and excitement that comes when a couple gets engaged and seeks God for their future. Ruth was blessed when Boaz noticed her and I sure was blessed the day that Russell took notice of me, a young Marine wearing combat boots and cammies. It is healthy to reflect on the truth that all goodness comes from God and He knows the plan way before we do.
Ruth 2:19-20 NIV
The two women, Naomi and Ruth, arrived in Bethlehem and were warmly greeted. How wonderful it feels to be welcomed after a long trip. They were, however, still without a male provider and they needed food, so Ruth went out to the barley fields to pick up whatever had been left after the harvesters had gone through the crops. While she was there, Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters. “The LORD be with you!” he said. “The LORD bless you!” the harvesters replied. At that time, Boaz had no idea just how the Lord was about to really bless him. If he was a socks-wearing man, we could say God blessed his socks off!
When he caught a glimpse of Ruth and heard of her faithful character, Boaz chose to offer her protection and provision while she worked in his fields. I picture their first meeting and I think it must have been love at first sight, but I’m getting a little ahead of the story. By-the-way, when Russell and I first met in the Gunnery Sergeant’s office in Pensacola, Florida, he claims it was love at first sight. It makes me smile to go back to that time when we were two eighteen-year-old Marines and to think about all that God has brought us through since those days. That is a different story altogether, yet one still filled with God’s blessings.
Ruth 2:4 NLT
Naomi did not expect her pagan daughters-in-law to actually leave all that was familiar to them and travel with her back to her hometown. With tears, Naomi prepared to go and said her farewells: “May the LORD bless you with the security of another marriage.” Then she kissed them good-bye, and they all broke down and wept. But Ruth, one of her daughters-in-law surprised Naomi by saying, “I’m going with you and your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. I will even be buried wherever it is that you die and are buried.”
I wonder what went through the minds of the two traveling companions as they made the fifty mile or so journey. As Naomi passed by familiar landmarks, did she remember the trip she and her husband and young sons made in her younger years? Was Ruth still grieving the husband she lost? Did each step toward Bethlehem give Ruth hope toward her future or fear that she might not be accepted? There is a lot to speculate, but what we do know is that Ruth was committed to Naomi and we will see how God blessed Ruth’s commitment. True love and commitment go hand in hand. When we say, “May the Lord bless you with…” do we have faith that He will bless?
Ruth 1:9 NLT
Get ready! God’s big Story is narrowing in on one particular family and this attention gives us a glimpse of how God’s blessings make a difference in the lives of people like you and me. I really like Ruth’s story, the four-chapter romantic mini-drama, although the beginning is tragic.
A famine in Bethlehem (a little town in Judah) forces a young family of four to migrate to Moab. In a short time, Naomi’s husband dies leaving her with two sons to raise. Her sons both grow up and marry local Moabite women and then unexpectedly the brothers die as well. Naomi is left with only memories of what had been her family. Can you imagine losing your entire family while living in a foreign land? It would be easy to despair. Naomi is sad and even bitter about her situation.
But read on as the conclusion might just be the first recorded “and they all lived happily ever after” kind of ending. Then Naomi heard in Moab that the LORD had blessed his people in Judah by giving them good crops again. So Naomi and her daughters-in-law got ready to leave Moab to return to her homeland. The story is about to turn from bitter to better. Oh, for the times when the bitter to better transformation takes place in our lives, when we experience the journey with God, having faith that He leads us for our good.
Ruth 1:6 NLT