Unexpected Grace

OPENING PRAYER

Heavenly Father, I give thanks for Your grace that I have experienced through Christ.

Read: RUTH 4:1–12

Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate and sat down there just as the guardian-redeemer he had mentioned came along. Boaz said, “Come over here, my friend, and sit down.” So he went over and sat down.

2 Boaz took ten of the elders of the town and said, “Sit here,” and they did so. 3 Then he said to the guardian-redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our relative Elimelek. 4 I thought I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, do so. But if you will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.”

“I will redeem it,” he said.

5 Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.”

6 At this, the guardian-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.”

7 (Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other. This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel.)

8 So the guardian-redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it yourself.” And he removed his sandal.

9 Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelek, Kilion and Mahlon. 10 I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown. Today you are witnesses!”

11 Then the elders and all the people at the gate said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the family of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. 12 Through the offspring the Lord gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.”

Reflect: HOW DID GOD BRING YOU INTO HIS FAMILY? CAN YOU REACH OUT TO MAKE SOMEONE ELSE FEEL PART OF GOD’S FAMILY TOO?

Boaz sets about the legal process of redeeming both the property of Naomi and the person of Ruth. As the process proceeds, the right to redeem passes from the closer relative, who does not want to endanger his estate, to Boaz, who is willing to take on the responsibility. It is interesting to note that Ruth’s redemption goes well beyond the laws surrounding such an occasion. She should not, as a foreigner, have been entitled to it, but neither was she a slave. Yet the people’s words in verse 11 indicate that Ruth—a Moabite who should not have been allowed to enter the assembly of Israel (Deut. 23:3–6)—not only enters it, but is seen as being firmly accepted into it. And their prayers regarding her future fertility are curiously prophetic.
The grace Boaz extends to Ruth by redeeming her provides us with an example of the kind of grace that as Christians we are called to show to one another (2 Corin. 9:8). Despite others’ circumstances, “abounding in good works” is how we should live—because of the grace shown to us in Christ.

APPLY

Sometimes grace is easy to demonstrate, sometimes not. Pray that the grace of Christ might be evident in you.

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord, at times it is not easy for me to be “grace-full” to others whom I find to be difficult. Be with them, and me.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider