Almost Unfamous

Message:  In Ruth 4 we read the finale to the story of Ruth & Naomi, except that it wasn’t the finale at all. It was just the beginning. The details are difficult to understand without knowing a little bit of cultural history. When Naomi returned home she had a right to some land that her family had owned. It belonged to her husband and should have been passed down to her sons but since they were all dead Naomi didn’t have the legal right to obtain it herself. It had to be redeemed through a close male relative that was willing to buy it. Morally there was also an obligation to marry Ruth and carry on the name of her dead husband. Since her dead husband belonged to Naomi, the children that came from Ruth would care and provide for Naomi as if they were the grandsons of her dead sons. The person redeeming the land would pay the cost, marry the wife and take on the responsibility of providing for not only her and her children, but the children would not carry his name. They would carry the name of Ruth’s dead husband so that his name would not be erased from the lineage. The man that was next in line was interested in the property, but he didn’t want to make the sacrifice to carry on another man’s name. He wanted to preserve his own name so he declined and Boaz married Ruth. The beauty of it all is that Boaz chose the unselfish route because it was right and his decision not only made his name famous, but it also put him in the genealogical line of King David and then ultimately Jesus Christ. This is another example of the cost of chasing after your own life to fulfill your own happiness, versus giving up the rights to your own life sacrificially and finding a better one. The other beautiful thing is that this story is a foreshadowing of what Jesus would later do for all of us. Boaz unselfishly paid a cost to redeem this family as Jesus paid a great cost to redeem us all. What I got from this is the importance of getting rid of the “what’s in it for me” mindset. This is not to say we shouldn’t prioritize and weed out the things that are not in line with our goals, but that our goals because that’s very important, but our goals should be for the purpose of the gospel and not for the glory of our own name or reputation. For Boaz this move was morally right even though it was not intended to benefit him. What he did was so unselfish that it caught the attention of everyone. Instead of being well esteemed for his preserved lineage, he became famous throughout history for his character. He had no way of knowing that more than 2000 years later people would be saying “marry a Boaz”.

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