True Love Awaits

Bible Book: Ruth  4 : 9
Subject: Love; Redeemer, Kinsman; Salvation

When A. J. Gordon was pastor of a church in Boston, he met a young boy in front of the sanctuary carrying a rusty cage in which several birds fluttered nervously. Gordon inquired, “Son, where did you get those birds?” The boy replied, “I trapped them out in the field.”

“What are you going to do with them?” I’m going to play with them, and then I guess I’ll just feed them to an old cat we have at home.” Gordon offered to buy them, and the lad exclaimed, “Mister, you don’t want them, they’re just little old wild birds and can’t sing very well.” Gordon replied, “I’ll give you $2 for the cage and the birds.” “Okay, it’s a deal, but you’re making a bad bargain.”

The exchange was made and the boy went away whistling, happy with his shiny coins. Gordon walked around to the back of the church property, opened the door of the small wire coop, and let the struggling creatures soar into the blue.

The next Sunday he took the empty cage into the pulpit and used it to illustrate his sermon about Christ’s coming to seek and to save the lost—paying for them with His own precious blood. “That boy told me the birds were not songsters,” said Gordon, “but when I released them and they winged their way heavenward, it seemed to me they were singing, ‘Redeemed, redeemed, redeemed!”

Such is the story of the book of Ruth. The story of Ruth is most commonly referred to as, “The Romance of Redemption.”

Central THEME - One of the greatest stories of Redemption in the Bible. It also reveals lives of godliness lived in a time of ungodliness.

Central TRUTH - “Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, of the hand of Naomi.” (4: 9)

Central THRUST - Joshua is a book of conquest, and Judges is a book of consequence; Ruth is a book of comfort. It reminds us that our Kinsman Redeemer, the Lord Jesus, has redeemed us; and, thus, in the midst of dark, depressing, and dismal days, we need only to look to Him.

The book of Ruth is interesting in its setting. It is lodged between the time of the judges, and the time of the kings in Samuel. It represents the interval between Israel’s past and her future; the present day of grace.

I. A Grave Situation

Matthew 1: 5 states that Boaz is the son of ‘Rahab.’

Since Rahab appears at the time Joshua captured Jericho, 50+ years before the book of Judges, it indicates the story of Ruth took place very early after Israel’s possession of the land of Canaan.

As the curtain goes up on the story of Ruth, immediately we are presented with a most grave situation.

A. Moral Decay

[1:1] “Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled…”

Those words present the backdrop for the book of Ruth. It took place during the dark days of moral decay. Ruth’s love story took place during the days when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”

This was one of the darkest days in Israel’s rich history. It was a time of ignorance, indifference, idolatry, immorality, iniquity, and indecency. The moral fiber of the nation had come apart at the seam. Yet, in the midst of moral decay, God raises up a woman named Ruth, and man named Boaz to reveal that there were those who lived godly lives during ungodly times.

A teacher asked a little boy to finish this proverb: “Cleanliness is next to...” And he said, “Cleanliness is next to impossible.”

We live in a dirty, dark, and decaying world; and, often times it seems that cleanliness (holiness) is next to impossible. Peer pressure, pride, perversion, and pornography bombard our daily lives. We live in a day where people seem to do whatever is “right in their own eyes.”

Yet, that is why it is all the more important for us to be “salt” in a decaying world; and, “light” in a dark world. It gives us all the more reason to live lives of holiness in a time of hellishness.

B. Emotional Despair

In just a few short verses, a time of unforeseen tragedy takes place.

1. Famine [1: 1-2]

“There was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.”

In the city named, “House of Bread,” Bethlehem, there was no bread. Where they had once been a feast; now there was a famine.

In those days, a famine indicated a low level of spiritual vitality within a given nation. We can certainly attest to this truth here, because the nation of Israel has sunk to the depths of spiritual dissipation and moral decay.

Thus, the famine represents both punishment/providence. Punishment with the famine; but, providence through the famine. God was judging the nation, but He was also orchestrating a chain of events that would change the life of Ruth forever.

2. Funeral [1: 3-5]

“And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons…And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband.”

Elimelech takes his family to Moab in search of food. However, instead of finding food, they stop at 3 different funeral homes. Moab became a family cemetery. Elimelech dies; and, 10 years later, Mahlon and Chilion die.

3. Fear [1: 6]

“Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread.”

Naomi announces that she is leaving Moab, where they came to find a feast, only to find a funeral; and, she is going back to Bethlehem. When they left Bethlehem, it was barren; however, when they got back, it was blessed.

3 Widows in Moab

Naomi - The GRIEVING Widow [1: 13]

Orpah - The LEAVING Widow [1: 15]

Ruth - The CLEAVING Widow [1: 16-17]

4. Failure [1: 20-21]

“And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. [21]I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?”

Naomi is a picture of a backslider. She was once named “Naomi,” which means, “Pleasant;” but, her name changes to “Mara,” which means, “Bitter.” They leave Bethlehem for Moab in search of fame, fortune, food, and festivity; instead they found famine, funerals, fear and failure.

She is away from God and attempts to drive her daughters-in-law away from God too by asking them to stay in Moab. Her focus in earthly, instead of heavenly. She talks only of things connected with the temporal, natural, and material.



Isn’t that the biography of a backslider? They are feasting on the riches of His grace; yet, thinking that the “grass is greener on the other side,” they wander back out into the world of self, sin, and sorrow. All they can think about is that which satisfies the immediate craving of their flesh. Eventually, they will end up in Moab, or in a pig pen.

As it has been well said, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go; cost you more than you want to pay; and, keep you longer than you want to stay.”

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3: 2)

Unbeknownst to Naomi or Ruth, God was using a famine, a funeral, fear and failure to bring them back to Bethlehem for a feast. God often uses tragedy to produce triumph; pain to produce promotion; sorrow to produce strength; and, brokenness to produce blessing. “God is too loving to be unkind, and too wise to make any mistakes.”

It was J. Sidlow Baxter who said that God sovereignly allows problems to come into our lives for 4 reasons.

1) To DIRECT us

2) To INSPECT us

3) To CORRECT us

4) To PERFECT us

God uses such things to bring the backslider back to Him, and to make the believer more like Him.

C. Spiritual Devotion [1: 16-17]

Orpah—the LEAVING widow goes back to Moab and her gods.

Ruth—the CLEAVING widow makes a declaration of her devotion to Naomi, as well as to Jehovah God.

“And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. [17]Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.”


Ruth was: A Moabite; A Descendant of Lot; A Pagan; and A Worshipper of many false gods. According to the law, she was not only without God, but she was without hope. The Law of Moses legislated severity against the Moabites.

Yet, we see her turning her back on the gods of her people; and, we hear her putting her faith/trust in the God of Israel. Her pledge included:








Ruth chose 4 things for her life/future:

A PATH: “whither thou goest I will go”

A PLACE: “where thou lodgest I will lodge”

A PEOPLE: “thy people shall be my people”

A PLAN: “thy God my God…the Lord do so to me.”

Ruth: Doctrine of ADOPTION

As Gentiles—We are Strangers/Foreigners/Outcasts

We are Helpless/Hopeless

“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” (Eph. 2: 12)


When we put our faith in Christ, we make the same 4 choices as Ruth. We choose:

A PATH: The WAY of God

A PLACE: The CITY of God


A PLAN: The WILL of God

II. A Great Strategy

From a famine to a funeral to fear and to failure, Naomi comes up with a great strategy: “I’m going back home to Bethlehem.”


The FAMISHED comes back to a FEAST

The PITIFUL comes back to PLENTY

As the strategy unfolds for Ruth, notice:

A. WHERE she was SPECIFICALLY GUIDED [1: 22; 2: 3-5]

“They came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.” [1:22]

Barley harvest was in the spring of the year.

Leviticus 23: Beginning of harvest at Passover

Firstfruits offered to God

Barley harvest: The blessing of the finished work of Christ

There is always MORE TO FOLLOW

“And she (Ruth) went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her HAP was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.” [2: 3]

Hap - Human chance

Heavenly CHOICE

No accidents with God—only APPOINTMENTS

John Phillips writes, “God overruled the affairs of her life until she was brought face to face with the one who was to become her redeemer.” [1]

“Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this?” [2: 5]

Of all the women working in the field, Boaz JUST SO HAPPENS TO NOTICE Ruth. The future Redeemer sets his attention upon the object of his redemption.


John Newton, who wrote ‘Amazing Grace’ said, "I went to Africa that I might be able to sin to my heart's content. I was a wild beast on the coast of Africa till the Lord sought me, caught me and brought me to His taming."

B. HOW she was SOVEREIGNLY GRACED [2: 10-15]

Boaz begins making provisions for Ruth to glean in her field.

[2: 10] “Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?”

[2: 12] “The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.”

He gives her permission to come and eat at His table, where she “did eat, and was sufficed.” He not only took care of her present provision, but her future provision as well.

[2: 16] “And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.”

Grace SATISFIES the Past

Grace SANCITIFIES the Present

Grace SOLIDIFIES the Future

Ruth may have thought that these workmen were sloppy; because everywhere we looked she found “handfuls of purpose.” However, those “handfuls of purpose” were in their place because of grace.

Grace provided her with:

1. FULNESS in a FAMINE [2: 17-18]

“So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley.”

Ephah: A Hebrew measurement

Liquid = 7 gallons + 4 pints

Dry = 3 pecks + 3 pecks + 3 pints

What Ruth gathered in one day was 10 times as much of the manna as the Israelites had gathered in the wilderness. In adversity, she had found abundance. In her hour of poverty, she found handfuls of purpose of plenty.

2. KINDNESS from a KINSMAN [2: 19-20]

“And she shewed her mother in law with whom she had wrought, and said, The man's name with whom I wrought to day is Boaz. [20]And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.”

Kinsman: Hebrew-‘goel’

Next of kin—relative of Elimelech

Nearest male blood relation alive

Mosaic Law permitting the next of kin, or kinsman

to honor the duty of the deceased relative or brother.

If anyone from poverty was unable to redeem his inheritance, it was the duty of the kinsman to redeem it.



All of this was provided to Ruth by sovereign grace. All of this is provided to us by sovereign grace. Fulness in a famine and kindness from a kinsman is all wrapped up in the gift of God’s Son of grace.

Up to this point, Ruth knew nothing about this wonderful plan of redeeming grace. It had been conceived for her, waiting to be perceived by her. Grace sought her long before she caught grace.

As far as God the Father is concerned, I was saved when He chose me in Him before the foundation of the world.

As far as God the Son is concerned, I was saved when He died for my sins.

As far as God the Holy Spirit is concerned, I was saved the day He convicted me of my sin, and I responded to His call.

It was all a work of God’s redeeming grace.

III. A Glorious Savior

Ruth 2: Boaz seeks Ruth

Ruth 3: Ruth seeks Boaz

Ruth 2: Christ reaching out to the Sinner

Ruth 3: The sinner responding to Christ


Warren Wiersbe writes, “The sinner chooses, and then discovers He has been chosen. The sinner believes, and then discovers that his faith and repentance were God’s gifts of grace.” [2]

Naomi instructs Ruth to continue gleaning in the fields of Boaz for approximately 3 months.

Ruth 3, Naomi instructs Ruth to present herself to her future redeemer. Ruth puts herself at the feet of Boaz, which was a symbolic act of asking Boaz to fulfill the responsibility of a kinsman to marry/redeem her.


What a picture of salvation. The sympathetic Savior seeks out the struggling sinner. He begins to move behind the scenes to bring conviction to our hearts. When we respond to Him, we place ourselves at His feet asking to be redeemed, set free, and forgiven.

A. An Endearing Arrangement [4: 1-6]

Boaz calls a meeting at the city gate, where lawsuits and other judicial matters were settled. It was discovered that there was another nearer “kinsman” than Boaz in the family of Elimelech.

[4: 4] “And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it.”

Boaz presents the nearer kinsman with land, and he accepts. Then, Boaz presents the nearer kinsman with LOVE, and he rejects.

[5-6] “Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance. [6]And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it.”

Now that an agreement has been reached, they seal the deal with a most interesting gesture.

[7-8] “Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel. [8]Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe.”

Removing the right shoe symbolized HIS RIGHT, as owner, TO SET FOOT UPON THE LAND!

Nearer Kinsman: Other Redeemer

Boaz: ONLY Redeemer

Other kinsman represents the natural man, who is never able to redeem himself.

Nearer Kinsman: 1st Adam

Boaz: 2nd Adam

Boaz is a clear OT type of Christ, who is our “next kinsman,” our elder brother. Boaz is presented in 4 distinct ways which foreshadow the depictions of Christ in the 4 gospels.

Boaz - Jesus

Mighty Man - Messiah-King (Matthew)

Tireless Worker - Servant Leader (Mark)

Humanity reflecting Deity - Deity assuming Humanity (Luke)

Loved Ruth - For God so Loved… (John)

Ruth’s redemption was not demanded of Boaz, but it was DESIRED by Boaz. He longed to redeem her, he looked to redeem her, and he loved to redeem her.


At the Cross, Jesus “drew off his shoe” to declare that He has purchased the right to redeem us.

B. An Enduring Accomplishment [4: 9-22]

[4: 9] “And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, of the hand of Naomi.”

Jesus paid it all,

All to Him I owe.

Sin had left a crimson stain,

He washed it white as snow.

Boaz purchased Ruth to be His bride

Jesus purchased us (Church) to be His bride

Look at what was accomplished through the redemption of Ruth.

[4: 13, 17] “So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son… and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.”

Jesus came through the lineage of David

Amazing thought! God took a Moabite gave her redemption through a Canaanite to reveal that the plan of salvation is DYNAMITE!

The book of Ruth ends with the name “David.” A bright promise in the midst of bleak times.

Ruth opens with death of Elimelech, “My God is King.”

Ruth closes with birth of David, a foreshadowing of the King of Kings.


I love the little story of the little boy who made him a toy sailboat. He carried the little boat out to the pond and began watching it float on the water. However, the wind pulled the little boat away from shore, and all the broken-hearted boy could do was watch it be blown out of reach and sight. Several weeks later he was walking through town and he saw his little toy boat for sale in a store window. He rushed in side and bought the boat and was overheard as he walked down the street hugging his little boat: "You are now mine twice. I made you and now I have bought you."

The book of Ruth is an OT promise of a NT person who, through the finished work of the death, burial and resurrection, paid the ultimate price to say, “You are mine. You belong to me. I brought you in, and I have bought you back!’


1 Exploring the Scriptures, John Phillips, pg. 55.

2 “The Intercessory Prayer of Jesus”, Warren Wiersbe, pg. 40.