A story of redemption, love, hope, and restoration
The redemption was finalized. The cost was paid. Details settled. Legal work completed. It was finally official: Ruth, formerly known as the Moabite widow of Mahlon, was now the wife of Boaz and honored citizen of Bethlehem.
However, before the union of Boaz and Ruth, the people and elders of Ephrathah wanted to bestow a special blessing upon the new couple.
“Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, ‘We are witnesses.
May the LORD make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem,
and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah,
because of the offspring that the LORD will give you by this young woman.’”
What a gathering! We see from the beginning of the quoted text that there were a good amount of people gathered at the gate witnessing the transaction between Boaz and the other kinsman. Along with the elders or city council of that time, there were also curious spectators. However, despite the crowd and diverse backgrounds and jobs of these witnesses, all were unanimous in their blessing upon Boaz and Ruth.
What a beautiful picture of unity! If only the modern Body of Christ would come together in unity despite the diversity and different responsibilities held within the church and rise up with one voice to pronounce blessing upon God’s work.
Back to Ruth 4. What was included and communicated in the blessing of the people of Bethlehem to Boaz and Ruth? They asked the Lord to bless this marriage with children and use them to continue to fulfill His covenant with Abraham to make Israel great among the nations. They also exhorted them to continue to act worthily in Ephrathah and to uphold their high moral character and well-known reputation. Now remember that Ruth was not present for the entire proceedings. She was at home waiting and watching for her redeemer to return. However, this blessing was for both of them.
Did you notice the word worthily? Sounds familiar, right?! It should, for the word worthily here in chapter four is the same Hebrew word used in chapter two to introduce and describe Boaz. Boaz and Ruth already had a reputation of worthiness, virtue, or valor. So they were already considered a worthy man and a worthy woman. Nevertheless, the people of Bethlehem encouraged them to continue to walk worthily and to seek a righteous and good reputation.
So what does that teach us? What does it reveal to you?
As I was studying and meditating on this passage, the message that came to me was never ride on the character and reputation of the past, but always seek to improve and to continue walking righteously before the Lord.
Boaz and Ruth had already achieved the status of worthiness and good repute; however, they were neither to stop living righteously nor cease seeking stronger character and a better reputation. Likewise, while we might already have a stellar reputation among our sphere of influence and may already be considered a man or woman after God’s own heart, we still have growing and maturing to do. Compared to others, our lives might look pretty good and put together; however, next to the perfection of Jesus Christ we all have a long ways to go.
Therefore, even if you are the most righteous and godly person in your family, neighborhood, youth group, or church body, never cease growing and cultivating a righteous, God-honoring life and never stop pursuing a good reputation for the glory of God.
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”