A story of redemption, love, hope, and restoration
Over nine months after the scene at the city gate, Boaz and Ruth are happily established as man and wife, and are welcoming into the world their firstborn son. They seem to have achieved a fairytale ending, but one of the characters in the story appears to still be unhappy.
Naomi, or bitter Mara as she asked to be called, seems to have remained sitting in her self made pile of bitterness, self-pity, and sorrow. Despite the fact that she and her daughter-in-law have been redeemed and rescued from their state of poverty, Naomi hasn’t gotten beyond the sorrow of the past yet. And now, even after the joyous occasion of her grandson’s birth, Naomi can’t seem to shake her depression.
So the ever-helpful women of Bethlehem decide to step in and give her a little reality check.
“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 shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.’”
In my mind, I picture Naomi sitting in a corner of her mud hut and the neighborhood women crowding around the room sharing a piece of their mind. But notice that they don’t deliver their speech in a condescending or scolding manner; rather the words are filled with love and redirection towards the goodness of God. How desperately we need these types of people in our lives and culture at large!
Within the reality check and gentle reminder the women of Bethlehem gave to Naomi were mentioned two specific blessings Naomi needed to remember and praise God for: 1) her new grandson, and 2) Ruth. We’re going to look at these two blessings today.
Ruth, the young woman who wouldn’t turn back even in the midst of the strong protests from her mother-in-law. The one who faithfully worked sun up to sun down gleaning in the fields during harvest so that they could eat. The daughter-in-law who was willing to obey even the most outrageous commands and joyfully married a man much older than herself. This was the young woman the Bethlehemites were reminding Naomi of. She was the blessing that was worth more than seven sons, and in a culture that valued sons more than daughters, this was a huge compliment!
The other blessing was a redeemer. Throughout the book of Ruth, Boaz is typically viewed as the redeemer. However, in this verse, the women of Bethlehem were referring to Obed not Boaz. Nevertheless, I love the wording these women used to praise the Lord, “who has not left you this day without a redeemer!” God did not forsake Naomi and leave her defenseless and without hope. He gave her Ruth, an extremely industrious and steadfast daughter-in-law, and through her, blessed Naomi with a grandson—something she had probably given up all hope of having. What a faithful God we serve.
Now the question for us is…are we sitting in a similar position as Naomi was, surrounded by doubt, fear, and hurt? Have we lost sight of the blessings God has graciously poured out into our lives and overlooked His faithfulness? Are we in need of a reality check?!
Just like the women of Ephrathah pointed Naomi back to the goodness of the Lord and reminded her of the blessings she had, so also we need to be reminded of the great people God has placed in our lives. Therefore, let’s take a moment to reflect and evaluate the people God has brought into our lives.
Do you have a Ruth who is constant, faithful, hard working, and a source of provision in your life? Is there someone in your life that you had long given up hope of even knowing? What types of blessings and people has God surrounded you with to encourage and uplift you along this journey called life?
Even if we can’t name a human companion who would compare with the attributes of Ruth, we do share one of Naomi’s blessings. Just like the Lord did not leave her without a redeemer, we also are not left without the same hope. Jesus Christ is our Redeemer, our Provider, and our Savior. But do we view Him, our Redeemer, as a gift and undeserved blessing from the Lord? Are we ready to bless and praise His name and make it famous in our land?
The Bethlehemite women blessed God for the gift of a redeemer and sought to make his name great in the land of Ephrathah even though he was an imperfect, human infant. So will we not do the same with our eternal Redeemer—the very Son of God? Will we not accept Him, love Him, and be forever grateful for His redemption?
For Naomi, the reality check she was given worked, and she joyfully embraced her new grandson and doted upon him. How is your reality check working? Are you ready to take the Savior of the world, welcome Him into your heart, and lovingly adore Him?
I know I am. Let’s close in worship to our great Redeemer.
THERE IS A REDEEMER