We used to have a neighbor who liked to restore old cars. He would take these cars that looked like they belonged in a junkyard, and I would see him working all hours of the day and night on these cars, and when he was done, they looked better than new.
Did you know that God restores people? We’ve been studying the book of Ruth. Her mother-in-law was Naomi, and after an extremely hard life of loss, Naomi described herself as bitter and empty. But through a redeemer from Bethlehem, her life was renewed and restored, she became full of family, full of the blessings of God. Likewise, God “redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.” Psalms 103:4-5
In our story, Ruth asked Boaz to marry her, so they’ve just married, and they are now one. All the people wish them well in verses 11-12 and want them to build up the family of God, to be fruitful and multiply.
In verse thirteen it says, “So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son” (Ruth 4:13). Do you know what’s interesting about this? Up to this point, Ruth has not been able to have a child. She was married to Mahlon but had no children. But now that she has come into a relationship with the redeemer, the Lord enables her to have a baby boy. Today is Mother’s Day for Ruth. She’s fruitful as she is united with her redeemer.
We can draw a spiritual conclusion from this: your Redeemer, Jesus, invites you into a relationship with Himself, where He will make you fruitful. He says, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me” (John 15:4). In other words, He is inviting you today into a relationship with Him, into spiritual intimacy with Him; the result is He will produce the fruit of love in you, the fruit of joy, peace, patience, kindness, and gentleness, etc. Through Mahlon (Ruth’s old law husband) she wasn’t fruitful, through her redeemer she was fruitful. “So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God” Romans 7:4
In verse fourteen, “The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel!” (Ruth 4:14). Naomi had a husband and two sons that left her through death, and a daughter-in-law Orpah that left her for other gods, and she was empty, but the Lord had not left her without a guardian-redeemer.
Maybe you’re here today, and you’ve lost people through death or divorce, or what the world calls “addiction”, or friends have deserted you, or family has disowned you; well, the Lord has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. Jesus says, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5. Focus on that phrase, “the Lord has not left you without a guardian-redeemer.”
Then we see the two functions of the guardian-redeemer: 1) “He will renew your life and 2) sustain you in your old age” (Ruth 4:15). To renew means to restore to a like-new condition, like when someone takes an old car that is beaten up and run down and restores it, makes it like new. Isn’t this exactly what the redeemer has done for Naomi? She came back empty and bitter and is now full and sweet. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV). ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Revelation 21:4-5 “He will renew your life.” This happens by believing in Jesus. Believe that Jesus died for you out of love, that He rose from the dead and you get the Spirit, and you get a new heart and a new life.
The second function of the guardian-redeemer is to “He will…sustain you in your old age” (Ruth 4:15). I love the word “sustain” because it means to provide for and to “hold”. To hold up or to hold fast. And I want to have a word with you who are aging and elderly today. It’s very important for you to know of your Redeemer, who has pledged His own blood for you, and promised in His Word that He will sustain you in your old age. You know sometimes society or even family members have a way of sidelining the elderly, and you might wonder, as you age, who will provide for you? Who will love you, who will care for you? The answer is that the same redeemer who died on a cross for you and ever lives to intercede for you is the one who promises to sustain you in old age. To provide for your every need. To hold you close. To hold you up. To hold you fast. “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God.14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, 15 proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him” (Psalms 92:12-15).
Then we come to the last mention of Ruth: “For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth” (Ruth 4:15) So with verse fifteen, we have to say goodbye to the person of Ruth; she’s no more mentioned. And what is the last thing said about her? Her value! She’s worth more than seven sons! This seemingly insignificant Moabite is now better than seven sons. The Redeemer from Bethlehem had loved her and made her fruitful and given her value. And your Redeemer from Bethlehem has loved you and given you value, no matter whether you are rich or poor, old or young, you’re worth everything to Him.
Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. 17 The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David. Ruth 4:16-17 (NIV) Now it’s Mother’s Day for Naomi, she takes this son as her own. Obed means “servant/worshiper”. Think about when anyone is joined with their Redeemer; what is the result of that union? What comes out is worship and service to the Lord. This son she holds in her arms is for her the redeemer, the savior from her misery and hopelessness. This woman who was destitute, bitter, and empty has had her life renewed and refreshed; in her old age, she has this awakening of life and joy. She’s been restored.
18 This, then, is the family line of Perez: Perez was the father of Hezron, 19 Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab, 20 Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, 21 Salmon the father of Boaz, Boaz the father of Obed, 22 Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David. Ruth 4:18-22 (NIV). The genealogy starts with Perez, the founding father of Bethlehem, and ends with David, whose name means Beloved. David is a picture of his greater Son, Jesus, who is the Beloved of His Father and is greatly loved by all of us.
What can I say about the recording of all these names? Well, first, they are recorded here to show us the line leading to Jesus Christ. This line starts with Perez, who was the founder of Bethlehem and goes to David, and Matthew 1 picks up where Ruth 4 leaves off and says, “the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David” (Matthew 1:1). Ruth is in the line of the Savior of the world.
The second thing we can say about the genealogy is this: every name mattered and was written down, because in the plan of God every person is important and will never be forgotten. No matter where you come from. I want to prove that to you. God asks a question to people who felt like God had forgotten them. He asks: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! 16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; Isaiah 49:15-16 Here is the picture of God having the palms of both hands engraved with the names of the ones He loves. Those of you who have tattoos know that engraving must be painful. When did God engrave your names on His palms? Listen as the Roman soldiers pound nails into the hands of your Redeemer, that’s God engraving your names into the hands of Jesus, where He will never forget you, you are important to Him.
And with that, we must leave the Book of Ruth; Ruth has become a friend; Naomi and Boaz have become friends to us over the past three months of studying them. They’ve all helped us believe in our Redeemer.