There are two pressing issues that every human being must deal with. Depending on how we deal with these two issues, we either experience joy and hope in our hearts, or anxiety and fear. The two pressing issues in the lives of every human being are 1) how they deal with the failures of the past, and 2) how they deal with the uncertainty of the future. Today, we get to see how both of these issues can be dealt with in a healthy way.
We’re studying the Book of Ruth, and we’re at the part of the story where Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, are widows in Bethlehem. They are very poor, so Ruth asked to pick up left-overs in a field so they could eat that day, and she ends up in Boaz’s field. And He loads her down with forty-five pounds of grain that she takes back to Naomi. Naomi is shocked by this kindness.
When Naomi saw the kindness of this redeemer to them, something began happening in her. I want to prove it to you by comparing her communication before and after Boaz: Listen and tell me the subject of what she is saying: “Don't call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” Ruth 1:20-21 (NIV). What is her subject? 8 times she says “I, me, my life”; she’s inwardly focused: she’s bitter, she’s empty.
Now, compare that to what she says after experiencing the kindness of Boaz, the Redeemer. What is her subject now? “The LORD bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. “He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.” She added, “That man is our close relative; he is one of our guardian-redeemers.” Ruth 2:20 (NIV) “He…him…his kindness…that man…he.”
What is happening here? It’s called “transforming kindness”. She’s no longer focused on what she lost, her emptiness, herself; she’s now seeing what she’s getting. The redeemer is helping her with her past by giving her hope for the future. That is what Jesus did for us when He died on the cross and rose again. In fact, the truth is, God so loved Naomi that he sent Boaz to be her Redeemer. And she will begin letting go of her past through the kindness of this redeemer. Mara will become Naomi.
And I want to tell you, today, that you have a Redeemer. Every human has sinned and fallen short and disobeyed; so, Jesus came and lived perfectly in your place, and you get the credit. You know what’s really encouraging to do? Especially for someone like me who did everything so wrong? Look back on your past and see Jesus’ life.
And then Almighty God the Son died on a cross for your sin. Look at Him hanging there, do you see your sin on Him? Do you see your past on Him? It’s because He loves you that He is paying the price for your wrongs. And then He rose from the dead to justify you before God. And because of His life and His death and His resurrection from the dead, you can forget your past. The Redeemer enables you to say, “I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13). The Redeemer is helping Naomi and Ruth forget their past, and what they lost.
But what about their future? Look at verse 21: “Then Ruth said, “What’s more (always something more with this guy. Leftovers then lunch then leftovers from lunch, then gathering in the middle, then pulling out stalks to give her, then forty-five pounds of grain later, there’s more?) Boaz even told me to come back and stay with his harvesters until the entire harvest is completed.” Now, this ought to blow our minds. The harvest lasts from First fruits to Pentecost (50), so 50 days. Question: how much did she gather in one day? Right, 10 days' worth of food in 1 day. So, let’s do the math. 10 days of food in 1 day, how many in 50 days? That would be five hundred days' worth of provision. Entire season! This man is securing her future. Ruth has every blessing in Boaz: God “has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
Look at this man, dealing with their past and their future. You could trust somebody like this, he has your best interest in mind. You can trust Jesus!
Did you know that Jesus Christ is securing your future, right now? “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am” (John 14:3). He’s preparing a place for you. So, here’s how it goes: He lived for you, but there’s more He died for you, oh but there’s more He rose for you, but there’s more He is praying for you now, but there’s more, He’s preparing a place for you. Doesn’t it seem like this God-man loves you?
Yea, Boaz is making Ruth rich! Five hundred days of food! His workers who gather must give most of it back to the company; not Ruth, she gets to keep it all and she gets it for free. “Naomi, I’m going to need a bigger basket!” Boaz was enriching them!
Did you know that Jesus died to make you rich? “You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). In other words, look at Him in heaven as God, owning it all, rich as can be, yet then out of love He gave it all up and came here as a Man, and He emptied Himself and made Himself nothing, taking on the form of a servant, and when He went to the cross for you, He impoverished Himself in your sin. Why? To make you rich. To flood you with grace and overwhelm you with love and secure your eternal life. You’re rich!
On Friday, I saw this headline: “Seattle Mariners, and Short Stop J.P. Crawford, reach five-year contract worth $51M.” Wouldn’t you say, the Mariners have secured Crawford’s future? But compared to what Jesus has done for you, Crawford’s a beggar. Jesus has died for you and opened up all heaven for you. He has secured your eternal life.
That entire 51 million dollars wouldn’t be enough to buy one single splinter of the wood Jesus died on; wouldn’t be enough to buy one drop of the blood He shed for our salvation. You can have all the money in the world but if you don’t have Jesus, you got nothing! The poorest believer here this morning is far richer than Crawford.
So, did you notice how the transforming kindness of Boaz is helping them with their past, and their future? The two issues that every person must deal with. Your Redeemer has dealt with the concerns of your past and the uncertainty of your future. When you really come to see this and believe this, you’ll have joy unspeakable and full of glory!
You know what you and I are to do with this good news? ”Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with the women who work for him, because in someone else's field you might be harmed.” Ruth 2:22 How many times have we seen this warning now? When God repeats something like this He does so for emphasis. Stay in the gospel field. Stay in the Redeemer’s field. Stay where the blood is celebrated as our forgiveness. Because it’s here where you will learn to dance and rejoice and celebrate your way through life and even into death.
“So, Ruth stayed close to the women of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law” (Ruth 2:23).