The Romance of Redemption

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By Pastor Mike Cleveland
April 20, 2022
Category: sermons

Sermon Notes

God designed every person to want to love and be loved. Last week, I read portions of a book about Freddie Mercury of the band, “Queen”. He spent his life looking for love; even wrote a song that says, “Can Anybody Find Me Somebody to love?” He expressed humanity’s heart, which is why Hallmark movies and romance novels are popular: the rich CEO sweeps the poor temp worker off her feet, and they live happily ever after.
Today we are going to see an amazing Easter love story, where a rich landowner and a poor lady from the enemy camp, get engaged. This story in Ruth has often been referred to as the Cinderella story of the Bible. And in this story God wants you to see that He has provided Someone to love you, and, at the same time, provided you Somebody to love. Today we are going to see 1) the Preparation, 2) the Proposal, and 3) the Promise
In the Book of Ruth, Ruth is a Moabite, and Moabites were enemies of God’s people, and she is a poor widow. She has asked to pick up leftovers in a field, so she and her mother-in-law can eat. She ended up in the field of Boaz, a man of wealth. Boaz will go out of his way to care for Ruth.
The Preparation: In vs. 1, Naomi comes up with a plan. She says in vs. 2: Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. 3 Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don't let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.”
So Boaz here would be winnowing barley (and wheat) on the threshing floor. He would use a fork to separate the wheat and barley from the chaff. The wheat is collected for food and put in the barn, and the chaff is burned up. Listen to what it says about Jesus Christ: “His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:12). The “wheat” here is actually people who have received Jesus as their Savior and Lord, the chaff are those who refuse to receive Christ, and so die in rebellion against God. This reinforces what we know to be true in Ruth: Boaz represents Jesus Christ, and Ruth pictures you and me.
So, Ruth was to prepare herself: wash and perfume and wear her best clothes, and go to Boaz, and, in essence, propose. Why? We don’t do things that way. Well, think about this: Boaz had done everything to show his love for Ruth, but he’s an older man, and what does a young woman want with an older man like me? Plus, he knows there is another kinsman redeemer ahead of him in line, so he doesn’t ask her.
But I think it’s clear Boaz loved Ruth. Think about everything he did: he called her “my daughter” and had spoken so tenderly to her. He had let her gather in his fields, he took her to lunch, gave her the leftovers (probably 60 days' worth of lunches now), had told his workers to pull out stalks of grain for her, had sent her home with 10 days' worth of food and had invited her to gather in his field for the entire season. Anybody watching this from a distance would have thought, “I think he has a thing for her.”
So here Boaz was, having done everything to display his heart for Ruth, to demonstrate his love for her. And Jesus has done everything to show His love for you. Think about what He has done for you: He is Almighty God, He knows you inside and out, and He came to this world as a Man, so He could be your near Kinsman. He lived His life for you and God counts His life as your life!
And then He did something to show His love for you that not even Boaz did. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). You and I were sinners, that is, we were disobeying God’s Law; choosing our own way of living instead of how God told us to live, and this requires punishment by death. And Jesus, out of love for you, took that punishment on Himself, dying in your place. It was both just and loving for Him to carry your sins in His own body on a tree. Like Boaz, He has done everything to show you His love. Now come to Him. How do we do that?
The Proposal: Well, notice the three things that Ruth was to do: 1) note the place where Boaz was lying, 2) uncover His feet, and 3) ask for him to cover her. And that’s exactly what she does in verse 7. And in verse 8…
“In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet. 9 “Who are you?” he asked. “I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.” Ruth 3:8-9 So, Ruth was proposing: asking Boaz to cover her in marriage, to be her head, and to fulfill his role as guardian-redeemer.
We are Ruth in this story. You and I need to be covered, we need a Head. Why? Because we are uncovered by birth, which means: 1) you are under the curse of the Law, 2) you are under the power of sin, 3) you are in the kingdom of darkness, 4) you are exposed to the wrath of God. You’re uncovered. This is why we need to come and ask for covering.
And please don’t miss: Ruth came to the place where Boaz slept. This has meaning for us. We are to go to the place where Jesus slept the sleep of death, and there we say, “Lord save me. Jesus, cover me. I have sinned, but Jesus I hear that you save people like me, would you cover me?”
And while you’re there at the cross, notice something. Jesus has taken on your sin therefore He is uncovered, even as Ruth uncovered her redeemer. That’s what you and I have done by our sin is uncover our Redeemer, now He is exposed to all the anger of God against sin; and at the same time, He covers us in His robe of righteousness. He became uncovered to cover us.
Look at Him there enduring all that wrath of God as He hangs in open shame. He is demonstrating His love for you. And on the third day, He rose from the dead, that first Easter morning. He’s alive and is here right now!
But if you come to Him, and say “Lord, save me; Lord, cover me”? Will He receive you? The Promise: 10 “The LORD bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. 11 And now, my daughter, don't be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. Ruth 3:10-11
He said yes! “I will do for you all you ask”; that’s a blank check! Did you know you have something better than that? “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” Ephesians 3:20-21.
Now Boaz must go talk with the closer redeemer first, but He didn’t drive her away. This rich landowner has now promised his life and his love and his protection and his provision to a poor, outcast, enemy widow. And Jesus says, whoever comes to me I will never drive away”. John 6:37. This says someone as bad as me can come and be received. And be covered. And be loved. Oh, Freddie Mercury, Jesus has loved you unto death and back, and in so doing, God has provided you Somebody to love. We Cinderellas have been rescued and loved by the greatest Prince Charming there ever was, and you and I will live happily ever after because of Him.
You know, there is an amazing foreshadowing of all of this in God’s dealing with the nation of Israel: ‘Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your naked body. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign LORD, and you became mine”. Ezekiel 16:8 This is what Jesus did for you!
So, we’ve seen the preparation, the proposal, and the promise, and this all points forward to our romance with our Redeemer. If you’re not under the covering, come on in, there’s room for you. Come to the cross, ask to be saved! Or maybe you lost sight of your Redeemer, you just take him for granted, He’s not precious to you anymore, return to the cross and remember how He has loved you. And if you’re here today and you’re like Boaz, rich in the good news, full of love, ask God to direct you to somebody you can share all that with; some Ruth who is in need, you can pour into!
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