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Ruth: A Full Reward

FBC of CC, MAY 10, 2020

RUTH 1:1-18; 4: 10-15



Ruth is a wonderful book for Mother’s Day. I wish I could preach a 4 week series on its 4 chapters: 


For the most benefit, read the entire book at one sitting, and ponder the rich lessons on the Kinsman-Redeemer law in Israel. For the scope of this sermon, we can but highlight the word “rest” and the three times it occurs, as it relates to the “House of Naomi: 1:9, 3:1, 18







“The Lord grant you that ye may find REST, each of you in the house of your husband,” 1:9. What does it take to make a house a home? It takes the marriage of a  man and a woman committed to each other, and to God. “Rest here is a “quiet spot, a place of repose, an abode, a comfort, a place of relationships, a place to settle down and be at home.” (3:18 has a different word meaning, “stilled, settled, quiet”).

The story is filled with history, emotion, pathos and excitement at its turns in events. This was a nation given to sexual immorality, who tempted Israel and that caused a huge number of Israelites to die from a judgment of God on them. Now it was a family of Israelites seeking shelter in this Moabite nation because of a famine in their country. Where was their faith in God, etc.? The history is straightforward. A family, pressed by desperate measures become refugees in a neighboring country. They had two nearly grown sons when they moved. But sorrow soon struck them. The father and husband of the family died. The two lads moved into manhood and founds wives in this new land. However, death visited these homes as well, and left three widows with no breadwinners. All this was within the space of a decade of living! (v. 4).

i. GOD invented Marriage:

“Mahlon” means “tenderhearted, mild.” “Chilion” means “complete.” When God designed marriage in Genesis, He intended it to provide complementary support for each other, as well as emotional, mental and physical satisfaction to each other. The bond was to grow and last a lifetime. We ministered in a nursing home in North Creek where a couple had been married over 70 years, and were that support for each other even in that home. They died within months of each other as well. (John and Charlotte Henderson of Texas celebrated 80 years of marriage in 2019, according to the Washington Post). God planned marriage to be a commitment to each other as long as both are alive; only death is to break the union! See Matthew 19:4-9. If the remaining spouse marry, it is to be “only in the Lord,” if the living person is a believer in Christ. Marriage is, nonetheless, for all  persons of any religious or non-religious persuasions. 

ii. God plans for marriages to bring REST to people. 1:8-9. We often hear it said, ‘I hope so-and-so soon settles down and gets married. 

God was caring for these three widows. The famine was over. Crops were growing plenty again in Bethlehem of Judah; there was food again! 

Israel had been given a law which protected keeping the land permanently in the tribes to which it was given, so as not to be lost by sales to “outsiders,” - Lev. 25:23-28, 47-55; chapter 27. It had provisions for close relative to marry and raise offspring to a dead man’s widow if he died childless, and to raise up a legal heir to possess his property and keep it in the family. This law did not apply to Gentiles, though. So here is a story of pure grace! A Gentile woman comes to Israel, back with her mother-in-law, to the run-down homestead, to eke out a living, and make a new start - and God has plans in the works for a wedding, a marriage to a mature single man in the tribe, a Godly man, and provide a child to someone who had given up hope of anything other than end her days in remorse! Isn’t God a gracious and good God!

Think of what God has done for us! He sent His Son to become our kinsman - one of us in humanity but not one of us in sin. He purchased our pardon with His own blood shed on the cross: “The Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” “He Who knew no sin, was made sin for us all, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” “He took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man. And being found in fashion as a man, He became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross.” It is “by GRACE we are saved through faith, by the gift of God, and that not of ourselves…” Eph. 2:8-10. Friend, have you come to the end of your own resources - to face the need to have Christ Jesus SAVE your soul? Believe on Him now! He is but a prayer away - Rom. 10:9-13.

iii. vv. 14-17: God plans for marriages to share the worship of GOD together. Through her former husband and mother-in-law, Ruth had come to worship God.  Ruth 2:12. Her pledge to Naomi is a deep commitment - 1:16-18. “Bethlehem” means “the house of bread,” for the region grew a lot of grains. God also intended it to be a ‘house of God’ for those living there - to worship Him. God had a plan to bring another foreign person into his Son’s lineage (Matthew 1), and give her a Godly husband and a child, as well as give her mother-in-law, Naomi, an heir to her husband’s property. We never know the plans of God for us until we begin to trust Him and walk by the counsels of His Word in our lives! Naomi said “she went out full” and came back empty and bitter (“call me Marah); but in the end, her life was fuller than she ever expected!



“House” is a word seen in 1:8-9; 2:7 and 4:11-12. The household to which Ruth had been born was a household that worshipped idols, practiced sinful lifestyles, accepted the norms of society that ignored or hated God and were given to idolatry. She had come to see and understand that there was a living and true God, whose ways were righteous, true, peaceful and kind. This man who had told her to reap with his women and men greeted his workers with “the lord bless you,” in the morning (2:4). He had also told his men not to “touch her,’ v. 9; he also invited her to drink of the water his men had brought to the fields to quench their thirst (v. 9). In a culture where the women were expected to draw and bring the water, this man showed extraordinary kindness and gentlemanliness. He even gave them instructions to drop a little extra grain for her to glean. 

4:11-12: in the end, she is greeted with the wish to help build the household of the nation of Israel. That is an honor!

In chapter 3, Naomi instructed Ruth how to proceed to approach Boaz to lay claim to the Kinsman law - and provide this REST for her - v. 1.

The harvesting was done, and threshing it out was a joyous occasion. All hands helped do it in a day, if possible. That night, the owner slept by his grain to prevent looting of it. Ex. 21:10 instructs a  man to provide his wife with food, raiment and his duty of marriage, love.  Ruth was to ask for one more thing - legal right to Naomi’s property for a child to own the homestead. She was to go to the threshing site, veiled, but stay her distance until the work was all done, and observe when and where Boaz lay down to sleep. Once asleep, she was to go lay at his feet. When he awoke because he sensed someone at his feet, (v. 8 says he “turned himself;” the word means to sit up), she was to ask him to “spread his wings (‘skirt’) over her, because he was a near kinsman” to her, v. 9. This is not an invitation to co-habit as a couple. Instead, it was an invitation to go public with their relationship as a legally planned opportunity and marriage. Property ownership is a very important part of the legal matters of marriage. And it is public.

The marriage license is a very important document for a couple to obtain and keep. It registers the legal status of a man and woman. It now allows men to marry men and women to marry women - and perhaps will allow multiple partners in the future, or animals and people - all those being forbidden by God, in Lev. 18, where God defined what sexual acts belong, or do not belong, in a marriage relationship. 

 “First comes love;

Then comes. marriage;

Then comes so-and so- with a baby carriage.”

The honor of the love of a couple is upheld when they marry publicly.



We could spend some time discovering the shoe and land ownership rights, but let us get to the point: Marriage has a pinnacle to it: Child-rearing is that pinnacle. The joining of a couple usually produces offspring. Motherhood and fatherhood become the great schooling God has for parents in “training a child in the way he should go!” Psalm 127 says that “children are a heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is His reward.” 

However, in that process, we learn that we ourselves need training in the school of God in parenting, in growing in wisdom, in leading and teaching to follow. 

4:5-6: there is a raising up of another generation to know God and love Him - or to walk away from Him and forsake Him. Joshua told his generation that he would serve God in his generation, challenging others in the generations, to live for Him too! 

Because the Kinsman nearer than Boaz already had children, and did not want to share his estate with Naomi, he gave up his right to possess her dead husband’s land, took off his shoe ‘to seal the deal’ and gave that right to Boaz, the next kin in line. vv. 7-8.

v. 9-10: Boaz bought all Elimelech’s property, the care of his widow, her daughter-in-law, and the right to marry Ruth in order to raise up offspring for him. The ten witnesses (v. 2) were ample to make it a legally binding contract, as well as give their best wishes to the couple as they planned their wedding based on this kinsman contract. They wished for their fame to Bethlehem to have a part in the building of the nation of Israel as well. They already had a precedent in Salmon; from Matthew 1:5, we learn that he was one of the spies that had gone into Jericho, and later married Rahab. Now there were two Gentile women adopted into the genealogy of Jesus, and one of them, Ruth, was not to be allowed into the worship of God at their Tabernacle/temple till the tenth generation! My how great is the goodness of God. 

13-14: For Ruth, though, the joy of her life was to  conceive and bear a son with her husband. Her neighbors named him Obed, which means “worshipping God.” They could see the direction of her life - it was loving God with all her heart, soul, mind and  strength. She was so happy a mother! In her culture of Moab, they burned babies alive to their god Molech! (Now we kill them in the womb, where their screams cannot be heard!) Here, in Israel, she could delight in worshipping the Living True God and not fear the pressure to have her baby given to this horrid death! He would be her “nourisher in old age, and restorer of life!”

16: Naomi took to that grandchild like a goose to her goslings, and enjoyed every moment of it. She became a parent, or nanny, to the child, giving all the care and protection and training she could to Obed. Her life was full in this new mission. 

The pinnacle of parenting is the affirmation of our children rising up and calling us “blessed,” as mothers, Prov. 31:28. Fo 20 years, we walk with our children, see them grow, develop and make decisions; we direct them, guide them, admonish them, love them, and sometimes they walk away from us ands God in rebellion; others of them take our words to heart, and choose to walk where we walked - with God, in righteousness, grace and love to God - and we feel so relieved and gratified, for they have come to know God and understand how to live for Him. 

Eg. A missionary family we know visited us in the Adirondacks. They were preparing the wedding of one of their daughters. Their youngest child was a hyper, kinetic kind of guy. I had a lathe set up and he wanted to use it - so I let him at it. 

Years later, they told us that he had just married. Their prayer for him was that he would find someone who loved the Lord. Not only did she love the Lord, but together, they came to serve Him in China. They came home for the birth of their first child, and were, fortunately, in Texas, when the world was shut down by the world “health” powers because of SARSCoV19, starting where the virus began. God does all things well, when we trust Him!



God provided that marriage bring companionship and support into a man and woman’s life. This REST is a provision from God Himself, who said, “It is not good for man to be alone; I will provide a help meet (suited) for him.” The blessed journey Ruth took through sorrow and death brought to her REST in a foreign country, with a marriage to a significantly older man. 

The law of the Kinsman is what eventually brought PROTECTION to her, but no protection to her sister-in-law back in Moab. It brought life to her and her mother-in-law but doom and death to Orpah. The relationship of salvation through our Kinsman-Redeemer, Jesus, offers us eternal life through the death of Christ on the cross, and our believing in HIM alone as Savior.

The PINNACLE of womanhood through marriage is motherhood; and the pinnacle of that is to see our children come to know Jesus Christ as their own personal Saviour, for then, they will be with us in heaven.

We have 8 children living; two pre-deceased us. We know they are in heaven, for God took care of the sin nature in Christ’s work of the cross. Our prayer was for each of our children to come to know Jesus as their Savior before they left for school at 6 years age. God wonderfully answered that prayer, though some doubted, and made sure of that relationship as teens. I had the privilege of baptizing each of them, Sarah twice, for the first was not her sure belief as Savior. With John, Mrs. Hartwig and I can confidently say, “I (we) have no greater joy than to hear that our children walk in truth.” III John 4. 


Stepping In The Light.

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