Joy from God's Plan
Then the redeemer said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I impair my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it.” Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging: to confirm a transaction, the one drew off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was the manner of attesting in Israel. So when the redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself,” he drew off his sandal. Ruth 4:6-8
Influenced by Boaz’s shrewdness, the unnamed man realized that he couldn’t afford to buy the land and care for the two widows and any children that he might bear through Ruth. If he bore more children with Ruth, they would lay claim to his inheritance and thereby not benefit him or his family, but rather be a burdensome expense that could virtually destroy him financially. So, the man passed on the opportunity to redeem Ruth and in so doing permitted Boaz to assume first position and do so himself! It just goes to show that one man’s problem is another man’s princess.
Rather than waiting, Boaz, who is throughout this section a man of fast action, quick wit, shrewd business sense, and legal compliance, essentially inked the deal with the man that very moment. With the witnesses looking on, the man gave Boaz his sandal (which is akin to a notary seal in our day), signaling the legally binding nature of their business agreement. In all this, we see God’s providence: Boaz was older, financially established, and seasoned in business, which was exactly what enabled him to redeem Ruth. In this we also see that Boaz and Elimelech serve in stark contrast as men of plans and action. Elimelech was a man of foolish unbelief who pushed his family into tragedy. Unlike Elimelech, Boaz was a man of wise faith who pulled the women from tragedy.
- Ruth and Naomi were redeemed* in this passage. Who did all the work? What was the result for Boaz? What did Ruth and Naomi gain? How is this like Jesus redeeming us? *Consider contrasting their situation in Moab versus their situation with Boaz. Consider legacy. Consider where you would be without Jesus’ redemption.
- Do you know* how to make a plan and negotiate a deal? *Is there anyone in your group who needs some practical coaching in this area? From buying a car, to setting up a will, etc.?