Our 4-week Bible study on the book of Ruth continues. Each week we’ll focus on one of the four chapters. On Mondays, I’ll give you a little background information on each chapter, some questions to answer during the week (which will take you beyond the book of Ruth) and a challenge for the week.
Some people have been asking where the printable study guide is. Unlike previous studies, I don’t have a printable version for this one. What I’m doing instead is providing the same information on a weekly basis. It’s my hope in doing this that content will stay fresh and readers will stay connected.
You’ll see that the questions are interspersed throughout the text below. I kept them that way so that you are answering them both in order and in the context of the ideas I’m expanding on.
I’ll return each Friday with my thoughts on the chapter and encouraging words that offer practical application.
If you haven’t done so already, you can purchase a copy of the study guide at Amazon. Click here.
If you don’t want to purchase a study guide, you don’t have to. Everything you need for the study will be provided for you each Monday right here on the blog.
Ruth Chapter 3 – Thou Art My Kinsman Redeemer
“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
In Verse 1, we read that Naomi was seeking “rest” for Ruth. Since Ruth was a widow, it would be an ongoing concern for her to earn a living and provide for herself even throughout her old age. It was customary that Jews would take care of their own, but even in those cases they had to be reminded by the leaders to do so:
But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God. ~ 1 Timothy 5:4
Knowing that Boaz was a related through Elimelech, Naomi seized the opportunity for Ruth to be his bride. With that hope in mind she instructed Ruth to approach him.
Verse 2 tells us that Boaz was winnowing barley in the threshing floor. Winnowing was a process of separating the wheat from the shaft. John the Baptist also used this analogy when he spoke of the coming Messiah:
Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. ~ Matthew 3:12
What do you suppose John the Baptist meant in that verse?
The “fan” is a wind that was required in the process. Here’s a description of “winnowing” from Wikipedia.org:
[Winnowing] In its simplest form it involves throwing the mixture into the air so that the wind blows away the lighter chaff, while the heavier grains fall back down for recovery. Techniques included using a winnowing fan (a shaped basket shaken to raise the chaff) or using a tool (a winnowing fork) on a pile of harvested grain.
We’ll be digging deep into this chapter because I believe that the story of kinsman redemption found in the book of Ruth is symbolic to our relationship with Christ, and God’s redeeming love. It’s exciting to see just how much symbolism is used and how the events of this story line up with the harvests as discussed in lessons one and two.
What three things did Naomi instruct Ruth to do before she went down to the threshing floor?
These are the three things that we as Christians put on in a sense, as we prepare and wait for the return of our Lord:
Washing with water by the word is a continual process. As we read the word and follow God’s commandments.
Anoint means to smear, rub or smooth on. In Biblical times, Shepherds would anoint sheep with oil on the head and around the ears to protect the area from the infestation of insects (www.gotquestions.org). In the New Testament, it is synonymous with the Holy Spirit upon God’s people. Anointing one with oil is a symbol of consecration. By the anointing of the Holy Spirit we are set apart from the world and purified.
Wearing our best clothes is the act of putting on Christ.
How does Paul explain “putting on Christ” in Romans 13:12-14?
Again, we see courageous faith in action as Ruth pursues her kinsman redeemer. She goes to Boaz softy, uncovers his feet and lies down…
There are conflicting theories as to why she uncovered his feet, and what exactly that meant. I believe that we can best understand this by comparing her actions to that of a humble servant, and his to our Lord. In essence, she was bowing at his feet in an act of submission rather than assuming the right to his kinship.
When she says, “Spread the corner of your garment over me,” she is referring to the symbolism of engagement. We see the same verbiage used in Ezekiel 16:8 when God said, “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.”
Google the Hebrew word “Kanaph” Strong’s Concordance H3671. What is the definition?
Right in the middle of this chapter, we find a powerful verse that reflects both the character of Ruth, and that of every believer who passionately pursues the Lord.
“The Lord bless you, my daughter,” Boaz replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor.” (NIV)
What we can see from this is that Boaz wasn’t a young man. Perhaps he wasn’t all that desirable, but Ruth chose to pursue him. She didn’t chase younger men in hopes to satisfy her lust. She didn’t chase richer men in hopes to satisfy her greed. Rare as it was, she patiently waited on God and trusted the Lord until the timing was right.
In the same way, a believer will wait for her Lord. She won’t seek to satisfy her own lust or her greed, but rather she’ll patiently wait on God’s timing and lean on His strength.
A woman who fears the Lord will not run away from God to satisfy her longings and relieve her anxieties. She will wait for the Lord. She will hope in God. She will stay close to the heart of God and trust in his promises. – John Piper
Before going any further with this chapter, let’s go back to the law of kinsman redemption in relation to marriage, to see what the responsibilities of a “kinsman redeemer” entailed.
Here’s what we need to know: If a relative sold himself as a servant to a stranger, the next of kin had a right to buy him back. If a widow was left without a husband, his next of kin was expected to marry her. It was also his duty to give her children in the name of the deceased so that his seed would carry on. This could get pricey for the redeemer if he was also responsible to redeem their property. As we’ll see in chapter four, Naomi, Ruth, and their property were a package deal.
What does the word “redeem” mean? (See www.dictionary.com)
How did the law of kinsman redemption foreshadow the coming of Jesus Christ? (See Galatians 4:3-7)
We see that Boaz is ready and willing to take Ruth as his wife, but there’s one issue that had to be settled first. What was it?
Upon returning home, Naomi asks, “Who art thou, my daughter?” Was Ruth betrothed to Boaz or not? Naomi wanted to know.
After filling Naomi in on the details, she advised Ruth to leave it in the hands of Boaz. In the same way, we can rest knowing that our salvation is in the hands of Jesus Christ.
This narrative may encourage us to lay ourselves by faith at the feet of Christ: He is our near Kinsman; having taken our nature upon him. He has the right to redeem. Let us seek to receive from Him His directions: Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? – Matthew Henry
You are loved by an almighty God,
The Time-Warp Wife
P.S. I’ll see you on Friday for part two of chapter one.
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THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE
Take time to develop your relationship with the Lord this week. Are you in the habit of having daily devotions? If not, implement a new schedule. Strengthen your prayer life. Spend time with your Redeemer.
For your Maker is your husband— the Lord Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. – Isaiah 54:5, NIV
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Darlene Schacht and her husband Michael live in Manitoba Canada where the summers are beautiful and the winters are cold. Together they’ve come to learn that relationships aren’t always easy, but that marriage, the way God intended it to be, is a treasure worth fighting for.
She began her publishing journey about twelve years ago when she pioneered one of the first online magazines for Christian women, known at the time as “Christian Women Online Magazine.” After three years, Darlene left CWO to blog as a solo author at Time-Warp Wife Ministries.
It was also during this transition that she worked alongside actress Candace Cameron Bure to write the NYT Best-Selling book, Reshaping it All: Motivation for Spiritual and Physical Fitness. Reshaping it All was the winner of both the 2011 USA Best Book Awards and the 2012 Christian Reading Retailers Choice Awards.
Author of more than 15 books, Darlene continues to write and to minister to her readers through her blog at TimeWarpWife.com.
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