Ruth, Boaz, and God’s Redeeming Love
April 10 - 11, 2021
If you've ever wondered why the Book of Ruth is where it is in the Bible, it's for a very important reason. It's set right next to the Book of Judges because it is set during the time period of the judges. Now, this is important because it really stands in contrast in many ways. The theme of the Book of Judges, as we were studying through it, I mentioned several times, because there are many verses that say it, the theme of Judges is, every man did what was right in his own eyes. What had happened was Joshua and those leaders when they passed from the scene, the next generation did another lord, they didn't follow after God.
They went after the gods of the world and all the worldliness that went with those gods. The result is quite predictable, trouble upon trouble upon trouble. They had so much trouble that finally in the depths of despair of trouble, then they called out to God, which is the right thing to do when you're in trouble. Then God would send a deliverer and they would rescue and save. Then while that deliverer lived, they would do well. Then He would die, next generation, here we go again. Here's where the backdrop of Judges is important when we come to the Book of Ruth because in the Book of Ruth, we discover that even though so many had turned their hearts away from God, God always has a remnant.
There are always a few, if even only a few that remained faithful and true, people of character and a heart of faith. I tell you this is important because this is very much true today. We are living in times very much like the days of Judges where every man does what is right in his own eyes. That is very much true today. Many people are turning their back on God, going to the things of the world. That's true today, but there are still a few even today that remain faithful and true. If even only a remnant. I tell you what, I want to be in that remnant. I don't care if everyone else falls away, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Anyone want to join me? Amen. Let's give the Lord praise and glory. Amen.
It is against that backdrop that we study the Book of Ruth. Now there were a lot of life lessons that we saw in the earlier chapters, which has been a few weeks now since we've been in the Book of Ruth, namely because we had a vacation, mine, and we had Resurrection Sunday, so been a few weeks, but there were many lessons that we learned. Now, the story takes place near the area of Bethlehem in Israel. Now, the name Bethlehem is important. It means something in Hebrew. It's Bet Leḥem. It means the house of bread, but there was no bread in Bethlehem. In fact, it was a time of famine.
God used famine in those days to really wake people up, to stir them, to try to wake them up spiritually. God can use difficulties in troubles to do that. Well, it tells us that there was a man by the name of Elimelech who lived in Bethlehem during this time of famine. Elimelech made a poor decision, without praying, without asking God, without asking for God to lead, the man made a poor decision. He sold his land. He sold his inheritance, the inheritance of his children in order to leave Israel, cross to Jordan, and to build a new life in the land of Moab. Land of Moab is not God's provision. This is not the place of God's blessing. God's name is not there. In fact, he calls Moab a washbowl. That's what God thinks of Moab.
Elimelech, he sells everything and he builds a new life. He leaves with his wife, Naomi, and their two sons and they go to Moab. There, we see a life lesson. Hey, if times are hard, if things are difficult, stay faithful. Don't leave the place of God's provision because the grass is not greener on the other side of the Jordan. So many times people think, "Oh, grass is greener." Hey, the grass is not greener on the other side of the Jordan, I've been on the other side of the Jordan, it's not greener. In Moab, Elimelech discovers for himself, the grass is not greener there. He gets trouble upon trouble upon trouble.
Now, they're building a new life. His sons marry Moabite women, but then Elimelech, he dies, the two sons Mahlon and Chilion, they die. Now Naomi is left bereft, grieving, no provisions, no future, no hope. She has nothing. 10 long years this has all taken place. Finally, after 10 years, she can't take any more. "I'm going back. I'm going back with nothing," but she hears there's bread again in Bethlehem. She says to her Moabite daughters-in-law, "Go back to your people. Build a new life for yourself. Find new husbands," which perfectly lawful, their husbands died. "Go build a new life."
Now Orpah, one of her daughters-in-law, in tears, kisses Naomi, her mother-in-law, and goes. She goes and builds a new life, but Ruth, the Ruth of the story, her daughter-in-law, she refused. "No, don't ask me to do this. I will not leave you. Do not ask me to do this." Then she gives one of the most beautiful, powerful speeches in the Old Testament. "Do not ask me to do this," she says, "for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people will be my people." She says, "I will become a Hebrew and your God is now my God." She has now in faith saying, "The God of Israel is my God and where you die I will die right there and there I will be buried. Thus, may the Lord do to me and worse if anything but death parts you and me."
That's a speech. That is character. That is heart. Now, in Ruth, we see in her a life lesson, heart matters, character matters, faith matters because it's the very thing that God uses to build a beautiful life. Now, we all want a beautiful life. We would very much like to have a beautiful life, but here we see a scriptural principle, God, by His sovereign hand, you've got to have God's sovereign hand in this, but God takes heart and character and faith, it matters. God takes that and then builds a beautiful life. This is like it comes back to you. Let me give you a great verse.
Luke 6:36-38, He says, "Be merciful just as your father is merciful."
In other words, hey, this is the character of God. This is the heart of God. He wants you to have character like God. This is hard. Be merciful, God is merciful. Then He says, now look, "Give and it will be given to you." God will see to it, this will come back to you. Character matters, it comes back to you. Faith matters, it comes back to you. Give and it will be given to you. They will pour it into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, for, by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you in return. It's like blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy. Character matters. Faith, heart matter. God will use it to build a beautiful life.
Now, it says then that Ruth, she returns with Naomi back to Bethlehem. Then at one point, Ruth says to Naomi, "I'm going to go and glean in the fields." Gleaning was a provision for those in extreme poverty. The farmers were to round off the corners so that those that were very poor could come and have something. She says, "I'm going to go gleaning today." Then it tells us that she just so happened to glean in the field of Boaz, which brings another scriptural life lesson, nothing just happens. God ordains the way of those with heart and faith and character. He orders their steps, He ordains their way.
I. This Matter is Settled in Heaven
Do you believe that that is true? Because I am convinced that's a very important part of our relationship to the living God, faith matters, character matters, heart matters, and nothing just happens. God orders the way and God orders the steps of those with heart and character and faith. She says, "I'm going to go gleaning." She just so happened to glean in the field of Boaz and Boaz comes down and sees her. Now, he doesn't know who this is. He sees her and he says, "Who is this?" Actually, he says, "Whose young woman is this?" The workers say, "This is the young Moabite woman who came with Naomi from the land of Moab."
Boaz approaches Ruth, speaks very kindly to her, "Make sure that she has provisions of water to quench her thirst and food, even at lunch and even enough to take home to Naomi." Then he says to her, "Now, you be sure that you glean only in this field. Do not go to anyone else. You glean only in this field." Ruth then says, "Why have I found favor in your sight that you should take notice of me? I am just a foreigner." Now, Boaz's answer is so important to the story because Boaz answered and said, "All that you have done for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband has been fully reported to me."
He now knows that this is that woman that he has heard so much about. A woman of character, and heart, and faith. "This has fully been reported to me and how you left your father and your mother and the land of your birth and came to a people that you did not know. Now, may the Lord," and he uses here the name of the God of Israel. "May Jehovah, may Yahweh reward you your work and your wages before from Jehovah, the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge." What a beautiful speech. When Ruth comes home that evening to Naomi, she has an ephah of barley. She really did well in the gleaning.
Naomi says, "Where did you glean today?" She says, "I gleaned today in the field of Boaz." She said, "Boaz? Boaz?" Immediately Naomi recognized, "Boaz is our kinsman-redeemer." Now we're introduced to this beautiful picture of a redeemer, a kinsman-redeemer. I tell you, it's a prophetic picture of Jesus Christ, who is, in fact, our kinsman-redeemer. She says, "This is good, my daughter. This is good. Yes. Stay in the fields of this man." Then she comes up with a plan. Naomi has a plan. When she knew that Boaz would be winnowing the barley, she says to Ruth, 'Now, this is what you do. Wash, anoint yourself, put on your best clothes." In other words, gussy up, look really feminine. You know what I'm saying.
"Make yourself look beautiful, all perfuming and everything, and then go down and watch. After he is finished winnowing and has his dinner and all that, watch where he lies down. Then after he is gone to sleep, uncover his feet and lie down at the feet." She does this. In the middle of the night, Boaz is startled. Behold there's a woman lying at his feet. He says to her in the dark, "Who are you?" She answers, "I am Ruth, your servant, your maid. Spread your covering over your maid for you are a kinsman-redeemer." Immediately, Boaz understands it all. This is a proposal of marriage. Now, there's a deep aspect of Levirate marriage for a woman who's lost her husband with no children.
This is a proposal that a woman would do. He immediately understands it. This is a proposal of marriage and this is a proposal of redemption. He responds and says, "I will do what you have asked." Now, I suggest, when he responds, "I will do what you ask," he is accepting the proposal. He has committed to marrying her. "I accept this. I will do what you have asked." Then he says this, "For all my people know that you are a woman of excellence." Now, I love that right there. That to me is beautiful. Wouldn't it be glorious to have such heart, such character, such faith, that everybody knows it, everybody sees? Ah, this, this woman, she is a woman of excellence.
A. There are no shortcuts to honor God’s Word
That man? That is a man of integrity. That is a man of character. Everybody knows it. It's well known, everybody knows it. That is a worthy thing to desire because character matters, faith matters, heart matters. It's a worthy desire. "You are a woman of excellence. Everybody knows it. However, there is one thing. There is a relative that is closer than I and behold, when morning comes, I will settle this matter." Now, before Ruth leaves, he has her spread out a cloak and he measures out six measures of barley to take home to Naomi. Six measures of barley. Naomi, when she sees and she hears the report of how it went that night, and then Ruth says, "Oh, one thing. He sent with me these six measures of barley."
Six, not seven. No, it was six. Immediately, she understood it. This man will not rest until this matter is settled today. She knew immediately the message. This man will not rest until this is settled today. That's all introduction. Let's read it. Ruth 4:1. That's probably the longest introduction in the history of sermons.
Ruth 4:1. Now, Boaz went up to the gate, the gate of Bethlehem, and he sat down there, he's going to settle this matter, and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz spoke was passing by. He just so happened to be passing by. Nothing just so happens. He said, "Turn aside, friend. Sit down here." He turned aside and sat down. Then Boaz, he took 10 men of the elders of the city and he said to the 10 elders, "You also sit down here." They also sat down.
B. Christ’s pain is your gain
Then he said to the closest relative, "Now, Naomi, who has come back from the land of Moab, has to sell a piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech, so I thought to inform you saying, buy it before those who are sitting here and before the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it, but if not, then tell me that I might know for there is no one but you to redeem it and then I am after you." The man says, "I will redeem it." Now, at this point, this man is thinking, "This is a great thing." It's all gain and no pain, because Naomi, you see, she's too old to bear sons. There are no inheritors. He gets it all. He's the kinsman-redeemer, he can buy the land and doesn't have-- He gets it all. It's all for him. All gain.
Then Boaz says in verse 5, "On the day that you buy the field for the hand of Naomi, know this." Now, verse 5 is important. I've studied it very deeply in the Hebrew. Typically, a lot of interpreters, a lot of interpretation say, "On the day that you purchased the land, you must also acquire Ruth." The proper translation in the Hebrew is this. "On the day that you buy this field for the hand of Naomi, let it be known to you today that I acquire Ruth." He's already accepted her proposal. He's already committed to this. He says, "Let it be known to you on the day that you acquire it, I acquire Ruth, the Moabitess, the widow of the deceased. I do this in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance."
This was the Levirate marriage. The idea was, if there was a woman who had no son and her husband died that a man, a relative could come and marry her, bear forth a son who would inherit the entirety of his father's estate who died. Now, this changes everything. This changes everything. Oh. If I acquire this land and invest in making it productive, I give the whole thing to the boy? No, that changes everything. He says in verse 6 to the closest relatives, "I cannot redeem it, lest I jeopardize my own inheritance." I'm going to invest in all this, I'm going to buy all this, and invest in the inheritance and then all of it goes to the boy? I get nothing? No."
Redeem it for yourself. You may have my right of redemption. I cannot redeem it. Now, this was the custom in former times in Israel. Concerning the redemption and exchange of land, to confirm any matter, a man removed his sandal and gave it to another, and this was the manner of attestation in Israel. Today, you buy a house, or you buy a property, oh my goodness, the closing guys in the farms and they want your DNA practically. It's like on and on and on with all these forms and all this stuff. No, in those days you just took off your sandal and handed it to the guy. Now, that's the way you make a deal, but let it also be known that there were witnesses. That's why he had the 10 elders there. They were witnesses.
Today we have a notary, that's your witness, they had the 10 elders. The closest relatives said, "You buy it for yourself," and he removed his sandal and gave it to him. You may walk on the land in my shoes, it's yours. Boaz then said to the elders and all the people, "You are witnesses today, I have bought the land for the hand of Naomi, and all that belonged to Elimelech, and all that belonged to Chilion and Mahlon, the two boys. Moreover, I have acquired Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, to be my wife in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance, so that the name of the deceased may not be cut off from his brothers or from the court of his birthplace, you are witnesses today."
What did he gain out of this? What did Boaz get out of this? Nothing. At great cost to himself, he buys this land, invests in it to make it productive, and gives the entirety over to the boy that will come from Ruth. He gets nothing. What does he get out of this? Oh no, he does get something, he gets Ruth, a woman of excellence, a woman of character and faith. He gets relationship. He's willing to pay all for a woman of excellence. All the people, verse 11, who were in the court and the elders and they said, "We are witnesses." Then they give this little speech, it's a speech of blessings. Today when people get married, it's very common after the wedding, after the ceremony, for the best man to step up and then they make a little speech.
Now, the speech is supposed to be a blessing. It's all based on the tradition out of the Word of God. That's interesting, isn't it? The best man is supposed to give a speech, it's supposed to be a blessing. I know some of those speeches can get sideways, but you know what I'm saying. Supposed to be a blessing, then another fellow stands up and he gives a blessing and then the women, they stand up and they give blessings all based on the Hebrew tradition. The elders now are going to make a speech. Listen to this blessing, it's really quite something. We are witnesses today, verse 11, may the Lord Jehovah make this woman who is coming into your house like Rachel and Leah.
In other words, let her be prolific in having lots of kids both of whom built the house of Israel, and may you achieve wealth in Ephrathah, this the area around there. Why do they say this? May you achieve wealth. Why? Because he had sacrificed so much for no gain to himself whatsoever. That is honor right there. That's what they're saying. This is honor. May the Lord bring it back to you. You gain nothing from this, may you become wealthy in Bethlehem, in Ephrathah. May God do it. What sacrifice, what honor? Then he says, "May you become famous in Bethlehem because of your honor." Such honor like that is worthy.
"May you be famous because you sacrifice so much you gain nothing, but you gained Ruth, be famous. Moreover, may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah." Deep story, we don't have time for it, very interesting. "Through the offspring which the LORD shall give you by this woman." Boaz took Ruth, she became his wife, he went into her and the Lord enabled her to conceive and she gave birth to a son. Now, the women, ah, the women of Bethlehem, they say to Naomi. Now, these are the same women, remember when Naomi came back from Moab, these women saw her coming and they said, "Is this Naomi? What has happened? She looks like she's been to hell and back. What is this?"
Naomi says, "Don't call me that." Her name means pleasantness. "Don't call me Naomi, call me Mara." It means bitter. "Call me Mara because I'm bitter. I left full and I came back empty. I have nothing." She's quite bitter, but now look, now look what's happened. It's completely turned about. God's faithful hand has completely turned it about. The women said to Naomi, "Blessed is the Lord who has not left you without a redeemer today." A redeemer has completely changed her life. He has not left you without a redeemer and may his name become famous in all of Israel.
Here it is again, "May he also be to you a restorer of life, a sustainer of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you and is better to you than seven sons has given birth to this boy." Naomi took the child, laid him on her lap, and became his nurse. She took care of him like a nanny, you might say. Oh, what a special relationship no doubt grandma had with this boy. Then the neighbor women gave him a name saying, "A son has been born to Naomi." They named him Obed, who is the father of Jesse, who is the father of David, who's the great king of Israel. Now you see that this is built by God. The hand of God is such that a Moabite woman with heart and faith and character is in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
You can see it in the genealogy in the New Testament. What a beautiful picture. Let's go over this story and apply it. There's so much to apply to our lives. Boaz is the kinsman-redeemer and it's a picture of Jesus Christ. He says to Ruth, "This matter will be settled. I will settle this matter today." This is important to recognize because we are in desperate need of a redeemer and God has sent His son to settle this matter. We need a redeemer. Our sins are such that without a redeemer, we have no hope, we are lost, we have no future. He says, "I will send my son. He will in fact settle this matter." Therefore, here's my point, this matter is settled in heaven and this matter is settled for eternity.
This is important because there are many people today who have not yet settled this matter in their own lives. God sent His son to settle this. He sent His son at great cost and price to settle this matter today, but would you note this very important thing, there are no shortcuts to honor God's word. There are no shortcuts. Boaz understands what must be done. There is a process, there is a law, there is a word, and it will be done according to the right board, the right process. There is a relative that is nearer and he will settle this matter, he will take care of it, but it is done right, in the open with witnesses all honoring the Word of God.
He patiently waits and he patiently works through all of it, waiting to settle the matter. It's important because there are many people today who believe they can take shortcuts. They want to take shortcuts in life. Many men, I can give you many examples, taking shortcuts always, trying to find the shortcut around this or that. I tell you there are no shortcuts with the Word of God. People need to wait, wait on the Lord. His word, His process, will surely bless your life. Don't try to shortcut it because those who try to shortcut it are beginning a pattern of compromise. Compromise begins in the small things and then gets worse, and worse, and worse. There are no shortcuts. Wait, be patient.
Standing on God's word and not compromising your life is a matter of faith, of trust. It's a matter of trusting God with your life and decisions, it's believing that God is the one who will bless your faithfulness, don't take shortcuts. In the same way, God sent Jesus to be our kinsman-redeemer and is going to fulfill every single word, every single aspect of what it means to be a redeemer. In fact, this is what God the Lord said in Matthew 5:18, Jesus says, "Assuredly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or tittle will pass from the law until it is completely fulfilled." The jot or tittle are the smallest aspects of the Hebrew alphabet.
In the Hebrew writings, the smallest little jot or tittle, nothing will pass away until everything is fulfilled. There are no shortcuts with God. Everything is done. Everything is fulfilled. In fact, this becomes clear on the night in which Jesus was betrayed, when He's in the garden of Gethsemane and He makes this very, very famous prayer where He's so deep in this depth of prayer that He's actually sweating blood. Luke 22:42, in this prayer He says, "Father, if it be your will, take this cup from me." Then He adds, "Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done." There are no shortcuts. It must be paid. It must be paid in full. Our sin must be paid in full and there are no shortcuts.
You see what a beautiful picture is Boaz in here, but what you notice also in the story that Boaz gains nothing. What does Boaz gain? Oh, Ruth, at great cost to himself. It was all about relationship. The point that I would like to say is that it's a picture of Jesus Christ. Well, just as Christ's pain is your gain, Boaz at great cost to himself did it because of his love for Ruth. Your gain. It's your gain. Jesus did it for you. You are the picture of Ruth in the story. He did it for you. What did He gain? What did He get out of this? What did He gain? He gained you. This is a very important thing.
When the man thought that it will be all his, he was all for it, but then when you realized what great sacrifice and cost to no gain to himself, he says, "No, I cannot do it." Changes everything, but Boaz loved Ruth and was very willing. Because of that relationship, he buys at a great cost to himself knowing that it all goes to her and her son, but he gets Ruth. Now, you also see, not only his heart, his character, but here again, Ruth's character is revealed. Actually, it's mentioned in Chapter 3, I didn't bring it up, but when Ruth makes this proposal, you're a kinsman-redeemer, he then says something to Ruth, very important.
He says, "This kindness that you're doing now is even greater than the kindness that you showed at the first. You could have gone after a younger man." She was young, she was attractive, she could have had a younger man, build something for herself. No, this kindness that you've done shows character. Character matters because what is she doing? She's not going after younger man, we presumed Boaz to be older. By this, by the Levirate marriage, by the kinsman-redeemer, she's making a provision for Naomi to have something for her life and she is honoring the name of her dead husband so that the name of her husband will live on in the name of this boy.
He will take the name of his father and inherit all of it. What character, what heart? "Your kindness," he says, "now is greater than the kindness at the first." There's great symbolism in this book. Boaz is a picture of our redeemer, Jesus Christ. Naomi is a picture of the Hebrew people. Ruth is a picture of the Church, the beloved of Christ. What then does that nearer relative represented, by the way? Many commentators believe that the nearer relative pictures for us the law. It can't redeem. It cannot do it, it cannot redeem. It is like this at Romans 8:3-4. What the law could not do, weak as it was to the flesh, God did, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.
Now, would you notice when He sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, He's sending Him as a kinsman. He comes in sinful flesh like you and me. He's a kinsman so that He can be a redeemer, so that the requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us. Notice also that there is no relationship to law. It's a tutor that points us to Christ, but there is no relationship and it's all about that. What does Boaz gain? Nothing. At great cost to himself, he buys this land, invests in it to make it productive, all of it goes to the boy. What does he get? He gets Ruth. He gets relationship. Is it not a picture of the very reason that Jesus was sent? Why did God send His Son to redeem sinners like you and me? Why?
He says, because He love-- God loves you so much. What does God get out of this? What does the Lord get out of this? You, the very thing He wants. He wants relationship. That was the whole reason. What do you get? You get Him and an inheritance, but you get Him. You get relationship. It's all about relationship to the church that He loves. "You must love." He says. Many, many years ago, I got to know this pastor and we were chatting. At one point, he's telling me that he has a bit of a problem and he says, "As the senior pastor, I love teaching God's word. It's a joy and a delight of my life, I love teaching God's word." I said, "Well, what's the problem part?" He says, "I don't like people."
We got a problem here. I say, "Why? I don't understand. What do you mean? Why are you a senior pastor?" "I love teaching God's word." I said, "If you love teaching God's word then you must love God's people," because that is the whole reason He sent His word to bless His people, to edify His church whom He loves. Clearly, it's a picture of the heart of God through Jesus Christ. What does He get out of this? He gets you. That's what He wants. Notice this, Isaiah 43:1, but now thus says the Lord, your Creator of Jacob and he who formed you Israel, do not fear for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, child, you are mine. You're mine.
That's what God wants. It's all about that relationship. Some time ago, I was in Africa and I was teaching at a pastors' conference. Now, you might not know this, but in Africa, it's very common for pastors to be very bossy to the church. Very bossy, very dominant, commanding this and demanding that and threatening them with this and that. They're just bossy. Well, that just breaks my heart. You're asking me to come and teach this conference, then please know, by heart, this is not what God wants. You must not do this, you must not do this. Let me give you an illustration. I want to win them over to my point. Let me give an illustration. Imagine that I come at the next time I come and I bring my wife.
I bring my wife and then I say to you, "Pastors, listen, I have to go, I need to go to another city and do this and that for a long time. I need to leave. I cannot take her with me. I'm going to leave her here and I'm going to entrust her into your care. Would you be so kind as to watch over my wife, make sure that she's safe and to watch and care for her? Would you do that for me?" I sit down. What would you say if I asked you, pastors, to do that, what would you say? Of course, they're like, "Of course. It would be an honor to do that. Thank you for entrusting her to us that would be an honor, pastor."
I said, "Okay." Then I leave, I go to the other city for quite some time. I come back only to hear that you've been bossy to my wife. You've been speaking unkindly to her. You've been demanding this and that to my wife. I said, "Would you do that? Would you actually do that?" They're like, "Absolutely not. We love you, pastor, we honor you. We would take the greatest care. Oh, we love you. You can be sure of this. We are going to take care of your wife." I said, "Do you see? Is the church not the bride of Christ? If you care for Christ, if you honor him, then should you not care for his bride, whom he loves?" I know a lot of men don't like to be called the bride of Christ, go on now, it's okay.
It's a picture of relationship. Do you not see? Immediately, you know what, it was wonderful because you could see just hearts and lights of their eyes opening up. It's value, that's what He wants, you are the treasure. That's why He did it. What did He gain? What was in it for Him? He gained you. That's the treasure. Jesus taught a parable with this point in mind, Matthew 13:44. The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field which a man found and hid again and then from joy, he goes and sells all that he has and he buys that field. It's about the value of the thing. Our problem is that we tend to get caught up in the value of the field.
I remember some years ago we used to own this house that had a large lawn. I wanted the lawn to be nice, so I mowed it and fertilized it and edged it. The problem is, apparently the gophers thought that they owned that lawn and thus began the famous gopher wars. Oh, I fought with those gophers, and finally, I quit and gave up, "You're going to have the lawn." The lesson from the Book of Ruth is that the value that God sees, He never gives up, He redeems at such great price to Himself. Our problem is that we don't understand value. Many people, they don't understand value and they treat themselves as such. They don't understand value.
Many people they have this view, is actually out of Psalm 8:3-4. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained, what is man? We are nothing. What is man that you would take thought of him? Have you ever done that? Go outside at night and see the vastness of the stars and then say, "Look at the vastness of all of this. I am nothing. In the big picture of all of this, I am nothing." That's the way many people see themselves. They don't understand value, because God sees it quite differently.
God would look at the great vastness of all of that and He would say, "Amid all that you see in the great vastness of that, that's there. Do you not see that there's one place, one place I call my own, I put my name, I sent my son, one place. I sent Him to redeem one people, sinners. I sent Him to that one place because I wanted one thing, relationship to them." It's a whole different view. Mark 8:36, Jesus said, "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?" If someone offered you the whole world in exchange for your soul, it wouldn't be worth it. People don't understand their value and they don't understand the price.
II. You have Been Bought with a Price
He is a Redeemer and He redeemed you at great price. In other words, you have been bought with a price and it's a great price, but a redeemer is needed because of our great poverty. See Naomi, Ruth, complete poverty. They sold everything, they had nothing. Without a redeemer, there would be no hope, there would be no future, they would be lost. I think the beginning of making this right in this relationship with God, the beginning is to acknowledge your poverty. The law of the redeemer is given as a provision for those who are so poor, so indebted that they could not redeem themselves. They had no hope, they had no future, they couldn't do it, so He gives this provision.
Leviticus 25:23-25, the land moreover shall not be sold permanently for the land is mine. Now, that's important all to itself. The land is mine, you are aliens and sojourners with me, thus for every piece of property, you are to provide for the redemption of the land. If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor that he must sell his property, then his nearest kinsman must come and buy back what that relative sold because God has made a provision for a redeemer for those who are so poor. Elimelech sold their land, had nothing, they were too poor to redeem it. Without a redeemer, they would be destitute and poor all the days of their life.
A. Acknowledge your poverty
I tell you there are people like this today, they are spiritually destitute and they refuse to see it. They're spiritually bankrupt and they refuse to acknowledge it, their spiritual poverty. This is what Jesus was pointing out in Revelation 3:17-18, this is a message He gives in the latter days but it's very much true today. He says, "Because you say, oh, I'm rich, I'm wealthy. I have need of nothing." Many people have disputed that they don't see the need, they don't see the poverty, they don't see their spiritual condition. They're quite blind. Jesus says, "Because you say this, "I'm wealthy, I have need of nothing," but you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire that you might become rich."
He is speaking here of spiritual things. There is nothing in this world that will make you rich because everything in this world, it will pass away. He says, "I will take that which is eternal and build it in your life, that which is of heart of God and build it in your life." That is character, that is faith, that is heart, that matters, that is eternal. "If you would just acknowledge." He says, "If you would just admit it, if you just acknowledge your spiritual condition, your spiritual poverty, all the promises then that He unfolds." Isaiah 55, ho everyone who thirsts, come to the waters. You who have no money, come buy and eat, come buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
Do you see the lavishness of what God is offering for those who would just acknowledge? Then He adds this, "Why do you spend money for what is not bread?" That is a great question, why do you spend your wages for what does not satisfy? What are you investing your life in? What are you doing? What are you buying here? It doesn't satisfy. Then He says, "Listen carefully to me, eat what is good." He's speaking of the soul now, isn't He? "Delight yourself in spiritual abundance, incline your ear and come to me, listen that you may live and I will make an everlasting covenant with you according to the faithful mercies shown to David." Oh, there's depth to that.
B. May the love of Christ compel you
Lastly, we'll close with this, may the love of Christ compel you. Why did God send His son? What did He gain? You, relationship. God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten son. He sends Jesus as the kinsman-redeemer who paid a great price, great cost. Notice.,1 Peter 1:18 and 19, knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver and gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but you were redeemed with precious blood as of a lamb, unblemished, spotless, the blood of Christ. When you see the great price and the reason for it, why did He send His son? What did He gain? He gained you, He gained relationship. That's what he wanted.
It's compelling to see it, God wants you, God wants relationship. He sent His son to get you, to redeem you, to draw you into a relationship. Our response is, how do you respond to that? He says, "With love." God wants you to live, but God wants you to love. One of the most beautiful pictures of this comes to us in the New Testament, where it tells us that one of the Pharisees requested that Jesus come and dine at his house, so he entered the Pharisee's house and reclines at the table. Then it says that there was a woman in the city who was a sinner. I don't need to elaborate, I think you knew exactly what that means or what kind of sinner we're talking about.
There was a woman in the city who was a sinner. When she learned that Jesus was reclining at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume and standing behind Him at His feet, she began to weep. Deep tears of weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears and wiping them with the hair of her head, kissing His feet, anointing them with perfume. When the Pharisee who had invited Jesus saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, He would know who and what sort of woman that is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner." Jesus said, "Simon, I have something to say to you." He said, "Say it, teacher."
Luke 7, a moneylender had two debtors, 1 owed 500 in their eye, the other 50. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. Which of them will love him the more? Simon answered and said, "Well, I suppose the one whom he forgave more." Jesus answered and said, "You have judged it correctly." Luke 7 continues. You see this woman, I entered your house, you gave no water for my feet. This is just common courtesy, but she's wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, common courtesy in Israel, but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with perfume.
For this reason, I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven for she loved much, but he who is forgiven little, loves little. Then He said to the woman, "Your sins have been forgiven. Your faith has saved you, go in peace." How compelling is the love of Christ when you see what He's done? What did He gain? He gained you. At great price, at a great cost. At great price, He did what? He redeemed, He forgave, He paid the penalty of sin, and such was sin, it was so great. The cost was so wondrous, very high. What do you do? How do you respond to that? Love.
I don't know about you, I'll just say it for myself, I have been forgiven much and I'm very, very thankful. Anybody else? I've been forgiven a lot and I'm very, very thankful. For those who can't see it, they can't see it. They don't love. So oftentimes people think that Christianity is about this or that, the do's and the don'ts and the rights of the wrongs. That's all fine, but they've missed the whole point of it. The whole point of it is, God gets you. He gets you and you get Him. That was the whole reason He redeemed, yes, so that you can do right and live well and have character and heart. First and the highest and foremost is so that you would love. You get Him and he gets you.
Let's pray. Father, oh what beautiful, beautiful picture is this. You have won us over. You have compelled us with this great love. We see it now. What did you gain out of this? Us. That's amazing that you would value sinners with such a high value that you would send your son at such great cost, such great price, that we might be able to have a relationship to the almighty, holy, righteous, loving God. We get you. You've compelled us. Church, how many would say to the Lord today, you've won me? I want to have a relationship of depth of love, of nearness to my God. Ignite something in me, God.
Ignite something of love in me. I want to love you more. I want to draw near to you. I want to have more love in my relationship with you. You've won me over God. This is what I want. This is what I'm asking, I want more, I want love. Would you say that to God? Would you just lift your hand up to the Lord, say with your heart, by lifting your hands, "I want more. I want you. I want love. I want relationship. Thank you, God, for all that you're doing. You've won me over." Thank you, Father, we give you honor and praise today for it all in Jesus' name and everyone.