Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 69
KINSMAN REDEEMER – PART 2
Rev. 5; Ruth; I Corinthians 15:1-4
Okay, this is a Bible study, so we’re going to get right back in and continue on this whole concept of redemption. Now, like I said, I think in the opening remarks of the last program, the only way that we can understand what Revelation 5 is really talking about – the whole idea of being a “kinsman redeemer” – we have to go back to the Book of Ruth.
I just shared with the class here in the studio, my daughter asked for a study on the Book of Ruth a couple of years ago. Every once in a while she’d say, “Daddy, when are you going to teach Ruth?” So, just before we left this morning, I said, “Well, Honey, we’re going to teach Ruth today.” She was thrilled.
So, turn to Ruth chapter 1 verse 1. For a little backdrop, the Book of Ruth takes place probably in the first half of the period of time when Israel was ruled by judges. In other words, you remember Joshua led the people into the land of Canaan. They conquered the land and instead of setting up a king, God continued to rule the Nation of Israel by way of the judges.
Some of the judges were good. Some weren’t so good. It doesn’t say which judge was ruling. We just have to guess that this little episode took place sometime in the first half of that 300 and some years that God ruled Israel through the judges. We do know there was a famine in Israel at that time. Always remember, God told Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when things got tough in Canaan – where should they never go? Down into Egypt.
Egypt, of course, was always a picture of the world. In this case, it’s Moab. God could have just as well said, now when things get tough up there in the land of Israel, don’t go to Moab. I’ll take care of you. But here we have an instance that I think by Divine plan, or however you want to put it, this little Jewish family couldn’t handle the drought and the famine up there in the area of Bethlehem. So they go down to Moab.
Now you have to know your Middle Eastern geography. Moab was in the area south of the Dead Sea and maybe a little bit east. It wasn’t all that far, but in antiquity of course, a hundred miles is quite a distance. All right, let’s pick it up in chapter 1 verse 1.
“Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, (There’s our time indication.) that there was a famine in the land. (That is the land of Israel, which has now been taken from the Canaanites.) And a certain man of Bethlehem-Judah went to sojourn (or to live for a period of time) in the country of Moab,…”
Now again, who remembers where Moab came from? Well, Moab was one of the two sons sired by Lot and his own daughters. Consequently, there was a stigma on the Moabites. The Jews were really not to have a lot to do with them, although according to Levitical law a Moabitess woman could marry into the Israelites but not visa versa.
All right, so here’s where we’ve got the setting now. This Jewish family, because of the lack of food and income, they were evidently financially destitute because as we’re going to see later on in the book, what was the state of the land that they owned? It was mortgaged. They were in debt. They probably weren’t capable of making any payments, so they just simply up and leave. But remember, the land is still in their name, even though they have now left the country. Okay, here’s the Jewish family then.
“And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons was Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem-Judah. (The same Bethlehem that we speak of at the birth of Christ) And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.” We’re going to just take this verse-by-verse. Otherwise we might miss some of the little tidbits that we shouldn’t have missed.
“And Elimelech, Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons.” Now, there’s a period, near as can tell historically, of about ten years. Ten years from the beginning of the Book of Ruth until the end. In this ten-year period, her husband dies and the two sons, which of course is to be expected, marry Moabite girls. All right, so they came to the country of Moab and only Naomi was left and her two sons.
“And they took them wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other was Ruth: and they dwelled there (Here it is.) about ten years. 5. And Mahlon and Chilion died, also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband.” Now you know, whenever I consider things like this, I have to feel that this is all part of God’s Sovereign design. Everything in Scripture happened for a purpose. I think it’s the same way today.
We talk with our company a lot of times, and when you look back and at the time you just wonder, why did God put us through such a time of distress? But, years later you can look back and you can see exactly why. It was all part of His plan to get us where He wants us. Well, the end result of all this, I’m sure you all realize, is that this Ruth the Moabitess becomes, I think, the great-grandmother of King David. She comes into the lineage. Well, that’s not an accident. That’s the Divine purpose.
All right, so here we have a famine that drives one little Jewish family down into Moab where the two sons take wives of the Moabite girls, one of whom is Ruth. Ruth is going to end up in the genealogy of Christ. That can’t just be an accident. This is Divine appointment. Okay, verse 5, and the two boys died. Imagine, first the husband and now the two sons shortly after they’ve married, and evidently before they even had children.
“And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband. 6. Then she arose with her daughters-in-law, (the two girls from Moab) that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people (up in Israel) in giving them bread.” In other words, the famine was over. They were now harvesting crops once again. Now verse 7:
“Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. 8. And Naomi said unto her two daughters-in-law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the LORD deal kindly with you, and ye have dealt with the dead, (in other words, reference to her sons) and with me. 9. The LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.” In other words, there was a real affinity between this mother-in-law and her two Moabitess daughters-in-law.
“And the girls said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people. (And Naomi just begged them. I can hear it!) 11. And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? 12. Turn again, my daughters, go your way;…” In other words, stay here in your home country of Moab.
“…for I am too old to have an husband, If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also tonight, and should also bear sons; 13. Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? (Well, of course not.) would ye stay for them from having husbands? No, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me. 14. And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah (she simply) kissed her mother-in-law (goodbye); but (Now again, this is all, I’m sure, in God’s Divine purposes.) Ruth (stays or) clave unto Naomi.” Now here is the part that I think raises questions, verse 15.
“And she said, Behold, thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people, and unto her (What?) gods: (Isn’t that a scary word? So, what were they? They were idolaters. Worshipping idols. Naomi says to her daughter-in-law–) return thou after thy sister-in-law.” Go back to your people. Go back to your gods. All right, now verse 16.
“And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whether thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: (Now, if you don’t mind underlining your Bible, underline this next statement. This is crucial to the whole story.) thy people (Israel) shall be my people, and thy God (What?) my God:”
Now, we have to realize that in the Old Testament economy we’re under a whole different set of circumstances when it comes to believing and salvation. Like I’ve said over and over on this program, I don’t claim to have all the answers. There are a lot of things that are questionable and I just can’t answer. But here again, knowing that Ruth is going to end up in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, she must have been a believer that one day will be in Glory with the rest of us, whereas Orpah went back to the pagan gods and idols of Moab. All right, so remember that Ruth has now made a profession, I guess we could say, of faith when she says, “Thy God shall be my God.”
“Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried:…” In other words, she has no intent of ever coming back to Moab. All right, the two of them take off from Moab and go back up to Bethlehem, up there in the environs of Jerusalem. When she gets back home, after having been gone ten years, remember, all of her friends and neighbors exclaimed in verse 19.
“…is this Naomi? (Is this Elimelech’s wife?) 20. And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: (In the Hebrew that word meant bitter.) for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. 21. I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?” So, you have to take from that, that Naomi was a solid Jewish believer in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. She certainly wasn’t destitute of faith. All right, verse 22.
“So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of (What?) barley harvest.” Now here again, this is all in God’s planning. Never lose sight of that. Why at the beginning of barley harvest? Well, it’s going to mean everything, because it’s all going to revolve around the fields and the gleanings and the harvest of barley. Had she come in a month later, that wouldn’t have been the case.
That’s what I like to point out in Scripture. The thing that keeps flying around in my head all the time and I guess I’ve got to share it. You go all the way up into the New Testament. Why, out of the blue, does God send Peter up to the house of Cornelius? I know this is a far stretch from Ruth, but on the other hand it shows how everything God does is for a purpose, even though it may be twelve or fourteen years out ahead.
Why does Peter go up to the house of Cornelius? Well, not only did God want the house of Cornelius saved, those Gentile men, but the far greater purpose was that twelve years later when it almost seemed as though the Jewish church in Jerusalem was going to knock Paul’s ministry in the head and end it, Peter remembers what? The house of Cornelius. And Peter says, wait a minute. Wait a minute. twelve years ago, a long time ago, God showed me that He will save Gentiles. And what was the whole purpose? To come to Paul’s defense.
All right, now the same way here. All of this, the timing is perfect. Had they come back a month later, harvest would have been over. These scenarios that led to the culmination of everything wouldn’t have been appropriate. That’s what you have to learn as you study Scripture.
All right, now here we come to the “kinsman redeemer” aspect of this little Book of Ruth, which is tied to Revelation chapter 5 when God the Son will be the “kinsman redeemer” of planet earth. Okay, verse 1 chapter 2:
“And Naomi had a (What?) kinsman…” Now underline that. That’s the key word here. Naomi has a kinsman! What’s a kinsman? Well, a relative, a near relative – probably an uncle or a cousin. Somebody that was close.
“And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a mighty man of wealth,…” Now wait a minute. What’s Naomi’s financial state? She’s broke! Naomi the poor woman is broke! But she still has title to a piece of land. Don’t forget that now.
Here again I’ve got to always remind people that this whole concept of owning and deeding and recording property isn’t a western invention. That isn’t something that came out of America. It goes all the way back to antiquity. Clear back here in the time of the judges and going on back of course to Jacob and Abraham, like I’m always pointing out when I’m showing Israel has land deeded to them, they were already having land deeded. They recorded it. That was the purpose of these mortgages.
I guess I’d better jump back up to today. If you’ve got a piece of property and it’s mortgaged, who knows about it? Anybody that wants to go to the courthouse. It’s there. You can find the mortgage on anybody that you can think of. They have to let you see what’s mortgaged. Well, what’s the purpose? So that some scam artist doesn’t come along and sell it twice. Then you’re buying property that you have no right to. So the whole idea of recording mortgages is the protection of the innocent. It’s no different back here. Here we have a piece of ground that is mortgaged. It’s still in Naomi’s name, but she’s too poor to do anything about it. She probably doesn’t even have enough money to buy the seed to plant the crop.
“…a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; (Naomi’s husband) and his name was Boaz. 2. And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn…” Now remember, they didn’t have corn as we in America understand corn. It was either barley or wheat and so forth. It’s already said it is the barley harvest. So, she wants to go and glean in the barley fields.
“…Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of barley after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter. (I love this next verse. Ruth leaves. She goes out to the fields.) 3. And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap (That little three lettered word – underline it. What is it?) (It was her hap. Now I suppose in our English language we would say she happened.) was to light (land) on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.”
I was reading the other night that way back in the beginning of our English language the Scots up there in Scotland translated this word much like we would say, “It was her good luck.” We don’t like to use the word luck. I don’t, because as believers we’re not dependant on luck. But, on the other hand, we are happenstance at times. It was all, again, in God’s divine purposes, although it’s to us an accidental event.
All right, it is the same way here. She didn’t pick out a particular field and set her eyes and go there. She was more or less following, I suppose, other gleaners, other poor people. But it was her good fortune. It was “her hap to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of (Whom? Of her father-in-law who has now died) Elimelech.”
“And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. (You’ve got to pick up from the language here that this Boaz was a believing Jew. He was a righteous Jew.) And they answered him, The LORD bless thee. 5. Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel (or whose maid) is this?”
Can you picture it? Boaz is evidently a rather young single man. And naturally he caught that there’s a strange girl in the field that he didn’t know. Now again, you know these communities are small. Having grown up in a small farming community, like a lot of you have, everybody knows everybody. And all of sudden a stranger comes into the midst, hey, they stick out like a sore thumb. Well, so did Ruth. She just stuck out like a sore thumb. Boaz says who’s that?
“And the servant that was set over the reapers (the manager of the field,) answered and said, It is the Moabitess damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab: 7. And she said, I pray you, (Ruth speaking) let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: (in other words, among the stems of grain) so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house. 8. Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field,…”
What’s happening? Oh! God’s at work! Now, don’t try to put anything immoral in here. This is all the divine purpose of God to bring this Moabite girl, Ruth, into the genealogy of Jesus Christ. All right, reading on.
“Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast (close) by my maidens:” Now you’ve got to remember, they had servants in those days, or what we later on called slaves. But nevertheless, Boaz with his wealth had control of these servitude kinds of people. Ruth and Naomi are flat broke financially. So, she is actually amongst those that are the poorest of the poor. That’s why they are gleaning. Boaz continues:
“Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged (or already instructed) the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the water vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.”
“Then she (Ruth) fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?” I have to insert also what kind of a stranger? A poor one. She had no wealth. She had no money. She was poor and a stranger. All right, now verse 11, here is the Lord at work.
“And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been showed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother-in-law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore. 12. The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, (Here comes the man’s faith.) under whose wings thou art come to (What?) trust.” Now, trust is the Old Testament word that is equal to our New Testament word what? Faith. You don’t see the word faith so much in the Old Testament. It’s always trust. But it’s the same thing. It’s synonymous. In fact, I want to say there are three words that are synonymous: trust and faith and believe. They all mean the same thing. All right, here we have the faith element coming in. Boaz is impressed by the fact that this young woman, out of an idolatrous environment, has now come into the relationship of Israel’s God and under His wings. My, what a beautiful picture for someone coming into a place of faith and trust.
“Then she said, (Ruth) Let me find favor in thy sight, my lord; (Now the word lord is small l. That was merely a term of respect. It has nothing to do with Deity. It was like we use the word sir.) Let me find favor in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens.” (I’m a foreigner.)
“And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime you come hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn (or grain), and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.” See how Boaz is just constantly doing the best for her.
“And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not:” Now, what’s that? Well, a gleaner would come in after the main harvest had been taken out, as we stressed here several weeks back, and they would pick up one stem at a time. But Boaz was now telling her, you don’t have to just depend on what’s laying on the ground that the reapers have left. You go into the bundles. You don’t have to wait and go all over acres and acres to gather. He says you go into the sheaves, or what I always grew up understanding as the bundles of grain.
“And let fall also some of the handfuls on purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not. 17. So she gleaned in the field unto evening, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah (one bushel and three pints of barley).” Pretty good day’s work for a gleaner. All right, God is doing all of this by divine purpose to bring this young Moabite girl into a marriage relationship with Boaz. From that union will come one of the forefathers of King David. So, as you read this little Book of Ruth, always look at the divine purposes behind every bit of it.