Open your Bibles to the book of Ruth, chapter 1. We'll be going through the whole book tonight, but that's really not a big deal because there are only four chapters. Given what we've already done in the Bible from 30,000 feet, like covering the whole book of Deuteronomy in one night, I think we can cover the book of Ruth. The book of Ruth is the only book in the Old Testament named after an ancestor of Jesus Christ; that ought to get our interest up. It's also the only book in the Old Testament named after a non-Jew, somebody who is a Gentile as we discover Ruth is. It's also one of the only two books in the Old Testament and for that matter in the entire Bible named after a woman. The other is the book of Esther. Ruth and Esther have that lofty notable privilege of being named after two wonderful Godly women. The name Ruth means friendship and she really shows her color in that area. It's a story of God's providence; how He arranges natural things to correspond with His supernatural will. It is also a story of redemption; of how there is a relative, he's called a kinsmen or a gaal in Hebrew, who provides a very important redemption for a family.
If you wanted to give an outline to this book you could simply give it four points by the four chapters: chapter 1 is love's resolve; Ruth makes a resolute commitment to follow Naomi to another country and to adopt the country and the culture but more than that, the God of the Children of Israel. Chapter 2 is love's response; in response to the decision, she's there in poverty gleaning out in the fields and she meets a man by the name of Boaz and responds to his initiation. Chapter 3 is love's request; based upon the response, she now makes a request for her family and herself to be redeemed. Chapter 4 is love's reward; she gets redeemed, the family land goes back to the original owners and she is wed to Boaz.
Chapter 1, verse 1: "Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons." We notice in verse 1 that it was a time of rebellion; it's the time when the judges ruled. If you remember from our study in the book of Judges, those weren't great times. There was apostasy and an ungodly fervor and an attitude in all of the people. We don't exactly know when the book of Ruth should be placed in terms of the time table of the book of Judges but it's probably best to and most scholars do, place it around Judges chapter 10 when a guy named Jaer was the judge in the land. So the book of Ruth probably took place when Jaer was there. It's a time of rebellion and it's a time of relativism. The very last verse in the book of judges says: "There was no king in Israel and everyone did what was right in his own eyes." Finally, it was a time of retribution, God was judging the people. It says in verse 1: "There was famine in the land," and we don't know exactly why. There are a lot of reasons that famines could happen: drought, wind, hail, locusts, or foreign raiders coming in and taking the crops. Whatever the reason was it doesn't matter and this we know from Deuteronomy. The productivity of the land and the rain that would come was in direct proportion to the obedience of the people. "If you obey Me you'll have a fruitful time and if you don't, you won't." So now there is a famine which is part of the judgment. Verse 2: "The name of the man was Elimelech, the name of his wife was," (pleasant), "Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion--Ephrathites of Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to the country of Moab and remained there." Most of you know that names were given at birth either because of the reaction of the parents to something that is going on in their lives or a circumstance at birth. It makes us wonder what was going on because of the names of these two kids. Mahlon means sicklyor weakling; what a horrible thing to call your son. "What's his name?" "Sicko." The other one wasn't much better. Chilion means crybaby, pining. Most parents have this morbid fear of having weird kids. Like, what if my kid turns out really weird and ugly. And all kids are interesting looking when they're born. You sort of have to get over some things and get past some other things in order to say, "Oh, how beautiful. It looks just like you!" I'm sure it probably wasn't that bad. This simply could be the reaction of a first time father seeing two babies being born and not knowing what to say or what to make of it. "Oh no, look it happened; sicko and crybaby! Those are the names of my boys." Now the name of the father is most interesting; Elimelech; it comes from the two Hebrew words, Eli which is "my God" and melek, king. His name meant my God is king, and yet he never really lived up to it. Why do I say that? Because, "If your God is king, Elimelech, why do you need to leave the land of covenant, Israel, and go to foreign soil instead of just trusting God where you're at." He would say, "Well, because there's a famine in the land." "Yes, but you are going over to a place that is a sworn enemy of the Jews, the land of Moab." Now the plains of Moab were about 3500 feet above sea level; they got about 16 inches of rain per year; and the soil is very porous so it stays green and verdant. It was beautiful over there. If you're around Bethlehem, you could get up to a ridge and you could see right over the Dead Sea and into the land of Moab and it looked beautiful to him. Except, it's not your land, they are enemies of the Jews, they have child sacrifice, they don't worship Yahweh, they don't worship your God but worship a god they call Kamosh and they worshiped that god by child sacrifice. So for him to go there was a step of unbelief but he made it under pressure. You know what? A lot of us make bad choices under pressure. Finances aren't what they are so you take out the second mortgage, then the third, the fourth, and the fifth and soon you're bankrupt. You did it under pressure. Under pressure he moves over to the other side. Verse 3: "Then Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died; and she was left, and her two sons. Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. And they dwelt there about ten years. Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died; so the woman survived her two sons and her husband." Now there is a lot of heartache compressed in these three verses. Picture the scene: they move over there; they settle down into a nice four-bedroom tent, two-camel garage; they got it made; maybe they joined the donkey lodge or whatever they had back then. Then one day, Naomi gets a call from the Moab emergency room at the local hospital saying her husband Elimelech has just passed away. Her world ended. Now she is all alone with her two sons, Mahlon and Chilion and eventually they will die. One commentator says, "He lost his life seeking his livelihood and he found a grave where he sought a home." Remember Jesus said, "Whoever seeks his own life will lose it but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." She loses her husband and as time goes on she loses her two sons which means she loses the family name which also means that she'll lose her inheritance. There is now a danger of that whole family allotment of land being lost because all the males are gone and she has nothing left. Whatever you are going through as a Christian right now, know this, the very worst that God may have for you is better than the very best that the devil has for you. You might think that you know better and that this is an extenuating circumstance so you make wrong choices that are not spiritual, biblical, or Godly; it's better to take the worse that God has for you than the best that Satan has for you. But now we will watch and see that not only does God rule in human affairs but he also overrules in human affairs. Verse 6: "Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had visited His people by giving them bread. Therefore she went out from 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." This is fascinating. God is now on Naomi's mind. In verses 1 through 5 God is not mentioned at all because it's the story of a family's life apart from God. Suddenly in verses 6, 8, 9 and 13, God is mentioned. She is God conscious one more time and she even uses the term, Yahweh, the covenant name of God. This is how I take it: if suffering leads you to God consciousness, is it bad? We say, "All suffering must be bad." I don't think so. If my suffering leads me to God and God consciousness and God dependence, I would say that's good and not bad. David even said in one of the Psalms, "Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I seek your Law," (or Your Word). If suffering leads you to God than learn to embrace it and even thank God for it.
Now we come to one of the most decisive moments in the book. For that matter, one of the most important and decisive moments in all of history. That's quite a statement! If you at that time were able to look at different parts of the world you would find some monumental things happening at this very moment. At this time in history the Neolithic Era was just ending; the new era of Greece was just beginning over in the Greco Macedonian region; the great Sui Dynasty was in full swing in China; and in Central and South America the Mayan Dynasty was growing very strong. These were all monumental historical events. With that in mind, who cares about a few women in Moab having a conversation on a road? Well, I just said it was one of the most decisive moments in history and here's why. One day Jesus Christ will be born in Bethlehem and He'll be born there because it's the city of David. David was born in Bethlehem because of his father Jesse and grandfather Obed who is the son of Ruth. The reason he is the son of Ruth is because she is going to marry a guy in Bethlehem named Boaz. If this decision isn't made just right, tell the Magi not to come to Bethlehem. There will be no reason for them to come because no Savior will be born and no redemptive history will take place. This is a very crucial crossroad in redemptive history. I love that little verse tucked away in Zechariah 4, "Don't despise the days of small beginnings." Here is a small beginning.
Verse 11: "But Naomi said, 'Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Are there still sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?'" So daughter number one, Orpah goes back home to Moab; she's not going to hang around. Her mom-in-law said, "I'm releasing you and going back to my home, you stay here in Moab in your home." So Orpah says, "Good-bye" and she walks off. Verse 16: "But Ruth said: 'Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.'" Talk about a commitment; this is a steadfast commitment. She says, "You know, entreat me not to leave you; please don't bring up again for me to go back home because I'm not going back home. I'm burning my bridges and I'm going with you and have no return ticket; I'm sold out and committed." It's a huge commitment to leave everything you were familiar with and go to a new place, new people, new culture, new language, and a new God. I wish Christians were this committed. Some people say, "Well, I'm very involved." That's great, now be very committed. There's a big difference. A cow is involved but a pig is committed. A cow gives milk but a pig gives himself. She's committed; I'm giving myself, not only to you and this new relationship but to the God of Israel. It was a spiritual commitment, "Your God shall be my God." They arrive back in Bethlehem. "But she said to them, 'Do not call me Naomi;'" (pleasant), "'call me Mara,'" (which means bitter), "'for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?' So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. Now they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest." That's put in there by the Holy Spirit for a very important reason which we'll understand in a moment. It's about mid to late April when they show up in Bethlehem. So that's love's resolve; Ruth clings to Naomi.
Chapter 2 is love's response; it's a romantic scene. It's the first time Boaz and Ruth meet. Do you remember when you first met your wife or husband? Try to get in touch with what you remember when you first met your spouse. I think it's healthy to do that and it's healthy to go back and remember the first love relationship. How the relationship started; how it got kindled; and how it developed. I've met a lot of people that say, "I definitely remember when I met him and he's not what I thought he would be." Somebody once said that good advice for marriage is to keep your eyes wide open before you enter marriage and half shut thereafter. Chapter 2, verse 1: "There was a relative of Naomi's husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz." We understand now that Naomi was once a part of a very aristocratic Bethlehem family that owned a lot of land and this is a near relative; a kinsmen; a gaal is the Hebrew term, kinsman, redeemer. Verse 2: "So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, 'Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor.' And she said to her, 'Go, my daughter.'" There was a law in the Old Testament called the Law of Gleaning which stated: if you own land, at harvest time you go through and harvest but you leave a lot of it behind; you don't go a second time and you leave the corners full of produce so that the poor, the fatherless, the widow and the stranger can go cull through the fields and get whatever is left. It was a way of taking care of the poor; it was the ancient welfare system. It's interesting that it wasn't just given to them, they had to go out in the fields and work for it; they had to glean it and work so it built dignity into it. That is what is happening here. Verse 3: "Then she left, and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers. And she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech. Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers," (this is the boss speaking to his crew!), "'The Lord be with you!' And they answered him, 'The Lord bless you!' Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, 'Whose young woman is this?'" This doesn't sound like the work crews I've had experience with. You probably wouldn't hear this out on a construction site. I don't even hear this necessarily around Christian organizations all the time. I've been in Christian organizations and you walk through them and someone might say, "What's up?" I can get that response at a grocery store from a pagan. I think God's people in any work environment and in any Christian organization and certainly at church should have the highest, utmost respect for the people they come in contact with. "How are you today? God bless you! The Lord be with you." This is happening right here with Boaz. He's a spiritual man. Gals, marry a spiritual man! If you are going to find someone to marry, number one on the list should be that he loves Jesus Christ and he's a spiritual man because if that man becomes your husband he is in a sense going to be like Jesus Christ to you. He's in that very important relationship of love and submission. So you want to look for someone who's going to be like Christ to you. That doesn't necessarily mean that you look for someone with long hair, robe, sandals and a staff; but someone who is very Christ like because the Bible says, "Don't be unequally yoked together with unbelievers," or as the revised standard version puts it, "mismated." Notice in verse 2 Ruth said to Naomi, "'Please let me go to the field and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor.'" In Verse 7, she says to Boaz: "'Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.'" Verse 10: "So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, 'Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?'" Do you hear the graciousness in her voice to her mother-in-law and then twice to Boaz who owns the field. There's an air of grace, "Please mother-in-law, would you let me go to the field and sweat it out and work hard all day?" What if your kids had that attitude? "Mom, dad, can I please clean my room and then can I please wash your cars and then can I please vacuum?" You'd have to go to therapy for six months if that happened! As I read through this it shows me that the trials of her past have not crushed her spirit. She lost her father in law and her husband; she took a long journey and is now in a land where she is under the laws of poverty and has to glean out in the field and she still has a grace about her. Even though she suffered immensely and lost considerably she has grace. Compare her to John chapter 5 and the woman at the well of Samaria. She had five husbands and was a crusty old character and it showed in the way she answered Jesus Christ in those terse little comments that were weathered with mistrust. A woman's attitude makes her beautiful or ugly. It's not about the face or the body; but more importantly it's about the attitude. Peter said in 1 Peter chapter 3: "It's not the fancy hair, gold jewelry or fine cloths that should make you beautiful. No your beauty should come from within you; the beauty of a gently and quiet spirit that will never be destroyed and is very precious to God." This girl was beautiful especially because of this attitude. Verse 11: "And Boaz answered and said to her, 'It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before.'" Again, he's showing kindness and sensitivity to Ruth. The relationship, though in its nascent stage is off to a great start. In fact, relationships that don't have kindness, respect and sensitivity aren't built on a good foundation. If you want to succeed in a relationship make sure that you have kindness, respect, gratitude and this kind of attitude. It's like the old English proverb, "You're going to catch a lot more flies with honey than you will with vinegar." So they are sweet to each other.
Verse 12: "'The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.'" Boaz knew that she was a Godly woman and that she made a conversion experience. She left her god, Kamosh on the other side of the Jordan and now she is following Yahweh, the God of Israel. He remembers that he heard about the decision she made to Naomi, "Your God will be my God and your people will be my people," and he's remarking on that. Proverbs 31 says: "Beauty is vain or passing but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." It's an unfortunate truth, but in our culture, the one crowning value is outward, physical beauty. Look at any magazine rack and I rest my case. That's the value people look at. "Oh, I wish I had that body." There is nothing wrong with looking good, whether male or female; any barn looks better painted. That's just a fact for all of us and we all fight things like age; but the most important crowning value in Scripture is not the outward and the physical but once again it's the inward.
Verse 15: "And when she rose up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, 'Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. Also let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.'" So after this experience, Ruth goes home and tells her mother-in-law Naomi. Naomi is all excited and encourages her in this process. Verse 20: "Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, 'Blessed be he of the Lord, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!' And Naomi said to her, 'This man is a relation of ours, one of our close relatives.'" You can just see her being a little matchmaker thinking, "This is really good. You want to know this guy; this could be from the Lord." I love this because she's not saying, "I want you to never look at another man because nobody could be the husband that my son was to you." She is fully and totally engaged in this process.
There is an undercurrent in this book that is perhaps the central undercurrent of the book of Ruth. It is the providence of God and this is what I mean. God's providence is where God takes ordinary events in life and arranges them for an extraordinary result. God providentially moves the pieces on the chessboard. Providence is very different from the miraculous. I think we use the term miracle way too often and we depreciate the real meaning of the word. A miracle is where God intervenes or overrides natural law. For a man to stand upright and walk on water - that's a miracle because the laws of nature being as they are wouldn't allow water to displace the weight of an upright human being; so for that to happen, it's a miracle, the intervention of and overriding of natural law. A resurrection from the dead is a miracle. It doesn't happen every day; dead people, once dead don't get back up. The providence of God is really cool. Providence is originally a Latin word, provideo, to see in advance; pro, before; video, to see. God sees your life in advance and He's got the video and He splices it and changes it and arranges natural circumstances for a supernatural result. There are a couple of things to notice about the providence of God so far. First, timing. Naomi and Ruth show up in Bethlehem at a very particular time. Chapter 1, verse 22: "It was the beginning of the barley harvest." That's when God's laws for caring for the poor would be in place. That means during this time of mid to late April you would have professional farmers and poor gleaners in the fields together. So you have Ruth and Boaz in the field together; the timing is providential. The second thing that's providential is the place. It says, "In the fields of Boaz." In Bethlehem there were lots of grain fields; at least several dozen if not more. The word Bethlehem comes from two Hebrew words, bahyith which is house or place and lekhem which is bread. The house of bread. Bethlehem was the bread basket of ancient Israel; it's where people grew their grain. This wasn't just any field; it was a special field in this bread basket of Israel. Chapter 2, verse 3: "She happened to come to a part of the field belonging to Boaz."
In chapter 3 I feel like singing, "Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match," remember that song from that old movie? Naomi is planning, she is the matchmaker, but it is really a match made in heaven. God is behind the scenes working this whole thing out. Verse 1: "Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, 'My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you?'" You can see her leading up to this. "'Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor.'" That means they toss it up in the air and the Mediterranean breezes would separate the chaff from the wheat in the late afternoon. "'Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking.'" The threshing floors were elevated and they were usually bedrock and the grain was placed on a pile on the threshing floor. "'Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what you should do.'" Naomi is very practical. "Sweetheart, wash yourself, put on your best dress, perfume yourself and look like a knockout; look beautiful and make yourself appealing and then go in and pop the question to him; don't let this guy get away." That is exactly what happens and she agrees. Boaz lays down at night in the threshing floor and Ruth comes in, uncovers his feet, he wakes up (it's a weird thing to happen and it's cold.) Verse 9: " And he said, 'Who are you?' So she answered, 'I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.'" You know what she is doing here? She's proposing to him; it's a Sadie Hawkins thing. She is saying, "You're a relative, we lost land, I'm available, will you marry me." I won't get into all the details but in Deuteronomy chapter 25 is an odd law of the Levirate marriage which says, "If a couple gets married and the husband dies and leaves the wife childless, she will go to his brother or a near relative for him to raise up seed so that his family won't disappear in Israel. Verse 10: "Then he said, 'Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich.'" What does he mean? Boaz is probably about 45 or 50 years old at the time; remember he's a contemporary of Naomi and Elimelech and she's a young lady and he says, "You know, you didn't go chasing young men but you waited and went through the law of Israel's procedures. "'And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman. Now it is true that I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I. Stay this night, and in the morning it shall be that if he will perform the duty of a close relative for you--good; let him do it. But if he does not want to perform the duty for you, then I will perform the duty for you, as the Lord lives! Lie down until morning.'" Now there is no moral or immoral overtones here. This is a very common custom in the Middle East. He is there at the threshing floor and she proposes and he would place his garment or some clothing over her which says, "I will protect you and I will take you as my wife if this all works out." It's symbolic of his intent and there was no sexual relationship that night; they were in separate places. She was a virtuous woman and he was a virtuous man and they are both content to wait to see if the Lord is in this. Once again, women, watch for this trait in men. If you ever are dating a young man who says, "I can't wait until we're married because I love you too much so let's hop in the sack now." Hit him right between the eyes and knock some sense into him because he is stupid. The Bible says that's not love. Love is patient and it will wait. When he says, "Honey, baby, sweetie, I love you," what he really means is, "I love me and I want you." Love will wait. This couple is waiting and going through all of the legal things to see if the Lord is in it.
Chapter 4 is love's reward. Verse 1: "Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there; and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz had spoken came by." His name isn't given but he was closer in relationship to Naomi and thus Ruth. "So Boaz said, 'Come aside, friend, sit down here.' So he came and sat down." This is basically a courtroom scene. The gate of the city was a large enclosure and it's where all the judges and the elders sat and where all the business was taken care of. "And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, 'Sit down here.' So they sat down. Then he said to the close relative, 'Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, sold the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech. And I thought to inform you, saying, 'Buy it back in the presence of the inhabitants and the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am next after you.' And he said, 'I will redeem it.'" In ancient times, if a Jewish family lost their property it could be brought back at the appropriate time; there was a redemption clause in it. Let me paint the picture. If a land transaction happened, there were two title deeds that were drawn up; two scrolls. On the inside were stipulations. If the land is lost the person who wants to redeem it has to meet these qualifications: he has to be a relative, he has to be able to pay whatever price is stipulated and he has to be willing. The seal was rolled up in a scroll and it was sealed so it could not be opened. One was kept in a safe place and the other was kept by the seller. So both the buyer and the seller had access. Verse 5: "Then Boaz said, 'On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also buy it from Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance.'" Notice how slick Boaz is. At first he doesn’t even mention it. "Hey there's a land deal coming up." "Oh, well, I think I want to buy it." "Well, there is a little clause that says if you buy it you also have to marry the chick and by the way she's a Gentile." "And the close relative said, 'I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance. You redeem my right of redemption for yourself, for I cannot redeem it.'" In other words, "Look, I'm married and I have children. I'd love to buy the land and acquire more and bring it back into the family but if it means buying her or having her as a wife, I can't do that; I'm spoken for. Verse 9: "And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, 'You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, from the hand of Naomi. Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from his position at the gate. You are witnesses this day.'" Verse 12: "So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son." Verse 17: "And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David."
Have you ever seen a person and in observing that person you think, "You know, that person reminds me of somebody else." When I read about Boaz that's exactly what I think. He reminds me a lot of Jesus Christ. In fact, one of the clearest pictures of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament is Boaz, a bridegroom who's very tender and buys a field to get a bride. He wants a bride but he buys the field and he gets a Gentile bride; like the church. Jesus said, "The kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field which a man found and hid and for the joy over it he sells all that he has and buys the field." That's not a picture of us selling everything to get Christ; you don't have anything of worth to get Christ nor can you buy Him. It's a picture of Christ selling all, giving all to buy the world, the field, that He might have the bride, us.
I want to close with this thought. In Revelation chapter 5, we have a similar circumstance. John said, "And I look and behold the one who sat on the throne had in His right hand a scroll that was sealed with seven seals and it was written inside and on the back. And there was no one found worthy in heaven or under the earth to take the scroll and unloose the seals. And the angels said, 'Who is worthy to take the scroll?' And no one was found." John said, "I wept like a baby"; "I became Chilion. I started weeping convulsively because no one could redeem it." What's going on here? The same thing but with higher stakes. It's a land deal but the land in question in Revelation chapter 5 is the whole earth. Revelation chapter 5 is the title deed to the entire earth that is at stake and Jesus Christ is the One in that chapter who takes the scroll and unlooses the seals because He meets all of the qualifications. Qualification number one, He's a near relative. By the way, that's the purpose for the incarnation. He became a human being, a blood relative, he became one of us. So Jesus Christ is related to the human race. Qualification number two, He was able to pay the price. Boaz was very wealthy. He could easily afford buying this land. Jesus Christ bought it with His own blood. Qualification number three, Jesus, like Boaz, was willing. Jesus said, "No man takes my life from Me, I lay it down of Myself. I have the power both to lay it down and to take it up again." Jesus willingly went to the cross.
Here's how it worked. God created the earth. Adam was the Benedict Arnold that forfeited the land by his disobedience to God. Romans chapter 5 says: "By one man sin entered the world and death through sin so death spread to all men." That's Adam; he lost the land. Jesus Christ is the second Adam and the only One worthy to take the scroll and perform the right as kinsman redeemer.
Let's pray. Heavenly Father, the words of that famous song by George Beverly Shay come to my mind, "Oh the wonder of it all, just to think that God loves me." Lord to think that the Lord Jesus Christ would pay the ultimate price to buy the field, the world that He might have the bride, us, is staggering to us. We're so thankful Lord that we're Your bride and we can't wait for the full redemption coming down the pike when You return and when You set up Your Kingdom and You redeem the earth and when you purge it through judgment and the tribulation, and redeem and restore it via the millennium. Thank You Lord. Father I pray in Jesus' name that if someone has walked away from You and lost the joy of salvation or maybe were living under the idea that they have been saved because they were church goers or they believed in a supreme being, tonight they realize that it's not enough. Lord I pray You bring them to You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.