Hope is key to turning bitterness to joy. And hope comes from faith in God and living faithfully for Him. For Naomi it was a long trek from bitterness to joy. Her journey, however, reminds us that in the Lord we have joy that reaches beyond our circumstances and into eternity.
As we come to the end of the book of Ruth, we have uncovered a remarkable love story between a poor widow and a wealthy landowner. I have referred to this book as a fairytale that actually came true.
Now, let’s watch the last few scenes here, beginning in chapter 4 and verse 13:
So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son.
After giving us several chapters on their courtship, in just two sentences here we have a wedding, a home established, and a baby boy delivered.
Now if we could slow it down for just a minute, we know the wedding ceremony would have been a joyful, elaborate event. The entire town of Bethlehem would have been invited. Normally, the celebration would have lasted a week or so, depending on the wealth of the family—and Boaz was a wealthy landowner.
Now after all of that—a year or so later—notice how the focus of the book returns to Naomi:
Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” (verses 14-15)
The women are basically telling Naomi, “Because of Ruth and Boaz and now your grandson, your life has been restored. You have been given fresh enthusiasm and joy in your old age!”
Just look at Naomi now. Verse 16 says, “Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse.” That word “nurse” refers to a guardian or caregiver. She is his nanny. So, the book of Ruth that opened at the cemetery now concludes in the nursery. And even the neighbors notice that this little boy has put a bounce back in her step and meaning back into her life.
One medical doctor who authored a number of books on the subject of grandparenting wrote that the bond between a child and a grandparent is the least complicated form of human love.
I agree. It isn’t complicated, is it? It’s all about the relationship. And grandparents don’t worry about the details either. If the grandkids want to eat dessert first or have another Popsicle, I’m sure there’s a verse somewhere to support that!
My grandmother, on my mother’s side, lived in my hometown of Norfolk, Virginia, where she served as a missionary alongside my parents. Every Friday night, one of us four boys got to have a sleepover at her house. Granny, as we called her, had been widowed for many years and had dedicated the rest of her life to serving as a “missionary mom” to the servicemen and servicewomen stationed in Norfolk.
Now this once-a-month sleepover at Granny’s house meant I was going to stay in my pajamas on Saturday morning, watching cartoons and eating my favorite cereal. On top of that, she would let me have a cup of coffee loaded down with sugar and cream. It was dessert in a cup. And that’s the way I like it to this day.
After breakfast, she would open her well-worn Bible and read some verses and then pray. She prayed around the world—they were really long prayers—and then she would pray for me. I was blessed with that loving, faithful relationship.
If you are a grandparent, you have the ability to impact their grandchildren in so many ways. Take advantage of it.
You can teach your grandchildren the plan of salvation, like young Timothy learned from his mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5).
You can be a wise counselor with your years of experience and biblical knowledge.
You can cheer on your grandchildren without having to worry about all the details.
Have you ever thought about the fact that Ruth was a new follower of God who knew little of Jewish customs and biblical traditions in the home? Ruth knew little of the history of Israel and the law of Moses. She barely had time to learn these things before her son would have begun asking questions. Naomi would have been a tremendous resource as a grandmother, working alongside Boaz and Ruth as they raised their son to learn God’s Word.
We are told here in verse 17 that Boaz and Ruth’s son grew up to become “the father of Jesse, the father of David.” You know what that means? It means that Ruth, a poor gleaner in the fields of Bethlehem, has joined the family tree, not only of King David, but also of the Descendant of David, our Messiah, the Lord Jesus (see Matthew 1:1-16).
Now as we wrap up the book of Ruth, I want to highlight four similarities between Boaz, Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer, and Jesus Christ, our Kinsman-Redeemer.
First, kinship with the bride was required. In order to meet the conditions of the law and qualify to redeem the bride, the kinsman-redeemer had to be related to the extended family of the bride.
Likewise, the Son of God had to become our relative—a member of the human race. And the Bible tells us He did: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).
Second, the kinsman-redeemer’s role was voluntary. The kinsman could not be forced to perform this role; he had to be willing to redeem the bride. Boaz could have walked away just like that other man did. But he didn’t, because he loved Ruth.
God the Son became our Kinsman-Redeemer, not because He had to, but because He wanted to. First John 4:19 tells us, “He first loved us.”
Third, the kinsman-redeemer had to be capable of paying the redemption price. It wasn’t just about love. No matter how much Boaz loved Ruth, he had to be able to buy Elimelech’s land; redeeming the bride was costly.
So also, Jesus Christ was able to pay the price for our redemption. The price wasn’t money but His own lifeblood. The apostle Paul wrote, “In him we have redemption through his blood” (Ephesians 1:7). When Jesus hung on the cross and said, “It is finished” (John 19:30), that Greek term meant “paid in full.” All your debt of sin has been completely paid off by Christ.
Finally, the kinsman-redeemer’s provision was life-changing. Think about it: Boaz lifted Ruth out of poverty and even changed her status. She was no longer a Moabite widow but the bride of Boaz. Likewise, Jesus Christ changed your status from lost to saved, from an outcast to a member of His family.
The fairytales I used to read to my daughters when they were little always ended with the words, “And they lived happily ever after.” Those words belong to every member of God’s family. No matter how difficult, challenging, or painful your life is right now, you will live happily ever after.
Then on the last page of those fairytales my girls wanted me to read were those two words: “The End.” But let me tell you, beloved, there will be no end to your story. You will be taken away one day by your Prince, swept away by your Bridegroom and taken into the presence of your Kinsman-Redeemer. There will never be “the end” to your “happily ever after.” It’s going to last forever.
And with that, our Wisdom Journey through the book of Ruth comes to an end.