An Unlikely Participant in God’s Providence – Ruth 4:13-18

A Jewess named Naomi moved from Bethlehem in Judah to the country of Moab with her husband and family. They remained there many years and both of Naomi’s sons married Moabite women. In a tragic turn of events Naomi’s husband died, both of her sons died, and Naomi and her two daughters-in-law had no family to care and provide for them. Naomi decided to return to Judah to live among her relatives and one of her daughters-in-law, Ruth, determined to accept the faith of Naomi and move with her: “For where you go I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16). When Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem, Ruth provided food for Naomi and herself by gleaning grain in the harvested fields. Boaz, the owner of the field, noticed Ruth and learned that she was Naomi’s daughter-in-law and was working to support them both. So Boaz allowed Ruth special privileges in gleaning the grain to help her and Naomi. Near the end of the harvest season Naomi told Ruth to present herself to Boaz as her kinsman-redeemer, because he was a relative of Naomi. Provision was made in the Law of Moses for the nearest relative to redeem his kinsman’s lost opportunities. If a family member was forced into slavery, his kinsman-redeemer purchased his freedom. If a family member died without an heir, the kinsman-redeemer perpetuated the name and heritage of the deceased by marrying the widow and raising a son  So Boaz agreed to redeem Ruth and he took her as his wife and they had a son: “They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David” (Ruth 4:17). This story demonstrates the providence of God at work in the life of a most unlikely participant in His plans and purposes. Ruth was a Moabite and a young widow and therefore, had no standing and few prospects in ancient Israel. Yet God used her to perpetuate the heritage through whom King David would be born and utlimately the human heritage through whom the Messiah, Jesus Christ, was born. If God can use someone as unlikely as Ruth to play such an important role in His providence, how much more can each of us be deliberate participant’s in God’s plans and purposes!

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