Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ruth 3-4: A step too far?

I've been following this discussion with interest. How Jesus is revealed in the Old Testament, the contents of the Luke 24 Bible study is surely one of the most, if not the most important question when it comes to reading the Old Testament Christianly. I've been thinking about this as i've been preaching through Ruth in Teen Church. Here are some thoughts on Ruth 3-4, is it a step too far?

First, I love the book of Ruth. Don't you? It's mixture of the obvious and the subtle, the tragic and the magnificent, the love the flows through it, the grace which drenches it. The fact it's so obviously the Gospel.

Chapter 3 is a great example of all of these things. It looks awful on a first reading: 'Ruth, make yourself look beautiful and go creep up on Boaz in the middle of the night when his heart is merry and no one can see you. But it's beautiful. Spread your wings over me, says Ruth, basically i want you to ask me to marry you. I want you to do for me what God does for Israel, spread your wings over me. Protect me, provide for me, lead me and guide me. Ruth comes to Boaz for redemption with nothing, just like we come to Jesus with nothing.

There are problems for Ruth and Boaz, just like there are problems for us and Jesus. Boaz wants to marry Ruth because he loves her, not because he's legally bound to. He's only a redeemer in the loosest sense of the word, redeemers were brothers of a dead husband, Boaz was an uncle or a cousin at best. He has no legal need to marry her. He wants to marry her because he loves her. This other 'redeemer' might not. That's their problem. Our problem is different, but it's still a problem. Our sin is what separates us from Jesus. Your sin, my sin, our rebellion stops us from being in relationship with the Father through the Son. That needs an answer, just like Boaz and Ruth need an answer.

Jesus is our glorious Boaz. Jesus and Boaz deal with these problems. Jesus dies on the cross, Boaz gets the other redeemer out of the way. Because Jesus loves us, because Boaz loved Ruth. not because they had to.

And then what? A marriage! Revelation 21:1-5 sees the holy city descend from God like a bride prepared for her husband. Jesus has dealt with every problem to prepare us for the Wedding of weddings. Boaz has dealt with every problem to prepare Ruth for their wedding. How Ruth must've loved and trusted in Boaz, and wanted to give her life to him, what else then can we do, but give our life, in faith, trust and joy, to Jesus.

1 comment:

Stephen Murray said...

I'm preaching on Ruth 3 on Sunday night. I'm pretty convinced I've got end with Boaz as a very clear picture of Jesus as our kinsman redeemer. I'm struggling with what to do with the tension in the narrative at the end (the other kinsman-redeemer), in terms of how far I apply that to the spiritual experience of people, i.e. Boaz and Ruth have a problem - we have the problem of our sin. What justification do I have for saying that? Yet at the same time its a clear movement in the narrative that needs accounting for.

If Boaz is a picture of Jesus then maybe the 'problem' pertains to Jesus' needing to go to the cross (i.e. there was a cost/risk to his redeeming his Ruth)?

Anyway - thanks for your gospel-centered thoughts in the post.