RUTH 2: CAN I GET A KINSMAN REDEEMER?
With permission, The Journey has asked to publish a transcript of Mike Cope’s sermon about Ruth in four blog posts. There are links to the four parts at the bottom of each of four blog posts. The sermon was preached at the 2017 Pepperdine Bible Lectures, now called Harbor. You can also watch the sermon here.
Now we’re ready for Chapter two. In Chapter two, you realize you can’t just sit there, you can’t do nothing. You can’t wait for fate to fall upon you, or to have good luck. You’ve got to do something. And Ruth, being the younger of the widows, is eager to go out and work. She takes advantage of the mercy built into the Torah. That cares about orphans, and widows, and immigrants, and the poor. The law that says, “When you’re going through your land, just leave the barley that’s in the corner, for those groups that come along. And when you’re going along and your cutting, and you drop some, just leave it on the ground. That’s for them.”
Because to us, this land is your land, this land is my land. To them, this land is God’s Land. I just farm it for him. And so you go along, and Ruth is there. She’s going to take advantage of that. She happens to be in the field of a relative. But she doesn’t know that yet, she’s just out working. We see her working, and then we see the camera turns. And here he comes, Boaz. It says he is a man of standing. He comes out into his field, and he says, and I love this: he says to all of his workers, “Yahweh be with you, my friends.” And they reply to Boaz, “And may Yahweh bless you.”
Now I wish I could freeze that moment, if we were there, and we were watching all this. I wish I could freeze it. I’d love to say to you, “Don’t you hope those two get together some day?” You’d go, “What two?” And I’d say, “Oh, you know, that immigrant woman that’s out in the field, and Boaz.” You would think I was crazy. She’s poor, he’s rich. She’s the lowest part of society, he’s a man of standing. She has a ten year track record of not being able to get pregnant. If he gets married, he’s gonna want kids. She has to follow the servant girls. He’s the one that’s over all of the servants, the man of standing.
Well, Boaz sees her, and inquires about her. And what people say is, “This woman has made this radical commitment to her mother-in-law, who comes from us. One of our people. She, this foreigner, this Moabite woman.” And the text keeps saying it again: Moabite, Moabite, Moabite, so you don’t miss it. She made this commitment. Moab says, “I want to talk to her.” And it’s interesting, because this is where we want the love story to take over. But the text doesn’t really go there.
He’s drawn to who she is, and what he’s heard about her. He affirms that. The kind of woman, that he’s heard that she is. And he says, “May the wings of God be over you.” Now remember that. We’ll look at it on the screen later. But, “May the wings of God be over you.” And she says, “Why do you take a notice of me?” And he keeps affirming, that it’s because of this character that she’s got. So much so, that now he says, “Look, we’re going to make this easier. You jump in with the servant girls, you don’t have to be behind them. And when you need a drink, you don’t have to run home, like most of the other people gleaning do. Just come in with all of my hired hands, get a drink.
And she goes back to working. And he gives instructions to make it even easier for her. At the end of the day you find out, that when she takes all of the food she’s gathered, and she threshes it, and puts the stone to it, afterwards there are thirty pounds of grain. Now most of you have picked up a twenty pound bag of ice or potatoes, and you know how heavy that is. Thirty pounds she’s carrying home. What a bounty. And it’s then that Naomi says, “Now who’s field was this?” “Well it was Boaz.” And Naomi says, “This is the kinsman redeemer!”
Which means he’s a relative of Elimelech. If he chooses to, he could step into this story and rescue us. He can make things right. He can redeem the land. He can redeem us. This may be our place of protection. Based on the invitation of Boaz, back goes Ruth. And she works until the end, not only of barley harvest. But even longer, to the end of wheat harvest.
Each year The Journey sends members to The Pepperdine Bible Lectures that Mike Cope directs. Check out the video below to learn more about it and consider going with us in 2019.