In the pages of the Old Testament we are introduced to Ruth’s husband. Boaz was a faithful, dedicated, and family-oriented Israelite who lived during the time of the Judges. Little is known about him, but much can be learned from him.
In this midweek Advent sermon, Pastor Frusti presents Boaz’s “Advent Greeting” to the people of the twenty-first century through a first person dramatic monologue style. Besides providing a glimpse into Israelite life three millenia ago, this message reminds us of Jesus loving work for us.
Sermon Recording (coming soon)
Sermon Transcript “Boaz: A Kinsman Advent Greeting”
Good evening, and please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Boaz and my account is found in the pages of your Old Testament. I lived during the time of the Judges – well over 3,000 years ago. My name, “Boaz” means strength or “mental sharpness”.
You don’t know a whole lot about me. As a matter of fact when I am introduced in the pages of the Word, I’m getting along in years. I have already made my fortune. I’m an influential landowner in Bethlehem.
The only reason you know me is because of my family. Which is a-okay with me. Family has always been important to me. There is only one thing more important to me than family. That is God and my obedience to His torah.
When I am introduced in your Bible it is due to my role as a “go-el”. Can you repeat that for me, “go-el”. So, do you know what you just said? I didn’t think so. “Go-el” is Hebrew for “kinsman-redeemer”. By the looks on some of your faces, you might not understand what a kinsman redeemer is either. I think I’d better tell you my story.
Like I said, the only reason I am in the Bible and therefore here this evening, is because of my family. I am an Israelite and descended from the tribe of Judah. I am a true Israelite, however there is some Gentile blood in my ancestry, too. Rahab is among my ancestors. You may remember Rahab. She lived in Jericho and because she assisted Joshua’s spies she and her family were the only ones spared when Joshua’s armies defeated that great city.
One day I noticed an unfamiliar person gleaning my fields.
By the looks on your faces it looks like you may not understand what gleaning is. Like I said before, I do my best to obey the Torah. That means I also obey the Lord’s law about caring for the poor. My workers do not harvest the part of the fields next to the road. They leave that portion of the crops for the poor. Also, if my workers drop part of the harvest or or miss some of the fruit they are not to go back a second time. Whatever they miss is left for the poor. That’s what the Lord tells me to do in His Torah, so that is what I do. When the poor come and harvest what is left on my fields it is called gleaning.
So, as I was saying, I noticed an unfamiliar person gleaning in my fields. I asked my workers who she is and I was told that her name is Ruth and that she is the daughter-in-law of my relative’s widow.
Ruth wasn’t one of us. I know that’s not quite politically correct to say. However, it is true. Ruth was a Moabite. She wasn’t from Israel. Her late husband was an Israelite. He went to Moab with his parents, Elimelech and Noami when he was a teenager. They went there because of a famine in Israel. If they didn’t go, they would have starved. But they were in Moab so long that Elimelech and Naomi’s boys married Moabite girls.
In Moab, Noami’s husband Elimelech died. Next, her two sons died. It’s hard for me to imagine how hard it must have been for those women. Three widows. They lost their husbands. Besides the grief of losing loved ones. They lost their income. They lost their livelihood. They had no hope. It must have been terribly bad for them. Naomi heard the famine was over in Israel so she decided to return home. Her daughter-in-law, Ruth decided to go with her.
When I saw Ruth, my heart went out to her. She left her homeland to be with her mother-in-law. I was impressed. I told my workers to make sure she was able to find enough food and also to keep an eye on her. No one was to lay a hand on her. If she was willing to sacrifice so much to take care of her aging mother-in-law, one of my relatives, the least I could do is have my workers watch out for her.
Well, some time later, after a long day’s work during the barley harvest I decided to call it a day. After that long day I had a big meal and maybe a bit too much to drink. I fell asleep on my threshing floor not too far from some of my workers. This is where my story gets interesting. . . During the night I woke up which is pretty unusual. However, my feet were cold. I sat up to adjust my blanket over my feet and ummm . . there was Ruth! She had quietly uncovered my feet hoping that I would wake up. Wow she was bold, and brave. A young woman – and a foreigner – awaking an older Israelite man like me by uncovering my feet.
I didn’t know what to say. However, Ruth did. She said to me, “Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer” (Ruth 3:9). I knew what she was saying. The widow Naomi had property that needed to be purchased. Noami could do nothing with it. She was a woman. She needed a go-el to buy it. Remember “go-el” that word we said together. She needed a “kinsman redeemer” to buy it. She needed a close family member to buy the property and keep it in the family.
However, to buy Naomi’s land would include taking care of Naomi and Ruth, too. In other words, this was a proposal. Ruth was asking me to marry her. That young, pretty woman was asking an old man like me to marry her.
He said, “yes”.
Well, I wanted to say, “yes”. But I had to do something first. You see I wasn’t the closest relative. There was someone closer to Naomi than me. I could have said yes, but I want to live my life according to the Torah so first thing in the morning I went to the closer relative and gave him the opportunity to redeem the estate of our relative Elimelech. At first he agreed to buy Noami’s field. But, then I told him that when he bought the field he would acquire Ruth the Moabite widow. That’s the way our law works. It may sound strange to you, but it protects and provides for our widows.
When the closer relative heard about Ruth he changed his mind. I’m not sure if he was more concerned about who would inherit the field someday or because Ruth was a Moabite. But anyway, that day I bought Naomi’s field and this old bachelor became a married man.
It wasn’t long after that I became a dad. We called the little guy, Obed.
That’s about I have to say about my story. God is good.
But after my story . . . my son Obed would give Ruth a grandson named Jesse. Jesse would have a big family, but his youngest boy David would become King. Imagine, my great-grandson the King of Israel.
All of this happened to me because I was willing to be a “go-el” the kinsman redeemer for someone in my family.
My name is in your New Testament, too. You see, as my family tree continued to grow, about a 1,000 years later – in my hometown of Bethlehem – would come another baby boy he would be named “Jesus” just as the angel told his father to name him.
As Noami and Ruth’s lives changed because a kinsman redeemer rescued them. My life and yours too is changed because of a kinsman redeemer. Through faith, Jesus is our close family member. Like Ruth the night she came to me on the threshing floor, you and I have nothing to offer Jesus. We are poor. We are like foreign citizens of an enemy country. But as I had mercy on Ruth and her mother-in-law, the Lord gives even greater mercy to us.
So, my Advent Greeting for you to night is this. The next time you read or hear about my account from the pages of your Old Testament, I hope that you will remember this important and eternal truth. I was able to redeem the line of Elimelech when I bought his field and married his daughter-in-law, Ruth. Jesus redeems all the people of God. Jesus, now there is our true Kinsman Redeemer!
Knowing that peace, receive now this blessing of the Lord. The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face to shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord look upon you with His favor and grant you His peace. Amen.