And so it says —
"They went of the country of Moab." Why?
They’d heard good news of the resurrection, and
believed it, and acted upon it. They didn’t say,
"Oh, that’s all talk; don’t believe
that’s true. That’s only a rumor."
No, they believed the
report. There was resurrection. And they put their faith
into action, and they went in that direction, embraced it
by faith, and found it to be true.
The thing that you and I
are called upon to do many times in our lives — to
believe in the God who raiseth the dead and lay hold of
that resurrection by faith and commit ourselves to it in
definite acts, to prove our faith by our works.
And on that ground we inherit the fruits of His
resurrection. The curse is removed. You see, Moab
lay under the curse. It remained under the curse. It was
an accursed country and people. And in itself, Moab was
still under the curse; but they left the ground of the
curse because of resurrection.
You see the doctrine,
can’t you, of the New Testament in that? Yes, the
curse, it’s over all this creation as it is. But
because Jesus has been made a curse for us, and has
suffered the judgement, and has risen for us as
justification, on the ground of resurrection we leave the
ground of Moab, the place of the curse, and come into the
fruits of His resurrection! And how rich they are!
Beware of getting back
into the land of Moab. That is, because of the earth
touch. Touching in your spirit the realm that still lies
under the curse. And this world is still under the curse.
Beware of a voluntary touch, in spirit, in life, with
that which lies under judgement. For it means depriving
you again of your spiritual life, and of your
fruitfulness, and of your joy and your peace. Beware of
the earth touch.
Note, then, God’s
action in resurrection is to make His place what
it should be. You see, it’s Bethlehem, and
Bethlehem means "House of Bread." And when
there’s a famine that covers Bethlehem, that’s
somewhat altogether contrary to its very name.
Another line unfolding,
running through this book, may be seen in several
Chap. 2:1 "And
Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a mighty
man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his
name was Boaz."
Vs. 20 "And
Naomi said unto her: "The man is near of kin
unto us; one of our near kinsmen."
Chap. 3:9 "And
he said, ‘Who art thou?’ And she answered,
‘I am Ruth, thine handmaid. Spread therefore thy
skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near
Vs. 12 "And
now it is true that I am thy near kinsman; howbeit
there is a kinsman nearer than I."
Chap. 4:1 "Then
went Boaz up to the gate and sat him down there. And
behold the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by, unto
whom he said, ‘Oh, such a one, turn aside, sit
down here!’ And he took ten men of the elders of
the city, and said, ‘Sit ye down here. And they
sat down. And he said unto the kinsmans
‘Naomi, that is come again out of the country of
Moab selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother
Elimelech’s; and I thought to add the ties, or
to disclose unto thee, saying ‘Buy it before the
inhabitants that sit here, and before the elders of
my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it, but if
thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may
know; for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and
I am after thee.’"
said, ‘I will redeem it!' Then said Boaz,
‘What day thou buyest the fields at the hand of
Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth, the Moabitess,
the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the
dead upon his inheritance.'
And the kinsman
said, ‘I cannot redeem it myself, lest I mar
mine own inheritance. Redeem thou my right to
thyself, for I cannot redeem it!’
Romans 3:24 "Being
justified freely by His grace through the redemption
that is in Christ Jesus"
1 Cor. 1:30 "But
of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God was made
unto us… redemption"
Eph. 1:14 "Which
is the earnest of our inheritance until the
redemption of God’s own possession, unto the
praise of His glory."
So we proceed with our
meditation in the Book of Ruth.
This wonderful book
comprehends within the small compass of its few pages the
whole of the principles and the properties of God’s
complete plan of redemption. The book has many
things, as we have seen, of real value to our Christian
lives in our course here on the earth; it also has these
greater aspects of the great doctrine of salvation. That
we shall see again as we proceed this afternoon, and
undertake to cover in this present meditation this phrase
which we have just read from Romans 3:24 "In the
redemption that is in Christ Jesus."
Ruth presents to us
vividly, clearly, strongly, our own lost state. Take her
birth: what a hopeless beginning her birth represented.
You know perhaps, the origin of Moab. Moab was the
product of incest, Lot’s incest with his own
daughter. That’s not a very propitious, promising
beginning. And then later, the curse pronounced upon Moab
collectively, as a nation. That curse — which we
have recorded in Deut. 23 — "The Ammonites and
the Moabites shall not come into the congregation of the
Lord forever" represents a fairly hopeless
situation into which to be born. Without God, and without
hope in this world.
And then, by those
tragic results of the conditions which we find in the
book of Judges, the leaving of the land of covenant by
Elimelech, his wife and two sons, and all the sequence of
trouble and disaster which overtook them in Moab —
the father-in-law is dead, her husband is dead; without
helper or protector. An inheritance of death. That
describes our state by nature, in every detail. Born in
sin, shapen in iniquity. There’s a curse resting on
the very world into which we are born, and upon the very
race to which we belong, by nature. And truly this New
testament phrase applies — "Without God and
without hope in the world." That’s the state of
the sinner and that’s the state of every one of us
by nature; and we have no helper here. Paul says
"dead, through trespasses and sins." Dead.
background, very clearly set forth in this book: No human
loss and hopelessness, leading to the redemption that is
in Christ Jesus.
And we saw this all,
that the good news reached Moab, somehow; that there was
resurrection, the barley harvest. Resurrection was on,
and the news reached these desolate souls far off, and
they left Moab, the place of desolation, the curse, and
judgement, the place of utter hopelessness, and went to Bethlehem,
the place of resurrection; and through resurrection the
whole glorious work of redemption was wrought out, as
they entered into it. Redemption through resurrection.
That’s the gospel — ""Begotten again
to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from
the dead." On the ground of His resurrection,
Of course that
doesn’t stir any of you. It’s quite obvious,
because you’re so familiar with it. You know all
about it. But do you? God have mercy upon us if ever that
loses its charm and its freshness.
But not only on the
ground of resurrection was there redemption, but on the
ground of union with the Redeemer. That’s an
extra step. Resurrection union with the redeeming
kinsman. That is the next stage. And let us remind
ourselves that that is the heart and the sum of the
gospel. We break the gospel up into fragments and speak
about forgiveness, atonement, justification, and so on.
But they are all parts of the One Thing. The sum
and core of redemption, of salvation, is vital union
with the Redeemer.
Redemption is not a
thing, a doctrine, a truth; redemption is a relationship
with a living Person.
That makes Redemption so
full of possibilities and potentialities. You see, Ruth
might have been saved from her deplorable condition, and
might have come into the land and, or, a little patch of
it, and come into certain personal benefits, but look how
much more accrued to her by union with Boaz. Not only
then, but look at the last words of the book, and look
through the last words of the book right on, down the
ages. We’ll look at that again, presently.
But this redemption was
not just something that saved from. It was something that
saved unto. It was not just something for the time
being, or for her life, personally, with certain
advantages and values. It was someone who comprehended
all, and carried her into a tremendously full heritage.
salvation, is union. It’s living union
with a living Person.
And so we are led by
that union to the inheritance which is ours in
Now note carefully the
details, Ruth’s lost inheritance, or the loss of the
inheritance was due to union in a first marriage. It was
because she had been married to Elimelech’s son,
that this whole question of inheritance arose, and the
whole question of the difficulty of this inheritance
arose. Indeed she had no connection with this
thing only by reason of that marriage union. It brought
the whole thing up into meaning. But it was lost by that
union in the first marriage.
And I think that that
first marriage has a side light thrown upon nearest
kinsman. Not Boaz, but the other one. The nearest
Who is our nearest
kinsman by nature? The Old Adam; and we know he’s a
very near kinsman. Indeed, he’s far too near. He is
always imminent, always on the spot. He is never very far
Boaz said "There is
another kinsman nearer than I", and that is very
true. We need not work at it, or try to explain it, for
we know how true, by nature, it is. There’s a very
interesting, isn’t it — the unfolding of this
thing. You can see very much more in it than I’m
saying, if you know your New Testament, and especially
the letter to the Romans. I think it’s wonderful.
It’s almost fascinating. Boaz, the
to-be-Redeeming-Kinsman. There is a nearer, and
the responsibility rests with him in the first place; and
responsibility does rest in the first place with Adam the
first. Responsibility for this situation, and
responsibility to do something about it. We’re not
talking about ability, but responsibility.
Therefore, Boaz says
"Let’s put this thing on him, and see what he
can do about it." You see, that opens up that whole
realm of whether man can find in himself, in his own
natural life, in his own heredity, his redemption —
in the nearest kinsman, the old Adam. And is it not just
the working of that principle which the Lord follows out
when He convicts a soul of a lost condition, and then, so
often for a time lets that soul go through an experience
by which it is coming to know more and more that
salvation is not in itself? The fact is that our great
Redeeming Kinsman does that sort of thing. He says,
"Alright, if you can save yourself, save yourself.
I’ll stand back. I’ll give you a chance.
I’ll give the old Adam a full chance, a clear way.
I’ll give all that humanism a full scope. Let’s
see what it can and will do." And look at the world
that has said it can be its own savior, that there’s
every good and possibility and power in human nature to
redeem itself and change itself. Well, what’s the
Yes, the Lord brings
this home to one whom He is going to bring into the good
of redemption. He lets that one know that the nearest
kinsman, the old man, the old Adam, is absolutely
impotent. He leads up to the point where He and He only
is the Redeemer, and He’ll not share this thing with
And so, in His own way,
He does put the responsibility there where it first of
all belongs. He says, "Now then, do it if you
can." And I venture to say that there is no one who
ever really comes livingly into the good of
redemption who has not come beforehand to the place of
absolute hopelessness as for themselves or anybody else
saving them. And I’m not sure that the Lord
doesn’t press that more and more after we are
saved to make us know that really after all there is no
kinsman but Himself who can do this business —
either in us or outside of us.
Boaz, "there is a nearer kinsman, and let’s see
what he can do about it." And so he, in a way,
stands back for the other man, to give him a chance.
Dear friend, if you are
still struggling to save or sanctify yourself, struggling
and striving to in some way bring about redemption, at
the beginning or at any other point in your Christian
life, the Lord’s going to leave you to it. He’s
not going to do anything about it until that court of
appeal says "No, we can do nothing about
it;" until the resource is proved utterly impotent.
The thing for Christians to remember, as well as unsaved
people - and you will realize that I am keeping closely
to the letter to the Romans, because it was written to
Christians, and it’s about the two Adams, isn’t
Well, it takes some of
us a long time, even to get there, where we have once and
for all closed the door of hope upon the old Adam, upon
the nearest kinsman. Boaz puts the responsibility
upon him in the first place, and challenges him and says
"Now then, what are you going to do about it?
Here’s the situation, the responsibility lies at
your door. What are you going to do about it?"
And it is found,
inevitably, in the long run, that he can’t do
anything about it. Oh, he makes a first gesture and
response, and says "I’ll do it — I’ll
do it." But when there is that which rises up and
says "I can deal with this matter; I can save this
situation; I can save myself" — that is because
the whole implication of redemption has not been
And so Boaz just let the
man know that there’s something more in it than
that; a great deal more in it than that. It is not only
just doing this legal thing; but he has got to raise up
an everlasting testimony in the House of Israel. A
testimony of resurrection.
The Old Man can’t
do that; and when the real implications of this thing are
presented to the Old Man he says "I can’t do
anything about it."
And why is he unable?
Why is this disability upon him? Look at it, "Lest I
mar mine own inheritance."
I confess that I
don’t altogether understand what that means, but I
think I can get somewhere toward its meaning by
interpreting in the light of the New Testament. You see,
the Old Man is just tied up — just tied up, with his own interests; his
own matters; and he can’t do anything about this
because he is so personally tied up. This nearest kinsman
was like that. His disability was that he’d got all
that he could do to cope with his own situation; all that
he could do to look after his own inheritance. What could
he do about redemption?
That’s true to
life, isn’t it? It’s true to experience. This
other thing keeps us too much occupied, and too busy, to
be able to do anything about heaven, and eternity, and
the things of God. And if we begin to think of God —
well, it’s going to spoil our little bit down here
in this world; it’s going to upset things down here
for us. Yes, that’s the thing up against which souls
come so often when there is presented to them the whole
matter of salvation in Christ Jesus and their eternal
well-being. They say, "Yes, but, oh, see what it
means giving up; see what it costs; see what it will
involve in terms of friends, and my position, etc.
I’ll mar my inheritance if I begin to take on this
other matter of the eternal affairs. If I begin to
consider the whole matter of redemption, it’s going
to spoil the fun for me in this world."
Of course, that’s
all wrong, but people are so tied up, aren’t they?
In their own affairs; and the old man is so tied up like
that, in looking after himself, that he is just not free
to entertain this matter. And his disability lies there,
in his bondage to the world. And his bondage to it’s
king, it’s overload. He just can do nothing about
Very well, when that is
established, and proved, and settled, then Boaz steps
right in. That Old Man must give it up and get out of the
Well, there, Christians.
It’s your trouble, as much as the sinners, this
trying to effect your redemption; this trying to find
something that will please God in yourself; this struggle
and striving of the Old Man to in some way redeem or save
himself. Oh, that Old Man must give it up and get out of
the way before the Lord will do it. And He never will
until we get there. Get out of the Lord’s way! When
we come to that position, then the Redeeming Kinsman, our
Greater Boaz, will step in and take over.
But note this, and I
think it’s something about Boaz really to be noted
— He never forced or asserted himself. He stood
back, so to speak, and waited and waited. There’s no
asserting, no forcing.
If there’s anyone
here this afternoon who is not really the Lord’s,
the Lord Jesus is not going to force Himself on you, to
be your Redeemer. He is not going to assert Himself to
take over. He’ll wait until you come to the place
where you say, "He’s the only One who can do
it; He is the only One."
So Boaz did not put his
hand on this and assert himself to possess. He will give
ample opportunity to any other course that we may think
could do the thing. And He’ll wait until all other
resources have been exhausted, and we come to the place
where we realize that He is able, and He is the
only one who is able. Boaz was able to do
it. But more than that, while waiting, He was perfectly willing
to do it.
I confess to you, and
probably, as you have been reading this little book, that
when I got to that place when Boaz said to Ruth,
"There’s a kinsman nearer than I, and we must
let him have his chance" — a flutter took place
in me, so we find here — "Here’s a man
desperately in love with this woman". He wants her,
but he’s hiding it all, and giving the other
man a chance. Oh, supposing the other man, supposing he
does. Poor Boaz.
Yes, the Lord Jesus is
full of concern, full of love for you and for me. He is
desperately anxious to have us. But He knows quite well
we shall never appreciate Him until everybody else is out
of the way. And so He’s not going to have a half
allegiance. He’s prepared to let go all, rather than
have only a half, and take second place. He’ll run
all the risks. "If you can find another Savior,
then, alright find Him. You must come to the place where
I am everything before I’m going to do anything
about this." He is jealous to have such a place. He
is able; He is willing; and He is anxious,
though it’s hidden, perhaps; and He is untrammeled.
He is free. He has no other pre-occupations or
interests. He is unlike this other man; nothing of
interest with Him. He’s free from all such things.