Session 4: Naomi and Ruth are Redeemed - Radical

Secret Church 24: Ruth

Session 4: Naomi and Ruth are Redeemed

The conclusion of Ruth turns out to mean so much more than a “happy ending” to this unique story. The book of Ruth is not ultimately about redemption for Naomi and Ruth in their particular circumstance but about redemption for all of God’s people through the sacrifice of Christ.

In this final session of Secret Church, Pastor David Platt encourages Christians to always have hope because Christ the Redeemer will always provide for his people. He invites us to live and die to spread this message of redemption because Jesus wants people from every tribe, language, people, and nation to experience the hope that is found in him.

  1. Ultimately, what is Ruth’s story truly about?  
  2. Are you willing to take risks to provide others with what matters most? 
  3. Are you radically pursuing others in your neighborhood?
  4. Will you live and die to proclaim the redeeming hope of Christ to the nations?

Okay, the last session. Like I mentioned earlier, stand up, walk around if you need to, whatever it takes to stay awake because you’re going to want to stay awake. This chapter is amazing. Ruth 4, the conclusion of all conclusions. 

So the screen went dark at the end of chapter three with suspense in the air; now it opens in chapter four with Boaz front and center. Ruth 4:1 says, “Now Boaz had gone up to the gate and sat down there. And behold, the redeemer, of whom Boaz had spoken, came by.” 

So let’s pause here. We talked about this, but let’s make sure we’re on the same page. We’ve looked at this word ‘redeemer’ in Leviticus 25, seeing that when tragedy strikes a family, a kinsman can keep the land in their family by redeeming it. Now I want to show you Deuteronomy 25:5-10. Follow this with me: 

“If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the dead man shall not be married outside the family to a stranger. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her and take her as his wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. And the first son whom she bears shall succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. And if the man does not wish to take his brother’s wife, then his brother’s wife shall go up to the gate to the elders and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to perpetuate his brother’s name in Israel; he will not perform the duty of a husband’s brother to me.’ Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him, and if he persists, saying, ‘I do not wish to take her,’ then his brother’s wife shall go up to him in the presence of the elders and pull his sandal off his foot and spit in his face. And she shall answer and say, ‘So shall it be done to the man who does not build up his brother’s house.’ 10 And the name of his house shall be called in Israel, ‘The house of him who had his sandal pulled off.’

To summarize what we just read, if a brother dies without a son, his family would be provided for by his nearest male relative who would redeem that family and take responsibility for providing a son to carry on that family. Then after him, there was a succession of relatives who could redeem through this process where various proceedings could play out at the city gate in front of witnesses. 

So Ruth 4:1 tells us how Boaz goes and sits down at the city gate. Just like we read in Ruth 2, the language here is dramatic. Behold, another guy just so happens to come by—this  other redeemer—and Boaz says, “‘Turn aside, friend; sit down here.’ And he turned aside and sat down.” 

The language here is so great. Look where it says ‘friend.’ That’s a Hebrew idiom. It would basically be like saying, “Hey, Mr. So-and-So.” The author intentionally doesn’t give us this guy’s name. Boaz knows his name. The author probably knows his name, but he intentionally leaves the guy nameless. This is kind of like when you forget somebody’s name; you know you’re supposed to know it when they come up to you. You’re thinking, “Oh, no.” but you say, “Hey, man! How’s it going, bro?” or buddy, or whatever you fill in the blank with there. That’s what’s happening here. This is important because the author is intentionally creating a negative impression of this guy. He’s just Mr. Nobody. 

Listen to what Boaz does. He turns aside, sits down. Look at verse two: “And he took ten men of the elders of the city and said, ‘Sit down here.’ So they sat down.” So these elders would basically be witnesses to the transaction—the agreement that was about to take place. Doubtless, there are others at the city gate who are walking by at this point who stop and listen in. By the end of this thing, we’re going to have a crowd watching the proceedings. 

Then listen to what Boaz says in verse three. He’s so sly. 

“Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belonged to our relative Elimelech. So I thought I would tell you of it and say, ‘Buy it in the presence of those sitting here and in the presence of the elders of my people.’ If you will redeem it, redeem it. But if you will not, tell me, that I may know, for there is no one besides you to redeem it, and I come after you.” 

Now, when you initially read that, it sounds like an offer that Mr. What’s His Name can’t refuse. So this begs the question what in the world is Boaz doing here? Boaz just said, “Naomi, the widow of our relative Elimelech, has a pretty nice piece of land that’s available for redemption.” This would have been a no-brainer for any redeemer. As long as he had enough money to purchase that land, he could have that land in his family, for his heirs. Along with it he’d get Naomi, but she wouldn’t require much from him. This investment would pay off big time for his family. So Mr. Random Dude says, “I will redeem it.” 

As soon as he says these words, our hearts sink. We’re wondering what Boaz is thinking? He just laid out this deal on a golden platter and the guy took it. I mean, Boaz is noble and all, but this is taking things too far. Can you imagine? Now, we don’t know, but what if Ruth or Naomi have snuck into the background and are watching this unfold? Can you imagine the look on their faces when Mr. Nobody says, “I will redeem it.” It would be maddening if this story stopped at Ruth 4:4 and Ruth rode off with Mr. Who Cares into the distance. No! Ruth and Mr. What’s His Name together, while Boaz sits there dumbfounded. Naomi would then just look at Boaz and say, “You blew it, man. I used to be called bitter; now call me livid. Fuming is my name.” 

But thankfully, Boaz is not finished. He speaks up again, verse five: “Then Boaz said, ‘The day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the widow of the dead, in order to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance.’” Hah! Boaz does know what he’s doing. Now he’d mentioned Naomi before, but then he says, “Hey, one small note. On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth. Oh, did I mention Ruth? Yeah, there is not just an older widow in this picture to take care of. There’s another younger woman to take care of. Did I mention she’s a Moabite? Again, you remember that day when 24,000 Israelites were struck dead? That was because of Moabite women. She’s one of them. You’ll acquire her as well.” 

Boaz is good—this changed everything. This was no longer about merely acquiring land. This was much deeper than that. Since Naomi was past child-rearing age, all this relative was thinking was that he would have to care for this widow in her old age, which wouldn’t involve much. And the investment he would get in return would be great. But if Ruth, who is of child-rearing age, is in the picture, then this man would be responsible for her. And not just her, but based on Deuteronomy 25, what we read earlier, he’d be responsible for providing her with a son. That son would then eventually assume the rights to that property . Basically now if this guy takes the land, plus Naomi and Ruth, then when he has a child with Ruth, that inheritance goes to that child and his descendants. 

Now he’s facing the possibility of having to provide for both of these women, in addition to potential children in the future. With these potential children, the first of which will inherit all this land that he’s about to pay for. Oh, and by the way, the child will come from a marriage to a Moabite. So all of a sudden, this field isn’t looking so great anymore and we’re sitting on edge, wondering if Boaz’s plan for this conversation would work At all.

Then the redeemer responds, in verse six: “Then the redeemer said, ‘I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I impair my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it.’” Ah, this is where the music in the background starts to swell. He did it. Boaz did it. “Mr. So-and-So, see you later. Boaz, step to the front.” 

Look at verses seven and eight: 

Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging: to confirm a transaction, the one drew off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was the manner of attesting in Israel. So when the redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself,” he drew off his sandal.

This handing over of the sandal represented yielding the right to property, land and family. Now the music is blaring in the background as Boaz takes the sandal. The crowd erupts into applause. Then the scene quiets down as Boaz gives an impassioned speech, his last words in the book: 

Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and to Mahlon. 10 Also Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife….”

Do you see what just happened? Ruth the Moabite, the foreigner, the servant, the lowest rung on the social ladder, just became a part of the people of God. These verses continue:

“…to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day.” 

This family and their name will not disappear. It will be maintained. Remember, that’s the problem that was set up in the beginning of the book, and Boaz is set to solve it. He finishes his speech. “Today you are witnesses of this.” 

11 Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel.”

What a prayer of blessing. “May this childless woman be fertile.” Rachel and Leah had twelve sons between the two of them, who then fathered the twelve tribes of Israel. That’s quite a prayer. 

The narrative continues:

“May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, 12 and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the Lord will give you by this young woman.”

Ah, if we had time, we could look back at Genesis 38. You might make a note to go back and look at the story of Tamar, a Canaanite woman who carried on the line of Judah. There’s a ton there. But the point is these witnesses are praying for God’s blessing on Boaz and Ruth’s line. 

Then in verse 13, “So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son.” This is one of the things that’s so interesting about this story. You have all this build-up, all of chapter two talking about one day in a field, all of chapter three talking about one tense night at a threshing floor. Then more build-up in 12 verses in chapter four at the town gate. And now in one verse they get married and have a baby. Just like that, the problems introduced at the start of the story are solved: food and family.

Did you notice the subtle picture the author gives us? Highlight or underline it or otherwise, you’ll miss it. The Bible says, “the Lord gave her conception.” Yahweh. We see again God’s goodness, behind the scenes throughout this book, but two times the author makes sure we don’t miss his presence. The first was back in 1:6 when the Lord provided food for his people in Bethlehem. Now, here in 4:13, the Lord gave her conception. The Lord provided food and the Lord provided family. Don’t miss the point. The Lord is the only one who can provide for our deepest needs. Hold on to that. The Lord God is the only one who can provide for the deepest needs in our lives. 

So now the scene moves to a birthday party. Verse 14 says, “Then the women said to Naomi, ‘Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel!’”. There are a lot of ladies partying and the spotlight shifts to Naomi. It’s really funny how Ruth and Boaz are hardly even mentioned here. Instead, the character in the spotlight from the start is brought back to the spotlight in the finish. The one who was woefully bitter is now wonderfully blessed. These women give credit where credit is due. “Blessed be the Lord” —Yahweh. It’s interesting that the child is actually called the redeemer here. Do you see that? The child is being referred to in these pronouns. It’s the only time in the Old Testament that this term is used to refer to anybody but an adult. The picture is this child will be the one to inherit the property and carry on the family. Remember that.

Verse 15 says, “He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” What a great picture—better than seven sons! Seven is the number for perfection and completion in the Old Testament. This woman who lost her two sons, came back to Bethlehem with a Moabite daughter-in-law, having in her what was better than the most perfect sons she could have imagined. Now, this is the point where we all let out a sigh of relief. We look at each other and say, “That was a great story.” 

The next verse, verse 16, says, “Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse.” This is the moment when we start getting up to walk out of the theater. The movie’s over, basically, and we’re gathering up our things and walking out. 

I’m guessing you’ve gone to a movie before, maybe like a Marvel movie, and the credits start so you start walking out. But all of a sudden, something else pops up on the screen. Maybe you’re almost out of the theater and you hear one of the characters come back on, like a post-credit scene. You go running back in to see what’s going on. Well, Marvel was not the first to think of a post-credit scene, because that’s what we’re about to read in verse 17. This story has been good, we’re getting up to walk out, it’s over, but then listen to what happened. 

Verse 17, “And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, ‘A son has been born to Naomi.’ They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.” Wait. “Obed? This is a story about when Obed was born, who was the father of Jesse, who was the father of King David? What? This is the story of how we got King David, Israel’s most famous king? Are you serious? So Ruth is King David’s great-grandmother? Ha! Who knew?”

This just took things to a whole other level. Do you realize what just happened? God just used a Moabite woman in an otherwise hopeless Israelite family to bring about the future king of Israel. The book ends with a genealogy, which if we’re honest, when we read through the Bible, we usually kind of skip through the genealogies. But I want you to read this with me and count how many generations are mentioned here:

“Now these are the generations of Perez: Perez fathered Hezron, Hezron fathered Ram, Ram fathered Amminadab, Amminadab fathered Nahshon, Nahshon fathered Salmon, Salmon fathered Boaz, Boaz fathered Obed, Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered David.” Did you count them? One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Ten generations. Pretty symbolic, when you think about ten years of death and barrenness in Moab that started this whole story and when you think about Israelite law. It said, “No Moabite should be welcomed into the assembly of the Lord down to what generation? The tenth generation. This book ends with ten generations from Perez, and the book that began, “In the days when the judges ruled…” ends with the introduction of Israel’s most famous king. Drop the mic. Is that incredible or what?

So what does it all mean? Why would God want this story to be written and preserved for thousands of years? What does this story ultimately have to do with your life and my life? The answer is that this story, as we’ve seen over and over again, is part of a much, much bigger story that involves your life and involves my life. I want you to think about this word ‘redeemer’ that we’ve seen throughout this story—particularly here in this last chapter—this person who pays the price to provide for something or someone else. 

This whole story hinges on three requirements of a redeemer. Whether it was Boaz or Mr. What’s-His-Name, in order to be a redeemer, he needed to: 

  1. Have the right to redeem; to be a near relative, close in the family line. 
  2. Have the resources to redeem; be able to pay a redemption price. A redeemer needed the resources to purchase property and provide for a family. 
  3. Have the resolve to redeem, which is what Mr. So-and-So didn’t have. He had the right to redeem, from all we can tell he has the resources, but he didn’t have the resolve. It wouldn’t be advantageous for him to redeem. so he didn’t do it. 

Boaz had all three: the right, the resources and the resolve. Even though it was risky for him to marry a Moabite woman, he gladly took the risk. Why? Because of chesed—lovingkindness, a kind of love that willingly takes risks to provide for somebody else. So we have this portrait in the Bible of a redeemer who, in his lovingkindness, pursues and provides for someone in need which leads to beautiful, powerful pictures of redemption by the end of this book. 

Notice the contrast between Naomi at the start of the story and Naomi at the end of the story. Just think about the pictures of redemption we have in this story. Each of these pictures revolves around this baby, who is now called a redeemer—the only child to be called a redeemer in this way. So there are five pictures of redemption that this baby brings about:

  1. God brings his people from death to life. The story of Ruth opens with three funerals, then it closes with a wedding and a birth. 
  2. God brings his people from curse to blessing. In chapter one, Naomi had the curse of all curses—she was a widow with no heir. in chapter four, she’s holding an heir in her hands as the women bless her. 
  3. God brings his people from bitterness to happiness. Can you just imagine the smile on Naomi’s face as she looks down at Obed? “Don’t call me bitter anymore; call me ecstatic! Like, thrilled is my name.” 
  4. God brings his people from emptiness to fullness. At the end of chapter one, Naomi opens her hands and says to the women of Bethlehem, “I have nothing.” At the end of chapter four, Naomi folds up her arms around a precious little baby, as the women of Bethlehem tell her, “You have everything.” So from death to life, curse to blessing, bitterness to happiness, emptiness to fullness, and ultimately… 
  5. God brings his people from despair to hope. The story ends, not by looking back at a painful past, but by looking forward into a peaceful future through this child. 

As awesome as this is, even this is not all, because there is another post-credit scene. The story doesn’t actually end in Ruth chapter four. Look with me in your Study Guide at Matthew 1. I want to show you the next time we see Boaz and Ruth in the Bible. So look with me at Matthew 1:5. In this list of names we read, “and Salmon the father of Boaz…”—there he is— “…by Rahab…” So Boaz, whose mom, by the way, was named Rahab, the Gentile prostitute of Judges 2. Do you think that had something to do with why Boaz was sensitive to the needs of an outcast Moabite woman named Ruth? 

“…[A]nd Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth…” So there they are: Boaz, Obed and Ruth. “…[A]nd Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.” That’s exactly what we read at the end of Ruth. But here the names don’t stop; they keep going all the way to Matthew 1:16, where we read, “…and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ”—the Messiah.  

If only the Old Testament hearers could have seen where the real end of this story was going, they would have been sitting in the theater for a long time. This love story hidden away in the Old Testament is intended to point us to a much greater love story highlighted in the New Testament, where we see a picture of our hope of redemption—your hope of redemption, my hope of redemption. Don’t miss this. The story of Ruth is not ultimately about redemption for Naomi and Ruth through a baby named Obed born in Bethlehem. The story of Ruth is ultimately about redemption for you and me through another baby born in Bethlehem named Jesus. 

So what does this story have to do with you and me? Well, here you and I sit, sinners in a world of suffering, separated from God, destined for eternal death and suffering as the curse of sin in our lives and in this world. But praise God that is not the end of our story. Praise God, sin and pain and suffering are not the end of our story. Do you know why? Because a Redeemer has come. So let’s ask a few questions. 

  1. Did Jesus have the right to redeem us? Absolutely he does. Jesus has the right to redeem us. He’s like us, fully man. 
  • John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” 
  • Philippians 2:5-7, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” He is like us in every way, yet without sin. 
  • Hebrews 4:15. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus is a near kinsman to you and me, like us except for without sin. He has the right to redeem. 


  1. Does he have the resources to redeem us? Absolutely he does. Jesus has the resources to redeem us. He is fully man and fully God, in the form of God, Philippians 2:6 said. The Word in John that we just read is a reference to God himself. 
  • Colossians 1:15-17, Jesus is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” 
  • Hebrews 1:3, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.”

There is no one like Jesus, God in the flesh, the God who has perfect power and complete authority over skies and seas, over mountains and valleys, over sickness and disease, over sin and suffering and death. Without a question, Jesus—God in the flesh—has the resources to redeem us. 

  1. Does he have the resolve to redeem us? Ah, see him on a cross, where he willingly took the judgment we deserve—the death you and I deserve—upon himself; He paid the redemption price for all of our sin. Yes, Jesus has the resolve to redeem us. 
  • Galatians 3:13, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.’” 
  • Galatians 4:4, “God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” 
  • Ephesians 1:7, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” 
  • Titus 2:13-14, we are “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”
  • Colossians 1:13-14, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” 

This is the love story of all love stories. This baby born in Bethlehem—Jesus—has the right, the resources and the resolve to redeem you, right where you are sitting. He’s made the way for your redemption. He paid the price for you, a sinner estranged from God, so that when you put your trust in him, you will be forgiven of all your sin and can spend eternity in the family of God. Oh, if you’ve never put your trust in Jesus, I urge you to let this be the moment when you trust in Jesus as your Redeemer.

This all then leads to two final takeaways from the story of Ruth.

We always have hope because our Redeemer will always provide for his people.

We always, always, always have hope. We have living hope, everlasting hope. Why? Because we know our Redeemer will always provide for his people. 

Again, I’ve said it multiple times, I don’t know all that you have gone through in your life. I don’t know all that you’re going through right now. But I do know this: 

  • God knows and God is able to bring his people from death to life. 
  • God is able to bring his people from curse to blessing. 
  • God is able to bring his people from bitterness to happiness. 
  • God is able to bring his people from emptiness to fullness. 
  • And God is able to bring his people from despair to hope. 

All this means we can trust him in the worst of times. In the words of Isaiah 43:1-3:

 But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;  I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

This is what it means to be redeemed. It means to know that God has called your name and has given you promises, knowing that there may be days, months, years when you may not understand. You may wonder why. You may wonder how or when things will ever get better. You may see little or no hope on the horizon. So don’t forget that in the moments when God seems farthest from us, he is faithfully plotting for our good and for our joy. 

God’s path to our joy may not always be straight, it may not always be smooth, but in the end his path to our joy is always sure. His path to our joy, is guaranteed. This doesn’t mean that every story, every struggle in our lives will end up perfectly in this world. But the point of this story is that this world is not the end of our story. 

I think about Steve Saint. His dad is well known for being among a group of men who shared the gospel with unreached people in a remote tribe in Ecuador years ago, along with Jim Elliot. Those tribal people speared his dad to death, along with the other men who were trying to share the gospel with them. If you know the rest of that story, those people who killed his dad ended up coming to faith in Jesus and actually becoming a part, a very close part, of the Saint family. Steve Saint talks about his relationship with the person who killed his father who is now like a grandparent in their home. 

Steve tells a story about his young adult daughter who had been gone away on a trip for a while. When she came home, the whole family went to the airport to welcome her home. Actually, the man who had killed her grandfather was a part of the group there to welcome her home. When they returned to the house, Steve’s  daughter wasn’t feeling well, saying she had a headache and wanted to lay down. After a while, Steve and his wife went to check on her. They were talking, thankful for God’s grace and blessing on his family. Then all of a sudden, his daughter took a turn for the worse. They rushed her to the hospital and not long thereafter, she died of a brain aneurism. 

Steve Saint talks about  his dad having been killed when he was young, then seeing his daughter die. He said, “Why is it that we want every chapter to be good, when God promises only in the last chapter that he will make all the other chapters make sense? He doesn’t promise that we’ll see that last chapter here.” 

These words are a reminder to us that as long as we’re in this fallen world of sin and suffering, we will experience hurt, but this world is not the end of our story. We know that. There’s a reason Job said amidst his suffering in Job 19:25, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last”—in the end— “he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.” In other words, for all of our stories, there are still more chapters to be written. And for all who trust in Jesus as the Redeemer, we can know that the last chapter will be good and make sense of all the others. 

This all actually leads to the second takeaway from the book of Ruth because this redemption is not just for us. This is where the story in the final chapter is headed.

We live and die to spread hope because our Redeemer is radically pursuing all peoples.

With this takeaway, I plead with you to not miss the big picture point of the book of Ruth. This love story is bigger than Ruth and Boaz; it’s bigger than you and me. The book of Ruth is not just a story about God and his love for one Moabite woman; it’s a story about God and his love for every type of woman, man and child in the world. 

Just think about the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1. There are four women whose names are mentioned. In verse three, we see Tamar. In verses five and six, we see Rahab and Ruth. Then right after that, we see the wife of Uriah. What do all four of these women have in common? None of them were Israelites. Some think Bathsheba may possibly have been but notice that Matthew doesn’t even mention her name. He calls her “the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” The picture is clear. Matthew is writing to a predominantly Jewish audience and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he’s making clear from the start that Jesus, the Redeemer, wasn’t just coming for the Jewish people; he was coming for all types of people. Jesus was coming to redeem sinners, not from one nation, but from all the nations, which leads us then to the final credits seen in this story—all the way in the last book in the Bible. 

Look with me at Revelation 5, which is where this picture of redemption, rescue and deliverance—of lovingly paying the price for someone to come into your family—comes to a climactic, dramatic conclusion. Revelation 5:1-2: “Then I saw in the right hand of the one seated on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides, sealed with seven seals. I also saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?’” For context, this scroll contains God’s plan for the consummation of his Kingdom and the ultimate eradication of sin, evil, suffering and death in this world. So who can bring that about? 

Verse three says, “No one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or even to look in it.  I wept and wept because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or even to look in it.” John, who’s writing this, is considering the prospect of all the evil, sin, suffering and death in this world never coming to an end. Can you imagine that? What if sin, evil, injustice and death in this world is the end of this story? John gives us a picture of the end of an atheistic worldview, so we understand why John is weeping loudly…until verse five.: “Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. Look, the Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered so that he is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’” In other words, one has come from the line of David, from the line of Ruth.

Then what follows is one of the most vivid scenes in the entire Bible, with Jesus the Redeemer at the center of it all. 

6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. 8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

Did you see it? Jesus has paid the price to ransom, redeem and rescue people for God from every tribe, every language, every people and every nation, bringing people from every nation into his Kingdom. Jesus wants people from every tribe, language, people and nation to experience the hope that’s found in him and the redemption that he brings. From Ruth to Matthew to Revelation, Jesus our Redeemer is radically pursuing all tribes, all languages, all peoples and all nations.

This means that if we are following Jesus as the redeemed, then we will live and die to spread the hope of our Redeemer among all the tribes, languages, peoples and all the nations. The problem we need to open our eyes to today is that we’re not living and dying for this. There are billions of people in red zones in the world, billions of people right now being born, living and dying without the gospel, but we’re giving relative pennies and seconds of our lives to changing that. This is what God is about in the world right now. God is redeeming his people for the spread of his redemption to all peoples. 

So brothers and sisters in Christ, don’t disconnect your story from this story. Don’t buy into the lie that Christianity consists of just praying a prayer, going to church, being successful in this world and coasting your way to heaven. It’s not true. That’s not the story God has made you for. You are made for a dream that’s far greater than that. 

God, open our eyes. 

There are three billion people on a road that leads to eternal hell, yet nobody’s even told them about the hope heaven. We have more opportunity today to spread the redeeming love of Jesus to them than ever before. So let’s do it. Let’s pray for them. Let’s intercede. Let’s get on our faces—alone, in our families, around our tables, in our churches. Let’s pray for people who have never heard the gospel. Let’s pray for the spread of the gospel to them. Let’s give toward that end. Let’s sacrifice our resources. Let’s give generously, willingly—in our lives, families, churches—to get the gospel to those who’ve never heard it. Let’s change the way we’re spending our resources that our Redeemer has given us.  

Let’s pray. Let’s give. Let’s go. Right where we live. Among the nations right around us. Let’s make disciples who make disciples. This is what you’re made for. As a follower of Jesus, you are a disciple maker for the nations. So live in this, right where you live, wherever God leads, as God opens doors for multitudes more people to go to red zones and spread the gospel there. 

Brothers and sisters, God has been so good to us. He’s so gracious and so merciful. Most of us live in the green zones. We know the redeeming love of God and that his chesed toward us is not intended to stop with us. The Bible story is not just about God’s redeeming love for you; it’s about the spread of his redeeming love through you, in ways beyond what you can imagine.

In other words, just like with the book of Ruth, there’s so much more of your story to come. Do you see this? Ruth, Boaz and Naomi had no idea that their lives, in the economy of God, were going to count for something so grand. They were a part of something so much greater than themselves. 

If I could look into the eyes of every single person right now, I would say so are you. Lift your eyes from the trivial and temporary in this world. Lift your eyes to the eternal, beyond this world. The same God who wrote the story of Ruth is writing the story of your life and desires to write your story in ways that resound to your good and your redemption, also to the good and redemption of multitudes of others. He’s writing your story ultimately to the glory and renown of his name as the Redeemer among all the nations, for trillions of years to come. This is the story you were made for, so don’t settle for anything less. Only God can imagine the massive postscript that might be written when just the people involved in this Secret Church decided to live and die spreading the redemption of Jesus. 

In just a moment I want to close with one more hymn from William Cowper, but before I do, I want to pray. Instead of me praying or us trying to follow prayer points on a screen, I want to give you an opportunity to write out a personal prayer to God for your life. There’s space for you to do that in your Study Guide. Think about all that you’ve seen in the book of Ruth. I’ll give you a moment to pray for what’s on your heart as this time comes to a close. It may be a prayer of praise for God’s redemption in your life. It may be prayers of repentance that God leads you to pray. Maybe it’s intercession. Maybe it’s a prayer of surrender in your life. Or maybe all of the above. I want to give you just a couple of minutes and I encourage you to write it out. It will help you stay focused. Take that space in your Study Guide and just write out a few sentences  to God, based on all that he has spoken through this story in his Word. Then I’ll come back and lead us as we close. 

Now don’t let me stop you if you’re still praying and writing. Here’s how I want to close. I invite all of us to read this hymn from William Cowper out loud together. Part of me wishes we could sing it together, but that’s not possible.  As we say these words, see how fitting this hymn is to close the book of Ruth, particularly in light of where this book started. So let’s say these words together: 

There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power,
Till all the ransomed church of God
Are saved to sin no more.

E’er since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.

When this poor lisping, stammering tongue
Lies silent in the grave,
Then in a nobler, sweeter song
I’ll sing Thy power to save.

May redeeming love be our theme until we die or Jesus has returned. Then we’ll sing of redeeming love with every tribe, tongue and nation, in beauty and majesty that’s greater than any of us can imagine. May God bless and keep you and me until that Day.


That means that the people with the most urgent spiritual and physical needs are receiving the least support. You can help change that!