This morning I read the fourth chapter of Ruth for the first time. Not really, but it seemed as such. Most know that Boaz can certainly be seen as a community leader, as well as type of Christ, the Kinsman Redeemer.
I began to read it as such, with a focus on the institutional church and the Bride of Christ in mind:
“Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate (he was confident in himself among the political leadership of his town) and sat down there just as the guardian-redeemer he had mentioned came along (timing is always critical to a leader). Boaz said (he wasn’t demanding), “Come over here, my friend (he was cordial), and sit down.” So he went over and sat down (God granted Boaz favor).
2 Boaz took ten of the elders of the town (influence) and said, “Sit here,” and they did so (again, Divine favor). 3 Then he said to the guardian-redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our relative Elimelek.4 I thought I should bring the matter to your attention (he had done his homework) and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people (this is perhaps the institutional church of his day). If you will redeem it, do so (he called their hand). But if you[b] will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.”
“I will redeem it,” he said. (Commitment to his plan).
5 Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the[c] dead man’s widow (he understood the rules of the game), in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.”(At this point the scripture is laden with Messianic prophecy, the dead man’s widow, may imply the Bride of Christ)
6 At this, the guardian-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate (The dilemma of today’s Institutional Church?) . You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.”
7 (Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other (Calvary?). This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel.)
8 So the guardian-redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it yourself.” And he removed his sandal.(The institutional church perhaps has again relinquished her rights and thus foreclosure has begun?)
9 Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelek, Kilion and Mahlon. (Boaz was working his plan, so is the Christ of Rev 5.) 10 I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name (The Name) will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown. Today you are witnesses!”
11 Then the elders (perhaps their wake-up call?) and all the people at the gate said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the family of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. 12 Through the offspring the Lord gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.” (The Lion of Judah).
13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14 The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15 He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.” (Blessing always follows commitment to the call)
16 Then Naomi (a type of the Holy Spirit) took the child (The true Church) in her arms and cared for him. 17 The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
(thus the lineage of Jesus, see Matthew 1).
Are you willing to step up and be the next in line, for the sake of your community, the Bride of Christ, the man “once dead?”