Advent 12 | David's Moabite Grandma

Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters

Dec 12 2023 • 4 mins

"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. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, 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." - Ruth 4:11-2

"Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king." - Matt 1:5-6

A Widowed Daughter-in-law

If you haven’t picked up on this yet, our journey through the Old Testament on our way to Jesus often reads more like the plot to a soap opera than a religious text. This goes to show us that God uses all kinds of people from every type of background to bring about his plan for the world.

This episode in the drama of Scripture starts out very dark. I mean no sooner do we get introduced to the main characters than they start dying off. There’s a man named Elimelech from Judah who moves to Moab because of a famine and there he and his two sons die, leaving his wife Naomi with two daughters-in-law. One of them goes back to her family and our story follows Naomi and Ruth as they go to live in the little town of Bethlehem.

Gleanings and Sandals

As soon as they get settled in Bethlehem, Ruth gets to work. You see God had already made a way for faithful Jews to take care of the poor and Boaz was a faithful Jew. It just so happened that this takes place in the time of the harvest and Ruth just so happened to stumble across Boaz’s field. As was their custom Boaz’s workmen would harvest the fields but would leave anything that fell to the ground for the poor to pick up for themselves. This is where Ruth comes in. She was busy all day picking up the leftovers when Boaz noticed her. He had already heard of the kindness she had shown to Naomi and he wanted to help reward her so he told his men to leave out even more for her. When Naomi hears about this she realizes that Boaz is in a unique position to help because he is a close relative of theirs and could be their redeemer.

I realize that some of this might be confusing because it is talking about ancient Jewish traditions and customs, but the really crazy part is that these practices had been a part of the Jewish culture for generations and now God is using them to bring about his plan of salvation through Jesus. Then we come to the climax of the story. Boaz decides that is going to redeem them but he has to get past another relative who is first in line. This guy doesn’t want to ruin his own inheritance so Boaz redeems them and hands over his sandal, which is kinda like a handshake. The deal is done...

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