“God in Unexpected Joy” [Unexpected: The Story of Ruth]
Texts: Ruth 4:1-12
June 30/July1, 2012
Pastor Matt Erickson
"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.
I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, Mahlon's widow, as my wife.'" (Ruth 4:9-10)
Preludes to Joy
- Emptiness and loss
- Identity recalibration
- Hard work and perseverance
The Groundwork of Joy
Tensions That Lead to Joy
- Boaz and the community
- Boaz and the guardian-redeemer
- Boaz and the opportunity
Taking Hold of Joy
- Boaz’s commitment
- Boaz’s perspective
- Boaz’s initiative
- As we continue our series on Ruth entitled “Unexpected,” This week we continue our series, “Unexpected,” on Ruth by looking at Ruth 4:1-12. Whether you are on your own or in a small group, take time to read the chapter out loud.
- As mentioned last week, it is important to understand Bible backgrounds on the ‘guardian-redeemer’ or ‘kinsman-redeemer’, so read through Deuteronomy 25:5-10 and Leviticus 25:25-55.
- Boaz brings together the first guardian-redeemer in line and introduces the situation by referencing the land specifically. Why do you think that Boaz starts the discussion with the land and doesn’t mention Ruth until later?
- What do you think that Boaz’s words in 4:4, which echo 3:12-13, say about what sort of person he is and his view of God?
- Once Boaz introduces the role of Ruth in this bargain, the other guardian-redeemer changes his words (4:6). Why do you think this is? Take a moment to compare Boaz and this guardian-redeemer with Ruth and her sister-in-law, Orpah (1:8-14).
- The call to have ‘witnesses’ (4:9, 11) shows that Boaz is making a formal statement of responsibility and legal action. The elders of the people then speak a blessing that compares Ruth to some notable ancestral women of Israel: Rachel, Leah, and Tamar. Who are these women (see Genesis 29:14-30:24; 38:1-30)? What is the significance of this connection?
- Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz are characters who unexpectedly experience the joy and provision of God in their lives. Reflect on a time when you, too, have experienced God’s unexpected joy. Also, into what situation in your life are you asking God to bring joy ?
- Name one specific way that you can respond to God from the message and study this week. Write it down, reflect on it, and put it into practice this week. If you are in a small group, discuss this with one another.
Next week we will conclude our series on Ruth by looking at Ruth 4:13-22. Let God speak to you during this next week by reading these verses ahead of time.