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Showing posts with label Advent. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Advent. Show all posts

Monday, July 26, 2021

The Names of God - Yahweh-Sabaoth

Introduction
God has sent the Babylonian army to conquer Jerusalem in the 6th century BC because of Jerusalem's sin and idolatry.  While the city was under siege, God was telling Jeremiah to prophesy against Jerusalem  and tell them they would be conquered and they shouldn't resist the Babylonians, but needed to repent of their sin.  The leaders of Jerusalem were plotting to murder Jeremiah to silence him.  Jeremiah felt overwhelmed, outnumbered, and personally under siege.  His cry to God for help reveals one of God's names.

Jeremiah 11:20
20 Lord of Heaven’s Armies, you make righteous judgments,
 and you examine the deepest thoughts and secrets.
Let me see your vengeance against them,    for I have committed my cause to you.

Yahweh-Sabaoth
We are studying the names of God.  Every name reveals part of God infinite character.  God reveals the names His people need to hear.  It may not be a name people want to hear; but it is a name people need to hear.  Today, the name of God we consider is Yahweh-Sabaoth – the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

This past week, my nephew, Ben, graduated from Army Infantry School.  My little nephew has grown up and become a soldier.   I could definitely tell a difference in him.  There’s something about the way he carries himself.  He’s a young man now and a soldier.  I’m proud of him and glad there are well-trained soldiers like Ben Owens protecting our country.  It was neat to walk the infantry museum with him at Fort Benning and have him show me the weapons in the exhibit and have him talk to me about how he learned to use them.

Ben also talked about his infantry division and how it was organized.  There are 10 soldiers in his squad. 2 or more squads makes up a platoon.  3-5 platoons makes up a company.  4-6 companies makes a battalion.  2-5 Battalions makes a brigade.  3 or more brigades makes a Division.  Ben is in the 25th Infantry Division, which is somewhere between 10,000-15,000 soldiers.  Can you imagine how intimidating it would be to be in the presence of a 10-15 thousand soldiers?

One of God’s many names is Yahweh-Sabaoth—the Lord of Heaven’s armies.  If you would find 10-15 thousand human soldiers a overwhelming, imagine the hosts of Heaven’s armies.  Note: Yahweh is not just the Lord of Heaven’s Army (singular).  He is Lord of heaven’s Armies (plural).  Look up at the stars in the night sky.  Can you count them?  Neither can you can’t the hosts of Heaven’s armies at God’s disposal; and each soldier in God’s army is a mighty angel.

Now, with that in mind, let us consider the familiar passage we read at Christmas time. 

Luke 2:8-14
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

 

You Want To Be On The Winning Side
It’s no wonder the Angel had to reassure the shepherds saying, “Fear not!”  
If you saw the angelic armies of heaven appear in the skies with the radiance of God surrounding them, you would be afraid too.  Especially when you realize you are a sinner and the world all around you is full of sin and has rebelled against God.  These shepherds were probably thinking: “This is it—the day of reckoning where God finally comes to hold us all accountable! We're doomed!”  

So the angel had to reassure the shepherd (and us).  “Don’t be afraid!   I bring you Good News!”  In other words, “This is a good thing.  Jesus is coming to give you another chance.  He’s not coming to judge you or destroy you (though that’s what you deserve).  Jesus comes in peace.  He’s here to save you.  He’s here to give you another chance.”

And so Jesus came preaching: “Repent!  For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.  It’s right here.  It’s about to break in and take over.  This is your last chance to get right with God and recognize Him as Yahweh—the true and eternal Lord of all!”  And some did accept Jesus message.  And some did not.  Those who rejected him, crucified him.  They figured, “If we kill God’s Son, we can take over this Kingdom and be our own lords and not have to answer to God anymore.”  Do you think that will work?  No.  Of course not. Yahweh is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies!

 

As sweet as the Christmas story is, I don’t want you to miss a very important theme.  Heaven’s armies have us surrounded.  Think of this world as a walled city and Heaven’s Armies have us surrounded.  There’s no escape.  God sent His Son, Jesus, as a peaceful emissary.  Yahweh knows we’ve all been lied to.  The evil rulers of this world don’t want us to know the Truth.  They don’t want us to know God is Holy and Just and True.  They’ll tell you anything to get you to turn away from the King of kings and Lord of lords.  They want you to forget Him altogether so you only trust them. 

Even when the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is standing right outside the walls ready to knock them down and recapture this rebellious world, the rulers of this world will say, “There is no God!  That’s just a bunch of outdated, superstitious nonsense!  The Bible is full of lies and bigotry and racism and homophobia!”  And the evil rulers of this world would have you believe that by denying the God who made you and turning your back on His way of living that you will end up on the right side of history.

 

A lot of people say they want to be on the right side of history.  I’d rather be on the winning side that the right side of history.  My mission in life is to draw people closer to God with every breath and step I take.  Yahweh is my Lord.  I want to live out His values—even if they are values that current or future generations mock as stupid, outdated, or even evil.  The Truth is, wicked people will always call the pure, holy ways of a pure holy God evil or outdated.  I don’t mind if I’m on the wrong side of history if history is written by ungodly people.  What really matters to me is what God thinks.  Yahweh is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.  He is going to defeat the forces of evil.  I want to be on God’s side—the winning side.

 

In the meantime, for a while at least, we might feel a lot like the prophet Jeremiah.  Remember Jeremiah lived in Jerusalem.  God told Jeremiah God was sending the Babylonian army to capture Jerusalem because Jerusalem had turned their back on Yahweh, their Lord.  They had forsaken their vows to serve the Lord their God.  God was coming to destroy Jerusalem and take the people into captivity to punish them.  God sent Jeremiah to warn them and call them to repent, but the people didn’t want to hear it.  It put Jeremiah in a very bad position:  Speak God’s truth and live for God and have the people hate you and persecute you or go along with the people and be destroyed by God.

 

Today our choice is similar.  It may feel like the world around us has already won, because everyone seems to reject God and His holy ways.  That’s only because we live inside a besieged city.  Outside these walls, the hosts of heaven’s armies have gathered to surround us.  They are waiting for Yahweh-Sabaoth, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, to give them the word.  The moment He gives the signal, the trumpets will sound and the walls that separate our corrupt world from the glory of Heaven will come crashing down.  The Lord Jesus will come again just as He promised and this time Jesus won’t come as a baby in a manger.  He will come as a conquering King and those He finds who have been faithful will be rewarded.  Those who lived in rebellion will be punished.  The Bible tells us there will be a new heaven and a new earth.  There will be a new history written too—a history written in the Lamb’s Book of Life that records those who were faithful and followed Jesus as Lord.  Those who followed the ways of the evil world will be cast away into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 

Invitation
Jesus's consistent message was Matthew 3:2 - Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”  So I want you to think and pray really hard and decided today: who's side are you on?  I pray you will repent of your sin and turn to Yahweh-Sabaoth through Jesus Christ His Son.

 

Monday, December 23, 2019

#5 Mary, Mother of the Messiah


Of the 40 generations of men in Jesus family tree listed in Matthew 1:1-16, only five women are named.  It’s amazing any women are named at all, since the patriarchal custom of the biblical writers was to omit women.  So, the fact that these five particular women are named is a clue there’s something very special about them and we need to pay close attention.  And yet, these five heroines of our faith are not famous for the things you would think.  Every one of their situations was scandalous in some way or another.

Tamar was impregnated by her father-in-law. Yet she was also wise and cunning. She sensed God’s hand at work in the family of Judah’s and was willing to do anything to be part of it.

Rahab was a Canaanite prostitute who grasped her chance to break free from sin and destruction by professing her faith in God and joining His holy people.

Ruth was a destitute foreign refugee who clung to God and His people and found redemption.

Bathsheba had an affair with the king and lost her child, but she became a queen who advocated for the oppressed and powerless.

Today, we will consider the best-known of the five women in Jesus genealogy—Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Matthew 1:16-25
Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah.
17 All those listed above include fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah.
18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
    She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,
    which means ‘God is with us.’”
24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.
Joseph
Joseph is not Jesus' biological father.  However, the Gospel of Matthew spends 16 verses telling us Jesus' lineage through Joseph. What does that say?  One thing it says is Joseph adopted Jesus as his very own son.  Joseph treated Jesus as his flesh and blood and there was no distinction in his heart or mind that Jesus wasn't his actual son, even though the relationship wasn't biological.  How many have known this special adoptive love that treats one as a son and daughter by choice?  Think about it:  most people do not get to choose their parents.  You are born and your biological father and mother are who they are, like it or not.  And parents are compelled by the laws of nature to love their biological children.  On the other hand, adoption is an actual choice.  An adoptive parent chooses to accept and love their adopted child.  Nature does not require it.  And it is a very special kind of love when someone chooses to adopt a child who is not their biological son or daughter.  The same could be true for step parents who chose to love their step children as their very own.

It is worth noting here the situation into which Jesus was to be born.  Jesus, the most important man who ever lived, who is the Son of God, was born in need of adoption.  He grew up in the home of a father who was not related by blood.  Mary was his mother, but Joseph was under no obligation whatsoever to accept Jesus.  Yet Joseph chose to adopt God’s Only Begotten Son as his own.

But what of Mary? Who is she?

Mary, the Mother of Jesus
Mary has been famous to Christians for 2,000 years.  She is so integral to our faith she is named in the Apostles’ Creed, “We believe in Jesus Christ… who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary…” Some people admire Mary so much they treat her like a goddess, even praying to her. Who is this fascinating mother?

The Bible does not focus on Mary.  After the stories of Jesus’ conception and birth, Mary is only mentioned 12 more times.  Mary is there in the background throughout the story of the New Testament, but never as the focus.  The focus is always on Christ—the Son of God, the Savior of the world.  Even so, Mary is there at the birth, she is there in the midst of Jesus’ ministry (struggling to understand like the rest of us).  She is there at the cross as her son dies, at the tomb when he rose from the grave, and she continues to help lead the church with the Disciples in the Book of Acts after Christ ascended to heaven.

There is absolutely no description in the Bible of what Mary looked like or how she dressed.  In our world today, we are very focused on how women look, what clothes and makeup they wear, hairstyles, body image, etc.  However, the Bible mentions nothing about Mary’s appearance.  That tells us these physical things were not important.  Maybe they shouldn’t be as important to us either.  From God’s perspective (the perspective that really matters) true beauty has nothing to do with physical appearance or fashion.  The true beauty of a woman comes from the way she responds to God. 

Mary would have been a young girl when the angel Gabriel came to her (probably only about 12 or 13 years old) .  That was the age most first century girls were offered for marriage in Galilee.  Mary was engaged, so we know she was of age.  What do you think of when you think of Mary?  You might think of a young woman just out of college between the ages of 20-30 years old because that’s the typical age women get married in our culture.  Let me blow your mind a bit.  My daughter, Abigail turns 13 in one month.  Right now, Abigail is the age Mary would have been when she became pregnant with the Son of God.

Mary was engaged to Joseph. She was an ordinary girl looking forward to marriage and a normal life, but the angel’s visit changed her life forever.  Mary was afraid and troubled by Gabriel. She never expected the incredible news she would have a child or that her son would be the Messiah. Although she couldn’t comprehend how she would conceive the Savior, she responded to God with belief and obedience.

Although it was a huge honor to be chosen by God, her calling would demand great suffering.  Just as there is pain in childbirth and motherhood, there would be much pain in the privilege of being the mother of the Messiah.  Mary was a willing servant. She trusted God and she obeyed His call.

The angel told Mary in Luke 1:28 that she was highly favored by God. This means Mary was given a large portion of grace or "undeserved favor" from God. Even with God's favor, Mary would still suffer much. Though she has come to be  highly honored as the mother of the Savior, she would first know disgrace as an unwed mother.  She almost lost her fiancĂ©.  Risked being stoned to death (the penalty for pregnancy out of wedlock in her time).  Her precious child would grow up to be rejected and cruelly murdered.  Mary's submission to God's plan would cost her dearly, but she was willing to be God's servant.  Mary was a woman of rare faith and obedience.

Misunderstandings
We are deeply in debt to Mary.  Her willing obedience to God brought the Savior into our world.  It's no wonder that people for thousands of years have sought to honor Mary, the mother of the Messiah.  Unfortunately, there is something in human nature that leads people to idolize and worship those we especially admire. 

Some venerate Mary as divine.  They even say Mary—like Jesus—never sinned (a doctrine known as The Immaculate Conception).  The Bible never says Mary was without sin.  To the contrary, the Bible tells us in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.”  Every person who ever lived has sinned at some point—including Mary.  Furthermore, we see that Mary struggled to understand Jesus’ ministry just like his Disciples.  At one point in the Gospels, Mary shows up along with her other sons and attempts to take Jesus home with her because they thought he was crazy (Mark 3:21, 31).  She didn't understand.  You seen, Mary was not perfect.  She was a sinner in need of God’s grace and salvation just like you and me.  2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”  It is through Jesus Christ that Mary is saved—just like you and me.

Conclusion
What do you see when you think of Mary?  You may be tempted to picture the perfect women portrayed in the porcelain nativity scene sculpted by an artist.  Is that the real Mary?  Is that who you think you need to emulate?

I urge you not to turn Mary into some mythical figure.  Let her be the real girl she was in the Gospel.  The real story is much more compelling than the myth.  Mary was young, poor, and female in a time when women were not highly regarded.  She was a real mother who faced real challenges.  She had no special powers or abilities that you don’t have.  All she had was a willing and obedient heart.  God saw her faith and obedience and He helped her succeed.  You don’t have to be perfect for God to choose you or help you—you just need to be willing and obey.

Mary was like so many mothers.  She was there in the background the whole time nurturing, supporting, and encouraging.  She had too much to do and never enough time to do it.  She wasn't a super mom; she was just a regular person depending on God to help her through.  She was not the central character in the story, but that’s OK.  She never needed the focus to be on her.  To the contrary, she must have recognized as she came to understand more fully who her son was that the focus should always be on him instead of her.  Jesus is Lord, not Mary.  Jesus is the Savior, not Mary.  Jesus is the one who takes away our sins, who answers our prayers, who directs our path. 

I think it would disturb Mary if we spent too much time honoring her.  She would say, “Why are you giving me all this attention?  Don’t look to me!  Don’t worship me! I’m just a person like you.  Please! Please, look at my Son over there!  Isn’t he wonderful?”  Oh that we all had that attitude.  This life is not about us!  It is about Christ! “Turn your eyes upon Jesus!  Look full in his wonderful face and the ting of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace!”

And Mary’s life encourages us to be the best we can be—not because she was perfect, but—because she was just an ordinary girl.  You don’t have to be perfect or even special to make a difference.  Mary was just an ordinary young girl who was willing to be the mother God wanted her to be.  Are you willing to obey God’s plan for your life?  Do you trust God to take what you have to offer and use it for the glory of His Kingdom?  That’s the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus.



Monday, December 16, 2019

#3 Ruth the Redeemed Refugee


Introduction
Click Here to Listen to the Podcast
Matthew 1 list 40 generations of Jesus’ males descendants, but only names 5 women—Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. Today, we will here the story of Ruth the redeemed refugee.
Ruth is a short book. It only takes 16 minutes to read it.  I encourage you to read the whole thing.  I'm going to share much of it today and make some comments as we go through the story.  However, I encourage you to read the whole book.

Ruth 1
In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. 2 The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.

I just want to point out that the famine was so bad in Israel that this family left their homeland in search of food.  How bad would life have to be for you to move your family out of America in search of food?

Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.

Remember, this is a patriarchal (male dominated) society.  Women have no way to make it on their own.  With out a husband or sons, Naomi and her daughter’s in law are destitute.

When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.

Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”

Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud 10 and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”

11 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? 12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— 13 would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”

Now, that's the way Naomi thinks.  She assumes the Lord is against her, but that isn't necessarily true.  However, it's easy to fall into this negative thinking when life is hard for a long time.  

14 At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.

15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

Ruth
What we see here is amazing and I don’t want you to miss it.  What we have here is a decision by Ruth to follow God.  Both Orpah and Ruth were Moabites.  Moabites did not worship the God of the Bible.  Moabites worshiped idols and false gods.  But Ruth and Orpah both saw something special in Naomi’s family.  Naomi’s family worshiped the God of the Bible—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  And Orpah and Ruth must have saw something special in this family.  There is always something special about people who worship the One True God of the Bible.  And it was so special that both Orpah and Ruth wanted to leave their own people’s ways behind in Moab and convert to Naomi’s people and religion in Israel.

Very often, a person’s decision to follow God is closely linked to the people of God they know.  Most people don’t care that much about whether Christians can quote the Bible or explain the theology and doctrines of Christianity.  What they do care about is how you live.  Does your life embody the Christian faith so that people want to join with you in following God?  Is your life a witness for Christ?  If Ruth were your daughter-in-law, would she see God in you so strongly she would want to leave behind her former way of life apart from God and follow your people instead?

But Naomi explains how hard it will be to follow her home to Israel…  Living as God’s people  is not necessarily easy.  Jesus even taught that you should count the cost before your decide to follow him.  To one man who wanted to follow him, Jesus said, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no where to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20)  I.E. Jesus and his followers often must lead a hard life not even knowing where they will sleep at night.

Orpah decides the cost is too high and decides to go back to Moab.  However, Ruth is determined.  She has found in Naomi’s family a life that is better than her former life in Moab.  She would rather face hardship with God’s people than remain in Moab apart from the One True God.

19 So the two women [Ruth and Naomi] went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”
20 “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”
22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.

Ruth 2
Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, a man of standing from the clan of Elimelek, whose name was Boaz.

And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.”

Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek.

The ancient Israelites had a form of social welfare.  When farmers harvested their fields, the would leave the corners and edges of the field.  Then, the poor, the widows, and orphans could come harvest what was left.  It wasn’t much, but it might be enough that they wouldn’t starve.  Of course, the poor, widows, and orphans were vulnerable and often mistreated (just like they are today; people often treat them scornfully and they have very little recourse).  So Ruth is going to go try and glean enough from the leftover harvest to keep herself and her mother-in-law alive.  Can you imagine being in her situation…

Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The Lord be with you!”

“The Lord bless you!” they answered.

Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, “Who does that young woman belong to?”

The overseer replied, “She is the Moabite who came back from Moab with Naomi. She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.’ She came into the field and has remained here from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter.”

So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.”
10 At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?”

11 Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. 12 May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”

13 “May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord,” she said. “You have put me at ease by speaking kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servants.”

14 At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar.”

When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over. 15 As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, “Let her gather among the sheaves and don’t reprimand her. 16 Even pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuke her.”

17 So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah.  [An ephah is about 30 pounds.] 18 She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had left over after she had eaten enough.

19 Her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!”

Then Ruth told her mother-in-law about the one at whose place she had been working. “The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz,” she said.

20 “The Lord bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. “He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.” She added, “That man is our close relative; he is one of our guardian-redeemers.”

21 Then Ruth the Moabite said, “He even said to me, ‘Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.’”

22 Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with the women who work for him, because in someone else’s field you might be harmed.”

23 So Ruth stayed close to the women of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law.

Ruth 3
One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home for you, where you will be well provided for. Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.”
“I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered. So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.
When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet!
“Who are you?” he asked.
“I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.”
Boaz was Naomi and Ruth's guardian-redeemer (or family redeemer).  That meant, it was his responsibility to make sure the family line of Naomi's dead husbands and sons did not perish from the earth.  It was his duty to care for. protect, and provide family heirs for his dead kin's surviving family.
Boaz had the power to redeem Ruth and Naomi—to save them from a life of hunger, poverty, shame, and death.  He had the power to save their family name.  But to do so would be costly.  Caring for them meant more mouths to feed, and we've already seen in the story how famine could strike and devastate a community.  Furthermore, redeeming Ruth and Naomi would draw resources from his own family.
Jesus Christ is the Great Redeemer of all humanity.  He redeems us from spiritual hunger, poverty, shame, and death.  His redemption assures our names remain among God’s people.  But our redemption comes at great cost to Christ too--much greater than Boaz's.  Jesus paid for our redemption with his own blood.  He suffered and died on the cross to pay the price for our sins.  His redemption brings us back into the family of God, as heirs of eternal life, forgiven of sin, blessed with eternal life.  His redemption adds our name to the Book of Life.

Ruth 4:13-16
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.”
16 Then Naomi took the child 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.

Jesus the Redeemer
And David was the great King of Israel—the model for the coming Messiah, The King of kings.  And the Messiah is Jesus Christ—the great, great, great, great… grandson of Ruth, the redeemed refugee from a foreign land.  Isn’t it good to know our Lord and Savior, our Redeemer was willing to pay the ultimate price to redeem us from our sin?  For Jesus Christ laid down his life on the cross of Calvary to pay the price for our sin.  If He was willing to do all that, isn’t He willing to redeem whatever other brokenness or shame or misfortune you face.
But do you trust Him?  Will you put all your faith in Him?  Will you be like Orpah and turn and go back to your false gods and unfaithfulness?  Or will you be like Ruth, who counted the costs and said in Ruth 1:16, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.
The choice is yours.