Then the elders 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. Through the offspring the Lord gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.” Ruth 4:11-12
Not only do the elders and others at the gate declare they are witnesses that Ruth is now with Boaz, they also speak a blessing over this union and their offspring.
But remember the beginning of our story. We learn that Ruth is barren, which is why she and Naomi have no heirs. However, as we well know at this point, all things are possible with God.
The blessing reaches back into stories passed on among Israelite families. Of Rachael & Leah, two wives of Jacob who gave birth to some of the sons that would later make up the Israel nation – the 12 tribes of Israel. And of Perez and Tamar.
Interestingly both of these family examples were not stories of devoted loving relationships and smooth sailing. These historical families referenced as part of the blessing were from broken, deceiving, hurtful relationships. Remember that Jacob was in love with Leah’s sister and Leah lived heartbroken, very aware of Jacob’s devotion to Rachael. It was a messy family, to say the least. And the messy family tree doesn’t end there (more on Tamar’s story to come).
Time and again we see God’s plans prevail despite our sinning, scheming and stepping all over ourselves. Not that God condones sinful behavior – in fact, the opposite is true -- it painfully causes separation from Him. But despite our mess, God can work all things for good and for His Glory.
Ruth and Boaz show that our position in society or sinful baggage from generations past will not thwart God’s good plans.
Question: Do you ever feel like your past mistakes, or maybe even those of your family, keep God from working in your life?