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. 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 will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown. Today you are witnesses!”
Three times the word “witness” is used in this passage. Let there be no mistake among anyone that Ruth is now with Boaz.
Not only do the elders and others at the gate declare they are witnesses, they speak a blessing. A blessing that reaches back into stories passed on among Israelite families. Of Rachael & Leah, two wives of Jacob (whose name was later changed by God to Israel) that gave birth to the sons that would later make up the Israel nation – the 12 tribes of Israel. Also mentioned is Perez, Tamar, and Judah (one of the sons of Leah). Later in Ruth we see that Perez is the great great great great grandfather of Boaz (Ruth 4:18-22). Just as they carried on the family line of Boaz to this point, the blessing is for the lineage to continue through the union of Ruth and Boaz.
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.
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. Jacob was in love with Leah’s sister and was tricked into marrying her. Jacob later married Rachael, whom he loved, and Leah lived heartbroken, very aware of Jacob’s devotion to Rachael. It was a messy family to say the least. If you think that is bad, Perez, who was born from Tamar and Judah (Leah and Jacob’s son) is a thousand times worse (trust me for now and sit tight on this one…we will study it more on day 23).
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 causes separation from Him – but despite the state we are in, God can work all things for good and for His Glory.
Just as we see God at work despite our getting in the way, we also see God mightily at work among those who love Him, trust Him, and are obedient to Him. Ruth and Boaz show that our position in society or sinful behavior from generations past in our family lines will not thwart God’s good plans.
Do you ever feel like your past mistakes, or maybe even those of your family, keep God from working in your life?