She arrived empty handed, shuffling into Bethlehem, far from her homeland, away from her relatives, without possessions, bringing only memories of the pain that sent her there and the hope that got her there. Naomi made it clear the likelihood of rescue was nil. All knew she was a foreigner from the land of idol worshipers. Who could redeem the widowed, barren, pagan Ruth? And if one could, would he?
Boaz was able to change Ruth’s empty to full. The humble kinsman became obedient and willingly acted on his love for the unprotected outcast stooping in his field. Knowing her journey was a choice to embrace His God, Boaz knew she was taking shelter under the refuge of Jehovah’s wings. Boaz was able and willing to give her refuge under the shelter of his “wings,” (2:12,3:9) purchasing her as his own through marriage and redemption. Drawing Ruth into his world, he protected her purity, restored more than she lost, and insured her future reward. Boaz willingly changed her empty to full.
As a kinsman, Boaz was able to provide rescue to the helpless woman, but he was also willing to do his duty of redemption as “Kinsman-Redeemer.” He took an empty foreigner with no hope, calling her “accepted,” and lifting her to be his bride with secure blessings and a glorious future.
In the same way, Christ was able and willing to act on behalf of the lost in need of redemption. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those where under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Gal. 4:4-5). Our rescue required His humanity, and he “humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!” (Phil. 2:8) The Son of God, our Kinsman, acted to rescue us from our desperate condition, making us pure, restoring more than what was lost, insuring future reward.
In his book Twelve Extraordinary Women, John MacArthur says, “Ruth is a fitting symbol of every believer, and even of the church itself – redeemed, brought into a position of great favor, endowed with riches and privilege, exalted to be the Redeemer’s own bride, and loved by Him with the profoundest affection” (p. 85).
Our pain sends us searching for Jesus, and hope gets us to Him. When the helpless stoop before Him, we cannot fathom the love extending His wings of refuge, joyfully taking us from wretch to bride. In heaven a song is sung to the Lamb of God, Jesus, because “with <his> blood <he> purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9b). Our Redeemer changes our empty to full.
We thought we faced a future of scraping for refuse in the fields, but our loving Lord has given us the inheritance reserved for His beloved. Just like Boaz purchased the unclaimed and destitute woman of Moab as his bride, so Christ purchased us to make us His own and restore to us a glorious future.
Without the love of our able and willing Redeemer, we would still be suffering in the field. Gwen Smith shares the story of Christ’s rescue in her song Broken into Beautiful. Reflect on what Boaz did for Ruth and rejoice in what Christ does for the broken as you listen to Gwen’s testimony in song. When Jesus takes us from empty to full, we must never cease to be gratefully amazed.