Desert Hills Bible Church | Redemption: The Wonder of God’s Covenant Love, Part 2 

Redemption: The Wonder of God’s Covenant Love, Part 2 

After all the trials Naomi and Ruth experienced in the first two chapters of the Book of Ruth, God’s steadfast love appears to be at work for these women. God is not going to abandon them, and He has a good purpose even in their afflictions. He is about to put His unfailing mercy, grace, and kindness on display in the lives of these two women who have endured so much difficulty.

As we read in this narrative, God really doesn’t do anything overly spectacular to complete this story from a human perspective. God’s steadfast love shows up, not through direct divine intervention, but through His people displaying divine love through their faithfulness.

This concept is important for us to grasp because we live in a culture of broken promises and relationships where loyalty and faithfulness are rare. People in our world often lie, breaking promises and faith in relationships. Steadfast, faithful love is almost non-existent in our society.

That’s the reality of the world, but it shouldn’t be the reality of the church of Jesus Christ. God has called Christians to steadfast love so we might reflect His character to our broken world. There are three characteristics of this faithfulness to consider from Ruth 3 and 4 as we strive to emulate the Lord’s steadfast love.

First, to emulate God’s steadfast love, we need to understand that steadfast love is relational.

We cannot display God’s steadfast love in isolation from others; we need to be in relationships with people to obey this calling of showing the Lord’s steadfast love to him and the world. We see this relational aspect of steadfast love in Ruth 3.

In this chapter, we observe the importance of showing steadfast love in our relationships. Naomi shows her daughter-in-law this love by arranging her search for a husband. Ruth shows this love repeatedly to Naomi – especially when she adheres to Naomi’s parameters during her quest for a husband. Boaz even recognizes her love and obedience when he says, “You have shown your last kindness to be better than the first by not going after young men, whether poor or rich” (verse 10). Ruth also shows this love by being prudent in her search for a mate, seeking to do right before the Lord. Boaz shows this steadfast love by agreeing to marry Ruth.

If we are going to be people who display God’s love and kindness, we must interact be in relationships with others. We need this kind of kindness in our churches, marriages, families, neighborhoods, workplaces, and so on. As we show continued kindness and grace to others, we will reflect God’s nature and character toward us.

Second, to be people who show steadfast love, we need to realize that steadfast love is costly.

There is a difficulty that accompanies this kindness, loyalty, and love. It’s easy to be kind when people are kind to us. It’s easy to show love when we stand to gain something from that transaction. It’s easy to be loyal to those who can benefit us. However, the love God has shown to His people goes beyond what is convenient. It is costly. We see this aspect of steadfast love in 4:1-11 with Boaz’s interaction with a possible redeemer of Naomi and Ruth, who did not want to jeopardize his immediate family’s inheritance.

Ruth’s redemption in this story parallels our own – although our redemption is more costly than any human example. Our redemption was purchased, not with earthly riches, but with the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1). Because of this amazing redemption, we are now co-heirs with Christ and have received an inheritance. How incredible it is that, unlike the first redeemer in Ruth, Jesus does not wish to guard His inheritance, but shares it with His people because He is our great redeemer.

As we consider steadfast love, then, we see that it is often costly, difficult, and risky. We are called to step out in faith, trusting God for our inheritance, for our protection, for our well-being – not selfishly seeking to protect ourselves from hurt, mistreatment, ostracism, or loss.

For us to love like God has called us to love, we must take risks. We will have to reach out to the person unlike us. We will have to be first to break the silence during a conflict with words of reconciliation and peace. We will have to be willing to step out to help someone we might otherwise pass by. We will have to overcome the fear of being rejected or ostracized when we tell someone about Jesus. Steadfast love is costly, difficult, and risky; it is not safe or convenient.

Lastly, steadfast love is rewarded.

From verse 12 through the end of the book, we read of one blessing after another. Naomi, like Job, is restored. God has not been against her, but He has been working for her in her suffering, bringing about a great deliverance through her family line. Naomi’s suffering had a greater purpose, namely, the salvation of humanity.

Ruth has a son named Obed, which means worshiper, giving readers beautiful insight of this ending. Naomi went through the valley of the shadow of death and emerged praising the Lord for His goodness. Ruth is also marked as a worshiper of the true and living God, with her husband Boaz.

Christians can be assured that when we arrive on the other side of any trial and see God’s great purposes, we will be awestruck by His goodness and be driven to worship Him, like Naomi and Ruth. It’s not easy to see that promise amid our sufferings. The natural reaction is to rename ourselves Mara from bitterness, as Naomi did when she returned home. For all God’s people, though, the moment of worship comes when we see God’s glory displayed, realizing that His will is always for our good.

The end of the story of Ruth is just one more step in the story of God’s redemption of sinners. In verses 21-22, we read, “And to Salmon was born Boaz, and to Boaz, Obed, and to Obed was born Jesse, and to Jesse, David.” This David would receive an everlasting covenant of an eternal kingdom, a kingdom His offspring would rule forever and ever.

The story that began with so much tragedy ends with redemption, salvation, promise, hope, and ultimately, with worship. Boaz steps out in faith, jeopardizes his own inheritance, and becomes an ancestor of the Messiah. Ruth, who has proven her faith of the unseen Lord throughout this journey, winds up being a key person in the genealogy of Jesus. In Matthew 1, there are three women listed in Jesus’ genealogy. Two of them are Gentiles. One of them is Ruth.

Steadfast love is rewarded and blessed. It might be inconvenient, risky, and costly. Yet it is always worth it in the end. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection prove this to be true.

Proverbs 20:6 asks a pointed question: “Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but who can find a trustworthy man?” Many people talk about steadfast love, but few practice it. Many people say they are loyal, kind, and faithful to the end, but most of them aren’t. It’s difficult to find a person of true, faithful, enduring steadfast love. Nevertheless, may we as believers of Jesus Christ be characterized by His steadfast love in a world that desperately needs the hope and promise of salvation.

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